Sailing and Snorkeling

During our Puerto Rico trip, we left San Juan for a day and sailed out off the coast of Fajardo. We went with Spread Eagle II and the entire day trip on the catamaran was wonderful. Sailing on the blue waters, taking in the air, and soaking up the sun, it was amazing. As I sit here typing this where it's currently 18 degrees F in Chicago, I'm reminiscing feeling the sun on my skin.

Pina coladas and other mixed rum drinks generously abound. It was time for good fun. The crew on the catamaran exuded sheer enjoyment and enthusiasm that it made it look like it wasn't just another job for them but something that they do out of passion. Their familiarity with sea navigation was impressive. We were in the middle of the sea and while we passed many faraway islands that looked all the same and appearing only as big as our arms with our naked eyes, the crew on our catamaran knew exactly which island was St Thomas and which other island was St Croix that we were sailing past.

Our first stop was at an uninhibited Spanish Virgin Islands specifically called Icacos Island. Just as we were preparing to dock by the shore, we looked out to the sea and saw two dolphins from afar. It felt surreal seeing the fins coming in and out of the water. It happened so fast and they disappeared never to be seen again in the ocean. It felt like paradise. There was no one else on the island except our group on the catamaran. I almost felt like I was in Lost. We stopped at an anchorage just off the shore and got off the catamaran into knee-deep water. After putting on our snorkeling gear, we headed straight into the water.

Snorkeling has always been one of those outdoor activities that I've always wanted to do since I was a kid but never got a chance to. In Malaysia, where I grew up, beautiful white sand and blue water beaches abound. There were plenty of opportunities to snorkel but as it turned out I am the only one in the family who finds passion in the outdoors, and so we never had snorkeling family trips. T, on the other hand, has snorkeled before as a child. I wonder where I got those outdoor-loving genes from. As an adult I finally snorkeled for the first time on our honeymoon. And it will not be my last snorkeling trip.

At this first snorkeling location, we saw mostly reefs and there were less fish swimming around us. The water here was also more shallow than our next stop which worked out really well as a snorkel starter in preparation for our next stop.

More snorkeling awaited when we next sailed to another nearby island. This time we stopped in the midst of deep waters, put on our snorkel gears while still aboard, and then proceeded to jump into the water for more snorkeling. This second stop was the highlight as we saw many more beautiful living reefs. The coral reefs ranged from bright green to maroon. Some of the coral reefs were swaying from their spots following the water movement under the sea. Tropical fish with bright yellow and blue stripes were swimming below us. It was amazing and I made sure to absorb all of it and to take in those moment where I could see with my eyes what life under the sea was like. We spend most of the year so absorbed in city dwelling that it was extremely refreshing to see how beautiful marine life was. The only thing we wish now was that our water camera wasn't as sucky as it turned out as the photos taken underwater from the water camera do not do them justice.

As luck would have it, we had another dolphin sighting just as we were sailing back to Fajardo. This time the little dolphin was alone. It made itself known first with its fin coming in and out of the water probably about 20 meters away from our catamaran. Just as we thought we lost it, the dolphin appeared again swimming swiftly right beside our catamaran and then off it disappeared again into the water never to be seen again. We also caught a mackerel fish but let it go.

We will remember this trip for a very long time and just like doing anything for the first time is always special, this first snorkeling experience for me was just as special. Perhaps its time to start thinking about where next we should do this.


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