About Us

My photo
Indiana, United States
Debt free empty nesters...ready to stretch our wings. Life is good and we plan on making it even better. This blog is mostly about our trips to Vieques Puerto Rico, with a few odds and ends thrown in about our life after the mortgage.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Mojito Monday....

We have found this mint infused rum from Don Q that makes some great mojitos. All you have to do is add club soda and ice. This was our mantra for Monday,  a mojito Monday.

Back on Esondida. The privacy and vista is wonderful and because of the way the beach lays it gets constant winds, hence zero no-see-ums. Our day was spent lazily gazing out watching the boats sail in and out of Ensenada Honda.

I did some more beach cleanup. Another full jeep load and it still doesn't look like I've made that much of a difference.  Gathered a couple huge fish nets from the waters edge:

Other than the trash pickup it was a lazy day....

that ended in a rum induced, tropical breeze, salt air, coma.

To say life is good doesn't even  begin to capture how wonderful it all is. We just took it in, maybe a bit too much on the mojito end of the scale.

We had plans that evening to meet over at Judy and Andres. Every Tues they have an informal gathering where we discuss a topic and maybe watch a video or two that's pertinent. Finding happiness was the topic for the evening.

 Left Escondida a little early in order to drive over to La Plata and confirm that things were still on for this evening. As it was we managed to hook up with them right as they were heading to the lighthouse.  None of us had yet to see it so we were happy to join them.

The lighthouse, Puerto Ferro,  was just opened up last year to the public. I've talked to a number of people who had tried to see it in the past but ended up just getting tickets. It had been off limits. The lighthouse was first lit in 1896 and is one of the last to be built by the Spanish government.

 The road to the lighthouse is to the right, south, as soon as you enter the refuge. It's a long gravel road. There are two parking areas. It's a long walk from the first one, so I would suggest that people wanting to visit the lighthouse go to the second one. The road leading to the lighthouse is well maintained.

and the vista is...well...beautiful and hard to capture.

After leaving the lighthouse, Lorrie and I drove back into Esperanza. It was happy hour at Bananas and fish tacos just seemed right.

Great day, great food, great island....we had gathered plenty for our evening talk. Before heading over to Judy and Andres we walked to the seawall on the Malecon and watched the sun set. Beautiful mojito  Monday.


Monday, February 15, 2016

Escape to Escondida......

Having a little La Plata burnout. Much of it's my own fault. I talk too much. Tell too many people how wonderful it is. I think word is out. We counted 33 people on La Plata yesterday. 33...unfrigg'n believable. As I've said before...

So...today...we decided on something different. First we went to La Chiva and the surf was up, that was at turnout 10 and there was only one other jeep there. I had told Lorrie that when Brad and I walked over to Escondida it looked like sheit from the from the road, but if you walk down to the spot we always do, it was clear and beautiful. It was the same when we arrived today.

It was obvious that not that many people were going to this beach, the trash was everywhere and bad, real bad. It really puts it right in your face when you see a beach like this. There was plastic everywhere. I told Lorrie that if you removed all the plastic the beach would be nearly clean. It was so bad that I just grabbed the water bottles, oil jugs, shoes and pieces of plastic bags. We are so damn lazy as a society and if we don't stop with the plastic our seas and beaches are going to be ruined, if they haven't been already. Picking up all these damn water bottles just makes me cringe when I see someone drinking or buying them. I'm telling ya I see it. I pick it up every single time I visit this island and it's disgusting and makes me mad as hell.

I ended up with 4 trash bags full and a bunch of pieces too big to fit in a bag. There was so much trash that I just loaded the jeep and drove it to the bin at the turn off to Escondida. I only covered a very small portion of the beach and left way more than I took. It's sad.

Ok...enough of the rant, but if you ever see me  drinking my water/tea out of a glass mason jar, you'll understand now.

No one else was on Escondia today. Oh a few stuck their heads out on the first turnout and saw all the seaweed and did a 180 and left. Looks horrible from the first vantage point

It does look bad, but that's the beauty. You have to walk down to the far west/south end of the beach and then it clears out. There's a reef there that creates nearly the same environment as over at the gallery on La Plata. Not quite as nice but still nice.

You can see all the way across to La Plata and the gallery from where we set up.

That's the gallery at the very top of the picture just right of center, that white line. This next picture is the reef that is protecting that west end on Escondida. It's not bad snorkeling either, but most don't know about it.

It's a very private beach and we took full advantage of it. Most of the day was spent in our birthday suits....kind of liberating.

So that's your insider tip on Escondida,  just do me a favor and take a few moments to pick up some plastic while your there. Oh...and you might wait till next week. I think Lorrie and I are going to take "full advantage" a few more times this trip.


Mambo gear....

The Mambo...my how we love the Mambo.  It's a daily stop for us on our way to the refuge. Did you know that there are bathrooms just behind the seating area outside. I had never noticed that until yesterday. It is, without a doubt, one of our most favorite calmados on Vieques.  Although you'll normally see me walking out of the Mambo like below, the Mambo is more than just a pitstop for cervezas and heilo.

At first one might assume that the Mambo is an agglomeration of items that seem random, when in fact it is a very refined cache of exactly what one would consider "island" essentials. i.e. - I was in need of a small notebook, they had 4 of them. We needed crushed tomatoes for the marinara, we bought all they had, which was like 5 cans (little did we notice that one of the cans was labeled "picante"...well let me rephrase that, we did notice after the first bite of the marinara).  Need some Galliano, the Mambo has it. Noodles, both for cooking and for swimming, they got ya covered. Champagne to  fresh ginger to beef jerky. All this crammed into  a tiny little store that would be a playground for an ADA attorney.


That's Brad above, I tried to capture just how tiny the aisleway is. They need some kind of one way sign because your not go pass someone, just not enough room and don't spin around too fast or your bound to knock something off one of the shelves.

But there's another treasure hidden in the Mambo. One I didn't know about until Becky showed me. Glow in the dark Mambo tee shirts. You have to ask cause their locked up in a back room. Thank you Becky...we now have our Mambo gear!

Brad and Becky flew back home this past Saturday to 2 inches of snow and freezing temps. We miss them and are doing our best to endure these 80 degree days. I'm still going through all the pictures they took. I had never really given it much thought, but and added benefit of taking friends with you on your vacation (even moreso if you blog) is that they can take all the pictures. And take pictures they did. I have over 1k pics I'm still going through. Thanks you two.

There is one thing Brad is going to have to learn. That being, you NEVER EVER take a picture of your wife from behind, it's an unspoken rule. If you do,then you absolutely have to do some editing. Brad took the picture below and right as he was snapping it, Becky turned around. Brad was caught in the act.

And no, your not seeing double in the below picture. There are 2 cabanas set up. Brad did a great job of gathering the materials to create his own.

As usual, we've gotten lots of comments on them.

Yesterday Judy ask me if I wanted to paint one of the shells they have for the land crabs. They have some water based paints, actually just a childs set of non-toxic paints, that they used to paint the shells. Then they lay them out and sometimes one of the land crabs will decide to abandon his current abode and take up residence in a painted one.  They've done it for years and it's interesting to see a painted shell scurrying away. So...i was game and took to painting. The shell I had reminded me of a volcano, so that was what I was trying to create. In cleaning out one of the brushed I inadvertently splattered paint over my masterpiece in progress.  By accident I had moved into a Jackson Pollock method, and I liked it. So...I continued to splatter paint, getting more on myself than the shell. I presented my creation to Judy and Andre which they added to the gallery showing for the crabs.

And guess what....one of the crabs took my Pollock Volcano.

If you ask me, he has really good taste.

Other than that excitement Lorrie and I have settled down into our normal routine. Cervezas and heilo from the Mambo, morning yoga and swim on La Plata.

I did explore the cliffs again.

and the blue rope is still in the same place since I drug it out of the water 3 years ago. I need to work on getting it back and into the trash bins.

But basically things are more or less the same (hence the reason we keep coming back). Once change that we really are not liking much is the addition of golf carts to the transportation options on Vieques. The reason is the terrain and the existing driving hazards. We can now add golf carts to the milieu. So your going to deal with horses, scooters, bicycles, and now golf carts, all on the winding crazy terrain of Vieques.  We are not really digging it too much.

Went to Jortas again, man that's good food. $31 for Lorrie and I and that included  a $6 tip. I think it's the best food on the island right now when you include the price point. BYOB at Jortas.

I'll end this post with a couple random pictures Becky took. She really has a good eye for photography:

See you manana...


Saturday, February 13, 2016

Muchos gatos, revisit.....

 Weather has just been about perfect, hence the reason I'm behind on my postings.  We've been wanting to share so much with our friends. Part of that unfortunately is the ongoing problem with garbage. Judy and Andre have been plenty busy picking up the garbage on La Plata, it is looking a lot better, that is until the next storm blows in a new wave.

I wanted to take Brad up to the rock cliffs to the right of La Plata and then around to Escondida. I knew he would enjoy the vista and all the cacti along the cliff faces.

The vista from up top is really spectacular. 

But as is always the case...with the good, comes some bad. One just can't help but notice the garbage piled up in little crevasses and inlets. Everything from plastic liters to pallets.

I explained to Brad that in all my travels to Vieques I've developed a "back of the napkin" sort of analysis of what is typically found  washed up on the beaches. Plastic water bottles rank real high on the list and is why I eschew them. If one was to walk a rocky reef or some beach on Vieques you can just about guarantee you get water bottles, gallon oil jug or two, at least one shoe and a cigarette lighter per garbage bag.

But enough of that...reality checks can be depressing. There are treasures to be found in the ocean.

And strange creatures to film

After the beach it was off to Coqui Fire for dinner with Judy and Andre. I wanted to arrived in Isabel early so that we could show the cats to Brad and Becky.

Before we left Beso's we grabbed a couple shots of everyone dressed for dinner:

 As it was we got into Isabel too early for the cats...so we strolled down to the cemetary. I know sounds kinda morbid, but there's a eerie beauty about all these gravestones and the stories behind the lives of each.

With the light fading I knew it was close to feeding time down at the cat house. Once again we timed it perfectly as the old man was just beginning to feed:

Nearing our reservation time it was off to Couqui Fire, which is just around the corner from the cats.

Judy and Andre were meeting us.

Lorrie had the "big kahuna" burrito.

I had the carnita...again...for the qazillionth time, and it was every bit as good as the very first time I ate it. Jimmy food and a Couqui Fire margaritta...man just doesn't get any better. Especially when it all happens with dear friends: