Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Beauty at the Bio Bay

It was pouring down rain. 

Not exactly ideal weather for kayaking on a bioluminescent bay in the pitch black darkness of the night. But José, the driver of the tour bus kept reassuring us that it wasn't raining in Fajardo. After all, it was one hour from San Juan on another part of the island, and his people at the tour company had told him it was not raining there. 

One hour later, the bus having splashed through rather thick traffic most of the way, we arrived. And it was raining. 

But considering that he had provided some laughs and a cooler of Medalla on the bus, José was quickly forgiven. Perhaps this nighttime adventure would be all the more exciting with the element of rain added. But cold, wet, and waiting in line to check in with the tour company, I doubted it. At least the young boatsmen of the tour company were a sight to see, so the wait was fine. 

We signed disclosures, buckled our life jackets, and climbed into our two person kayak. It was my first time, I had never kayaked before. Should be fun right? 

Wow, paddling is hard. So I paddle left if I want to go right? And right if I want...Less than five minutes in, we were done, spent, tired of kayaking. Not so much fun.

We decided to take a break. But you cannot take a break from kayaking when the current might just drift you right into the nearest mangrove. So we paddled.

Paddling furiously now, and not moving much at all, I am sure we looked like we desperately needed rescuing.

And just like that, Cliff was there. He attached our kayak to his, and paddled us on our way. Now this was fun! Amazing how beautiful everything suddenly became when I was no longer feeling a pang in my bicep and trying to dodge a mangrove.

We glided on in a single file line somewhere in the middle of our group of twenty or so kayaks. When we reached the darkest part under the mangroves, right where the magic begins, Cliff told us to touch the water.

Now, putting my hand into strange waters where I can't see a thing, and tiny animals make the water glow, did not really sound like a fantastic idea to me, but I knew I had to try it. 

I dipped the tips of my fingers into the water warily for about one tenth of a second, and splashed. And that was enough. 

It was amazing, the water was really glowing! 

I could fill this space with a thousand different words to describe the scene: magical, mystical, magnificent, etc; but only your own eyes could do this justice. 

It was Disney-esque. It was just like the Kiss the Girl scene in The Little Mermaid. I was just waiting for a little Caribbean crab to appear and whisper, "kiss the girl..." to the gorgeous and supremely athletic boatsman towing my kayak, but it never happened. 

We splashed, and played, and let the bioluminescence run down our arms while the rain soaked us to the bone. We kayaked–ahem–were towed out to the middle of a lagoon near a lighthouse, where cute boatsman #4 told us some facts and history of the bay. I couldn't tell you a word he said, because the rain had decided to come down in full force, and I was too close to cute boatsman #1 to really be paying attention. 

We headed back, and aside from one kayak nearly tipping over and emptying out its passengers, it was a smooth ride to shore. 

Having started a splashing match (which we were losing terribly) with our boatsman and the one next to us, they had decided payback was due. Instead of helping us out of the kayak as gentlemanly as they had helped the others, they tipped it over, leaving us face first in the sea and covered in sand and seaweed. 

In case you happen upon the same fate, wearing a bathing suit and carrying a change of clothes is a good idea. 

I am truly indebted to Las Tortugas Adventures for an incredible, off the beaten path experience (and the eye candy). There is endless beauty to be seen at the Bio Bay.

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