Mangle = mangrove
From el Yunque we went to Las Croabas in Fajardo where we have the only ONLY bioluminescent lagoon in the WORLD. There are 6 places were dinoflagelados recide 5 are bays: one in Jamaica, one in Las Bahamas and 2 here, if I’m not mistaken by tiredness, BUT the only LAGOON (big, huge, HUGE, impressive one) is here. WE SCORE.
We ate again here because here, in Las Croabas, they were not assaulting people with guns for food. We got ready for the lagoon tour and the boys? (Rod does not drink, so this was Diz’s husband, Idiot and NGel) drank enough for 70 other people. By the time we had to receive the orientation they were A PAIN IN EVERYONES ASS. I was mortified. And pissed.
There were 3 guides for the tour who’s names I memorized instantly (if you need help you call) David, Adalberto or Juan. Our personal guide was Juan. I love Juan because he took me to see the most incredible thing I’ve ever, EVER seen. And because although he was interrupted by drunks and overexcited biologist (Rod was also there, so all the questions were not mine…) more times than I care to admit, he didn’t let us drown.
He explained how we were going to manage the kayak and gave us an idea of the curse we were taking from the beach through the canal in el mangle and into the lagoon.
After that we were taken to the exact spot on the shore were I had declared moments before that it was impossible to go out from here! I mean, hello! Look at this wind! We are going to get crushed against a boat! IF we ever move away from the shore, that is. I was paired with NGel who was drunk enough to let us drown right there in the freaking sand. I think I screamed since I touched the kayak. I was so pissed I must have said 4583058 bad words in 5 mins. The wind was worst than I imagined, and believe me I imagined the worst. It took us right to the boats of villa pesquera, so close we almost crashed into them. We didn’t actually crashed into them but I could touch one in a couple of moments. I didn’t because one of my biggest phobias is the sea at night, and boats floating still in it? so close that I can touch them? Right out of one of my nightmares.
This is why now when I remember some parts of the journey that I’m about to describe is both very exiting and eerie for me.
As soon as we reached the wall of the mangle the wind disappeared. We entered the canal through which we were to reach the lagoon in 30 mins. It was impossibly dark, no lighting system is permitted because of the preservation rules, so we could barely see the mangle roots right when it was too late and we were already crashing into them. Since NGel was rowing hard enough to break a cement wall with the kayak, we hit the poor roots pretty hard more times than I want to remember.
That whole trip through the canal was horrible because I wanted to throw NGel out of the kayak. But then when I was thinking about more ways to kill him subtly in there were no one could find him, we reached the lagoon.
The canal opened up to a HUGE, HUGE lagoon than overwhelmed me immensely. The moon was the only source of light and the water was dark and looked dense. I thought I can’t see the water shining… why is it not shining? Maybe all we’ll see is some really pale shine in the water when it’s moved and that’s it. I looked at the kayak closer to mine.
When they rowed I saw it. Every stroke was fluorescent green. Like those lighting sticks that kids use (and that were also in the back of every kayak, the only way you knew there was a kayak somewhere). I saw my strokes. OH MY GOD IN HEAVEN. It was as if I was sticking a light bulb inside the black water each time so of course I put my hand inside the water and wriggle it. I swear I ALMOST DIED. My heart stopped. My hand was alight and I clapped the other one to my mouth and squeeled and gasped and maybe sorta cried a little. No tears just that thing that you get when it’s too much. I told everyone to wriggle their hand in the other and soon the laughter and screams of delight were everywhere.
Our group gathered with Juan. And he asked that everyone made silence so he could say a few things. The drunks and the biologist ignored him, each for very different reasons, the first were busy trying to be funny and the seconds were too shocked by the water.
He explained everything about the reserve. Some info:
There are about 300,000 organisms per gallon in the bay. They are called dinoflagelados (I dunno, translate it somewhere, please) because they have two “tails. Their bioluminescent is the same as cucubanos. The oxygen in the movement of the water is what makes them fire up and glow. Every single cell is in reality 100 times bigger than the bright green dot you see.
We asked what affected the organisms (La parguera is a bioluminescent bay and it doesn’t really shine, at least not as close at this) and it turns out everything does, I felt a little sad then for being there disturbing the peace because as Diz’s husband said “I want my grandchildren to trip this!” then again if looking at that water can make people, just some people feel as close to God as I did? I both wanted to close it so that no one could damage it and take everyone there because everyone must have a chance to see such a miracle. Maybe we should be SUPER CAREFUL about tours and that will pay off. I can dream if I want to.
While he was talking I saw a green splash behind him. It was a fish of course and I yelled and apparently that’s not nice when someone is talking, so Juan? He looked at me all serious, but not angry and I apologized for noticing a FISH IN THE WATER I WAS GOING TO SWIM IN DURING THE NIGHT MIND YOU. After he talked a while he said: and those who want to swim can do it now. We all looked at each other. Who IS going to be the first? And I said I’m going after someone else, but before I finished Idiot was splashing in a bright green pool and it was the only time in the whole trip when I kinda liked him. After him, NGel went in. They were moving and the green light was hypnotizing and impressive. I took a look around, this is a freaking big sea of dark water and I’m about to go in, this is the moment when you STOP THINKING and just do it.
I don’t really remember how I went in but I remember I wanted to open my eyes inside and couldn’t because I went afloat too fast and because when I touched the water it became a bad idea. I could see my legs moving inside. Just imagine being surrounded by magic water where whenever you move it lights up, you can swish around and make your self all bright or you could stay very still and take the water in your hand and you could see each cell alight floating around your hand and falling. Hundreds of them green dots. When Diz got in she panicked because she couldn’t touch the floor (obviously) and that is her phobia, just as mine was the being in the middle of a deep dark sea. I went to her and grabbed her hands and moved them in front of her very slowly “mira! Mira!” and when she saw the dots she laughed like a 3 year old girl and her breathing steadied and she was ok.
It was rather shocking to go in but once there you didn’t wanted to go out. I only had one moment when I was swishing around, arms and legs crazy, were when I looked back the group was farther than I though and when I had to swim back I hated to put my legs in the back of my body where I couldn’t see them, but I didn’t panicked because I thought if something weird was there, in my legs, someone will see it, DUH.
Sooner than we wanted the swimming period was over and we had to get on the kayaks to go back.
Getting on the kayaks inside the water is for athletic people and not for drunks. I was neither, it took me less than a minute and not much pain but it was not graceful.
Going back looked darker than going in. By means that I will have to research Juan knew exactly were the canal was (this is a close lagoon, all the sides look the same except for el Faro de las Cabezas that was at our right.) but even then he needed to use a little flash light for some seconds to find the exact opening. The way back took us longer because we were tired and the drunks were insufferable and when we reached the beach the wind was blowing so furiously that no matter which side we rowed we were going to our rights, were the shore was, and were many finishing boats were also.
Since NGel wanted to row us into death I had to compensate all the direction of the kayak. I might be healthy but that was too much for me. Specially when his theory was row us onto a boat, don’t stop when I tell you to, and we are right there were we can touch the boat, stop rowing and do nothing to fix what YOU have done. That theory sucked and I almost lost it.
We did reached the shore, in the right place, contrary to my dramatic thoughts and I was out in a heartbeat and walking to the snacks faster than I thought I could. It was 11pm.
[By this point my legs hurt because of the walking in el Yunque and my arms? Were ded. ]
I found Idiot and Diz’s husband breaking havoc with the snacks. They wanted to consume, in food (not the lagoon alone was not enough, I would’ve paid double what I did for going) what they had paid for the tour. They even stacked cans of soda in their hats. I wanted to go the fuck away.
We changed and went off at about 11:20pm.
By 1:00am I was at home after watching how Diz’s husband had to drive NGel’s car because he almost crashed it in the road and after spending some 15 mins looking for a place to stay (because now the tents were too much trouble and no one wanted to put them up anywhere) I asked Rod to stop before they went off the principal road so I could go from there.
I came back home driving ALONE at that time thinking more sad things than anyone should but I was glad to come home to a nice warm shower and my bed.
I’m still sore. My back hurts, but now I’m never going to be the same.
JulieAnn hates me now because I was there and she wasn’t, which only means that I’m gonna have to go again. I’ll make the sacrifice because that lagoon? It changes life.