May 17, 2008
Dewey, Isla Culebra
18∞ 17.33¢ North
65∞ 16.35¢ West
May 12, 2008
I like to be in A-mer-i-ca
OK by me in A-mer-i-ca
West Side Storey
We didn’t spend a lot of time in the Dominican Republic. Motoring to windward against the tradewinds sucks, so you have to pick a good “weather window’ (which, ironically for a sailboat) means as little wind as possible. We had an unusually long period of light winds, so we had to go for it. We made it across the dreaded Mona Passage, between DR and PR, relatively unscathed, arriving in Boqueron, PR, where we hooked up with “Jule”, our traveling companion. Now, we feel like we’ve climbed the mountain, as most of the hard stuff is behind us. We only have a few more miles (with lots of frequent stops in cool places), before we get to hang a right, and sail to Venezuela. We may even sell the motor (which, by the way, has been wonderful, due in part to the engineer’s frequent attentions).
What we saw of the DR was nice. It’s like King Kong’s Island, especially after the flat Bahamas: large, green and mountainous. We stayed in Ocean World Marina for a few days. It’s a very well done place, near Puerto Plata, that has a Marine World and nightclub as part of the complex. One can swim with the dolphins in the daytime, then pick one to eat in the restaurant at night. We picked up 2 new crew there (see picture). I told her she has to take off the hat on the boat. (Just kidding about the dolphins.)
Puerto Rico is a surprise. It’s pretty with nice people, has great cruising areas (especially the “Spanish Virgins” of Culebra and Vieques) yet has all the usual American conveniences, like free cell phone calls, mega-stores, malls, etc. We’ll use the time in Ponce as a pit stop, to re-provision, do boat work, etc. We’ll also meet our niece Lara and Aaron, who are spending two weeks with us.
We stopped at Cayos de Cana Gorda, otherwise known as Gilligan’s Island. There’s a storey of how that got started, but I can’t remember it. However, it’s a beautiful place with great diving and snorkeling. I also got to fulfill a lifelong dream by meeting Ginger (“the movie star”), who I’ve been in love with since I’ve been a little kid. Of course, she’s about 102 years old now, and doesn’t look so good, but neither do I.
We hooked up with niece Lara and Aaron in Ponce, where I was made an honorary member of the Ponce Yacht Club. After an insane day of shopping (Sam’s Club, Sears, and all the other exotic Puerto Rican stores), we took of for short hops along the south coast of Puerto Rico. Then, we actually sailed again to Vieques, one of the “Spanish Virgins” Vieques and Culebra are just like the Virgin Islands were 20 years ago, which is to say less crowded, more interesting and more attractive. Vieques in particular was, until 3 years ago, used as a bombing range for the Navy. More than half the island is “restricted” because of unexploded ordinance, and therefore, completely empty and pristine (except for the occasional unexploded bomb and craters). Most important, no people and plenty of sea life. We caught our first lobster there. We also had to send a snorkler into the water (me) when anchoring, to make sure we didn’t drop the anchor on a bomb, which would have been a bad way to end the day. I saw a bomb in the water, but I didn’t try to spear it.
In a few days, we’ll go to Fajardo, on the East coast of the “mainland”, drop off Lara and Aaron, visit El Yunque (the only tropical rain forest in N. America),. then come back to Culebra to se the rest of it (and, hopefully, get more lobsters). Then to St. John, and St. Croix, where we’ll wait for weather for our straight shot across the Caribbean to Venezuela.
This is our new crew from Dominican Republic. Jeff picked out the uniforms
Dominican fishing boat
Our niece, Lara and Aaron join us for 2 weeks cruising in Puerto Rico
Oops,unsuccessful rear entry
Aaron tries next
Not a lobster but almost as large……what is it?
Culebra, one of the Spanish Virgin Island….So far our favorite
New painting by local artist purchased for Antares
Aaron catches a barracuda
A visit to El Yunque Carribean National Forest. The only tropical rainforest in North America
Sunrise in Salinas, Puerto Rico