Sunday, February 16, 2014

San Juan, Puerto Rico

There have only been two times that we have decided to “stay put” for an extended amount of time.  The first was in Charleston for a month when we were visiting Jason, Amy, Liam, and Ben.  The second is here in San Juan when we will be traveling to Vermont for Pat and Rachel’s wedding.  This has afforded us the opportunity to catch our breath, have the conveniences of a marina, visit with long lost friends, and tour this beautiful island.

After 30 years, Richard reunited with close friend from his D.C. days in the early 70”s.  David has been living here for much of that time and has a lovely wife and daughter.  Together we have had a chance to get together, walk the beaches, tour old San Juan and catch up. 
Old San Juan is a treasure.  Its history is reflected on every corner and at every bend.  The following links provide some great information on this historic city: 

Old San Juan

While in Vermont, Murray will enjoy life with the Deakin’s in San Juan.  He is looking forward to playing with Victoria, walking the beach, and just relaxing.  

Upon our return, our good friend John Creelman will be joining us for our sail east to the Spanish and then U.S. Virgin Islands.  We are looking forward to exploring Culebra, St. Johns and St. Thomas Islands.

The Deakin's

 Stay turned and thanks for following. 
 Richard and Kay

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Puerto Rico’s west and south coasts

Since crossing the Mona Passage and heading to PR’s southern coast, we have been much more relaxed with no major passage making in the near future.  Yippee! One might think that being in this part of the world, the weather is always perfect. 

The lighthouse at Cabo Rojo

While this is mostly true, as a sailing vessel we have to be concerned mostly with the wind and seas.  Here we find a level of complexity that requires careful planning and strategy.  The trade winds blow hard and consistently from the east.  Since we are trying to move east at this point, the trades pose a daily challenge.  Bruce Van Sant wrote an excellent book titled “A Gentleman’s Guide to Passages South.” This book proposes specific strategies for easting in the trades such as moving at night when the winds are down and the seas are calm. Winds aside, every day is in the 80’s and the sun always shines. If you’re planning to visit us just pack a bathing suit, snorkel gear, and flip flops!


We are currently tucked in behind a reef at Gilligan’s Island, protected from the seas in winds that blow at 20 knots all day long.  Richard is searching the island for Ginger and Mary Ann but finding no sign of them.  Tonight we will depart for Salinas (near Ponce) joining two other boats doing the same.  New friends on VisionQuest (Texans) and Walkabout (Vermonters) will meet us off of Ensenada for the all night cruise.  Safely tucked in by 7 AM we will be well out of the new days’ trade winds. 

We are finding Puerto Rico to be a jewel although Kay is still intrigued more by the Dominican Republic.  Unlike the Bahamas, the waters are less clear and turquoise but its community far more prosperous.  Like most places we have been, the locals are welcoming, friendly, and proud of their country.  As a US territory, Puerto Rico has many of the advantages of the mainland.  It has a vital economy, lots of agriculture, good infrastructure (roads, phone, electric, etc.) and a well maintained lateral buoy system for navigation.  The US Coast Guard is present and keeps aids to navigation up to the standard we are accustomed to.  In most countries, buoys are misplaced or nonexistent.
We are looking forward to Fajardo where we will be docking for a few weeks to visit an old friend (David and his family in San Juan), rent a car to tour the countryside, complete boat repairs, and return to VT for Rachel and Pat’s wedding.  Upon returning to PR we are looking forward to visits from friends including John C. and the McKay’s.

Richard and Kay

PS:  Comment section should be available now