Monday started out as any other day of the week, Kathy sat down, drank her coffee, and got to work. Not at all what Dave expected for living the island life. Chilling on the couch, he waited for mom to wake up and Kathy to finish work, both which happened at approximately the same time. We spent the rest of the afternoon just relaxing with mom until she retreated to her bedroom for some quiet time and a nap. Late afternoon saw Kathy and Dave heading to San Juan to experience a bioluminescence kayak tour that takes place in Bio Bay, Fajardo. The approximately two hour tour saw us kayak down a narrow river canal that ended up in what is considered bio bay, which is home to single cell organisms that glow in the dark. We sheltered from the ambient light under a tarp and played with the water that glowed when we moved and touched the water. It was a fun, wet time and we enjoyed the trip immensely, especially after Kathy bought a dry sarong for the trip home.
Enroute to Fajardo, they passed El Conquistador Resort. Dave recalled staying there overnight back around 1995 while he was working for the National Park Service. Hurricane Marilyn had recently hit the Caribbean and devastated the US Virgin Islands. He was sent on a detail as the Security Manager for the hurricane relief effort. He flew from Washington DC to San Juan where he met up with other members of the NPS team. They could not get a flight to the Virgin Islands that day, so they had to overnight in Puerto Rico. The next morning, the NPS managed to fly the team over to St. Croix on a US Air Force C-130 cargo plane. Ahh, memories!
Tuesday dawned bright and early as we headed back to San Juan to meet a couple from the area, Maria and Raul. We met them on a trip to Egypt a few years ago and hit it off with them. A fun and engaging couple who enjoy their family, travel, and life, which is a connection we share with them. Finally getting to the rendezvous point, we texted to let them know we were here and Kathy scampered over to the local Burger King to use the bathroom! Going in the door, Kathy met Maria going out the same door – great minds think alike. We soon headed off the El Yunque National Forest to discover the only rain forest in the US National Forest System. El Yunque National Forest – Home (usda.gov) The area is beautiful with stunning waterfalls, graceful ferns hugging the edges of the road, and flowers blooming in every corner. We climbed an area tower where we had beautiful view that gave us the overview of the rich green tropical forest, then the city, and then the ocean all the way to where a cruise ship was “parked” in the water. (Of which Kathy thought was a building and Raul attempted to give her a geography lesson—little does he know she is geographically challenged) Next stop was a traditional lunch nestled alongside the beach where we enjoyed a local meal and ice cream. Soon it was time to head off and we were sorry to say adios. We hope to see them again soon as they are such a joy to be around. Arriving home early, Kathy worked a bit and Dave chilled enjoying some quiet time.
Last day here saw us spend some more time as we would at home, kind of like home away from home – except with no snow. We did get an opportunity to spend some more time with family in the afternoon on a trip to the Parque Nacional de las Cavernas del Río Camuy with Kathy’s sister, nephew, and some friends of her sister Frieda. The cavern is considered the third largest underground cave system in the world. The main part of the cavern is seventeen stories high and is awe inspiring when standing in the middle of the massive cavern. At one point you can see an opening on each side of the cavern which enhances the overall delight of the cave system.
Last thing the agenda was a relaxed local meal with Kathy’s mom and then some time saying goodbye to the family. We were soon headed off to the airport for our 0100 am flight out of Aguadilla where we hoped to catch a few zzzzz’s before our seven hour layover in Newark’s airport.
Dave remarked that he knew this wasn’t a vacation as he was not called upon to do any EMS (as has happened the last few vacations!) and Kathy drank coffee and was glued to her laptop. Kathy, on the other hand, felt that “vida en la isla” was a nice respite as she got to wear shorts in December, and chill with her family during her downtime. It was nice to see her sister, brother-in-law, nephews, and mom – something that she has missed the last couple of years. And, for the first time in the last 3 trips, Dave was not robbed by any monkeys!