05/04/2012, Caja Muertos, PR (Coffin Island)
Thursday morning we approached Muretos Isle with a single tack from Ponce Bay.. what a sight.. high ridge with an old lighthouse structure on the tallest point.. green with clean turquoise blue waters surround.. and wonderful anchorage near the swimming beach. We quickly secured an anchor ball and lowered the dinghy to find very pleasant hosts at this state park some 7 miles offshore... coconut palms surrounding a couryard with veranda and picnic tables with free satellite WiFi.. all we could ask for save water.. we snorkeled a well-executed underwater trail for some good views and exercise.. then back for some emails after several days without.. then back to the boat chased by some weather and then some fishing.. we were lucky to catch several snapper that will become a meal soon..
a most pleasing experience
This has been a great harbor. Walked to a large super market, Santiagoes Cash & Carry. It has a nice marina with free water from a neighbor while we fueled up on diesel at $4.13/ gal. A lot cheaper than $7 in Bahamas.
05/02/2012, Punta Jorobado
Went ashore here and Chris bought a Red Snapper. Man that was eating! They had no wifi and what a loud bunch of competing bands that night. The worst thing was the incessant rolling all night.
It sure would help to know Spanish.
Somewhere in Boqueron I lost my billfold. Thought it would show up but apparently it fell out of my pocket on a dingy ride. What a pain that has been to get new debit cards shipped to a different country.
We follow Bruce Van Sant's plan of easting early each morning leaving between 4 and 6am. This way the island land breezes lay the swell down and the wind from dead ahead is light. It starts honking about 9am. By then we are safely anchored and enjoying a new harbor.
05/01/2012, Cabo Rojo
My first cousin Chris Neal joined me in Boqueron to cruise. What a godsend he has been. He is very good at repairs and picks up sailing very quickly. We pulled in here and got the third lung working and buddy dove on the boat to do a bottom job. Not too much growth after five months. Its great to have help especially since auto pilot is on fritz.
The Ray Marine unit stripped three of its planetary gears so unfortunately the new belt didn't help. Timothy Gibson at Port Supply in Pensacola was a real trooper in getting a warranty unit shipped ahead to Salinas, PR. I have great appreciation for the Port Supply team there.
04/21/2012, Puerto Rico
Left Luperon in company of 5 other sailboats bound for Boqueron, PR. We left about 6:30pm and sailed the Atlantic coasting the DR to take advantage of the Katabelic winds blowing of the mountains and out to sea. Depth perception is terrible at night sailing near the mountains off to your lee. You think you are near shore but looking at your chart plotter you are well off. One thing about these impoverished islands is that they all have cell service.
We got down to the Eastern tip of DR and decided to go ahead and do the dreaded Mona Passage to PR since we had a weather window. It turned out to be your typical sail (motorsail) with winds mostly 30 degrees off the bow thru large swells. We all got seperated after the first 24Hrs.
My autopilot started slipping and finally quit so had to do the last 30 hrs behind the wheel. Thats when you really wish you had some help. Try reefin g the main in 23k winds at night in rolling seas. Not fun even tethered in. The topping lift also decided to come undone and the boom finished off my bimini. Shredded canvas and isenglass completely obscured me forward vision but couldn't leave the wheel to get it out of the way. And wpuldn't you know it a nice fish was on but couldn't do anything about it. Needless to say he got off.
After about 20hrs I found myself falling asleep behind the wheeln and would jump awake to find myself way off course. For many hours it was just plain grueling. Coming into PR there is a large rock right near a waypoint. It looked ever so close, but alas the chart plotter doesnt lie. I dare not fall asleep now.
Coming into Boqueron harbor Wayne and Pat's boat's engine died so I grabbed a line from them and pulled them into the anchorage. It turned out that everyone who bought fuel in Luperon got a lot more than diesel. Luckily I didn't. Couldn't hail any of the other boats. Found out later that Celtic Rover had to jury rig a rub golberg fuel strainer. Celtic Rover and Highland came in a couple days later having to divert to Mayaquez.
Anyway got Kolebrie safely in then dropped the hook and fell asleep.
This is a college weekend hot spot with music blaring into the wee hours. Called Customs and was told I had to have a $27.50 decal to clear in. Customs was a good 30 mile trip away so I went online and paid for it only to find out I still had to go back to Mayaquez to pay another $27.50 fine for entering without the decal. Clearing into PR was suspossed to be easy...NOT!
Waiting here for a front to clear thru then will start working our way to Gilligan's Island and then Ponce. They have a Sam's club there so it will be time to provision.
Great news! My first cousin, Chris Neal, is flying down to meet me Saturday to cruise with me. I'm really looking forward to his company. He is also bringing a new belt for Mr. auto. It will be great to have his help and to also have a diving partner.
04/13/2012, Dominican Republic
It was motorsail overnighter from Big Sand Cay to Luperion(of course). You could smell the nice earthy smells coming way out to sea. Arrived before daylight so had to wait to see entrance between mountains. So different, mountains that really screw up your depth perception. Coming in like coming into a jungle river which I guess it was except it is salt water.
Got in and was intercepted by Papo who led me to a bouy (only $2/night and he had DR flags at $10). Dingied to the dock and walked to customs. A long 4 stop process for a total on about $96. It's Spanish here and a good thing most of them speak some English.
It's true culture shock here, first of all you have to find a bank and ATM to get pesos. Exchange rate was 38.1/1 us. Walking down the street everything is in Spanish. The meat markets have whole pigs heads for sale on the sidewalk. Vendors dive along in trucks and you can get local tomatoes, bananas, pineapples & etc.
Met a lot of a lot of expatriots who now live here. The livings is very simple and cheap. Even Bru Van Sant who wrote 'Passages South' lives here. Got to ride in the country with a lady who wanted me to meet her sister's American boyfriend. Super fine people and enjoyed their hospitality. Jamie and Charo are their names. The ladies cooked a fine lunch while Jamie (Lobo) and I talked. What a wealth of info he was.
Marianna and a friend of hers brought a vegetable over to the boat on my last day there and prepared lunch. Whatever the veg was it tasted just like mashed potatoes only orange in color.
kWould like to come back one day and tour the whole interior. A very beautiful place.
Well six boats leaving to go down the coast and do the Mona Passage to Puerto Rico.