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Sunrise: Chasing the dream
Life filled with adventure, both actual and spiritual.
In the Virgins!
05/20/2012, Vieques, PR

Well, it was worth the bash to weather... This is Green Beach... with OUR Palm tree... Later a few other people showed up from shore. Otherwise this has been like some kind of perfect movie set.

Well, today we had a taste of why they call this the "thorny path"... Even though we followed the instructions of Bruce Van Zant... Well not really... He would have suggested waiting for the Tradwinds to be reduced before leaving Puerto Patillas. We were so tired of the surge that was rolling us... We were willing to put up with some windward bashing to get out of there.

at first we motor-sailed in two big tacks to make the nine miles to the SE corner of Puerto Rico... Then we were able to sail in two more big tacks to "green beach" on the nw corner of Vieques. We share the anchorage with one other boat... We haven't met them yet... As food and nap were the first order of business!

We haven't had Internet, except through our iPad, and we can't figure out how to post photos from the iPad. Any ideas?

18 06.630'n. 065 34.646'w

05/20/2012 | Uncle Readie
I think Vieques and Culebra only started being called Spanish Virgin Islands for tourist purposes after the US Navy stopped using them for target practice a few years ago. They're usually called the Passage Islands between PR and the real Virgins to the east. Not really sure why your iPad gets wifi internet but Macs don't, sorry. Need more info. Email me.
05/22/2012 | Sue Kreiling/m/v Independence
Every now and then, I remember to check in on your blog, then I go all the way backwards to check on your progress. So happy to see your adventures. Quick note, I avoided surgery and have healed to 90% functionality-- back home to a new kitchen (almost) and all is well!
Hope to see you back on the high seas this fall/winter??
05/24/2012 | Joey B Tortuga
Sorry gang.
Great to hear of your progress.
I just saw this noticing its 5 days old.
HOPE you turned North again to visit to Culebra, esp Culebrita.
If you passed it by - Sorry.
Love and best wishes to y'all.
Cats of Old San Juan
05/15/2012, San Juan, PR

At the Discovery Center

We have toured El Morro, the fort that over looks the entrance to the most important harbor in the Caribbean... Held by the Spanish from the 1600's through 1898 when the US took the fort by Naval bombardment.

Cats were brought by Christopher Columbus to help keep the rats a bay. The cats kept the city rat-free until 1940, when someone removed them to "clean up the city." The soon found that the cats were critical... The rat population exploded... Until the cats were retrieved from their exile.

We were wandering around looking for some ice cream, when we saw a little door into the huge wall of the St Cristobal Fort, "Discovery Center." we entered to find a wonderful litte kids place with books and art supplies. This is where we read about the cats... And made a cat mask. Nice job US Park Service

05/15/2012 | Uncle Readie
Way to build up the audience for an Isobel cat mask photo, Bill.
05/17/2012 | Uncle Readie
Now *that's* a cat mask! :)
05/19/2012 | dagny St.John
Hi there! Am in Bath, Maine now, on the Kennebec, babysitting 2x a week for new granddaughter born Jan cool..are you bringing the boat up this summer? Sverre works at Strouts boatyard in SoFreeport, Jordi and Katrinain Portland. All in book club are now grandmas except MaryCastner! Amazing! We miss you! Dagny
Torches & Prayer in Old San Juan

Women and children walked with torches through the streets...praying for the troops in El Morro, but the British mistook them for approaching Spanish troops - and RAN!

Villa Herencia
05/14/2012, Caleta des Monjas

This is the atrium, open to the sky... with fountain at the end. cool, quiet and right in the middle of old town.

Well, using Google maps and Trip Avisor... We found a room in Old San Juan in this great little hotel. It really feels like an old world place on a street that fits only one car... Barely! With a little fountain the the atrium and small but very comfortable rooms, I would recommend it to anyone who wants to walk around Old San Juan... The only thing they fell apart on was the breakfast. Skip it and go to one of the little coffe houses. We went to Cafe Cuatre Sombras for some excellent PR coffee and food.

05/15/2012 | Uncle Readie
Villa Herencia is on Caleta de las Monjas, "Little Nun Street". Another hotel there is a former convent. Watch out for flying nuns!
Bosque Toro Negro

Did you know that there was such a thing as the US Caribbean National Forest?

A coffee Hacienda plus plus
05/12/2012, Hacienda Pomarosa

Located within a mile of the highest mountain of Puerto Rico, Hacienda Pomarrosa has been a wonderful retreat in many ways: so peaceful, with only tree frogs at night, a wonderful breakfast after a very comfortable nights sleep. Kurt, the owner gave us a wonderful history of coffee ending with a tour of his farm and processing facilities. His coffee is better than any we've tasted... Clearly you can taste the care and love he gives each bean.
Being a true coffee connoisseur, Kurt gave Isobel coffee for breakfast and espresso after the tour (with lots of milk at our request). Reminded me of the signs "Unattended children will be given an espresso & free puppy."

And the drive to the Hacienda is truly spectacular.

Beautiful so far
05/09/2012, Isla de la Caja de los muertos

While we motored, even though we were bouncing up and down, the girls enjoyed sitting up on the dinghy, which is stored upside down on the bow during short passages.

Well, we had a nice passage across the infamous Mona Passage, known for beating people up... We were able to sail, close hauled, from the DR to Mona Island... then the wind died and we motored to a nice little anchorage inside a reef near Boqueron on the west end of the south shore. That was spectacular... could have stayed there a wihile.... but we had nice weather for easting with some not nice weather coming today we pressed on to arrive here, just 15 miles short of our destination, Salinas... Now we have a nice squall rincing our decks and hardware of all the salt... Tomorrow we should have some internet to update the blog with photos.

Today we had great fun entertaining our selves as we bounced over the waves by singing "Hi ho the derry oh, the farmer in the dell" with as many made up verses as we could. I reminded me of all the various games and songs parents have to come up with to enterntain kids during a long car ride. Since we were bouncing up and down so, no one wanted to do any of the usual things... such as cook, process photos and write in the blog... and there is sewing and some boat maintenance that could have been done also... Ah well... and it was really beautiful even bouncing along.... the temperature was great and the PR coast was beautiful... and the music...

05/09/2012 | Uncle Readie
"Corpse Box Island". Spanish is such a lovely language. ;^P
05/11/2012 | Uncle Readie
That little girl will never be able to sleep while still again. :P
Leaving DR
05/06/2012, South of eastern DR

Isobel helps transfer eggs from the cartons that are sold in the DR to our saved boxes that fit under the floor. Amongst other things she is the egg girl. In addition to being able to crack an egg one handed, she is in charge of storing them and retrieving them. They are stored under the floor boards and above the water tank... a perfect height for the egg cartons we have.

We are headed to Puerto Rico! Currently 18 22.077'n 069 10.793'w underway to Catalina Island for a night and a beach. We have not had much time to be in the water the past few days in the marina, so we are all lookig forward to swimming a bit. We plan on leaving tomorrow mid-day for a 100 mile sail to Puerto rico... more info coming soon!

05/06/2012 | Uncle Readie
"Santa Catalina" was named by Columbus and has a Captain Kidd shipwreck. Quite the history lesson. Thanks for the updates and photos.
Coffee in the mountains
05/02/2012, Jarabacoa, dr

This is the Jimenoa Water fall near Jarabacoa, DR. Just below this one of the biggest hydropower plants in the DR. Isobel slept through the entire hike, up and down... to wake up when we returned the car... "where's the water fall?"

We have had some interesting times the past few days... Which I will expand on once we are back in a place with better Internet. We have been to huge waterfalls, had crazy rides on moto-taxis, stayed in dives, remote coffee Fincas and high end resorts (none of which had hot water and sometimes didn't have water at all!). We have eaten what rich folks from DR eat (fried cheese, white bread and cakes made from plantain and corn) and what poor DRs eat (Chicken in gravy, red beens and rice) and we have had some very good coffee.

We have ended up here in this little "upscale" hotel ($30) where they assured us hot water and wifi in the room... As I sat here in the lobby writing this blog... Lara came out to tell me that Isobel is all lathered up and the water is off!!!

Tomorrow we return to the boat for some R&R!

PS our Spanish is improving!

05/02/2012 | Uncle Readie
"Hombre prevenido nunca fue vencido." Loosely translated: "Forewarned is forearmed". My high school Spanish teacher liked to say that before she started a test. :)
Green and water falls
04/30/2012, Jarabacoa, DR

The view out the hotel window is pretty great. Although much of the mountains we deforested, much of it has been replanted with Coffee or fruits.

Another short post... the owner of the hotel we are in is lending us his computer... We have been in Jarabacoa for a couple days in a mini resort. It is very lush here and a river runs through the resort so we can watch the rafters go by... most in their rafts and some (to Isobels delight) in the water collecting their things!

Today we toook a taxi to a spectacular water fall: Salto de Jemenoa Dos. There was a long suspention bridge to get their and the biggest hydro electric plant there. more photos when we get back to Boca Chica.

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