Friday, March 21
The past 3 days we have been traveling the south coast of Puerto Rico. Here the trades are from the NE -E -SE starting to build about 9-10am through through late afternoon and decrease at night and early morning. So to go east into the trades in Prevailing Conditions means getting up early, about 5-6am at the latest and motorisailng into trades when they are less than 10kts, seeking shelter by 9-10am before they build up again. Wednesday was a 5am morning and we arrived at Gilligan’s Island just past Guanica by 1030am. la Parguera didn’t look very calm when we passed, which is why we continued on. It was a good decision as we had a very calm anchorage for the rest of the day and night. Yesterday we woke at 6am with our destination scheduled to be Ponce, PR. Along the way we were able to talk with SV Seaquel one of our former buddy boats, so got the inside info that Ponce was crowded and they were leaving to got to Coffin island which had free mooring balls. So we decided to go too and actually arrived at one of the 5 mooring balls available first. These mooring balls are very close to the island in 8-11ft of water, which turned out plenty with our 6ft of draft. We were in the 8 foot area and had 2.4-3ft of water under our keel at low tide. Once our friends arrived, we went in to explore a little bit parking the dinghy on the beach before the dock which is ONLY for Ferry boats.
We looked at the beaches and walked to the fence that kept us from climbing up a small mountain, then walked through the Museo (the museum) that described in Spanish the various animals and flora on the island. The looked at the east beach kept off limits for humans so the sea turtles can use it to lay their eggs. There is a Blue Flag beach, which means it’s kept clean and tested every two weeks for 4 kinds of bacteria. At certain times of the year there are lifeguards, but no one was there except us and two other gentlemen.
We went back to the boat, knitting and reading and napping the rest of the afternoon away.
Today we woke at 5am leaving 25 min later to get to Salinas at 830am. This is a large and crowded anchorage very protected from the easterly trade winds. It was easy passage with winds about 8 kts with a 20-30 degree wind angle, 3ft swells and <1ft chop. We plan to stay here for a couple days, leaving Sunday or Monday to work our way east to Fajardo, PR which is the northeast corner of the island waiting for Phil's daughter and son-in-law to visit us. We hope to rent a car so that we can get SIM cars for the iPads from T-Mobile. Our Verizon SIM cards don't work here. Since Puerto Rico is part of the US, I have activated my US cell phone and it is only domestic charges. It's nice to be able to call and get calls from here and the reception is great!
It's warm here, in the mid 80's and when you have the breeze, it's quite comfortable and with no breeze it's HOT. We have internet at a local bakery where we got breakfast. Unfortunately, there is not internet from the boat.