Puerto Rico (continued)

Old San Juan Forts

When you are cruising and find yourself near a big city, it's a good chance to go to the doctor.  Mark had noticed a small spot on his neck that looked suspect, so he phoned around and finally got an appointment.  After leaving the dermatologist with a clean bill of health, we headed to tour the historic Castillo San Cristobal fort, which took Spain nearly 400 years to complete.  

Of all the forts we’ve seen along the way, this was the most impressive in size.  It is one of the National Parks in the US, so the kids took the opportunity to earn another Junior Ranger badge.  We learned about how vital Puerto Rico was in the days of exploration.

It is named Puerto Rico because it is literally the “gateway to riches”, the first stop for ships coming from Europe to seek the precious gems and metals in Mexico and South America.  The deep waters surrounding it, allowed ships to come close to shore, and the lush land provided fresh drinking water after a long journey.  We had fun imagining the Santa Maria sailing into the port, with Christopher Columbus shouting, “Land, HO!”


Santa Maria model boat
Listening to Ranger and working on earning badges!
Fort under siege!
One more badge for our collection!

EL YUNQUE NATIONAL FOREST

On the East side of Puerto Rico, it is an immense tropical forest, the only rainforest in the United States National Forest system.  It was a magical place of tiny treasures.  The kids learned so much about the varied animals and plants of a rainforest, and enjoyed finding lizards, spiders, snails, birds, and butterflies.  I am always amazed at what their little eyes can spot!

The forest is also littered with waterfalls, ferns, palm trees, orchids, and bromeliads.  We learned how important the structure and strength of the rainforest is for the entire island of Puerto Rico.  It acts as a buffer for hurricanes that pass through the area, taking much of the blow.

Scene from the top of our hike
Learning about nature's umbrellas!
This dragonfly posed for many portraits as we tried to master the "macro" setting on our new camera!
Feeling different leaf textures - this one felt like thick vinyl!
Where the Red Fern Grows - just had to share this with all my literary friends!
Asking the ranger about all the sounds we'd heard along the way - doing our best impressions
Looked like a tree from a magical world
Sweet little lizard the kids spotted, camouflaged among the branches
Tiniest Orchid in world

CULEBRA ISLAND

North of Vieques, a smaller island of the Spanish Virgin Islands, surrounded by many small islands and rocks.  We tucked into one of the bays, joining another Antares, s/v Bella Luna, with our friends Gordon and Debbie on board!  We had never seen their boat finished, but we had spent much time with them in preparation.  It was a lot of fun to see them and step onto a boat just like ours!

The next day we hiked over to Flamenco Beach on the northern side.  This beach was rated #1 beach in the US by the Discovery Channel, and for good reason.  The white sands seem to go on for miles and there is plenty of room along the shallows to wade or play.

Vendors are offering umbrellas and beach chairs, and just behind the beach are huts set up with food, drinks, sunscreen, floats, and anything else you could possibly need for a day at the beach.  We realized that we don’t often get to be on a beach with big waves, because that would mean we’d be by a lee shore and run the risk of dragging onto shore (not something we’d like to experience).  Elizabeth and Michael had a blast being knocked over by the surf.  Meanwhile, Mark ventured out into the big rollers and got tossed around pretty good, slamming his shoulder hard onto the bottom before surrendering.

Food and Beach Sundries Vendors
Beach Blanket Date! 
Surfing the waves!
Playing on Beach Culebra
Fellow Antares owners Gord and Debbie Moon of s/v Bella Luna
Bay we anchored in on the opposite side of the island
Moon over Culebra
Playing "pass the sunglasses" with s/v Bella Luna!
I could have spent all season in Puerto Rico.  I even told Mark, “I could move here.”  It was a beautiful place with such a varied landscape and rich culture, plus it has Costco… who could ask for more?

Flamenco Beach Family Portrait
This is a video of our trip to Puerto Rico.  Enjoy!

Comments

  1. Hi Silverstein family!
    My name is Becca Oken, and I'm a writer at SAIL Magazine. In September, we're putting out the premier issue of an annual supplement to SAIL called Multihull Sailor, which will feature stories relevant to multihull owners. One story will be about 8-10 people/families who live on their cats and tris and what their lives are like. Lori Rackliffe (s/v Ortolan) is contributing to the story, and she told me about your family. I hope you'll be able to help out!

    If you're interested, I can send you the six questions you can briefly answer.

    Hope to hear back soon! I love your blog!

    Best,
    Becca

    ReplyDelete

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