Culebrita Lighthouse, one of the Caribbean’s oldest, crowns

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sábado, 21 diciembre 2013

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A relatively undeveloped island off Puerto Rico mainland offers solitude amid unexploded bombs

canada goose uk shop military tank, a colorful reminder of the island’s past , rests in the breakers on Flamenco Beach, on Culebra, Puerto Rico. military used some of the islands for gunnery and bombing practice. (Erin Williams/For The Washington Post) canada goose uk shop

canada goose black friday sale The four foot tall yellow sign on the chain link gate didn’t just say “Danger: No trespassing” in block letters. It also had a black and red image of a bomb and the warning “Explosives unexploded ordnance” in English and Spanish. Nevertheless, I canada goose store squeezed though the gate’s opening. My husband, Andrew canada goose outlet , followed me down the path to Carlos Rosario Beach. canada goose black friday sale

canada goose clearance sale We didn’t necessarily need to take such measures to find solitude on Culebra, part of a 23 island archipelago off the eastern coast of Puerto Rico. Fish and Wildlife Service administered national wildlife refuge. military used buy canada goose jacket cheap some of the islands for gunnery and bombing practice. Today, most of Culebra’s refuge areas are off limits because of their delicate ecosystems or unexploded ordnance. canada goose clearance sale

buy canada goose jacket cheap Beautiful and relatively undeveloped, the island provided a welcome respite from crowded Washington for a buy canada goose jacket long weekend. And because we were Canada Goose Jackets willing to take the trails less traveled (we checked with a park ranger before ducking past that warning sign), we were able to canada goose coats go from one serene setting to another, achieving an almost completely disconnected experience. buy canada goose jacket cheap

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Two days earlier, Andrew and I had left San Juan for Culebra on an eight seater plane. As canada goose clearance we bobbed up and down on the bumpy 35 minute flight, I watched mainland Puerto Rico’s suburbs disappear and our shadow glide over islets 2,500 feet below.

We’d rented a one bedroom hilltop home in southwestern Culebra, attracted by the property listing noting that the villa was entirely off grid. Indeed it was: Three tanks collected rainwater, and solar panels provided electricity. Because we had only sporadic mobile access, I abandoned my phone in a drawer.

Canada Goose online Sailboats dot Fulladoza Bay in Culebra. (Erin Williams/For The Washington Post) Canada Goose online

canada goose factory sale We accessed our little villa by a driveway so Canada Goose Parka steep that our Jeep seemed ready to tumble into sailboat flecked Fulladoza Bay below. It was far enough away from Dewey, Culebra’s one small town, that peeping coqui frogs provided the only nighttime sounds. canada goose factory sale

The first night, I turned off the lights and sat on the deck to watch the expansive sky. Two bats swooped under the roof, hunting mosquitoes. I admired my nocturnal companions and the moonlit boats floating in the bay, so involved in my surroundings and the present moment, I didn’t need to be plugged into anything else.

canada goose store The next morning, we headed down the precarious driveway and through Dewey to the northwestern corner of the island, where a nearly empty parking lot and a ramshackle concession greeted visitors to Culebra’s most famous landmark: canada goose clearance sale Flamenco Beach. Solar panels provide electricity, and water tanks store rainwater. (Erin Williams/For The Washington Post) canada goose store

canada goose Flamenco is undeniably gorgeous. It regularly appears on top global beaches lists; in February, TripAdvisor rated it the world’s eighth best. Its mile long white crescent hugs a clear, calm bay. Only the concession and a small hotel interrupt the palm Canada Goose Outlet trees flanking the sand. Pelicans and boobies dive into the water. canada goose

canadian goose jacket Even when busloads of weekend day trippers unload onto Flamenco, there’s room for everyone. During our weekday Canada Goose online visit, perhaps a hundred people spread across the sand. canadian goose jacket

At Flamenco’s western end, two old tanks, relics of the military exercises, rest on the beach. One sits on a grassy mound near the sand; another, in breakers under palm trees. Algae adhering to the latter undulates in the waves, and the decaying machinery stands out in absurd contrast against the sky and sand. Graffiti has turned these once lethal hulks into surreal art installations, a colorful reminder of the island’s controversial past.

canada goose coats A rocky trail along a beach on Culebra’s western shore. (Erin Williams/For The Washington Post) canada goose coats

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Guidebooks mention the trail to Carlos Rosario Beach, but most visitors don’t notice the gate tucked into a shady corner of Flamenco’s parking lot. In my clumsy Spanish, I asked a nearby ranger whether I should be worried about the “Danger” sign. Although some rangers recommend a longer shoreline route that is definitely free of explosives, he responded (in smiling English): “Go right ahead you will be the first ones at the beach today! It will be hot, so make sure you have plenty of water.”

Beyond the gate, the walk to Carlos Rosario was an easy 20 minutes. Tall grass crowded the well trodden path, but the only hazards were sunburn, mosquitoes.. and perhaps live ordnance. So we were careful not to stray into the bushes.

cheap canada goose uk As we neared the beach, yellow flowered trees offered peekaboo panoramas of the sea. I watched the ground, careful not to step on red and purple hermit crabs scuttling across the path. The grass thinned, and we emerged sweaty canada goose deals and muddy from the trees. cheap canada goose uk

canada goose coats on sale We were the only people on the paradisiacal shoreline. In both directions, white sand sparkled in the sun. Green hills plunged into the azure water. With each small wave, pebbles washed up on the beach and tinkled back down. canada goose coats on sale

canada goose clearance We walked along the water’s edge, along piles of sun bleached coral and black rocks, until we found the perfect tree. We laid a couple towels in its shade. Later, a dozen other visitors would join us, but for now, we had our own little piece of the Caribbean. canada goose clearance

Canada Goose Outlet The next morning, we headed across Canada Goose sale the island, driving past a wildlife refuge and houses scattered among the hills. At the Zoni Beach entrance, hand painted signs warned nighttime visitors away from the nesting areas of leatherback and hawksbill sea turtles. Canada Goose Outlet

cheap Canada Goose We were alone on the stretch of gentle waves at Culebra’s eastern edge, but I had already arranged for a getaway to an even less frequented spot. A local outfitter had dropped off a two person kayak for canada goose a self powered day trip to Culebrita, a one square mile island, less than two miles off Culebra, that’s part of the national wildlife refuge. Culebrita Lighthouse, one of the Caribbean’s oldest, crowns its top in canadian goose jacket decrepit glory. cheap Canada Goose

Canada Goose sale We climbed into the plastic kayak a hardy sit on top so wide, it looked impossible to capsize. As we paddled out from Zoni, a salt breeze rippled the water. A magenta jellyfish pulsed at its surface. Fish darted under the boat. We glided over reefs, watching corals and sea fans pass beneath the kayak like the islets underneath the plane. Canada Goose sale

canada goose uk outlet A beach on Culebrita, a tiny island off the coast of Culebra. (Erin Williams/For The Washington Post) canada goose uk outlet

Canada Goose Coats On Sale Only a handful of people visit Culebrita each day, and today was no exception. We pulled our boat onto an unclaimed beach fringed with dense trees that climbed the slope to the lighthouse a few hundred feet above, hidden by the foliage. It was an ideal hideaway for a mid morning siesta. Not another soul was in sight. Canada Goose Coats On Sale

On the return to Zoni, the wind strengthened, pushing us toward Culebra. Waves pounded the shore. Lingering canada goose black friday sale in the swells, we waited for a break and paddled for the beach. Then a wave rose under me. I hovered on cheap Canada Goose its crest for one dreadful moment, and the bow surged into the air and plunged into the water. These kayaks aren’t that hard to capsize, I thought canada goose coats on sale as I flew off the boat and the wave crashed over my head.