Down, wind, pull. Down, crank, up. Down, wind, pull.
Finally out of the crystal blue waters a brief flash of silver and excitement thickens the air.
Down, wind, pull. Down, crank, up. Down, wind, pull, pull, pull!
First it’s a splash of a tail and then the gaping mouth of a barracuda comes splashing out of the water attached to the hook and line.
It has to be the biggest catch of my husband’s life, well after me.
An intro of sorts
We didn’t have much idea of what to do in Puerto Rico until we started speaking to PDS Tours Group. They offered to show us a little bit of everything and that sounded promising.
About 15 minutes from our house was a shopping centre with cinemas and Applebees. We were to meet at 9am and were slightly late. We left our car parked at Applebees and hopped into the van of the loveliest couple.
Julio was Puerto Rican, Jae was Korean, and they were both super hospitable and knowledgeable. It was like meeting long lost friends. They filled us in on the the area as we drove past towns and entertained us with stories.
It was a good 1.5 hours before we finally reached our destination in Parguera, a small boat yard. This was all very exciting since we had no idea what we were doing or where we were going.
They readied our small boat and soon we were off and racing across the waves. Julio had many years experience fishing those waters and knew the ocean like the back of his hand. Once we were out at sea two lines were cast into the water and Julio and Josh went to man them. Jae and I sat at the front of the boat with a drink, some snacks and the most beautiful views of the Caribbean Ocean.
That was, until the uproar. There was something on Josh’s line. Not an avid fisherman himself, and me, having been only maybe once or twice, it was very thrilling.
Julio instructed Josh how to hold it down, wind the line, pull it up and soon a bouncing barracuda was being pulled onto the boat, still fighting and snapping – they have teeth, sharp teeth. Oh, it’s so much easier to watch.
The kids were delighted never having been fishing and seeing a fish with teeth up close. My son wanted to sit with his dad and just look at it, as the fish did it’s final flops around on the boat deck.
Happy with our catch we moved on to the next activity.
Back towards the land we started passing tiny houses on stilts. They were built on stilts above the water with some featuring a “boat garage”.
Brightly painted and each one beautifully unique, they were a surprising fixture against the blue ocean.
Apparently most of the houses do not have a property title and when sold have a high risk. They are also subject to tsunamis and floods. And once destroyed they are not allowed to be rebuilt.
During this beautiful view my son was busting for the toilet. There was only one solution. While at first he was very apprenhensive thinking I was tossing him over board, he soon found it hilarious to be peeing in the ocean as we sped through the water.
I also enjoyed my very "King of the World" moment.
Once we got past the houses and further out in the ocean we spotted an oasis - a place where the deep blue ocean turned into a delightful aquamarine. There were 2 or 3 boats parked there and to one side a mangrove filled with trees just magically growing out of the ocean.
Once we jumped into this oasis we realized it was just above waist deep. We were far from land, out in the ocean and the depth was walkable. We grabbed our snorkels and headed to the mangrove.
The bottom of the ocean ranged from soft sand to rocks and coral so even though some areas were shallow we choose to swim to save our feet. There was little snorkeling to do, some coloured fishes and urchins, but really it was just novel being waist deep in water out in the ocean.
We took the kids back to the boat where they hungrily devoured a bag of chips and had some cool water.
I decided to indulge in the water and happily floated around drinking my coke and using the boogie board as a portable floating table.
Josh was on the boat with the kids practicing his male modeling. It was an absolute blast!
When everyone had had enough we all hopped back on the boat and lay out on the deck to dry off, while Captain Julio piloted us back to the dock.
The area supposedly is crowded on weekends and can be tough finding a spot, but if you can get there during the week it’s much better - you will not be disappointed.
By now we were all exhausted. The kids fell asleep instantly and we had a lovely chat with our tour guides. They were so amazingly friendly; they invited us to their house for dinner. We didn’t think that was a good idea knowing how exhausted our kids were so made plans to see them again the next day for lunch.
We had a quick stop at a wonderful fruit shake shack, famous for it’s smoothies and then were dropped back at Applebees.
The next day we met them at Applebees again and were driven to their house in a beautiful gated community. Jae had prepared some Puerto Rican food and much to our surprise, some Korean food as well.
We tried the infamous Mofongos, mashed plantain with meat… I wan’t a fan, sorry.
But the Korean food was to die for, so delicious!
Not only did we eat more then we should have, Jae boxed up all the leftovers for us to take home.
We met their gorgeous dog, who was a big fan of apples.
Soon their son, daughter-in-law and grandchild arrived and there was more food and chatter. Plus the kids had a great time playing with their new friend.
We spent nearly 6 hours in their home. They were so hospitable and friendly and it really felt like meeting family you didn’t know you had.
They then invited us out to the only winery in Puerto Rico. Exhausted as we were, it was our one-year travelversairy and we wanted to keep celebrating.
After our 8pm Twitter party concluded we contacted PDS and told them we were ready to go. This time we were to follow them all the way there in our car. We bundled our sleeping children in to the car and meet them just after 10pm and arrived at our destination at 11pm.
Wow, was I tired, but the winery was beautiful. Sparkling lights, a small wooden walkway over the lake with views of the twinkling night sky and live bohemian music.
We tried several flavoured wines and liqueurs as well as some of the yummy appetizers, while Josh took a quick tour to see how they produced the wine.
Soon the excitement had left our kids and they were ready to get back to sleeping.
We fondly embraced our tour guides and thanked them for a wonderful two days on seeing Western Puerto Rico. We do not know if we would have been able to find the things we had without them and highly recommend them as your guides when visiting. They will be just like family.