Yesterday I Hit “The Wall”

August 19, 2023

So yesterday.. it was up at 6am, a quick cappuccino at the hotel and a leisurely 3 minute walk down to the dive shop a half block away. I was thinking I was GENIUS with this hotel pick at this point (more on that later)

I meet Jonathan the front desk man, and sign all my obligatory “I know I might die” paperwork. Then the shoe drops. He tells me that the owner informed him that they are going to cancel the next days dive because I’m the only one signed up. Well, I said, what would it cost me to go out by myself, I might just be willing to do that. I was kind of joking but kind of not and left it at that.

So down to the boat, meet Chompi and Chippi (no idea if those are their real names) … first mate and captain respectively.

We back out, we motor, two other divers on board, andre and another gentleman whos name I cannot remember.

Down to the first dive on what is known in Puerto Rico as “The Wall”. As far as walls go its mediocre physically. I mean I’ve dove walls that were 90 degrees sheer drop to over 3000 feet. This one only about 1000 feet and kind of gentleish.

That did not diminish its beauty though (see pics and videos below)

In between dives, Andre and I are floating around on the trail line just shooting the shit. He works in finance for the air force just outside of St. Louis in Illinois somewhere. His mother still lives on the island just 30 minutes away and the whole family takes turns caring for her.

Then I asked the question that was not good. “Do you have a family”. Well, he did. And when he said we HAD 5 kids, I know this was going to be a heartbreak. It turns out one of his girls, straight A’s, scholarship to play volleyball in college, took her own life 5 years ago. You could still see the anguish and pain that he still deals with every day so long after. As you all know, I do not have children, but I cannot think of anything more devastating to a parent. Please keep him in your prayers.

So the ride in and the ride out were gorgeous, the dives were gorgeous.. all in all a great day.

And then I hit my wall.. I got back to the hotel and I was so tired and hungry I couldn’t see straight. Turns out my room came with breakfast so I went down at about 11:30am and snagged two eggs and french toast and bacon.

Then to my room, rinse off all my gear in fresh water take a shower and find myself comfy comfy comfy in my crazy nice AC’ed room. So the nap just grabbed me and sucked me in

Three hours later I am up and decide to head to the pool. Two cocktails and some research later, I had found a restaurant back to the east thinking I would go west the next day when I had a little better planning.

The restaurant is actually a quite lovely resort named Copamarina Beach Resort & Spa (https://www.copamarina.com/)

Because “Safety Sam” has his eye on me I thought I’d grab another shot or two of the spectacular plains and mountains from the car.. bad form I know but there was nobody on the road for two minutes.

Then I was at the resort. It was absolutely gorgeous! Why I’m not staying there right now while I’m writing this this I don’t know.

But the staf was impeccable. They had no problem with me having a 4 hour dinner, drinks and believe it or not I skipped desert.

And through it all were the dulcet tones of Bruno Mars played on the steel drum. LOL

But fortunately for me (Sheldon Sigh: Sarcasm), the road in/out from the resort was another of this clif clinging hairpin nightmares. The way in, not too bad. The way out however, the hairpins were so tight that your headlights never light up the corner so every turn is like driving into pitch black.. even for me.. NOT FUN!

So Now I have my Chill on.. I get back to the hotel and I’m assaulted by lights, noice, people and traffic. As I sat outside the gate to my parking spot for my hotel some dude in a big pickup (always a pickup) gets out and starts screaming he’s going to call the Police if I don’t move… whatever I finally get into my spot.

I still don’t know what is going on.

Then I walk in the lobby and I figure it out. There is a live band, about 6 loudspeakers, and I do believe they went to 11 and it was being used.

So I walk to my room, and pour some water and I have to tell you .. I was three doors and about 800 meters away from this cacophony and it was still unca unca unca unca vibrating my water on my bedside table.

I really wanted some ice for my water so i went out to the front desk to find out where I could get some. The front desk woman runs around for about 15 minutes trying to find some and eventually comes back. I ask her how long this was expected to go. She said about 11pm.. I was OK with this… but then the woman whom I can only assume was the manager stuck her head out and told me… No.. probably till 2 or 3am… I just burst out, “you’re killing me”… and she looks at me truly and honestly perplexed. I explained I needed to be up at 6am for a dive that I’ve spent a LOT of money and this music is vibrating the water on my bedside table. She says helpfully “can we get you some earplugs?” really… REALLY!

So I just head back to my room. What am I going to do.. nothing.. fortunately I have some killer silicone moldable earplugs with me. I try those.. they don’t dent it really. So I plug in my phone to the TV, put on a movie and turn up the volume. That actually did the trick and I was asleep by 1:45am.

The rest of the story tomorrow.

Right now my fresh snapper in garlic sauce is arriving while I drink my shitlero. I am teaching everyone here how to make it! It will be a standard across the Caribbean soon!!

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