I got so many bug bites in Puerto Rico that I asked Melissa to connect the dots for me. She used the edge of a magazine to draw the lines straight. Body constellations are the new braiding each others’ hair.
Margaret Stewart recorded the entire fight, including a mini-interview with me beforehand.
Tarps made matters scary slippery, so after some initial bailing, we all began to move like cream-covered zombies. Because slow and careful food fights make for good fun but sleepy viewing, may I suggest you forward to 4:35 when I finally realized that Margaret had been avoiding the mess by using her technology as a shield. Take that, Stewart.
You know Intel sponsored this, right? Yeah, I thought so.
Hello. Do you know I’m on Twitter? If not, you should follow me here. I am not noisy.
Also, if you use Twitter to keep up with your favorite sites, and you’d like to know when I’ve posted here, on Mighty Goods, or elsewhere, you should follow me here too.
The first account is mostly for original content and the occasional post of which I am very proud (I’ve sent you my clippings, Mrs. Tenenbaum!), the second is an automatic feed I just set up to update when I’ve posted.
In conclusion, follow me, my friends. I will not lead you astray.
So as not to be sleazy, this is the part where I remind you that Intel paid for my trip. They’re sponsoring my Mighty Life List over the next few months. So this post is technically part of a very smart marketing campaign. Shield your eyes!
We hop into a pickup bed filled with sandy, damp life jackets, and they bump against our shins on the dirt road to the beach.
Melissa and I are headed to Mosquito Bay in Vieques, one of most dense bioluminescent bays in the world. It’s teeming with microscopic organisms that light up when they’re disturbed. There are only eleven “biobays” in the world, nine of which are in Puerto Rico.
Ricky, one of the guides, is riding in back with us. He says his job never gets old.
He tells us about raindrops that seem to spark as they hit the water, how schools of fish leave light streams in their wake. I imagine a giant, glowing shark silhouette swimming toward our tiny kayak. Hmm.
We arrive at the beach, and don our gritty life jackets.
The air is suddenly spiky. “What is that?” I ask Melissa. She points to a tiny grain of sand on my forearm. It bites me. We’re covered in vicious, biting mites. Does the guide have any insect repllant? He does, but we can’t use it if we want to swim, it kills the plankton. Baby oil is fine though, and it works great! Does he have any of that? No.
We wade into the water to escape while our guides ready the kayaks.
I’ve adventurously stuffed all my camera equipment into plastic trash bags inside my backpack. Climbing into the open-top kayak, I decide not to think about what might happen if we tip over, because we aren’t going to tip over. Right, Melissa? Melissa, has never been in a kayak before, but we’ll be fine. I’m certain we’ll be fine. Right, Melissa? Melissa avoids eye contact.
We paddle out to the bay and tie the kayaks together to wait for nightfall. Our guide tells us about the dinoflagellates we’ve come to see, single-cell organisms that have the ability to photosynthesize. They’re technically neither plant nor animal. Cool.
I ask the guide if he’ll take our photos when we get in the water, maybe a little video. He warns me that it’s nearly impossible to capture the glow on film. Now he tells me.
We climb out of the boat, and gradually a soft glow gathers around our limbs as we tread water. A few moments later there are sparks and glowing bubbles flying from our fingertips. It looks exactly as you’d imagine pixie dust would look if you were to encounter Tinkerbell in the wild. “I can fly!” I say. I can’t stop laughing. Melissa sweeps her arms through the water and whispers, “I’m a priiiiincess!” We make light saber sounds, hum dramatic overtures as we conduct under water. I lift my hands above the surface, and loose-diamonds tumble down my arms.
As it turns out, our guide was right about the photos. I lightened one so you could get an idea of what the glow looks like. I’m going to blow this up to wall-mural size and hang it above my bed:
I want so much to show you what it was like, but you have to see for yourself. It is amazing. Here’s a little video of us riding back in the truck:
If you can, you have to do this. Go find your swimsuit. Get in the truck.
(Our tour was through Vieques Tours. They were nice, and one of the guides bought the two of us popsicles while we waited for the cars to arrive. Aww. 787.447.4104)
Many thanks to the folks at Intel. They’re making my site more interesting by sponsoring my Mighty Life List over the next few months. They paid for this trip of a lifetime, and I can’t thank them enough.
I’m writing from Puerto Rico. Ay! Ay!
Intel sent me here so I can swim with bioluminescent plankton. It’s pretty OK.
Bryan is busy running his startup, and Hank has a toddler’s commitment to routine, so with the help of a few frequent flyer miles, Melissa met me at the San Juan airport. Her luggage was lost, so I tried to make her feel better by taking her shopping. There was a wide selection at the local gift shops, but she was dubious.
This pair of shoes had zippers up the back. In case you had to get out of your shoes. Like, immediately.
She disdained the classics on offer, even though I told her we would hardly ever come into contact with escalators on the island.
How cute would this be with a lei? Right? I know!
And as the day wore on, she started to come around.
But just when I’d convinced her to trust my sartorial instinct, her bag showed up. She unpacked her Land’s End swimsuit and held it to her face while she wept softly. I poured celebratory glasses of wine, and we headed up to the roof to watch the sunset.
Today we left Old San Juan for Vieques, and I’m typing this on a very bumpy Ferry ride. Excuse me for a moment while I move my laptop so I can place my head between my knees. We’ll see you tomorrow.
Intel is making my site more interesting by sponsoring my Mighty Life List over the next few months. They’re paying for my trip to Puerto Rico so I can cross another dream off my list. Sponsors of Tomorrow, indeed.