Another swoon-worthy visit to Vieques. Though blowing the place to bits wouldn't have been my first, second or third choice for a lazy day activity, it's no wonder the Navy didn't want to leave. Wild horses graze by the side of the island's twisting one-lane roads, depositing squishy brown souvenirs on the pavement. Teenage boys ride bareback, their bays pacing a quick yet restrained gait like hip-swiveling speed walkers. Two-foot-long iguanas feast in the bough of tall trees, and weaselly mongeese dash across overgrown stretches of pavement lined with sealed concrete bunkers. Miles of solitary sand beaches buffer aquamarine sea, reached by rough dirt tracks that end in "no trespassing - dangerous explosives" signs.
I took a second excursion to the island's ethereal bioluminescent bay, this time in a completely clear kayak, like Wonder Woman on the water. Crossing the darkened bay to our tie-up spot, fish careened just under the surface, leaving silver trails like never-ending sword marks of Zorro. Dinoflagellates, microscopic marine plankton that glow when disturbed, flickered like ghostly bubbles as the boat slid through the water under a moonless sky. Jumping into the water, I watched the fairy dust trails from my limbs until the tour guide made us climb back in.
On Halloween night, the local cops set up a checkpoint in Esperanza. A half dozen guys stood around, loaded up in bulky flack jackets and bearing rifles. They stopped all cars going past, but since not many people were out, they mostly just hung around and chatted amongst themselves, looking puffed up and unnecessary. A stray dog was trotting down the street, and I had to laugh when I saw it stop to piss on a patrol car's tire.