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.
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
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.