Puerto Rico for the Weekend!

This past weekend, my wife and I took a last-minute trip down to Puerto Rico. We found a pretty good deal from DC: a direct flight, a rental car, and a package discount to stay on the northeast corner of the island, a beautiful cliffside resort in Fajardo. We had it all figured out and I crossed my fingers that we would not encounter tropical storm/hurricane weather that is so common for the Caribbean at this time of year.

Of course, as soon as I booked the package, warning signs about Hurricane/Tropical Storm Bertha started ringing. Great, I didn’t get vacation insurance. But we were hell bent on going to the beach, so we toughed it anyway.

Overall, we had a great trip but had a lot of drama with the weather! It is really quite amazing how frequently and quickly the weather can change and how it affects the landscape. Though we arrived to warm winds and sunlight, day 2 was a complete rain out, with violent winds and intense lightning.

As the storms began, I ventured out to the northeast cliff and captured this image of the approaching clouds. I used a 10 stop filter to emphasize motion and add to the mood of the clouds over Palomino island:

A mystical scene of stormclouds moving in towards Fajardo, Puerto Rico

A mystical scene of stormclouds moving in towards Fajardo, Puerto Rico

Later, into Saturday, winds were in full effect. There was not much rain all day, but enough to spoil any beach/pool plans. I went to capture the fury of the wind, and soon on the eastern horizon, the real storm approached. As palm trees shook violently before me, lightning struck in the distance:

Lightning hurricane Bertha Puerto Rico

Lightning strikes in the distance and between the palm trees fiercly blowing in the storm wind

On Sunday, the storm had passed and we were able to get back to the beach. After a relaxing day, we went to see one of the sights I was really excited about: Laguna Grande, the Bioluminescent, or Bio Bay. This bay is filled with dinoflagellae that glow when disturbed. I had a picture in mind here but there was no way to really place a tripod and take a proper picture since all the bioluminescence was underwater and only accessible by a kayak. But I was just enamored with the beauty of this place. At first a faint mist, as night enveloped the daylight, every swish of our hand or kayak paddle resulted a shimmering teal color. Water cupped in our hands sprinkled out with glistening aqua sparkles. It is a sight to behold. I did the best I could to show how cool this looks and feels:

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Bioluminescence from tiny flagella shines as my hand and our kayak disturbs the waters of Laguna Grande, Puerto Rico

Bioluminescence from tiny flagellae shines as my hand and our kayak disturbs the waters of Laguna Grande, Puerto Rico

The last day we were on the island, we maintained great weather though the sea winds persisted. I turned towards our hotel (we were in the yellow section of the villa) to capture this image of the blowing trees and clouds as the sun rose.

Gusty conditions of a hotel on a cliff in Fajardo, Puerto Rico

Gusty conditions of a hotel on a cliff in Fajardo, Puerto Rico

As the sun continued to rise, I turned my attention back to the horizon and noticed how much the scene had changed over the course of the 3 nights we were in Fajardo. A cloudy, radiant sunrise that contrasted the stormy scenes sprinkled in between clear blue sky:

The sun pierces through clouds and shines on the islands off of the northeast coast of Puerto Rico

The sun pierces through clouds and shines on the islands off of the northeast coast of Puerto Rico

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