CURRENT LOCATION: Tied to a mooring ball in Ensenada Dakity, near the entrance to Ensenada Honda, on the island of Culebra, Puerto Rico
18 17.442' N, 065 16.844' W
Life on a mooring ball is good. Here in Dakity Harbor, we have really gotten back into the pace of life on a sailboat, without the distractions of a nearby town. It reminds us of our 'shakedown cruise' last summer at Cape Lookout. The days meld together almost seamlessly. At times, we are swimming. Other occasions find us enjoying time with other cruisers. Most often, we are reading and relaxing.
The absence of access to the internet has been frustrating. After several meetings with the owner of Culebra Wireless, David, we STILL have no idea what is causing the problems for us. Others on the system seem to experience intermittent issues, but we have not been able to get access to anything for 10 days straight. David finally threw up his hands and gave us a full refund of our money. Unfortunately, he is the only wireless internet access on the island. In fact, the only other option for us is a place which charges $15/hour for us to plug in our laptop to their internet connection. So, for now, dear Reader, please bear with us if our postings are infrequent and our e-mail responses are short and somewhat delayed. We will do our best to keep in touch until we find some alternative internet solution.
In the meantime, we have taught ourselves a new dominoes game called Muggins. This game combines the standard match-the-dots approach to dominoes with another strategic endeavor. When you can make the sum of the trains built achieve a multiple of five (i.e. 5, 10, 15, 20,... etc.) you get to score that number of points. In addition, the first to run out of dominoes gets to mug the opponent's remaining dominoes and add the sum of those dots to their score. Contrary to Mexican Train Dominoes, the person with the highest point score wins. It is lots of fun for two to play this game (it reminds us somewhat of cribbage, but the rules are not quite as complicated).
We are beginning to see a new wave of boats we know arriving in Culebra. We had a chance to catch up with a couple we met at the Cruiser's Rendezvous in New Bern, Denny and Renee, from Salt & Light the other night. With it came the opportunity to meet Otis & Jenny as they hosted a potluck dinner aboard their catamaran, Independence. Also in attendance were Denny's brother and sister-in-law (visiting them from the States). We were the only couple without kids, so the activity level aboard Independence was certainly different than what we are used to. After bedtime for kiddies, we had a chance to get to know Otis & Jenny a bit better and stayed out way past our own bedtime. Overall, a good time was had by all.
Another boat from the New Bern Rendezvous we saw sail past us the other day was Bees Knees. They headed into Dewey, so we did not have a chance to say hello. We have, though, been in radio contact but have not yet said a personal hello to a couple we met in Georgetown, Turks & Caicos, and Luperon, Dan & Kimber. Snark is also anchored near Dewey and we will definitely have to catch up with them before they depart for the Virgin Islands.
The only other news to report is that we have been spending time with D & Don aboard Southern Cross. They are a wonderful and easy-going couple, with lots of subtle cruising wisdom to share. They recently took delivery of a new dinghy, and we decided to purchase their old one. Patience will not be going into retirement, per se. She is just going to get a rest in the cockpit locker for the summer. The new (10-year old) boat, Patience II is a Porta-Bote. It is a solid shell, but has the capability of being folded up, to about the size of a 10-foot surfboard. Theoretically, we should be able to secure it on deck in an out-of-the-way location when we are under sail. In practice, we shall just have to wait and see.
We are not certain how long we will use this new-to-us tender, but feel that we can get our money's worth over the next few months here by having a boat which makes it easier to transport the both of us (and possibly others) without having to get everything and everyone soaking wet. This is especially true when we are hanging way out here on a mooring ball, so far from Dewey. Initial tests suggest that it will plane easily with just one person aboard (pushed by our 3-horsepower Evinrude). Further tests will take place after we complete some patchwork on a leak. It certainly wouldn't do for us to sink our 'brand new' dinghy, now would it?