Thursday, February 28, 2013

Puerto Real

We had such  good memories from our stay last year at the  Marina Pescaderia, near Cabo Rojo, that we were looking forward very much to spending a couple  of weeks here. And we were already up the learning curve as far as knowing our way round.
Clearing customs and immigration was done by phone through a very pleasant Border Protection agent and we did not have to go to Mayaguez to do  that, as we did last time.
The first thing we did, upon arrival, was dinner at the Vaiven Tasca, the restaurant of the marina, which had next to the best food we tasted everywhere on our last stay. That first evening, the "churrasco" kept its promises and we had a wonderful dinner.
Next morning, we went to rent a car in Cabo Rojo and drove Scott to Rincon where we met Art at the MacDonalds there before returning to Puerto Real.
Then, I had to start working on my list of chores, replacing the  water heater, cause of the loss of coolant, get the Lazy Bag fixed by a wonderful man named Ray Colon, who has his shop in San German. If ever you are in this part of PR and need work on your sails or canvas, this is the  right man. He is thorough, inexpensive and very pleasant.
The aft toilet had kind of disintegrated and I ordered parts to rebuild it. I also ordered the  new water heater.
Next was have the  propane bottle refilled. And every day saw one more item added to the list.
We also took advantage of the car to visit the surrounding more thoroughly that we had done last year.
And we had a few trips to San Juan. On the 14th, we went up to meet Bill Butler, John Simpson, Gary Johnson, Julio Rivera, Kevin . . ., Manuel, Lirio. John, Gary and Kevin were leaving the next morning and I would certainly  did not want to miss them. Like  last year, Bill put us up in the same building where he lives, which made it very convenient for Karen and me.
We returned to Puerto Real on the 15, but drove back up on the 16th, picking Scott up in Rincon on our way to a brotherhood get together in Puerto del Rey after a big regatta. Nice evening, a little noisy at the beginning, but very pleasant, with Graham Albert, Julio de Cardena, Julio Rivera, Jose Maria, Mariano, Nelson, Annie, Bettie and the wife of Mariano, and of course us, Scott, Karen and myself. We had to  drive back to San Juan quite late at night, fortunately having Nelson showing us the way.
Graham had invited us to come back to San Juan and stay with him so that he could show us the old San Juan. So we drove back to San Juan on the 20th, spent the evening with Graham and Elizabeth, on the 21st, went sight seeing with Graham as a wonderful guide, spent the night at his place and drove back to Puerto Real on the 22nd.
And in between, we drove one day to Guanica and Guayanilla, next to Salinas and in between drove to the lighthouse of Cabo Rojo.
And did shopping, provisionning and getting parts for the  boat.
After the water heater was replaced. I started the engine to make sure the tubing for the coolant got filled up. That is when the fan belt broke. I was thinking "no big deal, I have two spare belts" that were supplied with the engine. But when I put it on, I found out that it was too big and I could not tighten it. After a brief moment of panic, I went to the local Autozone, and found a belt just a wee bit shorter than the original and I was able to put it in place. And I felt lucky that this happened while in port and not at sea.
We are now ready to leave tomorrow March 1st. First stop will be Gilligan Island, near Guanica, then Salinas, then  Palmas del Mar.  Then, we will watch the weather to continue on to Martinique.

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