Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Wild and crazy!

The past two weeks have two of the strangest weather weeks we've experienced in Puerto Rico. Normally this is the winter dry season, from about the end of hurricane season at the beginning of December until mid- to late April. This is usually my favorite time of year here: dry, warm days and cool nights, waves for surfers (and surf photography) but flat spells and areas for diving, strong but comfortable trade winds.

This year all bets are off! We've got strong winds alright - insanely strong. Dry? Not so much. November was the wettest on record. It rains at least a some just about every day. Waves? For the last week-and-a-half we've had 8-10 foot waves, but mostly unsurfable because of the heavy winds. The days have been cool and the nights cooler. It got down in the the 60s several nights in a row. I know, all those of you up north are not feeling sorry for us. Neither are we really. I just had to dig out a pair of jeans.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Moving forward

It's Martin Luther King Day and a quote from the doctor is a great way to start this post:

"If you can't fly then run. If you can't run then walk. If you can't walk then crawl. But whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward."

That's kind of where we are right now: crawling, but moving forward.

Ola Lola's is for sale and we have a couple of people who are seriously interested. No offers yet but good conversations.

In the mean time Ola Lola's is open again, but just the bar. We're not opening the restaurant, much to the chagrin and disappointment of many. It is hard standing there night after night telling people no more peanut butter burgers, no more asiago dip, no food at all. Some are just disappointed and ask for recommendations for other places to eat. A few have been actively hostile, like we owe it to them to be open for them. Most are at least outwardly understanding when I explain why the kitchen is closed.

It's our part of that "whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward."

Even when we rented the kitchen and Elaine wasn't directly responsible, she was involved. When we ran the kitchen, she had help but it was her thing. As anyone who has run a business knows, it can suck you in and eat up your time.

Anyone has been part of a startup knows that is a full-time and then some job. We - I say we, but at this point the work is almost all Elaine's - are moving forward on Pegasus' Promise, the therapeutic riding center we're starting.

She developed two volunteer training modules and held the first two volunteer training sessions with 14 volunteers so far and more interested. The second sessions with hands-on the horses, will be next week. The first client evaluations are also starting next week.

The bottom line is it's just too many full-time jobs to do that and try to run the kitchen. We're crawling, sometimes staggering, but we are moving forward!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

A new site for a new year

We managed to get in a couple of dives before this big blow hit. Some friends introduced us to a new site in Aguadilla. We've know about the south end of the reef at Rompeolas but had no idea what was further north.

The north end - like south - is a very shallow dive. Our friends first showed it to us as a snorkeling site. But the huge waving soft corals just begged us to dive. So we did! Even in mediocre visibility it was beautiful. Because it's shallow there is lots of light and lots of color. This site deserves a lot more exploration.

That will have to wait a few days. The storm that brought cold and snow to the Midwest and East Coast is pushing waves toward us. A big tropical low is bringing cold air (it was 68 degrees Monday morning!), driving rain and 30+ mile-an-hour winds and adding it's energy so the waves are 8-10 feet. They are big but sloppy and wind-blown. A few intrepid surfers have ventured out, but not many.

The weather is supposed to clear a bit for the next couple of days but the waves are suppose to stay up through the weekend. Maybe there will be some good surf photos yet.

Friday, January 06, 2017

Happy Three Kings Day!

Three Kings Day (Epiphany, Twelfth Night, Dia de Reyes) is one of the most important of the Christmas holidays in Puerto Rico and much of Latin America. It celebrates the day the three wise men (or kings) in the Christmas story actually arrived in Bethlehem to see the Christ child. In many families, Three Kings is the day for major gift-giving, not Christmas Day.  Depictions of the three kings are ubiquitous in Puerto Rican art. Virtually every household has at least one depiction, many homes have many. Three Kings Day also means the Christmas season in Puerto Rico is almost over.

We had to delay our first dive of the year/Marie's birthday dive from New Year's Day until Three Kings Day because of surf in our usual dive sites. (It turns out we could have gone New Year's Day. We looked at the surf reports and made the call to wait. By the time we figured out we could go, it was too late. So much for the surf reports.) We went to a little-use dive site called Rompeolas. It's a small, shallow but really beautiful reef near downtown Aguadilla. It was the first time at that site for both Elaine and Marie. They both loved it. We will go back again.

Six days into the new year and I'm two dives closer to my goal of 500 total dives by the end of 2017.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

New Year's

What did you do for New Year's?

New Year's Eve:

And then we opened Ola Lola's.

New Year's Day:

And then we opened Ola Lola's.