Saturday, 13 April 2013

Puerto Rico Love it 4th –9th April

Puerto Rico  Love it 4th –9th April

We left St Thomas at 6 in the morning with a full main and headsail bound for Isla de Vieqes an island that belongs to Puerto Rico, the reason being we need a cruising licence to be in the area we were heading to later. So after carefully passing hundreds of fishing markers and reefs we found our way into an anchorage in daylight. 
Don had called the customs which was frustrating at times being told to call another number, the number didn't exist so call the first one again he then gave us another number that number was passed on again and the girl said we shouldn't really be speaking to her but she would input our information  so the licence would be ready for collection.
Well that sounds fine but Don somehow had to get to the airport to collect the license, hmm the anchorage was very roly and it was quite a struggle to get the engine on the dinghy, a lady from the boat behind us gave us the information how to get to the airport but it meant getting a taxi there if there were any available, its a very quiet place. 
While Don was putting the documents together the lady returned with a local guy who was running a charter business and he very kindly offered a lift.

So off Don went to the airport, he was gone for hours, when he went to collect the licence the details entered before were wrong so it had to be done all over again and after 2 and a half hours they were ready,  he returned with the licence I was beginning to worry . We left that anchorage and went to another a little distance away and manage to drop the anchor just as it was getting dark. Wonderful another night of rocking and rolling about lets just say its very difficult to sleep, it wasn't the lack of wind or too much it was just the swell.

The swell was just making things miserable so Puerto Rico it was and by 13:00 we were tied up in  Marina del Rey, we needed to rest and thought  we would hire a car to see the island.

On the breakwater wall is the Black Pearl which was used in Pirates of the Caribbean I asked aboout it and was told it will be used in another film soon, so remember I said it first Prates of the Caribbean 4 or is it 5?
It does look a little silly with a raymarine radar scanner and modern pilot house I guess they remove it while they are filming.

What a marina, huge its the largest in the Caribbean over 1100 slips plus a haul out area, its so big they employ people full time to drive golf buggies to take you from the boat into the office area. We were moored almost at the entrance in the marina which meant we could see everything entering including dolphins and BIG Barracuda  in fact so big they are bigger than me, I think I have gone off diving.
The facilities in the marina are great a do it yourself laundry which I took advantage of, a great restaurant with fantastic food we both treated ourselves to steaks.

Kids having fun in the fountains
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Government building 
Young and old flying kites

We drove to the capital San Juan, the old part which has stone walls to protect it, the Forts (2) are quite high up, so it was a heck of a walk to them and the museums. The museums, sore point, one was closed for refurbishing and by the time we walked to the other it was too late.
The area near the Fort reminds me of Plymouth Hoe, whole families picnicking and hundreds of adults and kids flying kites.
As we had walked for so long we took advantage of the free open air bus to take us back to the car park but as the bus did a circuit around the old town we stayed on for another circuit to keep cool and see a little more of the town.
The old town has lots to see, it was quite busy traffic jams, they are the first since being in the Canaries.

This place is very American in places

Can you see the grey with feathers thats what Beaky used to look like 

I always wanted a pic with a policeman and his Harley

School bus

We loved the music Salsa and lots of Spanish too, a few places we saw had tapas menus others with local food which we ate a typical Puerto Rican dish beef with rice and beans and a lovely sauce.

One of the forts it has two
Fort entrance
A Spanish tall ship it must be hard work on that it had just arrived from Spain
Fancy having your back scratched with those nails, don't think so
Very Dali ish 

The following day we drove to the customs office in Fajado to check out, so we then had 48 hours grace before leaving.

So onto El Yunque rain forrest, there is one road up and back, its a very winding road steep in places and the forrest canopy covers the road so it gets a little dark in places. There are parking places close to viewpoints and by the waterfalls. We climbed a tower (98 steps up and 98 down. But what a view!

This was taken from the top of the tower, there is a tiny shop selling plastic ponchos, I almost bought one

Another waterfall
we didn't expect to see so many people there 

We stopped when we found a track which pointed the way deep inside the forrest and a waterfall, it said it was a 40 minute walk there and back, its very well done with concrete paths and steps most of the way and signs explaining about the trees and wildlife that make it their home. The sounds were so nice, the little Coqui a tiny tree frog the biggest being under an inch which sounds like a bird there must be thousands of them, we saw lots of iguanas too and a few birds.

well did they go for it?

Thankfully we made it to the waterfall but I suppose with it being Saturday there were lots of kids making lots of noise, then the walk back or should I say climb back not in 40 minutes though, it was a relief to get back to the car, some local guy was selling cold drinks which we bought but he did giggle when I asked for oxygen.

Fresh mushrooms anybody?

Bird of Paradise 

Sign mentioning the birds and tiny frogs

Its so dense in some places there is a miniature forrest as no light gets in only rain 
On the return journey we went to "Ralph's" a big supermarket selling fresh meat and vegetables so this was our chance to provision again and had the freezer defrosted and managed to pack and freeze the meat we bought.

Its such a shame we have to leave now there is so much to see "we will have to return"! 

Next Stop Gran Turk a non stop down wind sail with good winds, hopefully not too much swell (I can dream) it is the Atlantic which is not our favourite place, estimated 3 days.

Agua Therapy
Don and Glenys

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