23 February 2012
Isla Culebra, Puerto Rico
Guest Blog Entry
Allow me to introduce myself. I am Larry Candell, a close work colleague of Pablo Hopman, and family friends with the entire Hopman Family. When the Hopmans announced their plans to take a sailing adventure, my family (my wife Amy, and our 14 year old daughter Allison and 11 year old son Jeff) decided that a rendezvous somewhere in the Caribbean would be a great adventure of our own. We took pains to select our destination, and to plan our intense journey. On the 18th of February, 2012, we began our passage to Puerto Rico. The passáge (as we learned to pronounce it from Mia) was challenging at many levels: a cab ride to the airport, a 6 hour air flight to San Juan (with a connection mind you! Through Baltimore!) and after only two days to recover, a short flight to the island of Culebra off the coast of PR. We then walked ¾ of a mile from the airport to our hotel, Villa Boheme, on Ensenada Honda Bay, and within an hour, our connection with the Hopmans was complete as they pulled up to our dock in their much heralded dinghy. At that moment, we knew that our grueling trip was worth it!
The Hopmans are remarkably at ease in their Caribbean paradise. Whether it was the evening drinks on board Borealis, a day sail to a perfect deserted beach on the tiny island of Culebrita, or body surfing at Flamenco Beach (rated the second nicest in all the Caribbean!), the Hopmans really know how to enjoy themselves, have an unusual ability to work together as a family (though don’t let her cute looks deceive you, Remi is a bit of a slave driver J), and were the ideal travel companions. It was especially fun to watch our kids get along so well. Apparently, they have lot’s of practice: Everywhere we went, they would bump into other sailing families they have met throughout the islands. Far from the image of isolation, they seem to have as much, if not more community than most of us back home.
Culebra was a wonderful place to spend some time, and I would not be surprised if we return someday, but catching up with the Hopmans, and getting a small taste of their life at sea was easily the highlight of our trip. Now for the long struggle to get home. It will literally take hours!
|At the famous Flamenco Beach|
|Playing off the boat in Culebrita|