Friday, April 28, 2006

Puerto Rico

We left just before dawn the next morning and had flat seas until we turned down the coast past Punta Nisabon, DR. The wind came up that afternoon and the seas were a little rough but calmed down as the sun set. We were able to keep the main up the whole way and shut the motor off for a while. We angled across the hourglass shoals and took one tack to get out across the narrow section. The next morning we were off Cabo Rojo, the southwest corner of Puerto Rico, motor sailing in calm seas all the way to Ponce. Thirty two hours to do just over 200 miles!

Ponce is a terrific provisioning spot. Benno and Marlene on "Diesel Duck" (that's it above) were already anchored so we arranged for a one day car rental from Popular Car Rentals for $39 (they picked us up at the Yacht Club and dropped us off) and shopped at Sam's, Wal-Mart and Pueblo Supermarkets.

We had to make two trips we got so much stuff! That night there was a sundowners party for boaters in the harbor at a small park. At least twenty boat crews were there - great food.
Diesel Duck and ourselves left Friday morning at 4:30 AM and had a beautiful sail down the coast to Salinas. This is a lovely protected spot but if we'd followed our charts' advice, we would have had
to skip it - they all showed much to shallow water The Salinas Marina has a Laundromat ($1 per machine), pool and snack bar which they let all the anchored boats use.We met up with friends from Columbia, Luis and Natalia, on Vagamundo and rented a car with them for two days to see some of the island. Ponce on the south coast was very different from San Juan. We appeared to be the only non Puerto Ricans in the city. The Museum of Art there was world class! The Castillo, built in the 50's for a prominent family that is now available for a tour is build high up on the mountain overlooking the city. The gardens and view were worth the trip alone.

San Juan was beautiful and at least until later in the day, not crowded. Once the cruise ships empty, the streets load with
tourists. We walked all around the city and toured the fort. Unfortunately I had a bad case of the stomach flu and was a bit of a party pooper. We found a very nice restaurant however with something for everyone. We drove through the island on the way there and back along the east coast - a very twisty road with lovely views.

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