Sunday in Vieques

Since we didn’t arrive home last night until 10:30, sleeping in to 8:30 didn’t seem so decadent, more of a necessity really (can you tell we are not creatures of the night!?).

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Gorgeous!

Our craft beer breakfast joint wasn’t open, so the panaderia was our next stop. Unfortunately, they put jamon in yesterdays and today’s omelet, but I picked around it. A quick shop in the market for agua, nuts & modalla and were off to the playa navio in Sun Bay!

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We hadn’t yet been to this beach yet and the lagoon like shape welcomed us. Rocks enclosed either side and after a brief snorkel, we climbed to the right of the beach to scout a cave we had read about. We were able to climb down into the opening, but not able to step inside, for the waves were quite rough. The cave seemed to breathe in and out with the tide, spewing water with each exhale. Very cool!

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Mike decided to jump off the cliff to swim to shore, a mere 20 foot plummet. I walked the rocks as I had my phone for documentation purposes. After we got back from the cliffs of Navio, we snorkeled to the left, where a small reef hugged to corner of the lagoon. I got yelled at for not staying with Mike on the way back to shore, even though I had told him I wanted to head in and it was he who didn’t stay with me. It would be the discussion that would later bring our beautiful meal to a screeching end. Ahhh, the turmoil a life of leisure can cause.

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I read for quite some time and Mike lounged & drank medallas until our appetites reared their beastly heads and once again we headed to the wonderful Duffys for mojitos & craft beer. I had the hummus burrito & Mike did a repeat of yesterdays lunch: mahi tacos.

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The life of an islander is rough and we had grown sleepy so headed back to the casa for some rinsed relaxation. That didn’t last long due to it being close to sunset, so after a short laydown, we packed a cooler & headed to mosquito pier for a spectacular show.

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As the sun quickly slipped away, we chatted about how fleeting time was, quite literally disappearing in front of us.

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Our Next Course reservations were at 7:15, so we ran home to change & headed out. Unfortunately, the night turned sour with discussion of snorkeling do’s & don’ts, who was in the wrong for letting so much distance get between us in open water, how we won’t be snorkeling again…who knows why, in the middle of paradise, on a gorgeous night in a gorgeous place, such viciousness can hatch. Blame it on the alcohol mixed with fear of eminent danger in the ocean, sprinkled with the idleness of an extended vacation. Seems foolishly vain & blatantly pretentious in hindsight, to not appreciate every second of this and be thankful to be afforded the luxury of vacation.

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Hope everyone had a wonderful Sunday, that ended on a note of appreciation, gratitude, and most of all love.

Day 4 of the Vieques Vacation!

No alarm for us this morning! We decadently slept until 8 am…ahhhh vacation! Throwing bathing suites on (island attire) we headed into town to a new breakfast joint, Buen Provecho. Great vibe, awesome menu, coffee, homemade hot sauce, breads & bagels. And craft beer!!!! The owners hailed from Michigan & had lived in Colorado, so had stocked the place with great beer. Mike was happy and before we left, built a custom craft six pack to savor later.

Buen Provecho's bagel & smoked salmon
Buen Provecho’s bagel & smoked salmon

After our delicious breakfast we jetted to the silver beach in the Refugio Nacional de Vidal Silvestre de Vieques. Before we set our sights on the sand, Mike decided to go on an exploration to find an abandoned lighthouse he had read about on a blog. Did I mention this was in the restricted area of the park, where they used to test bombs!? Needless to say, after about 2 miles, we didn’t see any lighthouses, so headed back through the jungle onto the safe, paved road. Mike, always the edge-liver!

Silver beach
Silver beach

Our hot & humid hike warranted a swift dip in the ocean, so we immediately set our things up and grabbed our snorkel gear! There appeared to be reef on the left side of the lagoon, so we moseyed on over. It was spectacular! An underground aquarium, complete with a lion fish (which are so cool looking, just extremely poisonous). In the more shallow parts, closest to the shore, you can really see the most. Spectacular!

While the snorkeling was amazing, my book was getting good (and how often can I lay on a beach and read!?) so I vacated the water while Mike continued to explore, something he loves to tease me about: you should never snorkel alone!

When he had his fill of medellas, he was ready to go find something else. We popped in the jeep and drove to Esperanza to find Duffy’s, a cool bar on the main strip with craft beer! Victory to boot! Mike ordered a headwater and I a mojito and we were happy! The bartered was the cover model for the last edition of The Vieques Insider, a local magazine with all of the islands going ons. Pretty cool to be served by a local celebrity! Our hunger got the best of us, so we ordered a large salad with blackened grouper and Mahi tacos. The food was out of sight, the view along the boardwalk was phenomenal and the ocean breezes were magnificent.

We found Victory Headwaters!
We found Victory Headwaters!

That evening we had a Bioluminescent Bay tour, so decided to head back to our homestead and relax before venturing out. I did some yoga & Mike rested. The luxuries of vacation were at our fingertips!

Fully rested and ready for some bay action, we headed to town to wait for the Blackbeard Sports van. Town was quite busy, as it was Saturday night, and gentlemen say on corners smoking and drinking while the ladies chittted & chatted about. When the van came, we happily popped in and met a couple from Denver, another couple who had just left Denver for Massachusetts and another couple who was staying in Philadelphia to attend U. Penn. Small world!

The tour, although not very long, was extremely neat. As we kayaked out to the middle of the bay to hear the guides schpeal, fish glowed under our vessels, seeming to chase us. The microorganism that lived in the water were barely visible due to the powerful half moon that was out, but when our paddles sliced the water, the organisms glowed brilliantly.  The native settlers used to worship the fiery bay, thinking the bright creatures were the tears of their god. We got lucky with some cloud coverage, so were dipping our hands and feet in the water making their outlines glow.

It really was an amazing experience and there being only 5 true bioluminescent bays in the world, this actually being the brightest while the others are rapidly being destroyed by human pollution, it was a magical evening.

The beaches here are spectacular!
The beaches here are spectacular!

Happy Thanksgiving from Vieques!!!

Happy Thanksgiving from the island of Vieques! No turkey for us this year (although we’re pescatarians anyway!) or catching up with the family. We spent our day in paradise!

Blue Beach
Blue Beach

All of our good intentions set the alarm for 5:45 am to watch the sunrise. All of our vacation intentions shut the alarm off and went back to sleep until 7:30. Doh! Oh well, there’s always tomorrow. At 7:45, we headed down to grab cafe from the only open place (convenient store in the middle of town) and picked up our rental. A red jeep!!! Oh, the memories of Mike and I back in high school, cruising in his red jeep…..

After a short wait (island time means they’re not open exactly at 8) we were off to blue beach in La Chiva. Heading down 997, straight into the Refufugio Nacional de Vidal Silvestre de Vieques (the islands protected park that actually used to be a bombing ground for the US) we found amazingly groomed roads (two years ago we headed to Coasta Rica and talk about bumpy!) and a pristine, private beach with white sand as far as the eye could see and blue skies overhead. Gorgeous!

Post Snorkeling selfie!
Post Snorkeling selfie!

Throwing our chairs in the shade of a palm, our bag in the back of a bush (we’d been warned about petty crime) and hit the turquoise water. It was so much calmer on the Caribbean side of the island, so we could see clear or the bottom. Although we swam and swam and didn’t see much. So, Mike suggested we swim to the small island about a 1/2 mile, give or take, from the shore. Wow, are we glad we ventured out!!! Quite a big reef surrounded the small island so we saw plenty! Small little fish darted in and put of the rocks, while brilliantly colored bigger four eyed butterfly fish glided around and then…..Mike saw a green sea turtle!!! The guy was just chillin among the coral watching us point at him. So cool!

Having not eaten breakfast (too much to see and do for that!) we swam in from an awesome snorkeling adventure and chatted about where to eat over a few Modellas. Esperanza was uncharted territory, so we packed up our beach goods and headed out. Along the way we saw a ton of wild horses, which is so cool to see!

Belly Buttons in Esperanza!
Belly Buttons in Esperanza!

About 15 minutes later, we arrived in the town. The main drag sat right on the ocean and the beaches here….well think I know this side of the island’s claim to fame! Absolutely stunning. I had read decent things about Belly Buttons, so we found it easily, ordered some boat drinks, and sat and relaxed. Turns out, the owner Tom is from Philly and we chatted about the Birds and the Phils. Such a small world!

Our bellies full, we headed towards the ocean to explore and wandered down a haphazard pier that lead out to quite a beautiful spot. Why not jump off!? So, we did! Dives, flips, splashes….and a spotted ray was spotted! An awesome, playful afternoon. Next on the list: more snorleking!

Drinks & view at the W resort
Drinks & view at the W resort

Rompeolas Mosquito pier, just passed the airport, proved to be a warm, fun, popular snorkeling spot. Many black sea urchins, trumpet fish, fairy basslets, a whole slew of tiny fish were seen! A slight rain shower sprung up just as we were calling it quits. A perfect afternoon. One stop at the W resort on Vieques for glorious drinks on the veranda (a banana daiquiri for me, a monitor for Mike). Among the hotel guests, who all lounged in the lobby for some reason, we chatted amongst ourselves about the fiscal comparison between the setup we went with (rented a car for $75 a day, apartment for $75) and the beautiful W resort (rooms run from $275+). Makes one wonder….

Ceviche!
Ceviche!

The night tapped out with a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner below our apartment stairs on the main drag at a place called Bieke’s Bistro. Amazing ceviche, seafood, and service! Mike and I spoke of how thankful we were for our wonderful life, our families and what the future holds. Being grateful for our vacation and the good fortune we have had in our new Colorado home. A perfect nightcap to a busy, busy island day and a Thanksgiving for the books!

Happy & Thankful on Thanksgiving
Happy & Thankful on Thanksgiving

 

Hope everyone had a healthy & Happy Thanksgiving!