Puerto Rico 2015

Feb 1, 2015

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The group trip to Puerto Rico in January, which was initiated and organized by Laura Knotts, was a very enjoyable experience for all who went. Laura and Michael have traveled to Puerto Rico several times before, and they shared the benefit of their prior experience by making sure that we were exposed to several of the island's best historic, cultural, and natural attractions.

We stayed the first two nights in Old San Juan, the heart of Puerto Rico's 15th century Spanish roots. The first full day we were off to see the rain forest, and take a night time kayaking trip into the world famous bioluminescent bay at the eastern end of the island. We stayed the ext four nights in Rincon, on the island's west coast, which is the top surfing area of the island. Fortunately we found some user friendly wave conditions and almost everyone was able to score some memorable rides. Our stay coincided with a surfing competition held to honor Puerto Rico's original legends surfers and to further recognize and promote the caribbean island's quality waves. The event was held at the original site of the 1968 world surfing championships.

Laura had pre-arranged for a few really nice restaurant group meal opportunities, and everyone also enjoyed discovering their own favorites in between surfing or snorkeling sessions. One special evening was spent on the rooftop patio of one of our rental units, with everyone socializing and master chef Kevin Maginn creating and preparing a delicious meal after making a trip that day to the local market for his inspiration.

While driving out rental cars back to the airport, and during the few hours in the air, as daylight faded and the week came to an end, everyone reflected on the variety of memories that we all had experienced and shared with others or individually. Puerto Rico is an awesome vacation and surfing destination.

Puerto Rico, my heart’s devotion— I can’t wait to get back in the ocean!

If you know West Side Story, then you know that I have changed the lyrics to the song because I certainly do NOT want it to “sink back in the ocean” as they sing in the movie.

My love affair with Puerto Rico is a direct result of my membership in CCSC. It all began at the very first reunion party that Laura and I attended at Karen and Hal’s house back in 2010. Their future son‐in‐law, Adam Collias, had recently returned from a surf trip to Rincon and planted the seed of an alternative to Costa Rica. Within a couple months, Laura and I went to PR for the first time and, guided by Adam’s input, we had a fantastic first experience. Since then we have returned nearly every year.

Laura recognized that PR offered some attractions that the non ‐surfing spouses might enjoy, and with that in mind she put together a trip that had “something for everyone.” We spent the first two nights in Old San Juan, a cruise destination and tourist ‐friendly location with its many restaurants, bars, shops and historic points of interest. After a leisurely first day, we got in high gear on day‐2—heading off to hike in the only rain forest in the US territories, followed by lunch and a sunset kayaking trip out into a bioluminescent bay on the eastern side of the island.

On day‐3 we drove west to our ultimate destination: surfing in Rincon! Boards were selected and we were wet. With multiple cars and numerous surf breaks to choose from, surfers headed out to different spots. Pools was not really breaking, but Domes offered a viable warm ‐up evening of sunset surf. Our first night in Rincon was capped by a fun evening of food and fellowship at Tamboo, a restaurant within walking distance from our apartments, right on the water at Sandy Beach.

Over the next three days the swell built to a consistent chest‐to‐head‐high wave that offered both fun and challenge. The surf‐break of choice was Antonio’s, the spot that Clemente at The Green Room suggested would be our best bet, and we all surfed as much as we could handle. Some took off to scope out spots up in Aguadilla; others enjoyed hanging out at the Legends Surf Contest being held at Domes over the weekend; and still others went snorkeling and sightseeing. Something for everyone!

Delicious group‐meals punctuated the trip throughout. One of the highlights was a gourmet rooftop meal prepared by chef Kevin Maginn, his parents Mike and Laura, and his girlfriend Anna ‐ ‐with fresh foods bought at the farmers’ market earlier that day. Breakfast at The English Rose at the top of Pineapple Drive (“stay calm and drive up”) provided a taste of a different culture and a breath‐taking finale to a wonderful “first annual” Puerto Rican surf adventure. Next trip Jan. 13 ‐19, 2016.