Fish Don’t Go to Heaven (and other advice from Fajardo)

“Sometimes certain things happen…” Denise trailed off before pausing, shrugging her shoulders and raising her hands to the sky. She works in the mornings at the front desk of the hotel where we are staying. “Everything happens for a reason, you know? That’s what I believe.”

My girlfriend and I got up early to purchase tickets for the ferry to Culebra, an island said to have one of the best beaches in the world. We were advised to be there at 6AM for the 9AM ferry. That seemed ridiculous, so we walked there from our hotel and were in line by 7. It was a 10 minute walk from our hotel and we figured we’d save the $5 on parking. While Leann waited in line, I went to the nearby post office to attempt to pickup or MIA sunscreen and contact solution. En route a man waved me toward him. I asked where the post office was and he pointed up the street before asking me if I could give him a dollar for the ferry. I said I didn’t have cash and walked into the post office, which didn’t have an attendant for another hour.

Back in line with Leann, the line inched forward. There were three windows to buy tickets; one for Culebra, Vieques and cargo. Everyone was in line for the best beach in the world. The family of four in front of us purchased their tickets. Then the woman waved at us, shook her head and signaled to another man who announced that the 9:30 ferry to Culebra was sold out. That was our plan for the morning. The ferry to the other island was available, but they weren’t known for being one of the best. We decided to check the post office again and regroup.

With our box of fluids in hand, we returned to our hotel and I spoke to Denise. There were flights to Culebra but they didn’t leave until after 12 and we needed to be back for the bio luminescent tour we booked. Denise recommended the beaches of Loquillo as a better alternative.

We lathered up in sunscreen and hit the road for the beach.

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Instead of a ferry of people traipsing around, we head the entire beach practically to ourselves. Even with boat shoes on, I could count less than 10 people in addition to us. That’s an odd feeling to have a gorgeous beach with water in front of you, a rainforest behind you and nothing in between. We walked around and camped out for a bit before exploring more.

Always pack snacks when going to the beach.

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We waded into the tepid ocean and took plenty of time to take in the moment and the warmth. It’s incredibly easy to rush moments and approach vacations as a monster to do list. While we weren’t able to check off an item today, we WERE able to get our box, have a beach to ourselves, try mofongo with peppers, check out our hotel pool, shower and nap all in the time it would’ve taken to ferry to and from Culebra.

Tonight we experienced the bio luminescent kayak tour. And, as someone who documents everything, I leaned another axiom:

Sometimes the best experiences cannot be photographed.

The kayak tour was truly unique and borderline amazing. A coworker advised me to lower my expectations for the light show, and then it would be really amazing. That is great advice for most things in life, but especially this. The plankton glow when disturbed. So as you move your hand or paddle in the water, there is a glowing trail that surrounds that motion. We kayaked through a mangrove and navigated our way back. Maybe playing bumper kayaks in the process. We both got amply soaked, but truly a memorable and worthwhile experience.

During our guide’s talk about the stars and nature’s hierarchy, he shared another pearl of wisdom: fish don’t go to heaven.

After a shower and switching to dry clothes, we had a feast of appetizers, mofongo with skirt steak and pineapple cocktails.

One of these days I’ll learn my Buddhist lesson and abandon my expectations as soon as I check-in at the airport, or even better, when I wake up.
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