26 January 2023

Puerto Rico Trip 2023

  1. Trying to escape Atlanta cold one more time Jan 23, 2023

    Headed to Puerto Rico after 8 years. (Or as the locals say, 16 tropical storms later!!). Wonder how much has changed. One thing I will be sure to check is if the cops there still have blue and green lights. Never seen that in any other place!!

  2. Clear view of Fort San Felipe and downtown San Juan from the air Jan 23, 2023
  3. Early morning view from the room Jan 24, 2023
  4. The destruction that storms wrought Jan 24, 2023

    The upper picture is a view from our room when we came to this same hotel eight years back. You can see the structure jutting out into the water with pavement on top. We would go to the edge and watch the high waves.

    Then Hurricane Irma came in 2017. Caused over a billion dollars of damage to the island.

    The bottom picture is what remains of that structure as I can see from my room today.

  5. Run in the morning Jan 24, 2023

    The temperatures were warm. But the wind was so strong, never felt the heat.

  6. The Roy family might remember Jan 24, 2023

    This was our breakfast spot eight years back. The outside tables are gone but the Waffle shop is still there. And just like in 2014, there is a security guy sitting there. Not sure what he is guarding though.

  7. Breakfast companion Jan 24, 2023

    At any seaside restaurant, when we sit down for breakfast, we are often visited by birds of the sparrow family, sometimes crows and sometimes even beach birds.

    This is the first time a rather stern looking rooster and a hen walked up.

    I canceled my egg omelette order to avoid infuriating them đŸ™‚

  8. Another morning is upon us! Jan 25, 2023
  9. Playa El Combate Jan 25, 2023

    I had the day to myself. Decided to explore the island. Got myself a rental car and drove to the furthest end of the island. This is the Southwest end of the island – about two and a half hours drive away.

    El Combate beach was to die for. The water stayed true to the Caribbean colors and it had a lot of green trees giving shade right up on the sand – which was as white as it could be.

  10. My concept of happiness Jan 25, 2023

    Blue waters, white hot sand, cool shady trees and some mojito! Only one thing was missing.

  11. Because I felt the scenery lacked some blue color! Jan 25, 2023
  12. A paragon of patience Jan 25, 2023

    For the 45 minutes that I lay down on the beach, this bird did not even move once. First, I thought it was patiently waiting for a fish. Now, I think it was merely sun bathing.

  13. Nice surprise! Jan 25, 2023

    I was walking along El Combate beach when I heard a loud bird in the trees. Or what sounded like a couple of birds. Curious to see what kind of birds they were, I approached the tree and started scanning it. Much as I strained my eyes carefully covering inch by inch of the tree, I could not spot anything. I was expecting to see some gray color in the otherwise bright green with the full glory of sunshine hitting the tree. I could still hear the birds.

    With each every bird caw, I tried to ascertain the direction and finally hit pay dirt! The reason I could not spot the birds is because they were not gray in color at all. These were green parrots fairly effectively camouflaged in the green leaves.

    See if you can see them in this zoomed in picture.

  14. Now, this is a problem. Jan 25, 2023

    After spending some lovely time in El Combate, I got back in the car to hit another beach I had heard of – Playa Sucia. Everything went well till the GPS took us to a closed entrance! The GPS insisted I was still a mile from the beach.

    But there were a lot of cars in front of the closed gate. There was not a person to be seen anywhere. The best guess I had was that everybody simply crossed the closed gate and started trekking it.

    Decided to follow suit.

  15. Trekking it to Playa Sucia Jan 25, 2023
  16. Does anybody know why Jan 25, 2023

    The walk to Playa Sucia was interesting. You could see mangrove forests thriving in the blue waters. But then there was a huge section where all the trees had died in the brackish waters. See the picture.

    I have seen similar things in South Florida too.

    Does anybody know the explanation for why all the trees are dead in one portion of the backwaters? It could not be the salt content, could it?

  17. This raises more questions Jan 25, 2023

    Near where all the trees were dead, I could see what looked like salt formation on the shores. Crossed a fence to check it out. Poked the white surface with a stick. It was not salt. It was a lot of foam!

    Now that raises yet another question. How come this portion of the water consistently had foam on the shore as far as the eyes could see? The water was very shallow and relatively still.

    Does this mean the water has certain chemicals that makes it foam? And that is what killed the trees?

  18. Reached Playa Sucia Jan 25, 2023

    After about 25 minutes of trekking, finally reached the famous beach. The beach itself was very beautiful. But there was seaweed all over. Which made it not so great – compared to El Combate, for example.

  19. View from my lunch table Jan 25, 2023

    Stopped at the small, quaint town of Boqueron for lunch. The beaches here too were beautiful with not too much of a crowd. And no seaweed!!

  20. Exploring the Northeast side Jan 26, 2023

    Yesterday, I explored the beaches on the southwest side of the island. Today I went to the northeast side. First stop, Luquillo Beach. The water was very pretty! I went early in the morning (around 9). There were not too many people there.

  21. Monserrate Beach near Luquillo area Jan 26, 2023
  22. Seven Seas Beach Jan 26, 2023

    Seven Seas Beach is as beautiful as El Combate. And you do not have to go too far from San Juan. (about an hour drive). The sun was at a perfect angle!

  23. Last view of Seven Seas beach as I walked back to my car Jan 26, 2023

    Could have spent a couple of hours under the tree but need to go back and get ready for the flight back home.

  24. Goodbye Puerto Rico! Hope to see you again!! Jan 26, 2023