Thursday, July 27, 2017

Best moment 170726

It's been a pretty low-key week with not a lot going on good or bad.

Wednesday seems to be a catch-up day. Our morning yoga session with Rosie was wonderful - as always. Sometimes yoga is more work than other times and Rosie always encourages us to go a little farther, a little deeper. I always feel so much better afterwards. There is so much that I am carrying over into everyday life. I stand and sit straighter, not slumped over; my shoulders are more relaxed and not hunched around my ears. My breathing is better, more purposeful beyond just necessary.

Elaine taught at the stable in Rincon yesterday so she missed yoga. When she came home, we went out to work with the horses. Our friend Lisa stopped and told us it was a beautiful evening to take horses to the beach. So we did! A short bareback ride and into the water we went. The beach was more crowded than we expected but everybody was fine. The people on the beach seem to mostly enjoy the "show" of the horses in the water.

Chocolate went swimming again with me on him. Riding a swimming horse is such an amazing, different experience.

Wednesday night we had an incredible lightning and thunder show. I was outside watching when I notice an odd thing in the sky. The edge of he system, whatever it was, was right over our side yard. To the east the sky was clouded over and crashing huge lightning bolts and thunder. To the west of that line - and it was a hard edge - the sky was clear and full of stars. Really quite amazing, almost like something from a sci-fi movie.

So, Wednesday - a day with two best moments and another moment of wonder! A pretty good day all in all.

Best moment 170724

We had a great, fun night at Ola Lola's. Friends we haven't seen in a long time stopped by and spent most of the evening. And it was a good night for business overall. That's a good ti\hing after some of the slow nights we've had.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

170721 A digression

You would think those whose life and livelihood depends on the ocean would be the most conscious and respectful of it. Not so. I found this just lying on the beach yesterday. I thought it was just a bit trash dropped or washed up. When I picked it up, I discovered the aspirin bottle trash had a wire leader and a fish hook attached. On the one hand I applaud the fisherman for the creative reuse of the plastic container. On the other hand the jerky fisherman left the trash AND the hook lying on the beach. Fortunately I picked it up and it didn't wind up in a dog's paw or child's foot.

 I so want to respect the fishermen but they make it impossible.

Definitely not a best moment, but I needed to rant. 

Friday, July 21, 2017

Best moment 170720 Steps Beach, Rincon

Have you seen the documentary Chasing Coral? It's streaming on Netflix right now. (At the risk of sounding like a Netflix commercial, even if you don't have Netflix, you can get a one-month free trial. If you have any love for the ocean, it's worth it just to watch this video.)

The video follows a mixed group of folks who set out document the coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef.  It is a beautiful, amazing, enlightening, heartbreaking film.  I won't say any more about the film, other than to say - watch it!

We've watched it three times since it was released on July 14. It made me curious and concerned about some of the coral stands near us.

I've written before about the elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata). Once ubiquitous throughout the Caribbean, since 1980 90% to 95% of the elkhorn is dead. The causes are all the usual suspects: rising sea temperatures, human activity (over-fishing, farm runoff, wreckless divers and snorkelers), disease. 

For some reason there is a huge healthy stand of elkhorn in the Marine Reserve along the coast of Rincon. Granted, the protected status of the Marine Reserve has a lot to do with it. But that doesn't completely explain it. The Marine Reserve can't protect against higher ocean temperatures for example. 

I haven't snorkeled at Steps Beach in Rincon since 2015. After watching Chasing Coral, I wanted to see how it looked. On Thursday I had the privilege of snorkeling there with three amazing ladies. For two of them this was their first time at Steps. 

We were very pleased and a little surprised to find the elkhorn healthy and thriving and beautiful.

So there were two best moments in that trip to Rincon: finding the coral healthy and sharing it with good friends.

You can see more photos of the elkhorn in a new Flickr album.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Best moment 170716 On the beach - with horses

Again with the horses on the beach!

This was a Sunday ride on the beach with all of us. And it turned into a bit of an adventure.

Elaine was cantering KTJ down the beach when she saw something out of the corner of her eye. She slowed to a trot. Then she realized what she was looking at was the girth to her saddle hanging loose. The straps that hold the girth to the saddle (called billets) broke on one side. There was nothing holding her saddle on.

It is a tribute to her seat on her horse and the fit of that saddle to both horse and rider that she didn't come off. (Unlike me. When my girth broke, Chocolate and I were standing still. I slid off sideways, saddle and all. I was lying on the ground looking up at Choco looking down at me as if to say, "Whatter ya doin' down there?")

Elaine did a little "MacGyver" repair and we rode home, slowly but safely.

Riding is frequently an adventure and a "best moment."

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Best moment 170715 On the beach

Elaine taught at the stable in Rincon on Saturday so Zip and Chocolate took Marie and I for a ride on the beach. It was a good ride! Choco and I even cantered! Three different times!

Best moment 170713 Crashboat Beach

Pretty much everyone who has been to Crashboat Beach has an iconic photo. Some are like the one above, taken from the overlook on the drive in.

Many are of the bright, colorful fishermen's boats, called yolas, like this:

Or this:

And of course there are at least a thousand drone videos of Crashboat.

My personal favorites are ones that I've take underwater. Under the piers it is like being in a cathedral:

From some vantage points, the piers look like ancient temples of Atlantis, rising back from the sea:

Or maybe the home of a mermaid sea goddess:

We dive at Crashboat fairly often; that's where almost all the beginner Discover Scuba classes are. But I haven't snorkeled there in way too many years.

Until Thursday. Our friend Carole invited us to go along snorkeling. 

Swimming around the piers on the surface gave me a whole completely different viewpoint, a new perspective. This was a view I don't remember ever seeing before. I know I've never photographed it quite this way.

So the best moment for Thursday was seeing an old friend in a new way.


Friday, July 14, 2017

Best moment 170712

Does finally mowing the yard count as a best moment? How about fixing the corral gate? That's pretty much what I did.

Except yoga. Elaine was teaching riding at the stable in Rincon so I was going to blow off yoga to get some of those other things done. Then Jen and Suzanne showed up and we had a great yoga class with Rosie.

It would have been such a mistake to miss yoga. It was the best moment of the day.

Best moment 170711

Vitamin Sea therapy.

I'm hoping this will become a habit. I've been in the ocean two days in a row, this time snorkeling at Wishing Well. Wishing Well has always been one of our favorite snorkel sites. We could go there pretty much anytime and mostly have the place to ourselves. Somehow that has changed in the last year or so. Wishing Well - or Peña Blanca as it is also known - has become a very popular beach! With tents and umbrellas and boom boxes it is becoming a mini-Crashboat.

In spite of the crowds the water is still amazingly beautiful. It is still one of the best places to find a turtle to swim with while snorkeling. We swam with this guy for several minutes before we tuned back to shore.

You can see a quick video of this little guy here.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Best moment 170710

Something must have been a best moment on the 9th but I can't remember what it was. To make up for that, I had two best moments on the 10th.

First, we went diving "out front" on "our" reef at Shacks. It was our friend Mac's birthday dive. The way diving has been this year, any dive almost automatically qualifies as a best moment.

One of the best moments in the best moment dive came right at the end. So near the end in fact, Mac and Darryl were already out of the water when I saw this very cool moon jelly fish (Aurelia aurita ).

Not only are they beautiful to watch in the wat er, they are also fascinating creatures. They pulse not so mush to move through the water as to stay near the surface where they feed. Otherwise they drift on currents. They are more active in the summer because they thrive in lower dissolved oxygen levels in the ocean typical of summer whereas other creatures are driven away to search for higher oxygen levels. Cool cool critters.

The second "best moment" of the day came in the afternoon. A friend of ours is now teaching Spanish classes on the deck at Ola Lola's. First yoga, now Spanish. Great stuff!

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Best moment 170708

Happy birthday to my "baby" sister! We love you, Cath. Hope all is well.

Best moment 170707

I rode a seahorse!

Or at least, I rode a horse swimming in the sea.

As you know by now, we take our horses to the ocean fairly regularly. They love it! Sometimes we ride them down the beach, sometimes we walk them. Usually we dismount and lead them into the water.

KTJ likes to swim. She likes the feeling of floating free. She moans and groans and does all manner of relaxing releases.

Chocolate on the other hand (hoof?) likes to keep at least his front feet grounded. He has learned to turn around and back in until his back end floats but his front hooves are still on something solid. So it was a surprise when he walked right into the ocean with me on him. Even more surprising he kept going, right off the solid bottom until he was swimming. 

Horses are actually pretty good swimmers. Well, more floaters. Because of the small surface of their hooves, they are not very efficient moving through the water. But that huge barrel cheat cavity is one big floatation device. Plus, they have a big air pocket under their back legs that keeps their hindquarters afloat.

It is a totally different feeling riding a swimming horse. Their motion in the water is very different than the motion on land. In the water it's kind of an up-and-down bobbing action. Very different, very fun!

That was definitely a best moment!

Friday, July 07, 2017

Best moment 170706

 We finally got to meet with representatives from the Isabela mayor's office about land for the therapeutic riding center.

The people we met with are excited and very supportive of the idea of having a therapeutic riding center in Isabela. Unfortunately the mayor himself couldn't be with us, but the staff promised to take the proposal to him. They seemed sure he will also be interested and we should expect follow up questions and another meeting with him.They also assured us that if the municipio doesn't have land available for us, they will do what they can to find land.

This is a step, in fact a huge step, forward. Now we'll see where it leads. Somewhere. Forward. Out there.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Best moment 170705

Yoga! Again! But this time with a twist.

Part of our yoga session Wednesday was laughter yoga.

Last week in our regular session something happened that got us all laughing. Laughter is good anyway but within the context of yoga, it felt really good. We - half-jokingly we thought - said we should do laughter yoga sometime.

Our teacher Rosie did some research and found that far from being a joke, laughter yoga is a serious thing. It has a real yoga name - hasyayoga. There is an onlline Laughter Yoga University at (somebody will figure out a way to monetize anything!). Wikihow has a page devoted to laughter yoga. There are more than 100 laughter yoga videos on Youtube. There are clubs around the world devoted to laughter yoga. Even AARP's website has a page for laughter yoga for seniors. (Someday when I'm older, I check that out.)
Laughter yoga is a great for deep breathing. It is a fabulous stress reliever, lowers blood pressure, prove your mood. And it's crazy fun! What's not to love?

If you do yoga, ask you instructor/teacher/leader to incorporate a bit of laughter yoga into a session. Try it - you'll like it!

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Best moment 170704

The traditional 4th of July photo at Jobos.

If you've read this blog for a while, you know I'm into KAP - Kite Aerial Photography. Long - long! - before personal drones, photographers were lifting cameras with kites to get aerial photos. I've been taking photos over Jobos on the 4th of July for several years.

This year the beach isn't quite as packed as in previous years. You can actually see sand between the umbrellas; most years you can't. I'm guessing it's because the 4th was on a Tuesday. A lot of people had been partying since Friday. By Tuesday many were probably headed home.

Still, police closed the road through Jobos because of the number of cars/people.

This was the one good shot I got. Due to operator error, I missed more the half the shots I took. There is another big holiday coming on July 25 (Puerto Rico Constitution Day) so I'll have another "shot" at it. I'll do better next time.

Best moment 170703

Breaking news: giant seahorses spotted off Shacks Beach!

The beaches were way too crowded to try to ride so we walked Chocolate and KTJ down to the beach. They so love it! It is such a release and relaxation for them. KTJ likes to swim, to get all four hooves up off the bottom. She starts to moan, a low deep sound that you can actually feel in the water.

Chocolate usually likes to keep is front feet on something solid and back out until his back end floats. On this day, he wanted to swim. He didn't care about solid ground, at least for a few minutes.

Both horses were doing deep jaw-stretching yawns. For them that kind of yawn is major tension reliever.

Ya just can't beat swimming with horses!

Best moment 170702

The beaches were already crowded on Saturday. We managed to get in a short somewhat compacted beach ride before we opened Ola Lola's for the evening.

There has to be something really special in a day to be a better moment than riding on our beautiful beach.

Best moments over the weekend


First, the Peanut Butter Burger is back and that is making a lot of people happy!

We picked a great weekend to restart the burgers. I think we were busier than we thought we would be for the holiday weekend. The responses made all the crazy preparation worth it.

Best moments? One of our local long-time friends took his first bite of the Gringo Burger. He sat back in his chair, closed his eyes, and said, "It's even better than I remember!"

This comment is doubly sweet: living up to a guest's "memory" is one of the scariest things about this business. When a guest says, "I had the Peanut Butter Burger three years ago and it was so good! I've waited three years for this," I cringe just a little inside. We know the burgers are good - they are the best! But will they live up to the memory? So to hear the comment, "Even better than I remember" is an incredible compliment.

Several guests commented, "it's good to see you busy and full again."

Hopefully, we can build on this momentum.

Best moments 170628

In the midst of all the crazy around the restaurant restart there were other best moments.

On Wednesday Elaine did a presentation and demonstration for a group of psychology students at the facility where she teaches in Rincon on animal - and specifically equine - assisted therapy. The presentation was in the late afternoon. Since we were in Rincon, we planned to go out for my belated birthday dinner.

There is a relatively new Italian restaurant in Rincon called Mangia Mi. Normally I don't get too excited about Italian restaurants unless they are really special. Elaine and our friend Marie ate at Mangia Mi a few weeks ago and raved about it. The tiny bit of leftovers they brought me definitely made me want more. So that that's where we went for my birthday dinner.

Sorry there are no photos - it is an interesting place, both visually and gastronomically. On this particular night, I went with my date, not as a photographer. Be assured we will go back. And I will get photos!