I always thought cacti were soft inside. Silly me. I’m not sure where or how I came upon this wisdom, or lack of it. Perhaps it was the old western movies watched as a kid where some Indian native cut open a cactus for a drink of water while all the bad guys suffered heatstroke and dehydration. Anyway, I have since been educated. The cacti on Coffin Island are like trees. They are huge. I am dwarfed in the picture above. The larger ones even have what appears to be bark. In a couple of places along the hiking trail some large cacti have fallen and were cut by the park ranger to allow continued access along the trail. I could clearly see the interior of the cactus resembles wood. Hmmm. I learned something new.
Growing up I did not live in a desert environment and acanthochronology (the study of Cacti) in our school was nothing more than a paragraph in a biology text book. At an older age, I lived in Texas for a stint. They have cactus there, lots of them. But, at this point in life, I was old enough to know not to touch them. Hence, I never knew they weren’t mushy.
We just landed at Caja de Muertos also know as Coffin Island. This entire island is a park and nature reserve. Ponce is lacking a good beach. While in Turks and the Bahamas, we quickly grew accustomed to the fabulous beaches. They were everywhere. In Puerto Rico a good beach is hard to find. In Ponce, it is really hard to find a good beach. Coffin Island is the answer. The island is just 7 miles off the coast southeast of Ponce. It offers a great beach and hiking trails. People from Ponce flock here on the weekends and ride the ferry over to the island. It can get very crowded here on the weekends. This is why we arrived on a Tuesday. It felt really good to get off the boat and go for a good long hike. We haven’t been on a good long walk since Turks and Caicos. We had the whole island to ourselves.
The lighthouse is in pretty poor condition. It is no longer in service and is boarded up. The front door is padlocked to keep the honest people out. However, a person with a keen criminal mind stacked rocks and made a makeshift ladder at a rear window. All the glass has since gone. The kid in me said, “Let’s go inside”. Then the older voice of reason set in saying, “You are up here by yourself. You and Cindy are the only people on the island. If that rickety ladder snaps you’ll break something. You’ll probably die.” The older voice of reason won. Sometimes being a responsible adult has its downside.