Monthly Archives: April 2016

El Yunque National Forest

El Yunque

Last week we hiked on El Yunque Mountain on the eastern side of Puerto Rico. El Yunque National Forest is the only tropical rain forest in the U.S. park system. We hiked down La Mina River trail and climbed on rocks and fallen logs in the river. At the end of the trail we swam in the pools of the waterfall, which were surprisingly cold. Then we hiked back up the hundreds of stairs to the road that led to the car. It was a great day and I highly suggest visiting the park if you are ever in Puerto Rico.

La Mina Falls

Photo by Mary

It Is, and It Isn’t

I knew I was going to like Puerto Rico. We had vicariously followed our friends on Jalapeño a couple of years ago and drooled over their Puerto Rico pictures from a thousand miles away. And I knew there was a Costco on the island, where I could replenish depleted stores and stock up for further travels (and redeem my cash-back certificate). Plus rain forest hikes, waterfalls, beaches, caves, and good fishing. But when I saw that mountainous island rising out of the sea—I knew why they called it La Isla del Incanto! It is indeed enchanting. It has all the conveniences of home—shopping, US post offices, cell service, and fast internet—and all the charm of an Old-world Spanish colony.


I am amused by the mixture of two cultures all around me—the distances on road signs are listed in kilometros, but the velocidad maxima is in miles-per-hour. They have Walmart, McDonalds, and Office Max, but if you go into one of these stores, be prepared to see only signs in Spanish. Burger King is La Casa Del Whopper. The Costco was as I expected—mostly familiar items, but also local fare, like plantains, Puerto Rican coffee beans and, of course, rum. The people are warm and friendly and completely bilingual. It’s a perfect place to practice your Spanish, but if you find yourself out of your depth, you can switch to English and be understood. And in Old San Juan you will find five centuries’ worth of history packed into a square mile, accessible by foot or by U.S. National Parks’ free tram. You can enjoy a meal of Puerto Rican specialties (like empanadillas or mofongo con churrasco) or go next door to a Wendy’s for a familiar square hamburger.

Old San Juan

My favorite parts of our weeklong-stay at Palmas del Mar Yacht Club in Humacao (East coast of P.R.) were our forays into the interior by rental car. My mother-in-law, Mary, had flown in from Florida to spend some time with our family. Together we hiked in El Yunque National Forest and swam in the pools of La Mina River waterfalls, toured the caverns and sinkhole of El Rio Camuy Cave Park, and drove through the Cordillera Central with its zig-zagging mountain roads and breathtaking views. Mary and I went to Casa Bacardí for an informative tour and spent some time watching Rachel swim in the beautiful pool at the yacht club, with views of the Caribbean Sea and Vieques (Spanish Virgin Islands) in the background.

Mary and Rachel

Puerto Rico has met and even exceeded my expectations that it would be like a piece of the United States in the Caribbean. Cool breezes, tropical foliage, rich history, and friendly people combined with easy access to life’s necessities and comforts make Puerto Rico live up to its name, and it will likely be a place we visit again.

Geography Report: Puerto Rico


Basic Facts

Capital: San Juan
People/Customs: Population 3.5 million, with over 1,147 people per square mile. Puerto Rico does not have its own Major League baseball team, but over 200 famous baseball players came from Puerto Rico to play in the U.S. The people, culture and food are a unique mixture of Spanish, Indian and African.
Language: Spanish/English
Climate: Tropical, with an average temperature of 85°F in July and 80°F in January. Average yearly precipitation: 50 in. Hurricane season June-December.
Food/Farming: sugar cane, coffee, bananas and plantains, mangos, passion fruit, papayas, cattle, tobacco, fish, shellfish, dairy, poultry, salt, and rum.
Government: Puerto Rico is a commonwealth in association with the United States, and the people are U.S. citizens, however, they do not pay federal income taxes and do not vote in U.S. Presidential elections. It is self-governing with an elected governor and a legislature with a house of representatives and a senate.
Currency: Puerto Rico uses the American dollar
Art/Music/Culture: People in Puerto Rico often dance to music at festivals, including Bomba, Plena, and Salsa. Festivals and holidays include: Carnival (February) , Coffee Harvest Festival (February), Orange Festival (March), Dulce Sueño Paso Fino Horse Show (March), Emancipation Day (March), Casals Festival (June), Bomba y Plena Festival (June), Aibonito Flower Festival (June), San Juan Bautista Day (July), Barranquitas Artisans Fair (July), Loíza Festival (July), Festival of Santiago Apóstal (September), International Billfish Tournament (September), Inter-American Festival of the Arts (October), Columbus day (October),  Puerto Rican Music Festival (November), Jayuya Indian Festival (November), Discovery Day (December), Hatillo Festival of the Masks (December).


In 1493, on his second voyage to the New World, Columbus landed in Puerto Rico, where he and his conquistadors proceeded to harass and enslave the Taínos, the natives to the island, when they could not lead him to the gold that the Spaniards were looking for. In 1509, Juan Ponce De León was selected to be Puerto Rico’s first Spanish colonial governor. His bones lie in Old San Juan today.

‘Puerto Rico’ is Spanish for ‘rich port.’ This was certainly true in the 16th and 17th centuries, when Spain used the island as a re-stocking port to and from the shores of south and central America, where it plundered Aztec and Inca gold and shipped it home. Puerto Rico was a popular spot with pirates, as well, also looking for a “piece of the pie,” so to speak. Later, sugar cane plantations produced another kind of gold: liquid gold in the form of rum. With the end of slavery in 1873, the trade in sugar, slaves and rum ended.

American troops invaded Puerto Rico in July of 1898 during the Spanish-American War. In the Treaty of Paris, Puerto Rico was ceded to the U.S. To this day, it retains its commonwealth status, won by the first elected governor, Luis Munoz Marin in 1951; it is part of the United States and yet independently-governed, uniquely Caribbean with Spanish and African roots. Today, Puerto Rico’s economy is based not on agriculture, but on tourism and manufacturing. Many large American businesses, which relocated to the island to receive tax breaks, left when the tax breaks ended. Puerto Rican debt has ballooned, and the island is in the middle of a decade-long economic recession. Because it is neither a state nor an independent nation, its fate lies in the hands of decision-makers in Washington D.C.

Land Forms/Flora and Fauna

Puerto Rico is mountainous, with the northern half of the island lush and green, and the southern half more arid with grassland. It is covered largely by tropical rain forest, and is home to 56 endangered species. The coqui is a small tree frog that makes a distinctive sound and is unique to Puerto Rico. The highest point on Puerto Rico is on Cerro de Punta, over 3,800 feet above sea level.

Things To Do

Luis A. Ferré Science Museum, Caparra Ruins, Castillo de San Cristóbal, Museum of the Americas, Pablo Casals Museum, Roberto Clemente Coliseum, Muñoz Rivera Park, Museo de Doña Fela, Arecibo Observatory, Parroquia del Espíritu Santo y San Patricio, Luquillo Beach, Culebra Natural Wildlife Refuge, Casa Cautiño Museum, El Faro, Caja de Muertos Nature Reserve, Church of San Blas de Illescas of Coamo, Coamo Historic Museum, La Parguera Phosphorescent Bay, Guánica Dry Forest, Ponce Museum of Art, Hacienda Buena Vista, Parque de Bombas, Birthplace of Luis Muñoz Rivera, Montoso Gardens, Caguana Ceremonial Ball Courts Site, Toro Negro Forest Reserve, Parque de Diversiones el Castillo, Church of San Germán Historic District, Iglesia de Porta Coeli, Los Morillos Lighthouse, Cabo Rojo National Wildlife Refuge, Rio Camuy Cave Park, Juan A. Rivero Zoo, Mona Island, Yague Theater, Ricón Lighthouse Observation Park, El Yunque National Forest, Viejo San Juan, Casa Bacardi Rum Tour.


Pavlidis, Stephen J. A Cruising Guide to Puerto Rico. 2015: Seaworthy Publications, Cocoa Beach, FL.

Stille, Darlene. Puerto Rico. 2009: Children’s Press, New York.

Meal Planning for Long Passages

We just spent a week at sea, offshore between the Exumas and Puerto Rico. We knew it was going to be at least a 5 day trip, and maybe as many as 8, so I tried to plan accordingly on my provisioning trip in George Town. Knowing what and how much we will need can be a bit tricky.

The first variable is what can be found in local shops. I planned ahead from the states and knew what I would and wouldn’t find in the Bahamas. I had several easy one-pot THRIVE instant meals which I was itching to try, and which were largely successful. Locally, we shopped too early to hit the mail-boat jackpot, but I was able to buy staples like milk, eggs and bread, and some treats for the crew like cheese and crackers, chips, ginger ale, and fresh fruit. A last-minute purchase that worked well was a case of Ramen noodles I found at a little wholesale place. Ramen noodles does not fit into any nutritional profile for our family, but it fits the bill for rough water—only 3 minute cook time.

Thrive Chili

The second variable is sea state: chances are if the seas are rough and I don’t feel like cooking, my crew will not feel like eating. That means having peanut butter crackers and granola bars on hand is critical. It also means making one-pot meals that are quick and easy. For a cook who makes everything from scratch, this is a tough one for me, but meals with long prep-times or a lot of clean-up mean standing in the galley when I’d rather be outside, so I compromise on long trips. I plan for at least one hot meal per day (more if I can swing it) and I also offer one consolation treat for each day—if the day was bad, there’s always a bright spot like a mini-snickers or a lemon-slush to lift morale. Depending on sea state, I may prepare more or less food, and I may have more leftovers than usual, which I store for the next day’s lunch.

The third variable is what can be prepared ahead of time. One of my first boat-mom friends, Vicki, taught me to do a lot of prep whenever you go on a longer trip and keep snacks and drinks ready in a cooler in the cockpit. That was good advice. For this trip, I baked bread, made a double portion of dinner the night before we left, made hummus and salsa and chopped veggies. I wish I had thought to boil a dozen eggs like I often do, and I wish I’d made some sandwiches ahead of time, too. Based on weather forecasts, I thought things would be a lot calmer and that I would cook more than I was actually able to. One can really only plan for the weather on departure day—the ocean has a startling capacity for change, and it behooves a sailor to prepare as much as possible and plan for the worst. An invaluable resource for meal planning and a good read is Lin Pardy’s The Care and Feeding of Sailing Crew.

For anyone who does not find it tedious, here is a quick glance at what we ate on our last passage:

B-Oatmeal with cinnamon and raisins (before departure)
L-Leftover burgers, hot dogs, potato salad and Jay’s birthday brownies
D-Ramen noodles doctored with THRIVE freeze-dried carrots, peas and corn
B-Loaf of bread and peanut butter, bananas
L-Cheese and crackers
D-THRIVE instant potato soup (not as good as it smelled), Cracker Jack boxes
B-Instant oatmeal in a mug
L-Snack-lunch: hummus, veggies, pita chips, cheese and crackers, olives, pickles, fruit
D-THRIVE southwestern chicken and rice (better than it smelled), Lifesavers candies
B-Homemade biscuits baked the night before, raisin-cinnamon and THRIVE sausage-cheese
L-Remaining hot dogs, peanut butter crackers
D-Pasta salad with tuna, peas, and cheese, Werther’s caramel candies
B-Grits with milk and sugar
D-Boxed Mac-and-Cheese with kielbasa, lemonade
B-Granola bars and fresh fruit
L-Ramen noodles
D-THRIVE hearty chili with beans (very good, but soupy), chocolate-banana milkshakes
B-Eggs and corn-cakes made with leftover grits
L-Tuna salad on crackers
D-Fresh-Caught Fish-and-Chips (arrival in Puerto Rico)

A New Low

We have just arrived in Puerto Rico from George Town after a seven-day passage. It was our longest uninterrupted stretch at sea. We supposedly had excellent weather conditions for a passage east and south, conditions that would not be repeated all season, so we decided to skip the out-islands of the southern Bahamas, the Turks and Caicos, and the Dominican Republic and go straight to Puerto Rico. We also skipped the Mona Passage, the Thorny Path, and days of bashing east into trade winds—the only reason we could do this is because a big ole’ cold front cleared out the trade winds for a couple of days. We left George Town on Thursday afternoon, fervently hoping for a calm, uneventful passage.

It turns out that it wasn’t just a quick sail over flat water. The “light and variable breeze” created confused waves three-to-six feet high, and about six seconds apart. Every time a wave hit the bottom of the bridge-deck, the floor of the main cabin between the hulls, water would be forced volcanically up the scuppers in the cockpit, splashing whoever happened to be standing near them. The entire crew, including me, felt a little queasy. Even mom, who holds the second-least-seasick title, could barely fix up Ramen Noodles and Thrive instant meals. Rachel stubbornly refuses to take seasickness medication, on the grounds that it tastes bad, and makes her barf. Hence, she is often seasick for the first few days of a passage.

For most of our grand voyage, the cabin looked like the interior of an opium den, with kids lying on piles of cushions and blankets like giant lethargic slugs, moaning piteously, and moving only to imbibe water and to obey the call of nature. After the first day, I got over whatever queasiness I had, and made the most of what was sure to be a long and tedious journey. That meant that I played video games. Lots and lots of video games. When I wasn’t crashing sophisticated aircraft, I spent my time reading, composing this blog post, and fetching stuff from down-stairs and helping mom with chores. That’s the only down side of not getting seasick: you get to be the gopher. I can’t really complain. Most people don’t require much on a long trip—they get pillows, blankets, and books, crash on the couch, and sleep on-and-off all day.

Mom and Dad took turns taking night watches, and slept as much as they could during the day. On most nights, I would let Mom take a nap while I took the first two hours of the night watch, from eight to ten. If it was calm, we would watch a movie together before I went to bed. If not, then I would head to bed in my cabin, where I would be tossed around like a salad. Sleeping in heavy seas is somewhat difficult; it feels like somebody is messing with the gravity controls.

One night, after Mom and I finished watching Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, we decided to go out on deck at midnight to have a look around. The seas had finally calmed down, and the wind had all but disappeared. The moon had just set, and, except for the occasional swell, the sea was flat calm. We looked down into the water. There, clearly visible to a depth of twenty feet, were thousands and thousands of bio-luminescent creatures. The depths were alive with glowing, flashing, blue-green stars. Our wake looked like the credits of Star Trek.

Looking up, we saw the Southern Cross, a constellation made up of four stars that are not observable from higher latitudes. Also visible in the northern sky was the Big and Little Dipper, and the North Star. We stood and stared, acutely conscious that with each passing moment, our trusty vessel carried us further south than we had ever been. We had literally reached a new low.

I’ve Been on the Ocean on a Boat with Five Kids

On our last evening in Elizabeth Harbor, there was a music jam at the St. Francis resort on Stocking Island. The atmosphere was relaxed, the music an eclectic mix provided by cruising musicians, and the crowd encouraging. I have never let lack of talent stop me where enthusiasm can compensate, and this was no exception. After a gin-and-tonic and a kick in the seat by Kimberly from Ally Cat and Julie from High 5 (who offered to accompany me and lend moral support), I played my ukulele and sang in public. I played a parody I wrote on our last passage (Rudder Cay to George Town), using America’s I’ve Been through the Desert on a Horse with No Name. I may never be as popular as Al Yankovic, but the crowd seemed to like it and even sang along on the la-la-las. Afterward, Eli and Aaron brought the house down with their face-melting rendition of Black Sabbath’s Iron Man. They have real talent on bass and guitar, respectively, and it makes a mom proud to see them play in public for the first time.

First Gig

For those who would like to try it out, my parody can be played using only two ukulele chords, E minor and D6.

I’ve Been on the Ocean on a Boat with Five Kids

On the first part of the voyage
I was looking at all the life
There were fish and birds and waves and things
There was wind and sea and sky
The first thing I did was to say a prayer
For a journey safe and sound
The kids were hot and the water was cold
But the sails were full of wind

I’ve been on the ocean on a boat with five kids
And I’ll never be quite the same
On the ocean, you should try not to complain
I just hope I don’t go insane
La La La La La La La La La La La La La
La La La La La La La La La La La La La

At first things went along swimmingly
We read our books, kindles, and magazines
We ate olives, crackers, and snack-y things
We played music, movies, and video games
But a few of the kids were turning green
And the clouds began to rain
It was the first day of our passage
And the crew began to complain

After two days on the ocean, we started to get bored
After three days of the motion, we just wanted to go ashore
And the thoughts of land and villages made us dream of an ice-cream store


After a week at sea, I let the kids run free,
‘Cause I’d started to lose my mind
I was tired of fish and birds and waves
I was tired of sea and sky
Now, the ocean is a special place
Where you learn who you really are
You’ll be tested and if you pass the test
My friend, you will go far



Fishing Success!

On April 2, we caught a thirty-three inch Mahi-mahi on the way to George Town, Exuma. It was the first really big fish besides Barracuda that we have ever caught. We were trolling with a cedar plug, which is a piece of wood with a led cap on the front end. It is made especially for catching Mahi. When we got to George Town, we invited friends over for dinner to help us eat our fish. We still have half the fish for another meal.

Mahi Jump

On our way into Puerto Rico this week, we caught a second Mahi and what we think was a Tuna using a couple of squiddy lures. Although the Tuna broke the line, we managed to reel in the Mahi and ate him fried that night for dinner as a celebratory meal for arriving in the Caribbean. I plan to try to catch more delicious fish in the near future.

Mahi Catch

Take the Cookie

My friend Amy introduced me to a saying that has almost become a mantra on our boat: “Take a cookie when the plate is being passed.” Another rendition, which my kids use any time there are treats around (thank you, Curtis), goes, “Life is unpredictable, eat dessert first.” In our gypsy life, you never know when an opportunity will knock, and you can almost guarantee that it won’t knock twice. We just received a potent reminder to “take the cookie” in the Bahamas.

We had planned to spend another month in the Bahamas, exploring islands we’d never visited (Raggeds, Jumentos, Cat, Long, Rum, Conception) and doing some cruising with our friends on Ally Cat, who we met in Washington D.C. two years ago and who just returned from the Caribbean. We had just arrived in George Town, Exuma, and had a merry reunion over fish tacos (Sam caught a Mahi), when Michael said, “You know, with the calm weather coming up, you guys should really be getting out of here and heading East.” That gave us something to think about (Kimberly and Ally may never forgive him for planting the idea). We have always said we are not in a rush, but we do have to think about the approaching hurricane season and where we would like to spend it.

Plan A was Grenada, but we’re a little late to be heading East, as the trades seem to regulate after the winter fronts are done and don’t slack until tropical weather patterns set in (sometimes bringing storms with them). Plan B was Dominican Republic or Puerto Rico, if we could find a happy place to plug in for the summer, and find good internet so Jay can work. Plan C was a default passage back to Florida. We never even talked about it, but there was a good chance if we goofed off too long in the Bahamas—familiar cruising grounds—we might not make it further, to do the cruising we bought this boat for eight years ago. The last time we made it to George Town, I was pregnant and we returned to Florida to have a baby and renovate the boat. That baby is almost five now, and with our oldest speeding toward fifteen, we feel like it’s now-or-never for this cruise.

So we decided to use the calm before the front, which would stop the trades, to motor-sail straight east (towards longitude 65) and then let the arriving northeast wind to blow us south toward the Virgin Islands. It was a big commitment (and a bit of a gamble) to make a week-long passage instead of the island hopping we had promised the kids after the gulf-stream crossing. But when we saw the irresistible cookies the weather forecast held out, well, we just had to take one. Cruising down the Eastern coast of Puerto Rico a week later, our only regret is that we had to leave friends behind.

Leave It Better Than You Found It

People have always left their mark on the world. It seems to be part of our nature, to try to leave something behind that lasts longer than our own lifetimes. It’s why we write, paint, invent, and raise children. We have cave paintings and tools from the earliest civilizations, pyramids, burial mounds, marble columns, statues, and pottery. And trash. Lots of trash. The reality of life among “civilized” humans is that our hunt for food, comfort, shelter, and recreation leaves a trail of debris thousands of years long. I was struck by this recently in two juxtaposed images on the same hike: ruins on Hawksbill Cay in the Exuma Land and Sea Park that date from the 1700s and piles of wind-and-wave-strewn plastic garbage on the ocean side of that same island. The difference, of course, is that in one case, all that is left of the hilltop village is a few rock-and-mortar walls, a pile of conch shells, some cloudy glass bottles, and rusty implements, all returning slowly to the land; while on the beach, one finds hard hats, shoes, baskets, water bottles, oil jugs, fishing nets—the plastic detritus of a civilization that has figured out how to make things last!


To view a pristine environment and then to see it destroyed over time by litter gives one pause. Now, I am not guiltless in the manufacture of garbage, but neither am I thoughtless about waste. I am proud to say that I was using cloth bags at the grocery store before it was cool to do so, that we had stainless steel water bottles while everyone else we knew was using plastic. My babies wore cloth diapers and played with wooden toys. I refuse to shop at dollar stores (where everything is destined for the landfill), and I try to buy whole raw foods and foods that use minimal or biodegradable packaging. I use glass jars and containers for food storage and leftovers. But still—as we travel, sorting our garbage into biodegradables to be chopped and thrown overboard, paper items to be burned if an opportunity presents itself, glass to be recycled or broken over deep water, and plastics to be disposed of when we get ashore, I notice that we are still making plastic waste. Meat comes wrapped in plastic, as do chips, crackers, and some vegetables, condiments come in plastic bottles, and the list goes on. The more I make from scratch, the less garbage there seems to be. But some compromise is hard to avoid. It makes me complicit.’

Trash Island

The first time I saw a garbage-strewn ocean beach, I felt such profound disappointment. I had been picking up small pieces of trash as we walked the trail (as I habitually do when going for a walk), but when I came over the dune and saw what looked like the town dump—on an island with no town—I nearly cried. Who could clean all this up? Certainly not me. A few months later, back in Florida, where there are trash and recycle bins every few meters, I was going for a walk with Sarah, who was 5 at the time. I walked by a Coke can on the sidewalk. Apathy had set in. Like Holden Caulfield, I had grown disillusioned with the attempt to erase all the foul things in the world.

A few steps later, Sarah said, “Mommy, you didn’t pick up that trash!”
“What’s the point?” I responded. “I can’t pick up all the trash in the world.”
“Yeah,” she replied, “But you could pick up that piece of trash.”
I receive such profound instruction often from my children. Needless to say, we picked up the can.

And this is why I take pictures of trash, bag it, burn it, recycle it, and write about it. Because there is something we can do about it. Until we view ourselves as responsible for it, we can walk by and say, “that’s such a shame.” But we made the mess, and we can clean it up. Of course, I personally didn’t throw a laundry basket or a pair of flip-flops into the ocean, but I have bought a plastic basket, and shoes with plastic parts. If you have not seen “The Story of Stuff,” go on YouTube and watch it. It might just change your buying habits. Plastics, the chief offenders, last nearly forever, end up in our oceans, and eventually break down into microplastics, which enter the food chain as endocrine disruptors, cancer-causers, and reproductive havoc-wreakers. We must use less of it, and try to remove larger pieces before they break down.


Aside from buying less stuff, one of the things we can do is leave things better than we find them. The old adage, “Take only pictures. Leave only footprints,” is outmoded and underwhelming. I say instead, “Take responsibility! Leave less of a mess than you found!” If you are part of the human race, you are responsible. Take as much trash as you can carry—when you go to a park or a beach, on a walk or a paddle or a hike or a camping trip. And though the complicated question remains where exactly to put it once you pick it up, you can help keep it out of the ocean and out of the few wild and beautiful places we have left.

Trash Salad

Holding My Breath

I can hold my breath for a long time—almost four minutes. That is, in the comfort of my bed, lying motionless, with up to a minute of hyperventilation beforehand. Even so, not breathing for three minutes and forty-five seconds is a rather impressive feat. (Ah, the happy hours I’ve spent, tucked away in my room with my stopwatch!) It usually takes several  tries to bring my breath-hold up to this level, and once I do, I usually stop (you have no idea how boring it is to sit and do absolutely nothing for three minutes).

When I started practicing my breath-hold, we were about to leave for the Bahamas, and planned to do plenty of spearfishing. I thought I was ready. I thought “bring it on, fish.” Yeah! No. The first time we went swimming off the boat, I took my watch to see how long I could hold my breath immersed in actual water. After hyperventilating for ten seconds, I managed to remain underwater for all of…drumroll…eighteen seconds. Pathetic.

We have been in the Bahamas for a month now, and we are still swimming off the boat. I take this time to practice my breath hold. It takes several tries, but I can get it up to one minute and twenty seconds. I also wear a ridiculously heavy weight belt that we happen to have for no particular reason. It feels really cool to stand on the sandy bottom, looking up at the waves eight feet above you, and not feel the need to breathe.

One day, while standing on the bottom, I had a brilliant idea.  I took a beach chair, weighed it down with weight belts, and set it next to the anchor. Then I took an empty kindle case and a coffee mug and set them on the chair. Then came the hard part. I took a deep breath, dove down, and sat in the chair. Then I had to put a weight belt in my lap to keep me from floating away, pick up the coffee mug and ‘book,’ cross my legs, and pretend to read normally. Meanwhile, Aaron, whose breath-hold isn’t worth jack, had to swim down and take a picture of me with the GoPro, all before I ran out of air. Amazingly enough, my plan worked! We got several pictures of me, relaxing at the bottom of the sea.

Deep Reading