Friday, January 29, 2010

0-for-2 or 2-for-2

This week I'm 0-for-2 or 2-for-2 in KAP (kite aerial photography) sessions, depending on how you look at it. Two days in a row I tried to KAP, first kite surfers at Shacks Beach and then surfers at Wilderness Beach. Zero KAP photos to show for it (0-for-2). In fact I didn't even get the camera rig attached to the kite line, let alone in the air.

But...I did manage to break two kites (2-for-2). I ripped the back off one soft flow-form kite. It is a very old kite and the once-stiff ripstop nylon is now very soft and easily torn. On Wednesday my big delta kite did a nosedive right at the water's edge. A wave caught it before I could get to it and broke the spar in the leading edge.

Both "injuries" can be repaired. It will just take some time. Until then my options for lifting a camera rig are greatly reduced. Damn!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sahara's first ride

Elaine has been working so hard with Sahara (or "Wavey" as she calls her), bringing her along step by step. First, Elaine worked with her on the ground, getting her used to being handled and led with a lead rope. Then she started riding Chocolate as a lead pony, still leading Sahara with a lead rope. Then putting a saddle pad on her and leading her with Chocolate. Then adding the saddle. On Monday Elaine and our friend (and horsewoman extraordinaire) Lisa took the final step: with Elaine leading first from the ground and then with Chocolate, Lisa mounted and road Sahara for the first time. The first ride went beautifully, in fact could not have gone any better. Sahara was calm and easy; Chocolate was a gentleman as the lead pony. It's amazing how far this little filly has come in just three months. I am so proud of what Elaine has accomplished with this scared, skittish horse. She is much calmer, MUCH healthier, and now ready for rider training. It's been wonderful to see and to be some small part of.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Return of the Blog!

Been away from this blog long enough!

Laura (getting her cake from Elaine), her husband Jeremy, and their baby Gigi came with her mom, Fran, and other family members for a winter break in the tropics - and to celebrate Laura's birthday at Ola Lola's. They were all here a couple of years ago. Since then, we've all kept in touch via email and Facebook. They wanted to come back sooner but there was the birth of that beautiful baby in between. Anyway, we are very happy Laura chose Ola Lola's for her birthday. We're glad we got to celebrate with her. Happy Birthday, Laura!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Three Kings Day

One of the things I let slip by unremarked upon was Three Kings Day. Here in Puerto Rico, as in many Latin countries, Three Kings Day is actually a bigger, more important holiday than Christmas Day. January 6th, 12 days after Christmas (also Twelfth Night and in the church calendar, Epiphany) is the day the three kings or three wise men arrived in Bethlehem with gifts for the baby Jesus.

On Three Kings Eve, the tradition here is to leave grass or hay in a box under a child's bed for the Kings' camels (or horses, since there are no camels in Puerto Rico). In the morning the grass is gone and the boxes either gone with it or magically filled with presents. Traditionally, this is when children here get their biggest present(s), not on Christmas morning.

This year Kennedy didn't put grass under her bed but she did come to our house to open presents left for her. The big box she is unwrapping in the picture is a "baby," complete with everything - stroller, crib, plate, cup, spoon and fork, diaper bag, even a pacifier.

Looks like Kennedy is getting ready for the arrival of her baby brother this spring. She's going to be a great big sister!

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Photo from AFP/Thony Belizaire

I've let a lot of news slip by in the last ten days. I planned to spend today catching up but the big news in the Caribbean - in the world, in fact - is the devastating earthquake in Haiti. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and hasn't recovered from flooding during the 2008 hurricane season. Now this tragedy, in a country that has almost no resources to cope. The Red Cross announced today it's out of medicine in Haiti. Drinking water is a huge need. Communications, which are not great in the best of times, are nearly nonexistent. There are many ways to help. The major relief agencies seem to agree right now the greatest need is money. The Red Cross has set up a "texting" program to raise money. According to news reports, they've raised over $800,000. Countries all over the world - including the U.S., which under G.W. Bush could not mobilize to help New Orleans - are mobilizing massive relief aid.

And then, like a breath of horror, there are those voices from the extremist-right wilderness: Rush Limbaugh, proclaiming the U.S. response to this tragedy is merely a vehicle to "burnish Obama's image among light- and dark-skinned blacks," and, god help us, Pat Robertson declaring the Haitians brought this disaster on themselves because of a mythical "pact with the devil." Perhaps we should be grateful for such god-fearing men who try to keep the rest of us misguided mortals on track. Instead, I am sickened by them and terrified that people actually believe and act on this nonsense. These same men demanded an America united behind the Bushies' warmongering. Yet theirs are the first, loudest voices trying to splinter and degrade the response to a tragedy affecting thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of people. Unconscionable, unforgivable, and very un-Christian.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Awesome day at Surfers

Saturday started out as kind of a blah day for surf - tide was high, waves were mushy and no very good. So I left Wilderness and ran a few errands. I decided to check out Surfers Beach before I went home. Man, am I glad I did!

First the surf cleaned up and got better so the few surfers who were out were getting pretty good rides. Then Josie Graves and Maria showed up, I think to shoot some video. Then Jass Umbel and her brother Jack showed up. And I do mean "showed." It was an awesome show. the only downside for me was I had to leave! But I'm not complaining. I got some of the best surf shots I've ever taken! Thank you, guys.

Check out the full set on our website, and a set of the best of the best on Flickr.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

New Year's Day

We didn't have our traditional New Year's Day kite fly this year. Ola Lola's was open and we had a lot of prep to do. Really, just bad planning on our part. But I did go out and fly a kite on Shacks Beach for a little KAP (kite aerial photography) session. The winds were rippin' 20 knots+. It's hard to tell from here but those are 8-10 foot waves in the cove.

Since our New Year's Eve beach-bonfire-and-kitefly got high-winded and high-watered out, we spent a (fairly) quiet New Year's Eve with friends. It was actually a very nice way to bring in the new decade. I missed the kite flying though. We have to plan better for next year.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

The Huge Christmas Week swell

This past week brought the biggest waves we've seen in more than a year and a half. There were some reports that the waves at Tres Palmes in Rincon were actually bigger this week than they were during the "Perfect Storm" of March, 2008. I chased around looking for surfers between here and Rincon. I finally caught up with some daring souls at Wilderness on Tuesday afternoon. The photos from this session are on the website, and on our Flickr page. It was some amazing surf and there were some incredible rides. Check 'em out.