Puerto Rico – by Franci

Well, I’m first going to be a little more diplomatic than Karin and apologise to all you faithful readers for not updating the blog.

Karin forgot to mention a few things. First of all, Marike sailed the four day stretch from Guadeloupe to Puerto Rico with the Yoshimas on Amar sem fim, to help with the watches and things. We sailed together so that we could help the Yoshimas into the Puerto Rican harbour due to the fact of them having no engine.

To keep up with the faster sailing Amar sem fim, we developed the scheme of letting them go ahead till they were just a dot on the horizon, and then catching up by using our engine. In the end this actually worked really well for us, because our autopilot GPS was acting a bit strange, constantly throwing the numbers by which the boat steers out by 20 or so degrees. So to make life easier we just started using Amar sem fim as our point with which to steer. In the day they had this lovely big red spinnaker sail up, and at night we followed their tri lights (light up on the very top of the mast; if seen from the front or back the light is white, on the starboard side it’s green, and on the port side red. “Tri” for ‘three colours’).

Karin wrote quite a good summary of Puerto Rico, but she managed to completely leave out my favourite part! The El Yunque rainforest and the Coqui frogs ☺. We had been in anchored in Old Town for quite a while, and when we finally hired a car to up into the rainforests, it was so nice to see that Puerto Rico really wasn’t all town and city, as I had been starting to think.

First thing we noticed about the rainforest: it was American tourist class. Second: it was crowded. We’d gotten used to the lonely rainforest of Ilha Grande in Brazil, this forest with its beautiful paved road, regular picnic areas, and lots of people was quite new.

Marike couldn't decide whether she should go into the waterfall or not. In the background you can see how crowded it was.

Marike couldn’t decide whether she should go into the waterfall or not. In the background you can see how crowded it was.

My Dad and Sophia swimming in the waterfall. My Dad had to help Sophia fight the force of the waterfall to reach it.

My Dad and Sophia swimming in the waterfall. My Dad had to help Sophia fight the force of the waterfall to reach it.

The Coqui frog is a tree frog that only lives on Puerto Rico and Hawaii. Why only those two islands nobody knows, but they simply just do not survive anywhere else. We had the privilege of seeing one, all thanks to geocaching! Along the path to a waterfall (which happened to be very crowded), there was a great big tree, and amongst its roots, a geocache. If we had not been looking for the geocache, we would never have seen the beautiful little coqui frog sitting on the geocache : D. It was brown with black streaks, extremely hard to pick out amongst the brown bark of the tree. You wouldn’t see it move, but you knew it had jumped, because now it was sitting on the side of a big root instead of the geocache! I just love these little frogs. As soon as it goes dark, or if it is a misty day, you kan hear the little frogs wisseling in the trees: “Ko-kie! Ko-kie!” (That’s how you pronounce ‘coqui’ by the way).

Sophia holding the Geocache we found.

Sophia holding the Geocache we found.

The Coqui Frog

The Coqui Frog

In the forest there were also these big disc shaped snails. They could be tiny, but there were a lot of big ones whose shells were as big as the palm of my hand. This was very cool, as I have only ever seen snails with cone-shaped shells before.

Those round thingies are the snails.

Those round thingies are the snails.

While waiting anchored in Ferjardo there really wasn’t much to do. We did dive twice, and there were two other days of activity – but that wasn’t much to show for an entire month spent there.

My Mom, myself and Karin J after diving. We are eating some sweet oranges. They are really good to eat after diving in all that salt water.

My Mom, myself and Karin J after diving. We are eating some sweet oranges. They are really good to eat after diving in all that salt water.

We attacked some of the rust spots on Shang Du, and basically just waited.   It was a time of learning to depend more on God, and to find our joy and peace in Him and not in the world around us ♥. I praise God for every time He frustrates our plans and makes us wait, for in these things He is drawing us closer to Him, and there is nothing in the world I want more!

 

2 comments

    • Rick L on September 2, 2016 at 9:13 pm
    • Reply

    Hi. Just saw your story on the CBC website. Welcome to Canada and more specifically welcome to Nova Scotia.
    I’m sure you will enjoy the hospitatility in Cape Breton. My pal just completed a solo row across the Atlantic from Halifax to France, so I’m always keen on these adventure tales
    Best Rgds

    • Olivia Felton on September 6, 2016 at 5:25 pm
    • Reply

    Hi Van Zyl family!
    hope you are having a great time…. it certainly sounds like you are!
    Praying for you and missing you guys lots back here in SA!!!
    Love Olivia 🙂

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