Moving onward to the east
13 December 2018
So we've departed from the Dominican Republic, hurray, having now crossed the Mona Passage to Puerto Rico. To say it was easy would be a misnomer. It was an overnight passage that started out pretty hard and I was thinking if this how it's going to be we are in big trouble. It took us 5 hours just to clear the island, big waves, big winds, not at all to my liking... but we had to push on, argg!
Long passage cut short, I knew the winds were forecast to abate to the north of Mona Island so we headed in that direction. Yup, down to 8+ knots but right on our nose so we were power sailing. Puerto Rico here we come.
We arrived in Ponce at the yacht club in mid afternoon, checked in with American Customs and Immigration, another story to tell, and we were go to go at the Ponce Yacht and Fish Club, a beautiful place.
So now for a couple of cruising anecdotes:
First, checking in:
Each country has different procedures, different fees and different attitudes. So we've checked into Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Cayman Islands, Jamaica, and now the Dominica Republic. So here come some six people. Two in military uniforms, and the rest in casual attire. I mention this experience only because the Immigration guy wanted $80 US and we didn't have any US currency. So, I asked the hotel owner if he could make up a charge to cover the amount Immigration needed. Nope. So where is the nearest ATM? 20+ miles to Bani. So the bus for me. I wait near four locals who are hollering at each other, and I wait for something that looks like a bus. The owner of the hotel, George, appeared and signaled to me to join him. He offered me at ride to Bani where I could find an ATM.
Now I'm in a truck heading to where I don't know, trusting this guy who is on the cell phone constantly, so I'm just wondering what going to happen. We we got to Bani, we stopped, he got out and started hailing guys on motorcycles. One young fellow stopped and was asked to take me to the ATM, wait and bring me back to the bus station. The agreement was made, $3.00 US round trip. It worked and I had some fun riding on this motorcycle through the city of Bani. Just one more cruising experience that ended well.
Now for a story the Alice doesn't want me to tell but I will anyway.
So we are sailing at night. It's her turn at the helm and to watch the Radar and AIS. So what does she do to keep her active and attentive. It's boring sailing at night, nothing to see, occasional views of the plotter or the radar and if nothing is going on what do you do?
Alice counts beers on the wall. First she takes 100 off the wall and then she puts 100 back. She tells me that takes about her watch. Then on her next watch she sings happy birthday to her entire family and anyone else she can think of. This is how she passes her tine at the helm unless something happens and the I'm on immediate call. It works for us and we've made many night passages. For me during my hours on the helm, I focus on the boat, the apparent wind, the heading, the radar and the ais. I'm constantly re-planning course based on wind direction and wind velocity changes.