During our February trip to the Southeastern coast of Puerto Rico, Brendan and I booked an excursion with Barefoot Travelers to kayak out to the waters surrounding Monkey Island (Cayo Santiago), located a few kilometers off the coast near Humacao, for snorkeling and watching hundreds of non-native Rhesus monkeys jump, swing, run and swim.
Unless you’re one of the approved researchers conducting behavioral/cognitive investigations of primates (um, as the mother of a toddler, I could argue that I do belong to this group), you’re not allowed to make landfall. Instead you must watch from afar as they…monkey about.
The monkeys are definitely wild, as no interventions of their behavior are allowed (though having a human follow you around with a clipboard all day could definitely make you modify your movements).
However, watching the monkeys wasn’t my favorite part of the trip. What I really enjoyed was the snorkeling of “Monkey Reef,” which is actually a partially submerged boat that used to transport sugarcane. In just a few feet of water you can see beach-ball sized puffer fish, octopi (we saw two!), psychedelically colored angelfish and scores of giant schools of squirrel fish. In February in Puerto Rico the water is warm, wonderful and loaded with wildlife. No photos of the beauty below the water, but I do have a few more of the monkeys and the island:
Oh and a trip photo of MY wild-haired monkey child (right), and her cousin: