"Always carry your instrument with you when you go ashore." No doubt!! This advice from Ike Kanakanui. Or maybe he said surfboard. That's how we met him at the dock on Cayo Obispo. We learned right away that this man either defies or proliferates labels. After two weeks sailing with a buddy, he knew it was the life for him and it has been for the past six years. He's an ex-Navy veteran, surfer, sailor, musician, singer/songwriter, entrepreneur, film maker, charter captain, etc., creating his own way of life. He joined us after dark for a jam session and brought detailed charts of the Bahamas so we could triple check our travel plans. He gave us the skinny on how he gets his gigs and encouraged the Kryptonites to keep at it. We loved his spirit and his soothing melodic rasp. Around midnight the music was drowned out by yawns and we knew it was time to sleep. Lucky for us some of his music is online, so we can listen whenever we want. Ike returned first thing in the morning with news of a boat delivery he'd be making to Miami. Maybe we'll see you in the Bahamas, brother!
If you think a surf/yoga sailing charter featuring plenty of music and a gluten free plant based diet sounds like your idea of a good time (I certainly do), you should definitely contact Ike and The Freedom Boat.
Between our meetings with Ike we hiked into Fajardo to clear in, locate the LDS chapel where we planned to attend the next day, and provision at a mythical place called Walmart. Our map app was not showing us the love and it was blazing hot as we took one wrong turn after another. We finally asked a sidewalk local for 'la iglesia mormona" and got some good direction. There was one truck in the parking lot, but the open air building gate was locked. We called "Hola" until we felt slightly dejected when a smiling man in a white shirt and tie popped his head out. Rafael Ramirez was working alone in the family history center on a Saturday afternoon. He invited us in and after a few minutes invited us to use his truck to do our provisioning run to Walmart. (The Walmart was real!) At this point we made sure we knew each other's names and phone numbers and departed with empty bellies and full hearts, but returned a few hours later with full bellies, full hearts, and a truck load of groceries. It was dark when we loaded everything into the dinghy, so we hoped to get a picture with Hermano Ramirez the next day. Unfortunately, their meeting times and our weather window clashed. We had to leave without meeting the whole congregation. But we did take a picture of the dashboard in Rafael's truck. I have never seen anything like it before; a custom dash cover embroidered with the angel Moroni. Wow!
Just when we thought we wouldn't meet anyone else in Fajardo, Angel and Luis, the fuel dock guys, stole our hearts. "We're just happy to have someone to talk to," said Luis. Luis has used his many hours on the dock to perfect his deck cleat roping skills and we were all impressed that he could secure a speedboat with the merest flick of the wrist. Angel grew up between Puerto Rico and Pennsylvania, but on one family visit to New Jersey he got really sick and ended up spending a year dealing with Hodgkin's. He was 15. "I'm fine now," he says. They were living in Florida when he and his wife decided to move back to Puerto Rico. "Starbucks gave her a transfer." Neither of the men liked reading much, but they love movies. Angel's favorite movie is How to Train Your Dragon. He'll be seeing the sequel soon.
Meanwhile, Lily sweet talked the cashier into a little trade. She did some behind-the-counter work in exchange for all these goodies. Negotiator or swindler? TBD. All that while getting our tanks filled? We were barely in Fajardo for more than 24 hours. People are amazing!