Featured photo caption: Lone Star anchored in Salinas, Puerto Rico with pelicans circling. New Aquanaut Dinghy hoisted alongside.
We spent six weeks in January and February exploring Puerto Rico by land and sea. We spent a month in company with Wild Iris and did several land tours with them. Come along and see the sights.
On Sunday January 9 we sailed from Vieques to La Patilla, which is a cozy protected cove behind a big reef. Sometimes a beautiful anchorage has a down side. When we arrived in the early afternoon, we heard two local bars with loud competing music. It continued until 2AM. Wouldn’t you know the off-key and off-tempo Karaoke lasted the longest.
The next day we arrived in Salinas and anchored next to Wild Iris close to the mangroves.
Our package of rigging spares had arrived, so it was time to repair the back stay. We rigged the main halyard as a temporary back stay, then Tom went up the mast and disconnected the top. We slowly lowered the top to the deck and through the forward hatch to the workbench. Tom cut back some wire and re-attached the end fitting. Then he climbed the mast for the third time for the day to reattach the back stay! I forgot to mention that although he climbs the stairs, he’s sitting in a seat, so often he needs help from Anita at the bottom of the mast winching him up. We then used the spinnaker halyard to raise the repaired backstay back to Tom. We could not winch it high enough. Mark from Wild Iris, swam over to help winch and we ended up detaching the bottom of the back stay to get it a bit closer at the top. That worked! After re-attaching the bottom Tom came down the mast. We are so glad that project is done and the rig is intact!
The pelicans in the outer harbor at Salinas were most active at sunrise and sunset. They dive for fish and occasionally get one. Enjoy this private video. It’s amazing to hear and see these wild birds.
We rented a car with Mark and Lisa for a couple days to explore Puerto Rico by land. The first day we drove west and toured a castle built by the second generation of successful sugar cane and rum production in the region.
We ended this day at a big grocery store. It’s very helpful to be able to shop when one has the use of a car.
The second day we drove into the mountains to the east to partake of a pig roast. This hilly region has a section of road that is lined with a village of choices. We still don’t know who offers the best pig roast? We went to one that was cafeteria style. We chose which grilled or smoked meats (pork, chicken or turkey) and sides (yucca, potatoes, and other root vegetables we did not recognize). Some of our confusion was due to the Spanish language. However, some of the offered vegetables are simply not common at home. We sat in a shaded picnic area by a babbling brook to enjoy this feast. Later in the day we drove back by this area and it was rocking with live bands and dancing. Fun place.
We continued our mountainous drive to a hiking trail. We all wished to walk off that big lunch!
When we returned to the car the low fuel light was lit. The nearest gas station was 20 miles away and up and down many hills. We made it to the station, thankfully!
In early February, Mark and Lisa flew back to the UK. They rented a car and we drove them to the airport in San Juan. Afterwards, we drove to the east and up to the El Yunque rain forest. We didn’t have a lot of time there, but lucked out with a clear view. It’s often raining!
Isla Muertes (Coffin Island)
We were the only boat anchored at this deserted island in early February. There is evidence here of the 6.4 magnitude earthquake that took place on January 7 , 2020.
Our next stop was on the south coast of Puerto Rico. One island is known as Gilligan’s Island. It has a very protected harbor and is a good place to hide for a few days from strong winds.
Our next sail was 31 miles to Boqueron on the west coast of the island. This is a gorgeous, large bay with a beautiful park on shore.
We motored 5 miles to Puerto Real in very light winds. We enjoyed a last meal on shore, meeting a few more cruisers, and a calm anchorage. Checkout through the CBP ROAM APP was a cinch for a citizen of the USA.
With a great weather forecast, we sailed away from Puerto Rico. We are looking forward to exploring the Dominican Republic next.