Monday, March 28, 2011

Puerto Rico Continued

Monday 21 March – Monday 28 March

Monday we spend the day calling and talking to people trying to see about getting work done on the boat. Our Spanish is POOR to say the least so trying to communicate what we need over the phone is very difficult. We do manage to talk to a couple of guys, and have someone come out and talk to us and look at the boat. After all the conversations we decide the best course of action is to get the work done at Puerto Del Rey Marina on the east coast. Which frees us up to explore the south coast as we make our way around the Island. Tuesday we head over to Caja de Muertos, a state park home of an old lighthouse from 1829. The small little Island has a good path covering the 2 miles from the west side to the east and a good trail up 270 ft. to the lighthouse. We enjoy the day walking and having the place almost to ourselves. Wednesday we head over to Salinas, a small little cruiser friendly village with a nice protected harbor to anchor in. We meet back up with Tammera Sue who arrived the day before, and make plans to get a rental car on Thursday to drive to Ponce to tour the city. We are on our way in the rental car shortly after 9, entering the city from the highway passing 2 bronze lion sculptures at the entrance. We are in downtown Ponce by 10, parked and walking around the historic part of the city. The Plaza Las Delicias (Central Plaza) is a beautiful square with trees and fountains. This is surrounded with several blocks of businesses, stores and shopping markets, all in different pastel colored buildings of Caribbean and colonial architecture. The plaza is also home of a Victorian firehouse built in 1883 the Parque de Bombas, painted the city's colors in red and black stripes it's hard not to miss. The Cathedral of Our Lady de Guadalupe is also located in the plaza. We take a little trolly ride around viewing more of the very old and different styles of homes and buildings, many in disrepair but many also beautifully maintained. Getting a small sense of the history of this the 2nd largest city in Puerto Rico. Of course a day with a rental car is not complete without a stop at the mall and Wall-Mart, between the 4 of us the trunk is full when we return to the dock. We load up the dinghies and make it back to the boats just before dark, unloading and putting everything away before going back in to go to Drakes located just outside the marina in the village. STRONG cheap drinks, good food and the owners Luis & Nancy use to live in Seabrook ! Friday, easy day ending with making mango margaritas from the free mango’s we got from the restaurant we had lunch at on Wednesday. We brought the pitcher over to Tammera Sue before going into the marina bar for BBQ night. Another great deal with cheap strong drinks and huge portions of good food for a great price. No wonder this is such a popular place for cruisers. Saturday morning Tammey & Joe bring Bloody Mary’s over to start the day then we take the dinghies to go exploring, noticing the increase in boat traffic as the weekend starts up. This anchorage is still much quieter than the other ones we've been at during weekends. We're talking relative here. There's a racetrack a couple of miles away that runs races all weekend, and you can clearly hear the cars, motorcycles and assorted other vehicles revving up . But that's a lot less noisy than the boom boxes from the beaches we've experienced at some of the anchorages here in PR where they like to party on the weekends. Sunday we are under way by 6:30, shortly behind Tammera Sue. In the usual Island weather patterns it is very calm in the morning and then the east winds and waves kick up in the afternoon causing your easterly sail to get very uncomfortable. So even though there are 2 anchorages between Salinas and our next destination of Palmas Del Mar, we plan to only stop at the 2nd one at about the ½ way point. Leaving Salinas motor sailing behind some keys for the 1st hour in calm conditions. Once out in the open out past the 1st anchorage at Boca De Infierno we have strong winds and 5-6 swells that we are beating into. It is a rough go and once again we get water in thru the front hatches. NOT as bad as before, but have to work on that problem !. It is too rough for Tammera Sue being a smaller boat with a smaller engine she can not make any easting progress. They turn around and go back to anchor at Boca hoping it will be calmer the next morning. We are able to tack out so we have the waves more at an angle and pick up speed. By 11 we are by the 2nd anchorage but by this time the wind & waves have actually calmed down (opposite of how it usually is) so we decide to just keep going to Palmas Del Mar. Tacking back in we make really good time as the wind & waves are both smaller and at a better angle. We are tied up in our slip by 1:30, checked in & have lunch before tackling the job of cleaning the salt off of and out of the boat. This area is very scenic as the yacht club is part of a 2600 acre resort & residential community, with beautiful landscaping surrounding the Mediterranean style homes and condos. There are several restaurants and shops near by, but after Salinas with inexpensive food & drink options this place is no bargain except the marina rate is a decent $1.50 ft (for a 50' boat). Sunday evening we just relax by the pool before going back to the boat for dinner. Monday I have to gather all the laundry as they do not have a laundromat on premises so all the wet salty towels have to be sent out. First & last time I hope to have to do that as it was VERY expensive to wash our towels and sheets, should have waited until the next marina but I just wanted it to be cleaned up. We take a walk up to the shopping center but no great bargains there either. Tuesday we will head up to Puerto Del Rey Marina to see about getting the arch made for the boat. While there we will meet back up with Tammy & Joe to do more inner Island touring.

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