Monday, March 4, 2013

Up de Trade Winds

We are no longer in a rush, so I can plan for short days when the weather is kind. Going eastward on the south coast of either Haiti, Dominican Republic or Puerto Rico is very much like riding my bicycle up a long and arduous mountain pass. It is relentless, it is unavoidable and it is not really enjoyable. But it's got to be done.
PuertoReal to Pta Jacinto
Pta Jacinto to Salinas
So, we left Puerto Real with on March 1st, with the promise of very light winds and a 30 miles day. And basically, although I had to seek protection from the reef as often as I could, the day went on as promised and we arrived at Pta Jacinto, very close to Guanica, at 1 p.m., just in time for  lunch.
This is one of the best anchorages we have been to for quite some time. Calm seas, fair breeze, few people and a terrific Internet connection from the nearby resort. We were able to relax and enjoy the calm and the beauty of the place.
Next morning, we were on our way to Salinas, past Ponce and past Santa Isabel where our friends Graham and Fernando were involved in a regatta that we were able to briefly admire as we arrived near Salinas.
Salinas is a very popular place for cruisers with a large number of sailboats either at anchor or on a private mooring. We anchored less than 50 yards from the marina La Barca where Graham keep  his boat.
Salinas to Palmas del Mar
He showed up with his family (Elizabeth and young Albert) and with Victor Rodon who had offered to sail with us the next day to pilot us through the numerous fish and lobster traps. But before, we had dinner at the Restaurant La Barca, one of the best known restaurants in Salinas.
We left on Sunday just before seven in the morning, and basically, motored all day, with the main up most of the time and the genois up only for brief intervals. In spite of us being very alert, we still manage to get caught by a fish trap, but fortunately, it caught the rudder and not the propeller. So we were able to cut the line and get underway again. We arrived at Palmas del Mar before one o'clock, in time for lunch at the Marina's Tiki Bar. Another good day sailing a wonderful coast line, especially between Salinas and Palmas del Mar.
As it turned out, Palmas del Mar is certainly  a good marina, not cheap  and not geared towards transient boats. The first day the Wifi was certainly not up to scratch but after complaining at the marina, we were given the code for another hotspot, different name and key, and it got much better after that.
Also, the  marina does not have any facility for laundry. The two addresses we were given turned out in one case to be a business that had closed down, and for the other a Walmart facility that could not do less than 24 hours turnover. We finally found one very close in the town of Humacao and were able to have the laundry done.
 We will probably stay here for probably three days, to allow a cold front to get through before going to Culebra, then St John, then hopefully St Kitts.

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