In the past week we have travelled the southern coast of Puerto Rico and are now tucked away in Puerto Real on the West coast where we are taking care of a big reprovisioning and a few other details to get set for our next passage to the Bahamas. Wow, how time is flying. I hope spring starts to arrive back home as we start our trek north.
Our first stop was Patillas where we stayed for a couple nights. Our first trip ashore we beached the dinghy at the local park and as we crossed the road we found a local pub with $1.25 happy hour beers on Thursdays. It was only Wednesday so we had to pay the full price of $1.50 when we stopped after a walk around town. It’s a hard life!
Next was Salinas, a popular stop for cruisers. We pulled in on Friday and clearly the nightlife is a big part of Puerto Rico, atleast from Thursday through Sunday. Salinas is fully protected from waves and swell so when the winds died off in the evenings we had very calm conditions and had the best two nights sleep at anchor possibly since we left Georgian Bay.
We checked out the waterfront street which has a few small casual restaurants and a couple mid range ones.
Of course Magnus always likes to meet the locals, but we do have to be weary as they have many strays here. The strays have all been friendly so far, with a few barkers that keep a watchful eye on us but mostly we just want to avoid Magnus picking up any ticks. For those that don’t like barking dogs, you may want to skip Puerto Rico. In the evenings all it takes is one dog to bark and then it sets off an entire chorus.
Catering directly to cruisers, this bar has a dinghy dock and advertises that they have wifi, a big feature for many cruisers.
Next stop was Ponce. Just outside of the town they have a waterfront boardwalk with restaurants and on Sunday when we arrived they had 3 live bands, and good number of locals out enjoying.
We felt it was about time to try some of the local cuisine along with a few mojitos for dinner.
The party keeps going well into the evening, but as sailors midnight rolled around (9pm) we called it a night and dinghied back to the boat and went to bed. Not sure how late the music went but it was definitely past midnight. The old saying not to buy a car built on a Monday would definitely be true if they had an assembly plant here, as we’re confident the special occasion for the late night festivities was because it was Sunday. Puerto Rico seems to like to keep a good balance to life, in the work-life scheme that so often is tilted way too far towards work back in North America.
Our second day in Ponce, we went to the actual town. We dinghied across the bay to a little marina that was kind enough to let us tie up for free so that we could walk to get some groceries. Chrissy reported that there was a better selection than we had back home and Magnus and I wandered across the road to confirm that the mall was as big as you would find stateside.
I definitely need to pick up some spanish if we return, but now I think I can figure out what to ask for if I need the fire department.
They make a Corona Light? Oh yeah, and the price is respectable too.
Ponce has a large port with some cranes that appear to be in great shape, but we didn’t see much evidence that the port is used often, but the rest of the city seemed to more affluent than the other areas we’ve travelled.
We left Ponce to head to the west end of the island. We had a combination of sailing, motor sailing and finally just motoring. Seeing as we had used less than a half tank of diesel in two months, I splurged and motored at a full 6 knots instead of a slightly slower more fuel efficient speed. It is good to give your engine a good workout once in a while anyway.
Here we are with full sails up. I think for the first time since we left the US Virgin Islands. It seems that the past month the mainsail was permanently double reefed as we have had nearly constant enhanced trade winds. This made for a much more comfortable ride, but after all our fast big wind sailing it seemed a little dull so we let Otto take a turn steering (Yes we named our autopilot).
Our miserable dog. Clearly deeply distraught that he gets to spend every day with his servants, even if it is warm and on a boat.
Can you see Big Brother watching here? Look closely for the big blimp. It apparently has 200 mile radar capability so they can see you coming long before you know it. On the bright side the company selling these blimps has covered off a few weeks groceries via their dividend. Although I’m not sure how I feel about profitting from Big Brother.
The landscape on the south west corner of the island and the light house are just amazing. No camera can do it justice, but just to give you an idea, here it is.