South Coast of Puerto Rico
24 June 2011 | Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico
The view from our free mooring at Isla Caja De Muertes (Coffin Island)
We took the dinghy to downtown Ponce to clear customs, and got permission to tie up to the marine police dock right next door. We didn't have any issues, and were able to tour a bit of the town on foot, including the heavily air conditioned art museum, prior to returning to the dinghy and boat. Everything is within several miles of the anchorage, so we took several other trips into town on foot, including cruising the mall, only renting a car the day we loaded up on groceries.
We found out that the Ponce Yacht Club wanted $10 US per person, per day, for the priviledge of tying the dinghy to their dock, so most times we tied to the pier near the boat ramp. The Fisherman's Co-op that the guide talks about, if we figured it out correctly, now has a vendor selling sardines to kids so they can feed the fish and/or birds. As a result, the dock and any boats nearby are covered with guano, hence our tie-up to the ramp dock.
After a week of touring, relaxing, and some boat chores, we filled up on diesel ($4 a gallon, cheapest we've seen in a year!) and left for Isla Caja de Muertos. It was pretty rough on the windward side, so we didn't do any snorkeling or diving there but did snorkel ashore to walk through the small museum and have a look around. There were only two other boats at the island (mid-week), and the moorings are free - Nice! We left the following morning and motored to Salinas with winds on the nose. We spent two days there with Flying Fish, enjoying the easy access of the (free) dinghy dock at the marina, and a close restaurant with free wifi.
After two nights, we then headed up to Puerto Patillas where we caught back up with Yellow Rose. There isn't much to Puerto Patillas other than the kiosks, like the malecon at Ponce, where we shared some beers, hot patties, and stories with them. The anchorage was a bit rolly, but the reef really did break most of the rollers, as was apparent the next morning when we headed out and were in 2-3' seas only a mile from our anchorage.
I had hoped to sail once we rounded the SE corner of Puerto Rico, but alas, the winds were northeast instead of southeast, so once again we motored into the wind up to Roosevelt Roads. With our pre-arranged Float Plan number in hand, I radioed Port Control and received clearance to enter the base. We tied up to the service dock around 1230 and tidied the boat at our new home for the next few months.