Thursday, February 9, 2012

Calling into Puerto Rico

This was not our first choice, in fact not even the last one, but a choice that circumstances dictated to us, and it turned out to be the best possible choice. Extremely well sheltered marina with very friendly staff, the best food in the area, good internet connection and good facilities.
We got in there in the night Wednesday to Thursday (the entrance is 0.09 miles wide, unmarked within a 0.35 miles wide opening. We came in using the radar, but once in, you are in a wonderfully sheltered bay.
After daylight, we tied up at the marina and got a taxi to go to Mayaguez, the nearest big town, to clear customs and rent a car. On the way back we had lunch in a seaside restaurant, and then back to the boat to do tidying work, and have drinks and snacks at the marina.
Next morning, it turned out that the gaz bottle put in service two days ago was emtpy. Found a leak caused by a missing o ring. Went on a chase to find a gaz filling station and the o ring. Took all afternoon but gave us a tour of the surroundings. We even did a little bit of shopping and a visit to an ATM at Cabo Rojo, the neighbouring little town.
On Friday also, we were receiving the visit of Bill and Graham, two brothers from San Juan, who were coming to visit us and to participate in the first regatta ever organized by the marina. Papy Jovial is not exactly a racing boat, but we registered anyway, to participate. Of course, dinner and drinks with Grahama and Bill.
Saturday, regatta and party, music, drinks, food and friendship. Bill wanted to get back to San Juan that day but had to wait for Sunday. As for us, Sunday was touring day towards Ponce, the second largest town in Puerto Rico, and Salinas, where we had lunch in the wrong restaurant (2 hours waiting for our orders with a very average quality food). In Ponce, we visited the Bomberos museum, very dear to Scott's heart, and then the "Castillo de Serralles", which is more an out of use mansion then a museum. Very nice architecture anyway and interesting furniture, for a family
that was dominating the sugar and rhum industry in Porto Rico until the end of the last century. There are no more sugar cane in Puerto Rico and the rhum is made of molasses imported from the Dominican Republic.
On Monday, we did a little bit of work on the boat, and had the fuel extensively polished, under the very competent supervision of Joe who did a magnificent job. Hopefully the clogging of fuel lines will not be bothering me for a while.
On Tuesday, we went to San Juan, by road. We met Bill at the Sizzler restaurant near the Club Nautico and after we were shown our quarters (an apartment belonging to a friend of Bill), Scott and I were given the Bill Butler old San Juan tour. Joe who has difficulties walking and Karen who was not feeling well stayed in the apartment.
After the tour, we left for the boat of Manuel Martorell in the harbour, for a boucan of the San Juan table. At the end of the boucan, we were fortunate enough to witness the induction of Manuel in the table as brother "Tridente".
Later that evening, Bill had to take Karen to the Emergency Room and the poor lady had to spend almost all night there in not very comfortable conditions.
Anyway, we eventually got her back, and after a short visit to Walgreens and West Marine, Karen and I drove back to Puerto Real, while Joe and Scott stayed in San Juan to fly back home.
Karen and I did our last shopping, then the last meal at the marina, then the next day, we drove back to Mayaguez to surrender the car, before sailing off for Casa de Campo on Friday.

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