Friday, 10 April 2015

Puerto Rico and the next bit

23 March 2015
We departed Vieques for the anchorage in Puerto Rico on the south coast, we had been to Puerto Rico on the East side in our 1st season and we thoroughly enjoyed being there.

As we approached the island we were joined by one huge dolphin the first for a long long time he played on our bow for about 10 minutes, always a big incentive to any journey.

Sorry its not too clear but I was trying not to fall in 
 A 06:00 start for the 46 nm trip with the wind behind us but we were only able to use the headsail with the winds we had plus the engine for the later part of the journey to Cayo Puerca, Bahia de Jobos. 17º 57N 66º 14 W.
This is in a huge mangrove area behind several reefs not very pretty with the industrial area not too far away however it was so still never a ripple in sight, no bugs either, just one yacht appeared later not too far away.

24th March Off we go, no wind to speak of or sail, motoring all the way to Ponce yacht and fishing club.
Position 17º 57 N 66º 36 W
A little luxury in a marina the first since leaving Grenada in November, just step off the boat not having to use the dinghy. This marina is mainly full of big power boats mostly used at the weekends for game fishing and partying on board. The laundry came in handy so everything was washed dried and put away. Took advantage of the grassed area where we managed to spread out the parasailor to take pictures of the damage and decided to wait until we reach the US to return it to Germany for inspection.

The view from our slip in the marina
The marina is miles away from any shops in fact the town is miles away to so we rented a car for 3 days. The town of Ponce is nice and we wandered about the town and took a look at the old fire station and its exhibits.
The old fire station with the Ponce lions to protect it

He just had to ring the bell
Brave fellas 
One of the costumes which was used in the local carnival
We would have gone into the cathedral but it looks like its been closed up for years.

We heard from others that they didn't get in either
A shady lady in the park
The art museum, also closed

There is a very impressive villa high in the hills of Ponce once owned by the folks that ran the Don Q rum distillery its now a museum.
El Museo Castillo Seralles, We had a guided tour an interesting place inside full of all kinds of things which I would have taken lots of pictures for you but unfortunately its not allowed, it does seem silly how can you spread the word with nothing to look at.

Don Q
A display of old rums

Ponce views

No one was about so I poked about in here
Cruceta del Vigia (The Watchman cross)

The cross is a little way away from the Don Q museum, when I checked it out online the story goes like this.
Cruceta del Vigía (English: The Watchman Cross) is a 100-foot-tall cross located atop Vigia Hill in Ponce, Puerto Rico, across from Museo Castillo Serrallés. It houses a tourist centre at its base, a ten-story vertical tower, and a horizontal sky bridge that has panoramic views of the city of Ponce and theCaribbean Sea. Visitors can reach the skybridge via glass elevators or a staircase. Made of reinforced concrete, the cross has withstood various natural disasters, including three major hurricanes. The arms of the cross measure 70 feet. It was inaugurated in 1984.[3]
One of many landmarks of the city of Ponce, the cross is owned by the Municipality of Ponce and is currently operated by the "Patronato de Ponce", a non-profit organisation dedicated to preserving and administrating several of the city's landmarks.
When we passed it everything looked closed not that we fancied going to the top anyway.
The main roads are in such a bad state including the toll roads and the driving is pretty bad sometimes we were glad to get back to the marina. Ponce has a large typical American shopping mall with Sears, JC Penny and some of the other large stores.

We did take some of the side roads which lead into mini forests with huge ferns and "Jurassic" trees overhanging the roads, most of which are narrow and the occasional big truck comes towards you at speed blowing its horns.

One of the anchorages on the far west side is Boqueron which is where we had planned a rest stop before the next leg so we drove to take a look. The town is small with waterfront places to eat, the street has stalls selling oysters, clams and various things to eat.
Boqueron anchorage

We took another drive into San Juan to West Marine hoping to buy a Bahamas cruising guide but they didn't seem to be interested or very helpful about obtaining one for us. However we did buy a complete offshore replacement flare pack, they were roughly half the normal price so that was a bonus.

Just outside the marina a 10 minute walk away is a park and boardwalk with places to eat and drink, there is always either load music going on we were told at the weekends it was very very loud. Oh well close all the hatches and have lots to drink you won't hear a thing lol.

A quiet moment on the boardwalk
The local police patrol in these
We took advantage of the car and did a big shop as buying things in the Bahamas our next stop is pretty expensive.

31st March the weather is looking good for tomorrows crossing up the Mona passage to Great Inagua. A 45 minute walk to the customs to clear out and 2 hours later we slipped and out we went a 3 hour sail to anchor behind the reefs and Gilligan's Island, Pta Jacinto.
17º 57 N 66º 52 W
31st March We aborted the plan for Boqueron and decided to just go for it on our way to Great Inagua.

Glenys and Don
Agua Therapy

Monday, 6 April 2015

Vieques for a second look

March 18th -21st a repeat Visit to Vieques

We departed Culebra for Vieques another Spanish Virgin Isle, we had reports from other cruisers it was a nice place, well it is!
Enjoyed a beam reach with 13 - 15 knots but ended up motoring into Sun Bay on the south side of the island.
18º 05N - 065º 27W
Its a picture postcard huge bay and there were only 9 other boats there, theres a lovely 2 mile light coloured sand palm fringed beach with very blue water and a gated national park with wild horses.

So quiet

Part of the park has a camping area amongst the trees and mangroves, I do hope whoever stays there have plenty of bug spray. We took the dinghy ashore and dragged it up the beach and tied it to a palm tree to explore.

The gap has a reef which leads to the little town of Esperanza
A little closer
Although we had been to Sun Bay before (our first season heading North) it was for just one night, Don had cleared us in while we were at anchor in Esperanza while I sat nervously in case we dragged, he was gone for hours, someone took him to the airport in Vieques, when he returned we came into Sun Bay. This time much wiser now this was a little bit of heaven.
The beach was very quiet being midweek we went ashore and walked through where you can see the gap into the other bay where the little town is Esperanza.
This place has much more activity with street venders, a promenade of sorts, bars and places to eat so we took some lunch and found somewhere to get the internet again.

Still Sun bay

Ángel Rodríguez Cristóbal an activist he was in the US army, a pain in the proverbial for the US in Esperanza. While he was in prison he was murdered in his cell

Esperanza bay

The promenade
The jetty is not in a good state
We stopped for a drink here

The little museum
An old Indian apparently

This guy winds the handle so the horses spin round and when it stops the closest horse to a mark on the front wins

Place your bets

Walk in back along Sun beach
After a couple of days we lifted the anchor then went into Esperanza bay which was ok for a couple of nights however it was pretty noisy, we should know better as the Puerta Ricans  sure know how to party and the music went on until the early hours.

Ok time to move on to Puerto Rico mainland, this time along the south coast.
Glenys and Don

Agua Therapy