Tuesday, July 29, 2014

and diving with manatee

Manatee have showed up much more frequently this summer and at beaches and areas where we've rarely seen them before. There have been so many manatee at Crashboat that DNR officials have put up signs telling people to leave them alone, to not harass them (because apparently people aren't smart enough to figure that out for themselves), and buoys marking manatee areas in the water to warn boaters and jet-skiers.

It is illegal in PR to touch the manatee but no one has a suggestion of how to deal with an "aggressively affectionate" manatee in the water. This one wanted to play and to have her belly scratched. How to you say "no" to an 800-pound friend? 

Marie and I spent more than an hour playing with this manatee mostly near the surface although she was just as happy to play 20 feet down.

After the storm

We've had drought for most of this year. Water officials are talking about rationing water in some areas of the island.

We finally got a decent rain this afternoon, the first in quite a while. I don't know what it is about the rain that brings out the playfulness in the horses but they do this just about every time it rains. This is just a bit of a much longer too-long-to-post video.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Wishing Well


Had the great joy of introducing several new people - our friends Marie and Amanda and new friends John and Darla and their children Ian and Tate - to the incredible beauty that is Wishing Well. This one of our favorite snorkeling sites and we love showing it off!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Snorkeling with mermaids

 So what do you do after a day like yesterday? Go snorkeling with mermaids of course.

Our friend Sharon wanted us take her and her sisters snorkeling someplace they'd never been. Hard to believe Sharon has lived on the island as long as we have - longer actually - and she's not been snorkeling at Wishing Well. Stand-up paddle boarding, yes, but not snorkeling.

It was a jackpot day for their first time at Wishing Well: Three spotted eagle rays, three octopi, a pod of reef squid and about a qazillion other fish.

Not bad. And Elaine and I had a great time swimming with three ladies who are very comfortable and fun in the water.

A great day diving

This is kind of the reverse of the "119' dive" day.

We started yesterday drifting from Natural to Wishing Well. We've been doing this all summer but we really haven't had the current we expected to push us along. Today we caught a good ride. It's about 3/4 mile from Natural to Wishing Well. Without really trying we made it with air to spare.

The reef at Natural has an interesting profile. The reef slopes away from the shore. But it also slopes down from the southern end at Playa India (the beach where we enter) to about 65 feet. As it continues north, it rises again to 20-25 feet. So the deepest point is about a third of the way through the dive and the last third is quite shallow. That means air consumption at the end of the dive is minimal.

Darryl and I were under water for 73 minutes, came out right at the beach at Wishing Well and still had air left.

We decided to do a night dive at Crashboat last night. Again, Crashboat is a very shallow dive; the maximum depth under the piers is about 30 feet or so. (Farther out it gets deeper; this also where we did the 119 foot dive.) The current was neutral so we took it easy swimming around under the piers.

We played with reef squid for a while.

Sixty minutes into the dive we'd used less than half our air. I finally started to get chilly and signaled Darryl to head for shore. On the way in we stopped to play with a couple of starfish. When we got to shore, I checked my dive computer: 78 minutes! And I still had nearly 1200 psi (out of 3000 at the beginning of the dive).

Two dives. A total of 151 minutes underwater. Shallow dives are amazing! A friend asked me if I'm trying to reverse evolution. Sometimes slithering back into the ocean doesn't sound like such a bad idea.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Tuesday adventure

Interesting Tuesday adventure: we started out with some friends for Gilligan's Island off the south coast from Guanica. We've never been there and have heard a lot about it. Some of our friends just love it. It's an adventure we wanted to try.
We got to the ferry dock In Guanica in time for the 10 am boat and were told, yes, we could probably get on the 10:00 o'clock boat but we would likely be the last ones because the island was full! At 10 am! On a Tuesday! Who'da thunk it?
We wound up going to La Parguera, one of our favorite beach towns up the road from Guanica, instead. We rented a little skiff to putter between mangrove islands. It costs a lot more than Gilligan's but it wasn't quite as crowded. Still there were so many boats and so many people the snorkeling was terrible. All the beaches seem more crowded than usual this summer. Ah well! This is why people who live in beach towns don't go to the beach in the summer.