Monday, March 26 – Sunday night, as we were reflecting on our heart-breaking but inspiring trip to the school of refugees in Bartolo de Castañer, a text came in. It was our contact at the Earthship project:

“I’m writing with an achy heart. It’s pouring. We are under flood warning until Tuesday morning. At this point of the build we cannot work under heavy rain and have to cancel tomorrow’s brigade. We will be under watch for Tuesday. Just as it came out of nowhere it could change again.”

Our day’s work was cancelled. The backpackers seemed let down, but at the same time, were a little glad to be able to sleep in a bit.

As the morning developed, the sun grew stronger and stronger. It was warm and no rain in sight. The iguanas were stirring. And we decided to take advantage of a beautiful day to take in some of Puerto Rico’s natural beauty. We headed to the beach!

We decided on a small town in the southwest corner of the island, La Parguera, known for its abundant mangroves and a small bioluminescent bay. It truly was beautiful. We waded into crystal clear waters about 3 feet deep littered with mangrove outcroppings. Everyone splashed and played, looked at the many fish and other sea life feeding on the roots, and took what seemed like hundreds of pictures. We had timed it perfectly so that we were still swimming as the sun set just beyond the point. At that point, we all knew why Puerto Rico is known as “La Isla Encantada,” the Enchanted Island.

After dark, we ventured over to the bioluminescent bay. Again, stunning. We looked for the dinoflagellates who are responsible the “glow-in-the-dark water” phenomenon. When they come into contact with another organism they produce a bright burst of blue light. The moon was bright, reducing the effect, and we were told that the hurricane has reduced its brilliance. But it was fascinating nonetheless.

There were, however, two things that we all seemed to enjoy even more. There was a constant mysterious clicking noise that could be heard under the water that came from every direction. We were all convinced that it must be dolphin chatter. But even better still was the remarkably close bonding that took place. Everyone really has gotten close. We laugh together, play together, support each other, and encourage each other. We really have become family.

As we were heading back to home base, the text came in. We are working tomorrow. It’s going to be a long day, but that is why we are here! We’re ready to get our hands dirty once more! But for now, we rest. Call time always comes early.