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Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Q & A: Puerto Rico Often?

Q. Humble Pie said...
Rebecca,I'll comment once for all the pictures if you don't mind. What a beautiful place and an even more beautiful family. Thanks for posting so many photos. I'd love to visit Puerto Rico in the future. It's warm there! Do you get there often?
A. Thanks! Actually, this was the first visit to Puerto Rico for the kids and I. H was born and partly raised there but he hadn't been back since before we were married. It was a wonderful vacation, despite a few snags, and we are already making a list of places to see next time.

Q & A: More Children?

Q. sarah-lewis asked:

Are you going to have any more children?

A. Only if God decides to send more. I would love to have more. I really enjoy my children.

Arecibo Observatory

Dubbed "an ear to heaven," Observatorio de Arecibo contains the world's largest and most sensitive radar/radio-telescope. The telescope features a 20-acre (8-hectare) dish, or radio mirror, set in an ancient sinkhole. It's 1,000 feet (300m) in diameter and 167 feet (50m) deep, and it allows scientists to monitor natural radio emissions from distant galaxies, pulsars, and quasars, and to examine the ionosphere, the planets, and the moon using powerful radar signals. Used by scientists as part of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI), this is the same site featured in the movie Contact with Jodie Foster. This research effort speculates that advanced civilizations elsewhere in the universe might also communicate via radio waves. The 10-year, $100 million search for life in space was launched on October 12, 1992, the 500-year anniversary of the New World's discovery by Columbus.
Unusually lush vegetation flourishes under the giant dish, including ferns, wild orchids, and begonias. Assorted creatures like mongooses, lizards, and dragonflies have also taken refuge there. Suspended in outlandish fashion above the dish is a 600-ton platform that resembles a space station. This is not a site where you'll be launched into a Star Wars journey through the universe. You are allowed to walk around the platform, taking in views of this gigantic dish. At the Angel Ramos Foundation Visitor Center, you are treated to interactive exhibitions on the various planetary systems and introduced to the mystery of meteors and educated about intriguing weather phenomena.

Camuy Caverns

Parque de las Cavernas del Río Camuy (Río Camuy Caves) contains the third-largest underground river in the world. It runs through a network of caves, canyons, and sinkholes that have been cut through the island's limestone base over the course of millions of years. Known to the pre-Columbian Taíno peoples, the caves came to the attention of speleologists in the 1950s; they were led to the site by local boys already familiar with some of the entrances to the system. The caves were opened to the public in 1986. Visitors should allow about 1 1/2 hours for the total experience.
Visitors first see a short film about the caves and then descend into the caverns in open-air trolleys. The trip takes you through a 200-foot (60m) deep sinkhole and a chasm where tropical trees, ferns, and flowers flourish, along with birds and butterflies. The trolley then goes to the entrance of Clara Cave of Epalme, one of 16 caves in the Camuy caves network, where visitors begin a 45-minute walk, viewing the majestic series of rooms rich in stalagmites, stalactites, and huge natural "sculptures" formed over the centuries.
Tres Pueblos Sinkhole, located on the boundaries of the Camuy, Hatillo, and Lares municipalities, measures 65 feet (20m) in diameter, with a depth of 400 feet(120m) -- room enough to fit all of El Morro Fortress in San Juan. In Tres Pueblos, visitors can walk along two platforms -- one on the Lares side, facing the town of Camuy, and the other on the Hatillo side, overlooking Tres Pueblos Cave and the Río Camuy.
Our photos due little justice to the majestic Camuy Caverns.