After arriving in Vieques, I agree more with having gone. Once underway, brain adapts. Do what's important, even though it sometimes feels wrong/hard/etc.
Vieques is promoted under an ecotourism banner as a sleepy, unspoiled island of rural "old world" charm and pristine deserted beaches, and is rapidly becoming a popular destination.
Last night, walked across Vieques. Went looking for the biobay, but it was late and I didn't find it. Instead, found a beautiful camp spot on the beach!
During the walk, I was feeling extremely dehydrated, from the morning and previous day. Didn't find much water, but did find about 8-10 mangos, some of the largest, plumpest, juiciest, tastiest mangos I've had in Puerto Rico!
Overnight and in the morning, rain. Still feeling dehydrated. Maybe I'll go into town before trying again for the biobay.
The mangos in the Caribbean have complex tastes. I feel like mangos here can have five or seven or more different flavors. For instance, some mangos taste like papayas, others like squash or sweet potatoes, etc. Some even taste like mango!
The views in the Puerto Rico smaller islands are so gorgeous!
Coca-Cola has some ads around here with uncommon Spanish phrases, not sure yet what they mean…
Laptop bag breaking almost to the point of replacement. Backpack too. Glasses, phone, etc., too!
In a way, we may loosen our standards for non-artificial things. For example, biolouminescence seems like it will be quite faint. As I was walking last night, I could see numerous examples of "mechanoluminescence," such as car lights. If they came from some animal or plant or microbial source, people would be amazed!
Also, I've seen beautiful bright lights, and thought, "what a moon!" only to discover that they were from artificial light sources.
Last night, the lights from cars and elsewhere seemed so refreshing, thirst-quenching!
Walking along the dark roads last night, in my broken footwear, there were animals by the side of the road. Some ran out into the road, scaring me. Most turned out to be horses. Quite large animals, which I could hardly see in the darkness.
I like the spaciousness, the quiet here. Vieques seems largely peaceful too, despite its larger size and I think larger population compared to Culebra.
The weather is just right for relaxing!
I don't know how people get stuff done in places like this. I guess there are occasions of rain. Also, some people are probably less tempted by the beautiful weather at the beach, compared to me.
This book differs from many of my previous artistic efforts, which were more conceptual. Instead, in this case I'm just developing the story from what seems interesting as it happens.
You often have to take a leap to get somewhere. It's important to plan to some extent, so you know what you're getting into. Instead of stupid or ignorant or random chances, to take smart risks. But, sometimes you do have to take those risks!
It can feel scary, dangerous, wrong, uncertain, confusing, etc., to take a chance. That's because taking risks carries the, duh, risk, of negative/unwanted consequences. Therefore, it only makes sense to take risks for things that you really want.
Once you've taken the jump, things fall into place. Your brain adjusts, the situation adjusts, you feel more capable and confident. You can freely go about your business, instead of focusing on or fearing the risk itself.
As a result of failures, failed risks, etc., there are losses along the way. There are sad parts, hard parts, etc. The way I see it, there are sad and hard parts anyways -- even if you stay in one place and do nothing -- so you may as well take some chances and do the things you really care about, despite some risks. That doesn't justify a blind approach of doing anything you feel like, or the losses would soon drag you down. Instead, it's about balancing when and where you take risks, and managing the consequences or outcomes.
Personally, I think it takes a mix of preparation and action. I don't think an idealistic approach gets you far, because ideals are generally built out of naïve notions, which wind up not matching the facts on the ground. I think an unthinking action can get one places, but often not nearly as far, nor with as much reward, as a balance of thinking and doing. I used to just daydream, often getting nowhere. Now I more often put my dreams into action. I think that people who only pursue action without any higher thinking often wind up covering the same terrain repeatedly. It's up to each person how to pursue life.
I am happy to travel!
In the tropics, when the sun is out, without clouds, I find it too hot to be out of the shade. I now often look forward to the clouds, whereas before I often preferred direct sunshine.
Here in Vieques, there are horses walking on the beaches, horses walking on the city streets, horses out and about.
A bird, heron I think, on a horse!
The biobay is looking more complicated. It seems like the place I want to go is in a somewhat different location than I initially thought. Here I've seen ads for tours at $55 per person. Ads tout glass-bottom kayaks, electric boats, and more. I'm not sure whether or not one can simply walk to the biobay, or if one needs to boat to a certain inner location.
The prices for groceries around these small islands seem surprisingly reasonable. I was expecting much higher prices. Maybe because of the frequent ferry service, there's enough competition from the main island? The restaurants and hotels seem pricier, as I had expected.
Some of the numerous horses on Vieques just walked up. One of them ate the mango peel I had recently discarded. The horse also tried to eat the mango seed, but wound up only eating the flesh then spitting out the seed. I've been playing Johnny Mango Seed in the tropics.
Some of the other horses also walked up. They ate some grass. One of them looked like it was going to try eating my cell phone, my laptop bag, and my food. I shooed it away, then walked to a different location. Some of the horses seem to have maybe wanted to have been petted. I'm not sure exactly, and they're large animals, so I decided against it.
Walking to the bioluminescent bay, gorgeous beach views.
Getting closer, some tour trucks passed. One offered a ride. I got in.
Some people from California on the tour.
Driver was surprised I was walking. Warned there would be tons of mosquitoes. Indeed there are. Mosquito Bay lives up to its name.
Getting out of the vehicle. "Cool!" Oh wait, that's not bioluminescence. First some vehicle lights, then some sidewalk lights. Finally, at the bay, put my hand in the water. It sparkles!
It's gorgeous, magical.
Popular, numerous people visiting.
Bioluminescence is a subtle, eerie effect.
One-celled organisms emit a light when they impact an object. It's a green light, with maybe some blue. It looks like a liquid LED or something.
The light is not that bright. Experts recommend visiting on a moonless or cloudy night. I arrived just a few days after a new moon.
With insects buzzing, distant lights shining out over the bay, it's magical.
I like bioluminescence.
Hard to take photos. My phone camera would not suffice, so I did not even bother to charge it.
If you get a chance, go to see it!
You don't even need to go on a tour. From the edge of the water, you can dip your hand or foot in, pushing some water around, to produce light.
It differs from other things I've seen!
Last night, with the lightning, the starlight, the car lights, the flashlights, variously colored glowsticks, green laser pointers, and of course the bioluminescent water itself, things felt so bright!
Today, even in the early dawn light, the bioluminescence did not show up visibly.
Now the water looks like ordinary water. The bay still looks beautiful, but without that bioluminescent magic.
The mosquitoes are fierce.
I need to get more insect repellent, a replacement laptop bag, new footwear, etc.
Why don't we eat mosquitoes and other annoying species, instead of cows and other nicer species?
Walked around the island of Vieques some more. Cut inland, stopped at a restaurant to charge up my phone. It's been an ongoing frustration to have not much battery for photos, maps, etc. Kept walking, picked up some more fresh mangos.
Later, made it back to the coast. After following a trail with some humorous signs, wound up at the black sand beach, with, you guessed it, black sand!
With some of these places, it makes me think that after a while on a small island, people figure out so much of it that they know practically the whole place. Some of the destinations I've seen recently have been quite out of the way, I guess the locals have had a chance to see their entire island.
It's an interesting type of tourism. People seem to visit Vieques and other parts of Puerto Rico from the continental United States. Puerto Rico itself has a mix of American and Latin cultures. The small islands have significant geographic beauty. As such, numerous people, often young, visit the same handful of destinations. So it becomes a mix of ecotourism, American marketing/manufacturing tourism, and Latin Caribbean cultural tourism.
The beaches are remarkable. These are some of the most beautiful, and also comfortable, beaches I've ever seen, and I've seen a fair number of beaches. The temperature, in the sun or in the shade, the water, the humidity, the plants, the fine sand, it all adds up to make it suck you in. Once at the beach, it feels like a thick, warm blanket enveloping you. I feel like falling asleep and just staying at the beach until I die.
Vieques is still mostly undeveloped. More houses, vacation rentals, and such are starting to pop up.
Vieques is a dog, Culebra is a cat. Vieques is loud, bigger, and rougher. Culebra is quiet, smaller, and softer. I prefer Culebra.
After this beach, I plan to walk around more of western Vieques. It looks like there are a handful of other attractions, not too appealing to me but close enough that I want to see them while I'm here. Then, probably back to the main town and ferry back to the main island. There are a few small areas in eastern Vieques that I may not see, and much of eastern Vieques seems to be cordoned off from the US, if I'm seeing the maps correctly. This may only take me through the weekend, whereas before I'd thought of staying longer. Seems like a small island.
I like going to new places. For the additional hassle of having numerous small islands in the Caribbean instead of one larger landmass as on the continents, it at least makes for nice surprises, plenty of ferry rides, etc.!
So many ways to travel! Recently I've appreciated the Rolser, luggage on wheels, which a kind person gave me a while ago while I was walking with my backpack.
Looking for ways to get west. Beach? Road? Shops along the way?
I've taken to taking siestas in the afternoon, when it's too hot to go out in the sun anyways.
I'm generally preferring these days to have no caffeine or alcohol. I feel good without any, I'm on a regular sleep schedule. I don't oppose their use, but I feel like it would do more harm now.
It looks like the beach doesn't connect up with the next beach.
Looks like I have a fairly basic route back to the main town, probably get there this weekend. Convenient, since I'm low on food. I thought I'd be in Vieques a week to a week and a half, looks like instead it may only be a half to one week.
I think there's a sizable mountain between my next destination on the main island and the capital. I'm not sure whether or not to go. I'd generally prefer just to stick along the coast. However, if I find out that there's anything of interest up there, I'm willing to give it a shot.
At any rate, I then plan to visit the string of southern towns. On the map they look somewhat ordinary, but often the map doesn't tell the whole story.
It seems like Puerto Rico may have been built recently enough that it's largely modern. That makes it more convenient, less interesting.
I'm basically planning to follow the peripheral roads around the main island, with a possible detour into the central mountain.
At the beach with black sand, slept in a quiet spot. The next day, beautiful much of the day, including a sunbow (like a rainbow but around the sun).
I decided to spend another night at the beach. The second night, it rained. Woke up, dried off in the sun.
Went for a walk. Found some delicious mangos! Kept walking.
In a wildlife refuge by the beach, some passersby gave me an ice cold beer and water.
Now turning on laptop and phone to look at map and write this. The phone says: "Firmware Update: Do not unplug the USB connection until the process is complete." It looks stuck at 0%. I only have a small amount of battery left. Uh oh. Here's hoping the phone doesn't get stuck without working firmware!
My previous pair of shoes had broken down to the point that I wore through the bottoms, and my socks. I could feel the rocks and stuff on the ground directly against my feet. Recently found some flip-flops. Combined them with the shoelaces from the previous pair of shoes, to make sandals!
Thankfully, after removing then reinserting the battery, it seems to boot up normally. I think it may have tried to start while the battery was low, and failed partway through.
Not sure exactly where I am, since GPS isn't working. I'm going to try a direction, and see where I go!
Walking by some old US Navy bunkers.
Life is like a video game. What kind(s) of game do you play?
It's hard to keep enough sunblock on in the tropics!
Walked from the south to the north coast of Vieques. Found another quiet, gorgeous beach. After lying in the sun for a bit, went for a dip. Dried off in the sun. Too hot to lie around. Went into the shade of some tall coconut trees. Some green cocos on the trees, but all the fallen cocos looked and felt quite old.
A few mosquitoes around this area. Much of the island is mercifully free of the pests, for a tropical island. Still a few in most areas.
After pausing in the shade, because it still feels too hot to go out in the sun much, and I'm tired, I'm considering either walking westward to see a different beach, or eastward to pick up some food. I'm out of supplies, and hungry and thirsty. However, the sun's descending and it would be a nice walk west. I'm still leaning eastward, as I've already seen plenty of beaches today. I'm going to look at the map to see the distances, and any other info I can gather.
There are so many possible roads. Maybe that's one reason why I love travel so much! The freedom, the beauty.
Each day I feel like I get to see and do so much more than I otherwise would. Plus, I really appreciate the places I'm going. I often like the destinations I pick far more than I had expected. It's definitely a challenge to figure out what to do, do it, deal with the problems, etc., but to me it's worth it!
I often feel like a star, or at least like I'm realizing my goals, which I am. Not always do things turn out per plan, but there's generally some spectacular reward!
I'm becoming more of a do-ist. I think that it's often worth doing stuff, even if you're not 100% sure about the results.
The improvised sandals are holding up quite well, much better than expected! They do still hurt between my toes, as flip-flops often do.
I'm so hungry and thirsty I've been fantasizing about food for days!
As much as I like to eat, I often prefer to stay at the beach, or keep walking, or continue doing whichever activity I'm immersed in. It's something of a trade-off, but when I'm in the zone I feel like it's often preferable to maximize that, instead of sacrificing the moment for some food which I can eat later.
The body can handle tons!
There are so many cays, islands, etc., on the map, which would be a pleasure to visit! There isn't time to see every last corner. Pick and choose.
Map says that the westward beach is 4.2 km, or around an hour walk, away. That's somewhat farther than I'd expected.
Map shows no place closer to eat than around 12 km, or 3 hours' walk.
It rained, so I wound up going east, towards the city. After walking the long pier, camped by the beach. Woke up early. Cloudy sunrise. I'll probably walk into town soon!