STORY AND PHOTOS BY NOEL SPENCER, STEPHANIE SPENCER, INDIA BROWN AND JONAY VENEY.
DAY 4: JUNE 23, 2013. SNORKELING, KAYAKING AND THE CULTURE OF VIEQUES After enjoying a hot breakfast, we take the jeep to Belly Buttons Restaurant, where we waited for the snorkeling company to arrive. Abe’s Snorkeling Company arrives in van to pick up the FNN students and a young couple. They drive us up a mountain where we see wild ponies and their young galloping across the road. Viequies has over 20,000 wild ponies!
After a brief kayaking and swimming lesson we are off! I was paired with India Brown, who sense of direction was a little off so she wasn’t a good navigator. We kayaked to a little island right off of Vieques. They still had live bombs from an old army training base! Viequies used to be a military base for the US in the 1950’s and they did a lot of bombing practice here and some are still active until this day. The water was fairly shallow, only about 15 feet deep. I jumped right in to the water, and began to snorkel.
The world under water is a magical place. The bright colors, the lovely fish, the bright blue water, it’s all very overwhelming. While I was down there I saw a school of fish, coral reefs, turtles, and sea fans (in many different colors). I have never experienced anything like this before, its one of the most beautiful places on this world.
After dinner we changed into our bathing suits and went to straight to Sun Bay to participate in the Noche de San Juan, a Puerto Rican holiday, At midnight, everyone walks backwards into the sea and falls into the water. They say a prayer to cleanse their body from evilness and bad luck. The beach was beautiful, the people were beautiful, the holiday was beautiful.
- Noel Spencer, sophomore, Friendship Collegiate Academy.
I woke up this morning to the sound of birds chirping, waves crashing, and a nice breeze flowing. We breakfast at our hotel. It was one of the best breakfasts I’d ever had. After breakfast we went snorkeling and kayaking. Kayaking was fun and it wasn’t my first time doing it. It was my first time snorkeling though. It was really beautiful under the water. We saw some fish and some coral reefs. Unfortaunely for me, I ended up getting cut by the coral on my hand and on my leg. Other than that, the experience was really beautiful. After kayaking and snorkeling we settled down to have lunch. We went to the place called Belly Buttons again. They have an amazing hot sauce there. After lunch we came back to the hotel to relax. Then around 7 we all went out and ate dinner at this place called Duffy’s. They also had really good food. After dinner we came back to the hotel to put on our bathing suits. Here’s why: www.puertoricodaytrips.com/noche-de-san-juan . So we stayed at the beach until a little over midnight. After a good midnight swim we went straight back to the hotel. I hopped back in the shower, got dressed and went straight to bed. Today was the best time I had this whole trip. It was really fun to participate in a Puerto Rican celebration. I hope tomorrow will be just as fun. Peace out until next time.
-India Brown, 8th grade graduate, Friendship Chamberlain School.
Today, we had an amazing breakfast at our hotel. I had a ham and cheese omelet with bacon and papaya. The papaya was nasty. Afterwards we discussed what our day would be like and what was planned for us. Everyone went to change into our swim gear and we went to Belly Buttons to meet our instructor for kayaking and snorkeling. We were all nervous about going and going so far out in the water. We all overcame our fears and went out in the middle of the ocean and snorkeled. An hour later we kayaked back to the beach and took off all of our gear. We caught a van back to Belly Buttons and had lunch there and conversed. After lunch we had a long time to chill and regroup ourselves, which was very much needed. Around 7:00 pm, We had dinner in the town of Esperanza at Duffy’s. It was a lot of fun watching the people ride the horses and mingle with each other. After dinner we walked around town and took a lot of pictures and recorded videos. We went back to the hotel and changed our clothes and we went to Sun Bay beach until midnight and watched he people jump backwards in the water. It was a cultural thing for them. It was a lot of fun watching!
- Stephanie Spencer, sophomore, Friendship Collegiate Academy.