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
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