Sunday, November 27, 2011

Scuba diving - finally!

Diving has just sucked here for a while. Between waves and windchop and rain flooding the ocean with mud from up in the mountains it's just been terrible. Yesterday I finally went diving for the first time since AUGUST! That's just wrong!

We were supposed to go on an extended dive trip to Bonaire in September, but Elaine's father's final illness and death cancelled that. So it has been a long dry (literally) spell. Hopefully, conditions will improve and we'll get get to dive more soon.

This French angelfish was surprised to see us at Natural.

Friday, November 25, 2011


Our friend Ana's son Luis with a turkey leg.

We celebrated Thanksgiving at our friend John's house with 30 or 40 (I lost count) family, friends and our extended Puerto Rican family. It was an afternoon filled with tons of love and sharing and of course tons of food.

We have so much to be grateful for in our lives. We are so happy we got to share the day with so many wonderful people. At the same time we missed our children, grandchildren, family and friends back in the States. The heart's ability to hold so many feelings - love and gratitude and joy for those you are with, the same love and gratitude and joy seasoned with the awareness of those you are not with - is truly wonderous.

We hope you all our absent family and friends had a joyous and wonder-filled Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Fall colors on our beach

The fall colors on our beach may be courtesy of the Sargasso Sea, roughly 500 miles north of us. This brown seaweed is fairly common in beach drift and washes up on our beaches occasionally but this is the most we've seen at one time.

This is sargassum, a free-floating seaweed that covers the Sargasso Sea in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean.

The "sea" is formed by and the seaweed is held in place by ocean currents that make the Atlantic Sub-tropical Gyre. The same currents dump garbage in this area creating the North Atlantic Garbage Dump, similar to the Great Pacific Garbage Dump. There was a lot of plastic debris trapped in the sargassum washed up on our beach.

The sargassum piled up on the hightide surfline. Amber and Jazz had a great time nuzzling through all the amazing (to them I assume) smells. It was unusual, beautiful and strange (and fun) to think it may have escaped the gyre and floated to our beach.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Happy birthday, Robin!

We celebrated our friend Robin's birthday with a big ta-do at Mary George's villa at Villa Montaña - appropriate since Robin is the general manager of Villa Montaña. It was a night of fabulous food provided by Andy and Nastassia of OneTenThai restaurant, our second favorite restaurant on the island (after Ola Lola's of course).

The party had a Manchester United FC theme with everybody in red and black - except George and Andy who just had to come in Barcelona kit.

Robin didn't have any problems blowing out the candles on his ManU cake but it took a lot of convincing to get him to cut into it!

Happy birthday, Robin! We hope you're here with us for many many more!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Bodyboarders at Middles

The International Bodyboarders Association (IBA) brought a major international competition to Middles Beach this month.

Bodyboarders get kind of short shift from hard-board surfers but I gotta tell ya, these were some pretty amazing athletes. They took on a week of big, blown, gnarly waves at Middles, waves most surfers I know would look at and say, "Naw. Not today." There are several sets of pictures on our website,

We had the opportunity to meet three of the top women bodyboarders in the world - Catrina Sousa from Portugal, Eunate Aguirre from Spain and Karla Costa Taylor from Brazil. Thank you, ladies for sharing your evening with us.

We posted pictures from the Women's finals and Men's semifinals on our the PuertoRicoSurfPhoto website.

El Encanto Pro didn't generate the levels of excitement the Rip Curl Pro Search surf competition did at the same time last year. It was a great event with some really nice people. No word yet as to whether they will be back but we'd love to see them back again next year.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Thank you party

Just before Halloween we had a party to thank and introduce the people who made the new Ola Lola's possible. We were pleased and grateful that so many people were able to come. We did miss two key people though: David Pfaff, who did the original concept drawings and who's ideas permeate the new Ola Lola's, was at home in Carmel getting ready to celebrate his birthday on Halloween. And Elizabeth, who did so much to help us focus our thoughts into a concrete (or in this case wood) plan, was in St. Louis waiting for the birth of her daughter. Thank you to all who did come to the party. And thank you all for your help and support!

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Congratulations, Kelly Slater

Kelly Slater may be the best surfer of all time and is definitely on of the greatest athletes in the world. The guy is from another planet. Last year here in Puerto Rico he won his record-setting 10th world championship title.

Yesterday in San Francisco he bested his own record by winning his 11th world title.

Congratulations, Kelly! Hope to see you back in PR soon!!!

BTW, this photo was taken of Kelly during a fun session at Backdoor (near Surfers Beach) last year after the conclusion of the competition.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Sunset rainbow

The sun was already below the horizon. The last few rays of light were hitting high clouds to the east, turning them a beautiful sunset pink.

Somewhere in those clouds rain was falling, rain that never reached the ground but had to be there none-the-less.

In that confluence of the sun's last rays and sky-high rain there appeared a sunset rainbow. It was just a faint arc high in the sky. It didn't last very long, just a few minutes as the last bit of sunlight faded away. It sure was amazing while it lasted!

I've never seen anything quite like that before. I've seen sundogs - a complete halo around the sun caused by ice crystals in the air - and halos around the moon (same cause) but never an arc of a rainbow high in the sunset clouds.

Pretty cool.