Saturday, February 03, 2007

Thursday 1st February

Puerto Rico

17 57.6 N
66 17.6 W

05.30hrs – the alarm screeches and I hit it with a force that could kill it. I mean who wants to be woken up at that time of day? Gerry has this brilliant idea of starting the day early so that we can make the most of the night lee effect from the land, he’s obviously taking Bruce Van Sant’s advice far too seriously! Anyway we fumble around in the half light, getting dressed and making everything ready for the day’s passage. The plan was to leave the anchorage at 06.00hrs – it’s getting earlier you’ll notice! Once on deck there was no stopping us, Gerry hauled the anchor in whilst I steered and we were actually underway at 2 minutes to 6, we were on our way to Salinas. I have to say that the night lee certainly helps, it was a calm and pleasant trip of 3 hours duration. The wind was blowing at 5 – 8 knots and the seas were 2 -3 feet, of course it was mostly on the nose so we had to motor most of the way but we did manage to fly the jib for a short while which helped. We arrived at Salinas at 09.00hrs and tried unsuccessfully to raise the marina on the radio, we had thought to go into a slip but as we got no response we anchored in the harbour instead. The harbour is obviously a popular place, it had loads of boats at anchor, on moorings and when we got close enough to tell – the marina seemed to be pretty full. I was actually glad we anchored as the slips in the marina looked a bit in need of maintenance. We anchored quite close to the marina as it made it a short distance to dink in and find out where things were. After we had anchored we had a late breakfast whilst watching the winds increase to 20 plus knots, glad that we were safely at anchor. A bit later we took the dink into the marina, found the laundry, the local café – with internet access, the bakery, a couple of bars and information on where to hire a car etc. After a coffee ashore we returned to the boat and I sorted out our laundry whilst Gerry went to organize a hire car, we wanted to be able to do some sightseeing and shopping whilst we are here. During this time 2 out of 3 of the other boats that had been anchored with us over night at Caja de Muertos came into the harbour and anchored – we are beginning to see the same boats and people everywhere we go. Gerry returned to the boat with the news that we would have a car delivered to the marina at 15.00hrs. We stat around reading and watching the other boats in the harbour until just before 15.00hrs then we collected up our backpack, bags money etc and took the dink back across to the marina where we met up with the representative from the hire car place who drove us back to the shop to sign off on the paperwork for the car. I wondered just where we were hiring the car from as the journey took half an hour. Any way we now had a car but it was 16.00hrs and the rush hour traffic was beginning to build up so we thought it prudent to just find our way back to the harbour before it got too late. We had asked the car hire people for a map of the area and were given a tourist booklet which had a general map of the whole island in the middle, it’s defiantly a bad thing when neither of you can read a thing on the map as the scale is too small to see and neither of us had thought to take reading glasses with us! It’s just as well that we have a fairly good sense of direction, we managed to find our way back without any problem, even managing to stop at a supermarket on the way to pick up a few essentials like bread, eggs and sodas. We unloaded our purchases on the boat and then dinked back to shore for happy hour where we chatted with a few people and eventually accompanied them to a nearby pizza place that had only recently opened. The pizza was a bit slow coming as they had an unexpected rush but it was worth the wait. Once we had eaten our fill we made our way back to the dinghy and then onward to our boat for the night.



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