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 Accidental Cruiser in the West Indies

Ferry from Culebra to Puerto Rico. Weighing water.
This journal is a log of all the messages from Susie & Lance. For pictures, please see the Gallery.
Culebra, Puerto Rico. Saturday, April 5, 2003
    It's hard to believe we are still here, but we are. First we were just hanging out and meeting people, and checking out the local scene, and then the weather got bad, so we really couldn't leave. There may be a weather window tomorrow or Monday.
     There is a ferry from here to the mainland. It costs $2.25 for an hour and a half ride. We decided that was worth it just for the ride. But the trouble was, the ferry leaves at 6:30 am, or at 11:30 am, and returns at 3pm. So if you don't take the early morning ferry, you have only a couple of hours. We wanted to got the West Marine store over there, and maybe check out some marinas to see if this is a better place to leave the boat, so we decided that if we woke up soon enough, we would take the early ferry, and otherwise, we'd just take the later one.
    I woke up at 5:15, and Lance was hardly asleep at all, so we got up, had coffee, dinghied over to the town dock, walked across town to the ferry dock and caught the ferry. On the ferry we met some cruisers who were renting a car, and they said they needed to go to West Marine so they'd give us a ride. After we'd all done our shopping, they were heading over towards the WalMart and we tagged along. Terry and Lance both got haircuts at the hair salon, and then we did our WalMart shopping. Then they were going to look at Marinas, so we tagged along. After that, we had enough time to do a little grocery shopping and head back to return the car and catch the ferry. And although all the signs say it leaves at 3pm, it doesn't. It is temporarily leaving at 4pm, for the last two months, and the only way you find out is to ask someone, because all the signs and schedules say 3pm.
    So we didn't get back until 5:30, but many errands had been accomplished and the ferry ride was fun, and we met some more cruisers. We spent a day working on the boat, and another day or two exploring the small town, and then we decided to walk to the major beach with Tito and Roberta, and take a Publico back for two dollars. Tito is a very organized cruiser who is a real asset as he speaks Puerto Rican Spanish. It resembles Spanish in most respects but the total lack of "s" makes it difficult to follow. The famous beach here is Flamenco beach. We walked about half a mile and then a guy passed us and came back to get us and gave us a ride. He thought it was too far for us to walk. His family used to own cattle ranches along the way, and he told us all about what it used to look like, and how wonderful everything used to be. The beach was rocking and rolling, we're having
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a lot of surf these days, so we walked all over exploring, and then played in the waves. This beach was used by the Navy much like Vieques and there were a couple of blown up, rusted out tanks on the beach. Then we went back to the parking lot where all the vendors are. They have hot dogs, pizza, hamburgers, but there was also some authentic Puerto Rican food, so we had some lovely rice and beans and chicken stew. Then we took the 15 minute walk over the hill to the other side where the snorkeling is. It was another lovely snorkeling spot. We took the publico back to the dinghies, and then Lance and Tito worked on putting an eye splice in a braided line. They are getting better at it every time.
     Today we went to the flea market -- not much, and ran a few errands, and then we got back to the boat at 11 ish, and it proceeded to pour and keep on pouring, thunder and lightening and everything. Our big project was to get water. There is not place where we can dock, so we found that the process is: borrow 5 gallon water jugs† from several boats, dinghy to the Dinghy Dock restaurant, fill the jugs, pay $ 0.10 per gallon, dinghy back to the boat, pour water in tank, and then go do it again. We got 65 gallons of water, and discovered that we had more than we expected, because we had been being very careful, since we didn't know how we were going to find water again. This whole process took a couple of hours, and lot of muscle lifting and pouring jugs of water into the tanks. One of the boats that lent us water jugs, managed to catch 60 gallons of water in this rain storm. Our water tank filler caps are not as conveniently located as theirs are, but it is certainly something to work on. Some of the leaks we have been trying to stop were less worse, but not gone.
    Our big accomplishment was to find a way to stay longer. We have found a flight out of San Juan on June 1st, so we have another month to figure out where to leave the boat. It seems clear that we need to go back home and spend some time getting our Berkeley life in order, so we can cruise some more. In the BVI, we met lots of 6 month cruisers (6 months cruising, 6 months back home). Here, we have met mostly longer term cruisers: people who sold everything, moved onto the boat, got it fully outfitted and are cruising as long as they can. Some people have 1-2 years left and then they will have to figure something out. Some people need to pick up work along the way. And some people plan to keep it up until their health fails. We have to figure out what we are doing.

Pint's a pound, the world round. 1 lb/pt *2 pts/qt *4qts/gal *5 gal = 40lbs/jug. Capturing 60 gallons of free water saves lifting and carrying 480lbs.
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