Sunday, May 29, 2011

Adios, Leigh!

There is a dark downside to the friendliness and the sense of community we develop here: It's hard when someone you care for and consider part of "the family" leaves.

Our magical little corner of the island is, by it's nature, has a large transient population. Tourists come for a week or two; surfers come for a weekend or for the winter; people come from the States on two-week or two-year work assignments; Coast Guard postings change every couple of years. In the time they are here, we get close to many of these people. They become regulars at Ola Lola's. They become part of our extended family.

And then they leave. Everyone who leaves us leaves a little tiny (or sometimes HUGE) hole in the fabric that is our lives.

Last night we said good-by to Leigh. Leigh has been working here for about three months. She and her co-workers at ATI have set up a service that flies once-a-week nonstop flights from "our" airport in Aguadilla to Madrid, Spain. (Next week they are going to start flights to Barcelona as well.)

We surprised her with a full Ola Lola send-off complete with cake and one of Elaine's famous songs, customized just for her. I'm not sure Leigh realized until then just how much a part of the Ola Lola family she had become.

Although she's been many places in the world, Leigh had never tried SCUBA diving. She had her first discover dive with our friend Darryl. The dive didn't start out well when Leigh had a panic attack. As he has done so many times with so many first-time divers, Darryl worked her through it and she was hooked. Just this week she finished her certification; she's now a diver!

When Leigh first got here, she didn't quite "get" Ola Lola's. Now she does. Welcome to the family, Leigh! Come back and visit soon. At least put a little patch on that hole in the fabric.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Adios, Tim

Last week we said good-by to a good friend. Tim Dutton left the island for a new gig in the States. We wish him the best of luck with his new life up north. We'll see Tim back again though - he still has family here on the island.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Happy birthday, Rosa!

Last night we celebrated our friend and Ola Lola's co-worker Rosa's birthday. Thanks to everyone who turned out at 110 Thai to help us celebrate.

Happy birthday, Rosa!

Monday, May 23, 2011

New camera's maiden dive

My self-imposed sort of exile from the computer continues but I didn't intend my absence from here to be this long.

The dive camera issue is totally resolved. The new camera and new housing arrived and are together. This photo of our friend and dive buddy Robin is from the rig's second dive. The first dive was in such terribly murky water - visibility about four feet - that I didn't bother even trying to take pictures. I'm still adjusting to the new rig but so far I like it. Mostly, I'm glad the whole episode is now closed and behind us.

The good news is there should be lots more dive pictures in the near future!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Adventure Tuesday

Mail boxes along the side of the road near Dorado.

This week's Adventure Tuesday was on Wednesday, a roadtrip to San Juan. It was not all fun and games: We had to deliver some documents to a government office for Elaine's SLP license here and to - ARRRRGH! - go to Plaza Las Americas, the biggest mall in the Caribbean. We had a specific goal for Plaza Las Americas but of course got sidetracked and took longer than we'd planned.

From there we drove along the coast to Dorado. We stopped to check out the Agrotourism Park near Dorado. Elaine went to a rodeo in this park last weekend. She wanted me to see it and to check it out as a possible site for a kite festival, possibly even the American Kitefliers Association's National Convention and Grand Nationals competition. So we flew our kites there for a little while.

It is a very cool site and would work great for a kite festival. Hmmm....

We checked out a couple of beaches along the way and were reminded (once again, as if we needed to be reminded) of how lucky we are on this side of the island. There were a few open beaches along the roadway but nothing like our beaches. There is a lot of money in Dorado (that's where the Donald's golf course, home of the Puerto Rico Open, is located). There may be some very nice beaches in Dorado, but mostly they are sealed off from the public behind heavily secured gated housing communities. There is a pretty nice balenario (public swimming beach) in Dorado; we stopped there for a beer.

The nicest beach we saw on this trip was the balenario at Cerro Gordo a little west of Dorado. It was getting late by the time we got Cerro Gordo and we didn't have much time to spend there. We will go back again, I'm sure.

The balenarios are essentially public beach parks. You can walk in for free but there fees to park inside. The ones we've visited have (mostly) pretty nice facilities. The one in Dorado had a bar and pool tables. Facilities, such as restrooms and trash pick up, are one of the advantages of these beaches. But unlike our beaches, these balenarios are behind fences and gates. They are nice but not open.

From the cliff at Dunas, past Sardinera and Villa Pesquera, Shore Island, Middles, Golandrina, Jobos, Bajura, Shacks, and Martinique to the rocks at Survival, we have more than eight miles of open and accessible beaches. Then there is Surfers, Wishing Well, Natural, Crashboat and the beaches along downtown Aguadilla. And those are just the ones nearby.

We are so lucky here on our side of the island!

Monday, May 09, 2011

Stolen camera update

The stolen camera saga is nearly complete.

On Friday, we met in the District Attorney's office and the perp - or rather the perp's father - paid the replacement cost of the camera and housing. By making restitution he avoided a trial and probable jail time.

So with cash in hand, I have ordered the new camera and new housing. Hopefully, by the time it all gets here, the ocean will clean up and there will be some great new dive photos.

For now this chapter is closed.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!!!

To everyone who is a mother, soon will be a mother or has a mother, Happy Mother's Day from all of us at Ola Lola's. We hope you have a wonderful day!

We have a special Mother's Day wish for our daughter Amy, mother of two of our beautiful grandchildren. (It's still a little weird wishing our own daughter Happy Mother's Day and meaning it!) And from both of us to our mothers - we miss you, every minute, every day.

Happy Mother's Day, everyone.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

KAP update

If you've been checking back here looking for new KAP photos, you've been pretty disappointed. So have I. Thus far, for me at least, WWKW has been a total bust.

Until today, every day this week has been grey and overcast with either strong gusty winds or no wind at all. It has either rained hard or at least spit rain just about every day as well.

To add to the weather woes, my primary KAP camera was also my dive camera, the one that was stolen. My older "back up" camera is acting up.

All in all the one day I did get out to KAP I came back with not one single usable shot.

Whine whine whine! Ya want some cheese with that whine?

Today looks like a much better day. I think I've figured out work-arounds for the camera's issues so I can use it until the new camera gets here later this week.

In the mean time, you can see some great KAP photos from KAPpers around the world on the WWKW group on Flickr or on the main Flickr KAP group. They just aren't my photos - yet.