We have now been at the Ponce Yacht and Fishing Club for 2 week (tomorrow). We would have never stayed this long if we weren’t fixing the boat and waiting on weather. Don’t get me wrong, we loved the yacht club. The staff were very friendly, the pool was fantastic, the kids loved the park and the rate was very affordable ($5/foot/week, $207 for a week). However its time to move on as we still need to figure out what we are doing for hurricane season. The boat still has some residual damage, but since we burned 2 weeks we need to move to somewhere that we can have a hurricane plan. As nice as Ponce is, it’s a terrible hurricane hole and in fact all boats are required to vacate in the event of a named storm.
So the plan is a series of short day jumps to get through the south portion of Puerto Rico, then jump to the Spanish Virgin islands where we will spend some time, then over to the USVIs. You may ask why we have choose short day jumps? Well, since we are so late in the season, the trade winds have really set in. This means that by 10-11am the wind is blowing 20-25 from the exact direction we want to travel. So the plan is to travel in the early morning every day a short distance and be in a anchorage before the trades begin screaming. This should keep things a little more comfortable and possibly prevent the kid puking.
What are you going to do once you arrive in the USVIs? (I hear you ask). Well, we really don’t know. Our buddy boat Smitty plans to stay between the USVIs and BVIs for the remainder of the hurricane season. Maybe we will do that! Our other buddy boats Sea Frog and Last Tango may still continue to Grenada, maybe we will do that! Frankly I really don’t know. The boat is not %100 and some of the issues could have the potential to be very serious, or not. I suspect this will have a large impact on what we do and where we go!
At any rate, you are probably wondering what we have been doing here in Ponce when we weren’t working on the boat. Well first, I would say a good bit of nothing. Swimming in the pool, having dominos nights, enjoying the facilities, ect! However, it wasn’t all relaxing. We rented a car one day and drove to San Juan to do some shopping and get some final items for the boat (hello WestMarine). This gave us an opportunity to explore some of the country via automobile. I have to say, Puerto Rico is one of the most beautiful places I have been. As I was whipping through the mountains on the twisty highway, I was reminded of the Alberta foothills, if the Alberta foothills had cactus and was in the Caribbean. All joking and vegetation aside though, it really does look like the Alberta foothills. So much so, that I felt a little homesick.
After the San Juan trip, we also took a shake down cruise to Caja de Muertos (Coffin Island). Caja de Muertos is a small island about 7 miles south-east of Ponce. Not only did it give us an opportunity to test the boat and the systems, we also got to play in some fantastic water. Caja de Muertos is home to some of the nicest water in south Puerto Rico. It boasts a small shallow reef only feet from shore that offers some fun snorkling. We snorkled, dove, and played all day. It was a great day and the 15 mile run (round trip) and gave us a great opportunity to test our equipment. I’m happy to report that most systems functioned fine. However we still have in issue with our port side motor and the shifter cable (the big steel cable that the lightening melted). We will need to keep an eye on this motor as we continue forward.
So for now I will leave you with a couple of pics from the last 2 weeks. Hopefully in the coming weeks I will post pictures from some of the most beautiful places in the world.
In the words of Adam Savage… “Well there’s your problem!” (This was the device attached directly to our VHF antenna)
The following picture are the obligatory playing at a beautiful island pictures!
The Anchorage and swimming beach. Yes we are about 100 feet off the beach so it was an easy swim in.