Friday, June 5, 2015

Night Passages Across The Southern Coast Of Puerto Rico

We left Fajardo, Puerto Rico ready for me to experience my first night passage.  Well, I wouldn't say I was ready but we went for it.  Jake's dad Fred is traveling with us right now because I have been nervous about sailing with just the two of us.  We have been planning a couple night passages in our itinerary so that I can get comfortable with them while he is still on board with us.  

Thinking about night passages made me nervous.  I was nervous about not seeing what was around us and having to be at the helm sailing by myself.  Pretty much everything about the situation made me nervous.  Well, I made it! I have now completed two night passages! 

The first night we didn't make a set schedule for sleeping shifts so that  was a big "oops" on our part.  Fred, Jake and I barely slept at all.  The winds were fair and we traveled at a good speed through the night.  The seas were small but rocky and it made it difficult when attempting to sleep.  Even though the auto-pilot and radar use a lot of power Jake let me use both of them while I was at the helm.  Having those two tools assisting me made things a lot less stressful.  Night passages are pretty peaceful.  The only thing that was frustrating was how tired I was.   When I am tired and hungry I am not happy.  I am grumpy and frustrated!  It was not fun to wake up to tack the boat after finally getting to sleep.  I was completely exhausted, we all were when we arrived in Salinas.

Salinas, Puerto Rico was a stop to rest before our next passage.  We didn't do too much research on the town or what was there, just figured out some of the essentials.  Filling our propane was something that we neglected to do in Fajardo and knew it was available somewhere in Salinas.  We figured the propane fill was in the big town about 2 miles from the marina/anchorage.   Once we spoke to some other cruisers we were informed it was in the same neighborhood as the marina.  Finding it was an ordeal.  With the language barrier, asking for directions lead us in circles through the neighborhood during the hottest part of the day.  We were told that the propane fill was next to the Florist that was next to the hardware store.  So… we needed to locate the hardware store, then find the Florist, and that is where we can get our propane filled.  Though all this took about an hour, we found what we needed to and dropped off our tanks to be filled.  

Wanting to explore a little more we ventured the two mile walk into town.  We got some groceries, lunch, ice cream and exercise.  It was nice to get off the boat and stretch our legs before our next passage. 

The next afternoon we left for my second night passage.  This one went a little more smooth than the first, we were able to take turns attempting to sleep and had a beautiful sunrise in the morning.  My favorite part was the dolphins that met us in the morning as we were making our way into Boqueron, Puerto Rico.  

I am feeling a lot more comfortable sailing, but still nervous.  I just need to breathe, trust, let go and see what happens.  So here is to more adventure. 

Our first night out on the water
It's difficult for me to cook while sailing so this was dinner.
Jake taking his turn sleeping and staying outside to make me feel comfortable.  All strapped in and safe.
Dozer and Crew finally settling down to sleep in the cockpit.
First day's sunrise

Sailing in the morning light.
Dolphins on our bow.

Jake carrying one of our propane tanks to get filled.
Chinese restaurant in Salinas, Puerto Rico serves french fries with everything. Odd.
This is the hardware store that we had to find to locate the florist to fill our propane. 
Jake relaxing in the cockpit in Salinas
Our anchorage in Salinas, Puerto Rico 

Sunset in Salinas

Walking into town, Salinas 
Sunrise during second night passage. 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Work Hard To Play Hard

Fajardo is a small city located in the East Region of Puerto Rico bordering the Atlantic Ocean.  It is very popular amongst boaters because it is a good launch point when traveling to Culebra, Vieques, US Virgin Islands, and the British Virgin Islands.  The city offers a variety of amenities that we needed to complete boat projects, so it was a good stopping point for us.  Fajarado is also the home of the largest marina in the Caribbean, Marina Puerto Del Ray.  We made a reservation to stay at the marina while there to receive boat parts in the mail as well as have easy access while provisioning.  

When we arrived at Marina Puerto Del Ray we were informed that we needed to check into U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.  It was odd to us since we had stayed within U.S. territories but we complied.  We spoke to them on the phone then we were asked to come down to their building to fill out some paperwork and pay for a boating decal that we needed for the year.  The U.S. Customs House was constructed in 1930 and is still in use.  On our four trips to the building I wasn't aware of this fact or I would have taken a picture. Anyway, that was a hassle for the next couple of days due to island time and normal Caribbean situations, but we worked around it and got everything done. 

Most of our days were spent shopping (for boat parts, food and essentials), completing boat maintenance and repair and doing chores that were easier to do on land. It was nice to have easy access to West Marine and other places that we have missed while living in St. Thomas.  We drove to San Juan one day to get some parts from that West Marine and provision at Costco.  San Juan is about an hour from Fajardo so we took a whole day to get everything there that we needed. 

Fajardo was successful but didn't feel like a vacation.  We were working hard most of the time and tried to complete everything in a timely manner.  At the end of the day our favorite part was the long hot showers at the marina.  We were exhausted but felt productive with our time there.   I wish I would have taken more pictures, but the ones I have document what the days were like. 

This marina is HUGE! I wish I could have found a better spot to capture just how big it is.
These golf carts were amazing! Because the marina is so large, they offer a service that will take you to and from your boat. We had a lot of stuff to move so it was wonderful! Nice guys that were willing to serve with a smile.  Thank you!
Walking down the dock at night.  Beautiful.
The shower that was so nice at the end of a long hot day.  
A large dock cart full of essentials from West Marine and Costco. 
This is our favorite place to shop for our boat!