Kayaking the Biobay
Trip Start Aug 13, 2007
12Trip End Aug 21, 2007
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We saw a cool looking place called Calizo with a palapas bar and tables outside; it looked simple and authentic. We took a table out doors, and with our menus the server sat down a can of "Off!" on the table. Hmmm...not a good sign, lol.
The first thing we noticed was that the prices were VERY high. Tourist trap. We didn't have time to go elsewhere. We ordered some appetizers for DH and I and kid's meals for the kids. We got our appetizers, which were fantastic. We liked the mussilitos (sp?) the best. However, the kids never got their meals. The server said she didn't think they ordered anything. HUH? Whatever. They had eaten the appetizers with us, so we paid the bill and just shook our heads. (The food was very good though). As a side note, a couple came right after us who were on our kayaking tour, and they thought the same thing--good food, but over priced.
So we got to the area where all the kayaking kiosks are (sort of at a public park on the bay) and got checked in with Kayaking Puerto Rico Tours (we had made a reservation through the hotel concierge the day before which is recommended). We did a bathroom break at probably the most disgusting bathroom I've ever been in...ack! Then we had our quick kayaking instruction, and it was time to get in our 2-person kayaks.
DD and I were in one, and DS and DH were in the other. They took pictures of each boat after we got settled in, and they turned out great ($10 ea/framed)! We were last to get in and had to paddle over to the group. (Of course, that was after we ran into another boat first.) This was in an ocean bay. As soon as we got there (no rest for the weary), we took off for the mangrove on the other side of the bay.
This was an interesting feat for two girls who have little kayaking experience. DD is 11, and we had a hard time coordinating our paddles. I had to call it out: right, left, right, left. I was worn out by the time we got to the mangrove. The mangrove, which they call the "canal", is a winding stream of stinky water with mangrove roots sticking out at you on each side. Our tour started at 7 pm, so it wasn't completely dark yet when we were going through the canal, thank God. It's tricky making those curves when you can *see* them.
So after about 30 min of grueling kayaking through the canal, with fish jumping out of the water (I assume to eat the gigantor mosquitos that were making a meal out of ME and DD), we finally made it to the biobay. By then, it was completely dark. We all gathered together, chaining our kayaks while our guide talked about the dinoflagellates, the microscopic wonders that we had all maneuvered through the mangrove to see.
Our guide then said, "Now, without letting go of your neighbors kayak, swish your hand through the water." WOW! The water came alive with little micro fireflies, like sparkling pixie dust glittering around our hands. I liked to cup the water in my hand to watch the sparks of light trickle down my arm. It was trully amazing. My only disappointment was that we didn't get to swim in the water (I know on some tours you can).
We got to break away and play with this wonder of the world for awhile on our own. There are only 5 biobays in the world. Puerto Rico has 3 of them! We experimented dangling our feet over, or just using the paddle to make them light up; it's the movement that activates the bioluminescence. Then it was time to return. So we got back in a single line to return to the canal. We had been going against the current on the way in, so going back should be easier; oh good!
At first, it did seem easier. The pace seemed very relaxed, and we were keeping up with everyone. Unfortunately, someone up ahead kept having problems and so everyone crunched up a couple times (we had to stop completely). In fact, DD lifted her paddle up and smacked DH in the head. Oops. But, the stopping blew the rhythm for DD and me. After that, everyone ahead of us left us in the dust. The kayaks have a light in the back, so that you can follow the person in front of you. But DH and DS were so far ahead, we couldn't see them...and it was now pitch black. Not good, not nice.
We kept running into the mangrove roots (i.e. the sides of the canal). It was like trying to manuever the kayak blindfolded, it was so dark. It was crazy. Eventually, DH and DS waited for us, or we caught up, I dunno. But I have to say, the kayaking part of it wasn't the most fun thing for me (or DD).
The biobay itself was incredible though and well worth the kayaking craziness and mosquito bites.
Where I stayed