Category Archives: CARIBBEAN

Road Running with Roosters

 

In Utah, it was renegade cows.  On St John in the U.S. Virgin Islands?  Wild donkeys on the patio gave room service a new twist.  There were wild chickens in Bermuda.  And the diminutive island of  Vieques in Puerto Rico often had the feel of a petting zoo with a menagerie of animals wandering at will.

Running the roads of Vieques took sharp eyes and a little bit of nerve.  Thick foliage gave the narrow roads a corridor-like feel at times, and we quickly learned that rustling noises to either side could portend the appearance of a chicken, or more likely, a whole flock of wildly speckled fowl.  It was equally possible that the chicken noises would, instead, reveal wild dogs or horses.  And so our morning run was undertaken with a greater degree of focus, defensive agility and with our leg brakes at the ready.

Horses and chickens were harder to read than the seemingly well fed and sociable stray dogs, but the tethered horses in the schoolyards did look like a better ride than the typical yellow bus.

In the end, our best response (beyond some impressive vertical leaps) was to run to a beach. Come to think of it, not such a bad strategy at all…

*Most of these photos are lower quality images taken with my cell phone and are not “click-able” to a larger image this time.

“Tracking Turtles” (underwater video from Isla de Vieques)

Family Vacation on raveable

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Ziplining in Puerto Rico

Hang onto the metal clip. It’s your steering wheel as you fly across the treetops. It’s also your lifeline, connecting you to the cable above. Manage your speed and the adrenaline rush by either leaning way back with your feet forward (for maximum zip) or dangle your feet to be less aerodynamic. Your choice. Just remember to get a foot forward in time to land on the platform and avoid the tree. Especially the big one with the active bee hive nested just above. And for goodness sake, don’t yank on a vine and risk a rainfall of fire ants!

Ready? Here’s the video:

Ziplining in Puerto Rico:

Our morning with Yunke Zipline Adventure was one of the highlights of August 2010 trip to Puerto Rico and Vieques. Our rendezvous point was a covered basketball court at the side of a narrow road in Luquillo. “It’s the only one on the left,” Jaime assured me. From there we followed our guides to get our gear, be briefed on the adventure and start the hike up to our first zipline. Situated just outside of the El Yunque National Forest in the Luquillo Rainforest at the end of a winding dirt road on private land, one is unlikely to locate Yunke Zipline Adventure by accident. Calling or emailing a few days ahead of your proposed date is highly recommended. I highly recommend Yunke Zipline Adventure as well.

Family Vacation on raveable
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Sea Glass on Sun Bay

Sun Bay didn’t get a lot of our time.  Nothing against the sand on that beach —the shores of Isla de Vieques are simply alternate slices of heaven. We had found more private digs on Silver Beach around the corner but appreciated Sun Bay’s alternate view of the little island we swam to in pursuit of a sea turtle.

Sun Bay was the meeting point for our kayak/swim tour of Bioluminescent Bay (more on that later).  More significantly, it was the best beach we found for collecting sea glass.

Sea glass?  It’s basically recycled garbage, but this is a truly artistic reprocessing.  During a stay at Cape Cod, I found publicity for a sea glass festival in Hyannis, Massachusetts. And with a couple of Google clicks, I discovered that the annual festival is not an isolated incident but a major hobby and business for many ocean lovers. The “Shard of the Year” fetches $1000 at the North American Sea Glass Festival.

Sea glass is ocean burnished bottle fragments and chips of glass. Bottle stoppers, marbles, channel markers, thimbles —tossed and tumbled by the ocean until finally washed up as smooth startling bits of color amidst seaweed and shells at water’s edge.  I’ve found them along the shores of disparate seas.  On beaches in Cape Cod, Bermuda, Hawaii, St John, Puerto Rico, Spain and… Vieques.  My aunt’s artful scatter of the glass over a patio table a few years ago  breathed inspiration to me. And so, I gathered my own colorful treasures at Sun Bay.

At Sun Bay we had to get choosy, tossing the similar in favor of the unusual. So much beautiful glass, so little space in our moderately sized hands. At home we arranged the bits of vibrant glass amongst seashells, coral and sand in sea gardens we create in glass bowls to commemorate beach trips.

And with a glance at the glass, I’m back on the beach…

Family Vacation on raveable

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