Getting There - Aneel's Travelogue

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All Wet Fajardo, PR, Friday, 09 January 2015 11:57pm

There were scattered showers in the morning of our last day in Puerto Rico, which didn't get in our way: we'd already planned on it being a water day...

Our first activity was a sailing trip out to Icacos Island, on a pretty catamaran. It was a lovely sail, and the showers stayed mostly over land. When we arrived at the island, we spent about an hour snorkeling. The reefs near the island are not in great shape, with a lot of dead coral, but there are some signs of regrowth. As is typical of that kind of area, there were many of the usual fish, but on a much smaller scale. Little Sergeant Majors, wrasses, and parrotfish were common. There were some slightly bigger fish as well. We bought a copy of Reef Fish In-A-Pocket, the waterproof mini version of the DeLoach book, so we were able to identify a number of fish we hadn't already seen, including the Graysby, Mutton Snapper, French Grunt, Spanish Grunt, Redtail Parrotfish, Sharpnose Puffer, Spotted Goatfish, Yellow Goatfish, and Slippery Dick. As we were swimming back to the boat, we got an extra surprise: a Spotted Eagle Ray swimming a few yards away from us!

After snorkeling, we spent about an hour on the island, mostly exploring the beach. There were some neat tidepools where we saw some molluscs, hermit crabs, non-hermit crabs, isopods, even tinier (juvenile?) fish, and some Bearded Fireworms.

We stopped briefly at our AirBnB place to shower and then headed out to kayak on Laguna Grande, Fajardo's "Bio Bay". The kayaking was kind of a zoo. It's very popular and with four or five different companies leading strings of a dozen kayakers (many of whom have never kayaked before) in the dark down a narrow, shallow channel through a mangrove forest with lots of overhangs... is a little chaotic. But midway through the channel we started noticing our paddles glowing, and by the time we got to the Laguna, there was a bioluminescent lightshow. The water sparkled with the light of tiny dinoflagellates and lit up whenever there was any movement. We kayaked away from the group and were treated to lightning flashes where juvenile tarpon would zip by, scooping up krill that feeds on the dinoflagellates. Occasionally, they'd leap out of the water, causing flashes when they left and landed.

We had a late dinner at a food truck in the park fronting on the channel. It was the best empanadas I've had here (fried fresh in the truck) and fish tacos that Adrienne pronounced worthy of Austin.