Regenero's Great Escape

06 February 2016 | Francis Bay, St John, USVI
31 January 2016 | Privateer Bay, Norman Island
16 January 2016 | Christmas Cove
07 January 2016
30 November 2015 | Puerto Del Rey, Puerto Rico
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04 February 2015
18 January 2015
11 January 2015
01 January 2015
31 December 2014
28 December 2014
18 December 2014
09 December 2014
06 December 2014

Laughing our way across Puerto Rico

09 December 2013
Karen
Monday, December 9, 2013

So, Sunday we piled in the car for a road trip along the North side of the island to the West. We decided to take the scenic route and so the 2.5 hour to Rincon took us about 9 hours. On the way we passed (ok, stopped at) many, many beautiful spots. The first was Dorado, just to the west of San Juan. An especially lovely, clean and well kept city with a beautiful plaza, lots of tidy shops and homes lining the road. The winds have been howling the past few days, 30+, and the north swell is up, so the north shore is being pounded by big waves. An incredible sight…but very unnerving for those of us who live on the water. However, the coastal road was beautiful, and we saw a lighthouse and observation station that we tried to stop at, only to find that there was a fee to get to the beach there, but the lighthouse was closed to the public on account of it being on a military base…hmm, oh well. So, we turned around and immediately were confronted with closed road heading west. Hmm, looks like there is some sort of bicycle rally along this road, so we ask the police officer directing traffic here if we can go thru. This is a challenging event in itself as the officer speaks no English, and Frank and Denise, only a little Spanish…and Jim and I…well, we are no use at all. So after the officer makes a phone call on his cell phone, he tells us ‘he can pass us’ but thru charades we find we must put on our 4 way flashers, and drive down the left lane of oncoming traffic. Oh, well, OK…this seems reasonable…NOT! After a mile or so we come to the next intersection where the west bound lanes are opened again, and the police officer there (probably the one on the receiving end of the call) signals us we can continue, but ‘easy, easy’, which after internal discussion we decided meant drive very carefully. Turns out this was good instruction, as we passed several cyclists heading west, and fleets of them heading east. In between, we stopped at a roadside marker for the town of Dorado, right along the beach, several stainless steel sculptures in the shape of sails…(ok, so we are single minded folks…but it was beautiful)!

Continuing on, we cleared the rally course then passed thru an area that looked like Naples, FL with various gated communities, beautiful homes and lush tropical landscaping. Then thru several other little towns, some pretty, some a little tired and rough around the edges and multiple stops at overlooks and beach walkouts. When we got to Ariciebo, we found the lighthouse there turned into a small amusement park with a mini-zoo, replicas of an Arawak Village and Columbus’ Ships, a tiny water park, Pirates cave and aquarium in addition to the Lighthouse and Museum. The view here was incredible, and after donning our rainjackets against the sprinkles, we discovered that what we were feeling was the sea spray that was spuming up and off the rocks and being blown around. As this is a volcanic island the cliffs were very dramatic and the explosion of water a sight and sound to behold. We waited out one rain shower in the concession stand, before walking up to the lighthouse, and after climbing the steps, exploring the views, and experiencing the full force of the wind!, from the terrace above. A second, more powerful shower blew thru while we inside, and so we waited it out, just a bit…but then decided that hey, we are sailors, with rain jackets….and so zipped ourselves up and headed out…only to lament the fact that they are called rain Jackets and as such cover only a portion of your bum (the exact amount in reverse proportion to the size of said bum) suffice it to say that while we all got pretty damp…some of us got much wetter than others. So, since we were already wet, we continued on to explore the pirate cave, which (with a broad artistic license) bore a striking resemblance to DisneyWorld’s, Pirates of the Caribbean. As it turned out this was the access way to the Aquarium which was surprising by its variety of tanks, with many species of fish, seahorses, tiger eels, remora, turtles, alligator, lobsters, the main tank was the highlight for me and had several VERY large Moray eels.

We all piled back in the car, very damp and, um, very hungry…you know, the kind of hungry that makes people snap like turtles at each other until the ‘proper’ restaurant was sighted, then driven back to and soon we were noshing on burgers, fries and quesidilla’s….ok, now the laughter resurfaces, and we are back to Princess, Darling and Sweetheart again.

It is just after 1:00pm, and we are roughly 40% of the way to where we are planning to stop today…there’s A LOT to see here…did I mention how much I LOVE Puerto Rico?

Continuing on, we stopped at the overlook to Isabela, which shows a tunnel in the rock face, and as we continue further on the road we come to a 30 foot carved face in the rock. We would have liked to stop and take a closer look, however it was literally at the intersection for the exit from the main road to the coastal road, and well, exiting the vehicle looked dangerous to all of us…so onward thru the forest we go, back down to the coast, and another beach area, which was marked by a totem pole, we think signifying the surfing community that congregates here on these North Shore beaches. There is a boat ramp and single dock here, amidst the lava rock, however we cannot imagine anyone crazy enough to bring a boat into this cove. the water is spuming up off the outer rocks and surging in thru the breaks…making it look like a washing machine inside – Wow. After a scramble up and around, onward we go to the very NorthWest tip of the island where we find (one of our targets for today) the former B-52 bomber airfield, Ramey airfield – very cool! We took a drive across what must have been the base golf course, then down, down, down thru the bumpy forest road to the furthest north, west shore beach. The cliffs to the north were very dramatic, but it was the difference in the sea that was amazing….with much calmer waters here in the protection of the island.

A little further down the main road we came to another highlight of the day…Crash Boat Beach. When the bombers heading for Ramey couldn’t make it in to land safely, they ditched off the west coast here as close as they could. Then the ‘crash boats’ would head out from the docks here to retrieve the personnel. The concrete piers are still here and mostly in excellent shape. And the seas are now calm and gentle, with swimmers relaxing on the beach and in the water…a far cry from just 5 miles (if that) to the north.

By now it is after 3pm, and we are thinking about were we would stop for the evening. Did I mention we don’t actually have a hotel room for the night? We figured we would do it when we got over here. But before we do we drive on thru Aquadilla, a sweet town, right on the water here, with fishing boats moored off the coast, and then up again, and finally down thru the forest to Rincon. Thru the web Denise found us a hotel, just a few kilometers further down the road, and we finally discovered why each 10th of the kilometer is sign-worthy…it is the address system. (ie Hwy 115, KM 5.8, Rincon) Oh, we thought someone had a really sweet governmental contract!

After checking in to the hotel, we headed down to the pool and enjoyed it and the hot tub, and stuck our toes in the sea, then attempted to catch sunset, but the clouds made it a bust. After sammies in the hotel room, we were snuggled up for sleep…until tomorrow!

Monday, we were up and out before the coffee shop opened at the hotel, so needed to stop at the McDonalds. Generally we prefer to go into the restaraunts as it is easier in person for charades we need to do to place our food order. This is tough when we are standing outside the locked door knocking at 7:04 and they won’t open for us…even though the sign says Abierto…7:00am! Ok…so thru the drive thru it is….and after 3 minutes we think we have 4 coffee’s with milk ordered…we think. Turns out we do! And shortly, it is laughter as usual on the road…

The drive back was somewhat quicker, if slightly less scenic, with a few necessary stops for food, then Sam’s, Walmart and West Marine, and finally, just after 1:30 we were back at the boat. 9+ hours there and 7 hours back…2.5 hour trip my eye! However most of the trip, (except for that iffy time before lunch yesterday)….were completely laughter-filled! One of the major highlights was Denise entertaining us (and chronicling the trip) with her unique song writing abilities. She would create trip specific songs for us using the melody of Gilligan’s Island, or The Beverly Hillbilly’s - ‘let me tell you a story of a man name Frank, who rented a Kia but drove it like a tank….. ‘ Seriously Hilarious! We are trying to get her to write them down and to keep a log of them… so we can laugh all over again.
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Vessel Name: Regenero
Vessel Make/Model: Lagoon 41 S2
Hailing Port: Chicago, IL
Crew: Jim & Karen Doyle
About:
Jim retired from the legal field but continues to lecture and teach as an adjunct professor at several Universities both in Illinois and as well as a US MBA program in Eastern Europe. Karen is currently on hiatus from her job. [...]

Who: Jim & Karen Doyle
Port: Chicago, IL