Friday, December 26, 2014

10 years after

On December 26, 2004, a devastating tsunami hit Thailand. As the news broke, we were at sea, on a cruise through the Caribbean. We even got the news on board the ship.

Three days later we got married on a Caribbean island.

Five nights after the tsunami struck, on New Year's Eve, we were sailing back toward Puerto Rico. As the clock moved toward midnight and the toll in lives and property in Thailand continued to rise, I confess the thought occurred to me - was I the only one on this cruise ship who had seen The Posidon Adventure? That was a movie about cruise ship that was capsized by a giant tidal wave just before midnight on New Year's Eve.

I meant - and mean - no disrespect for the people and victims of the tsunami in Thailand. The tragedy was huge - and very scary.

Thailand is rebuilding. And our cruise ship survived New Year's Eve.

3,000 peanut butter burgers?!?

This weekend? Maybe. If not this weekend, then next weekend for sure. It all depends on you. Are you going to help us get to 3,000?

Three THOUSAND peanut butter burgers.

Wow! Who'd a thunk it?

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

It's been a wonderful Christmas - a wonderful dinner last night with friends, Christmas morning Skyping with the grandkids (almost as good as being there) then a wonderful dinner at home with more friends.

We hope your holiday has been equally wonderful.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Sargassum returns


Sargassum - a brown seaweed - has washed up up on our beach for the last few days. We don't really know where it comes from. There are rumors it is disturbed by fishing trawlers passing out at sea. I don't know.

What I do know is that even though we've seen sargassum on our beaches before, we've never seen this much or seen it last this long. It's coming in waves. Fresh seaweed washes ashore even as yesterday's and the day before's change color as they dry in the sun. It is piled up in ridges like brown snowdrifts two or three feet high. It stretches all along the north shore. Fortunately it doesn't wrap around to the beaches in the west, Crashboat, Natural, etc.

We'll see how long this lasts.


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Por fin - buceando! (Diving at last!)

 As I wrote before, it has been a great fall for surf but at the expense of diving. That - fortunately! - came to an end this week. We've been diving three out of the last four days.

The waves have been down, at least around the corner, so the "west" has been good. There hasn't been rain in the mountains for a couple of days so there is nothing washing down the rivers and visibility is getting better.

We've been to the reef at Natural all three times, expecting to get the strong current from the south. We've parked one truck at Wishing Well thinking we would do the drift dive. This week has been a great example of why you don't take anything for granted at Natural. Saturday we had  a gentle but noticeable north current. Sunday we started drifting on a south current and thought "ah! Here it is." About halfway to Wishing Well the current turned to the north. So we turned and headed back to Natural, drifting the other way. We were almost back to Natural when the current shifted back to south so the last little bit was a kick back. Today, it was north all the way, strong enough that we nearly overshot our landmark to turn to shore.

But it as been wonderful getting back in the water! It looks like we have the rest of this week and then another big swell comes in on Saturday. Right now we're planning dives Christmas morning and Friday morning. Then it's back to surf.

But I have some good photos to remember this lull by.


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Surf Surf Surf!

It has been all surf all the time this fall. After one of the worst surf seasons in memory last year, this fall has been rippin'! I've taken more surf photos in October, November and so far in December than I did all of last season (October to April). And honestly, it's some of the best work I've ever done.

Of course all that great surf comes at a price. I haven't been snorkeling or diving in nearly six weeks. The last time was in early November, nice easy dive at Natural. Since then, between the waves and the bad visibility caused by lots of rain - nada.

The other price I pay for all this great surf photography is time. I go out for two or three hours of shooting and come back with 600 images to post process and edit and then post on the website. Then I edit them again to put the best-of-the-best on Flickr. It all adds up to a lot of time sitting in front of a computer. I'm not complaining - I love it! But it is part of the reason I haven't written more here.

You can see all my surf photography on our website, If you want the "readers digest" version, check out our Flickr site. We are up to just over 6,500 photos on Flickr that cover pretty much our whole Puerto Rican adventure.

Today it's rainy and windy so no photography. I'm off to the weekly shopping for Ola Lola's.

Friday, December 05, 2014

Criollo Thanksgiving dinner

It's a week after Thanksgiving and I'm grateful for LEFTOVERS! This is the first time I got to try our criollo Thanksgiving from last week's specials. Pavo-chon - turkey seasoned the way the local lechon asado (roast pork) is made. Arroz y gandules - Elaine's most excellent first attempt at this local criollo rice-and-beans staple. Batatas y amarillos - batatas are the local sweet potatoes, milder and not as intense as American sweet potatoes. Amarillos are ripe plantains. Elaine roasted the two together and tossed them with just a hint of cayenne pepper. And lastly, homemade cranberry sauce, my only contribution to the feast. 

As one of our Ola Lola's specials it is the most criollo meal we've offered at Ola Lola's. We made a conscious decision at the very beginning that we weren't going to do criollo. There are so many wonderful criollo cooks and criollo restaurants nearby. We felt - and still feel - we should let others do what they do best and we'll do our thing. 

However, Elaine certainly proved she can do criollo with the best of them. Was there ever really any doubt?

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Sick sucks

Being sick anywhere sucks. Being sick on a tropical island sucks more. Elaine is finally shaking the chicungunya virus but we both have acquired a respirtory "thing" that's going around. Fever, yo-yo-ing temperature, cough, a complete energy drain...this SUCKS!

Haven't been able to spend any time with the horses. Running the dogs on the beach has been short and sporadic. Haven't been out photographing surfers all week. Because of ocean conditions - rough, wavy, and poor visibility because of lots of rain - I haven't been diving in TWO MONTHS!

Okay, I'm not really whining. After all, it's still 81 degrees. There is no snow in our forecast. And while surf forecasts are for fair-to-middling surf through the weekend, it looks like great surf mid-week next week.

We're looking forward to felling better and to great surf! And to diving again soon. I miss it!