Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Puerto Rico and the Picture Window Cave

Our second excursion on the cruise was to the island of Puerto Rico. It was our third time there (the boys' second time). It was sad to see all the damage that Hurricane Maria had caused the previous fall. Puerto Rico was hit even harder than St. Thomas and was in full recovery mode. But it was good to be back and we had a fun day there (spoken like a true tourist who doesn't have to deal with the difficulties of life after a Category 5 hurricane!).

The view from our balcony that morning as the ship was docking. (We had to be up early for our excursion.)

Behold the almost biggest cruise ship in the world!

Another ship, incoming.

John is so cute!

For our excursion we went on a bus ride around the capital city of San Juan and then drove across the island to hike to a cave called "The Picture Window Cave." You'll see why below. It was so fun!

Sam and John both had fun exploring. This is the real-life science classroom right here!

We all had to wear helmets to protect our heads in the dark and sometimes low-hanging caves. Our guide was both knowledgeable and funny; his sense of humor was dry and witty and I still smile thinking about some of the funny things he said.   

This was the first cave we explored. The light shining into the darkness was like the light at the end of a tunnel. It was lovely.


A combination stalagtite/stalagmite. You don't see those very much!  
These caves are ancient. It's so neat to think of their inhabitants and wanderers from centuries ago.

Descending into the really big cave (the picture window one).

Insert "visions of afterlife" comparisons here. 😇

This is why it's called the picture window cave! How pretty is that!?

Looking toward the interior of the cave, from whence we came (and would be returning).

We decided to let Peter in too.

There's a big black snake coiled up there in the upper middle part of this picture. Do you see it? I was horrified to find out that there were snakes above us! 😱 The guide assured us they weren't harmful, but still...they're snakes! Above us!!

Back into the land of the living (phew!). The lush green forests of Puerto Rico are so pretty.

This tree looked like something out of Middle Earth.

The caves we went in are out there underneath this land. What lies buried beneath our feet is truly fascinating (caves, dinosaur fossils, historical artifacts, ancient dwellings and cities, etc.). 
Sometimes I wish I'd become an archaeologist. Penn has an excellent archaeology program and one of my roommate friends from my senior year was getting her Ph.D. in archaeology. Lucky! 

Back on the ship. Views of San Juan from our balcony...

...and views of people on the ship too. 😄

Peter and I visited that historic fortress in the distance (at the top of the land) when we took a trip here in ~2007.

Pulling away from the island to go back out to sea.

Time for a selfie!

It was a fun day in a place that I've really come to like and appreciate from my visits there. I hope to go back at some point in the hopefully not-too-distant future.