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 Friday from Vieques

Rise and shine!!! Alarm went off at 5:45 and we actually got up!! Out the door by 6:15 we headed North east (although we really wanted to be east) to watch the sunrise. While the sun was rising in the direct east, being awake early in this gorgeous spot made the jaunt completely worth it. The tide was out, so walking along the beach was magical in the early morning.

Sunrise in Vieques
Sunrise in Vieques

Our corner bakery was open so dos cafés y creole omelets were ordered and consumed and we set off for the Punta Arenas Green beach. Being out and about in the early morning really has it’s benefits. No one on the road, wild horses are still absolutely everywhere, and no one around to ask you why you’re driving up a dirt hill.

 

Wild horses of Vieques
Wild horses of Vieques

Yes, Mike wanted to check out where this dirt access road led to. Proved to be some amazing views (and led to a telephone pole, very exciting stuff!)

Off-roading in Vieques
Off-roading in Vieques

The green beach was completely empty, except a small yacht down at the north end of the beach. We set up shop and hit the calm, warm water. The reef closest to the shore had amazing fish, Mike even saw a green eel! I caught a glimpse of a huge puffer fish (huge!!), trumpet fish, and a ton of other schools…too many to name! An hour or so after our arrival, locals from the big island came to share the beach…awesome crew with two beautiful golden retrievers (Hans Solo & Chewbacca). They gave us a great tip on a company that can take us out to an off-shore snorkeling tour-we’ll have to give them a call!

Bilis Restaurant, Esperanza
Bilis Restaurant, Esperanza

After several hours at the beach, we grew hungry so headed into Esperanza for some almurezo (lunch). First we made a stop at the islands oldest ceiba tree…375 years! Here I am doing my best tree pose. Doesn’t really compare.

375 year old ceiba tree!
375 year old ceiba tree!

Now we were hungry! I had heard good things about Bili’s restaurant and boy, it didn’t disappoint! Mahi bites, avocado salad and a Mahi wrap with fresh mint mojitos. Oh wow, it was all so good!

We chatted with a couple from Virginia and another from Mephis….the island is full of English speaking folks, all loving the island life. Everyone (locals especially!) has been ridiculously friendly, such a pleasant touch to being away from home and has truly mad our experience here awesome!

 

Post lunch, we thought we’d head to the Conde de mirasol fortress for some history. Plus, the weather has been 85+ degrees, an amazing temp, just have to limit the sun exposure for fear of burning! Unfortunately, the fort was closed, so headed back for some yoga (I did a 30 min flow) and a siesta (Mike rested his weary snorkeling bones).

Sunset on the pier
Sunset on the pier

Fresh from yoga & rest, we struck out for the sunset at 5:15, racing to get to the pier before the sun slipped away for the day. We made it and it was spectacular! With our Madellas, lawn chairs and front row seats, it was the best happy hour in town.

Coqui Hot Sauce
Coqui Hot Sauce

Dinner this evening was at the Coqui Fire restaurant. Amazing! Fresh seafood (tuna ceviche for an app) and amazing margaritas. The hot sauces were plenty, all having unique flavors and strong habanero taste. Mike got the red snapper tacos, while I ordered the blackened shrimp in a coconut mole sauce. Oh. Oh yes!!! With a sweet mango, coconut hot sauce to toss on, it was heavenly. And of course, we couldn’t pass up on the coconut cream cheese cake (homemade and most definitely the best cheese cake I’ve ever had!)

Our third full day in Vieques did not disappoint and we are heading to bed happy, full of amazing food, and ready for tomorrow’s adventure!

Happy Friday!!