Updated: May 15
This morning I made a big fuck up. I was backing up the car, and I hit a concrete bollard in the parking lot. The bumper has a few scratches and a tiny dint. It’s not particularly noticeable if you are not looking for it, but the scratches are definitely there. Maybe Enterprise won’t notice if I don’t say anything. It’s ironic that for my kayak, which has a black hull, the scratches show up white, but on the rental car, which is white, the scratches are black. Sometimes the world is so unfair. I spent the morning taking the kayak to the hotel receptionist’s house just out of town. Everything fitted inside, but only just I had to push the driver's seat all the way forward. I’m glad I had a place to drop off the boat. The only thing worse than driving through Puerto Rican mountain roads would be driving through them with my knees to my chest.
It has only been two days since I last paddled, but this sudden change of rhythm makes it feel so much longer already. It will be three more days before I am back in the water.
I wasn’t too sure what to do with my sudden free time, and ended up driving around a lot. I stopped to see a ziplining tour center but half of all the tourists in Puerto Rico apparently had the same idea. Just the registration line was as long as anything you’d find at a Disney theme park. I didn’t want to wait around for hours for 3 minutes of entertainment.
Some of the roads I drove through today were even more harrowing. The GPS isn’t always very useful here. Several mountain roads that collapsed after hurricane Maria, haven’t been rebuilt but the GPS doesn’t seem to know that. Three times it told me to take a path only to end in a road closure sign. At other times I was second guessing what the GPS told me. “Siri, I don’t care if the way you’re telling me to go is ten minutes shorter, you can’t see how steep the drop is here, and I don’t want to fall off the edge.”
I eventually ended up in a place called Caño Blanco where a local pointed out to me that down a steep dirt ravine was a river where the water was crystal clear that cut through a gorge of white limestone. “There’s a grassy area where you can park. Don’t go beyond that by car because the road is really bad if you don’t have four-wheel drive.”
I parked the car where he’d told me and then walked through a trail of tall grasses before ending up at a pebbled river downstream of some exposed limestone rock formations. I dipped my toes in the water to test the temperature. It was refreshingly chill and I decided to see how far up the canyon I could swim. I didn’t make it very far as the river narrowed quickly and the water became quite fast. I reached a small waterfall where just upstream of it, two local boys were swimming in a calm water hole.
“How did you get there past the waterfall?” I asked them.
They pointed to the top of the cliff some 20 feet high. “You gotta jump.” Said one of them. If I was younger maybe I would have followed them, but I wanted to finish the journey around Puerto Rico more than I wanted to find out the depth of the swimming hole.
Sea Kayak Puerto Rico Circumnavigation