South Puerto Rico

During our overnight sail to Ponce, we had light winds. When we started out sailing from Fajardo, we did only 3 knots in 7 knots of wind. Later, the wind started picking up and we gybed every 3 hours on our watch change. We usually keep a schedule where I sail from 18:00 to 21:00, Thomas from 21:00 to 0:00, I take it over until 3:00, and Thomas does the last dog shift until 6:00. Our ETA was at 7:00, but unlucky Thomas couldn’t wake me up so he had to do a very long dog shift.. After we dropped anchor we napped for a couple of hours and then got on our way to the pool at the hotel where Thomas’ parents were staying. We had the most amazing, enormous and thick pizza that evening, of which I couldn’t even finish half.

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We explored the town of Ponce, a little city a few miles from the anchorage. The old city had a bit of a lost glamour to it, with many deserted colonial style buildings. Even a cinema and a hospital were abandoned. In one street, we found a horse tied to the front door of a house. Somebody must have just rode in on his horse, parked it there and it was just waiting patiently for its owner. As we walked past, someone shouted at us: ‘Her name is Carolina, she don’t bite!’, so we made friends with her. Generally, the people in Ponce all said something to us, as if they never see tourists. ‘God bless’, ‘Enjoy Puerto Rico’ or ‘Thanks for visiting!’. So nice to be off the main tourist route!

The city was tiny and after we had seen it all we went back to the pool at the hotel. Which is also where we spent the next day, after we did a little provisioning run with the car. Sad enough, Thomas’ parents were leaving already. After we said goodbye and they were on their way to Germany again, we prepared for our next destination: the Bahamas! With our laptop and phones, we got a comfortable spot at the pool and took advantage of their internet for one more day.

We stayed in Ponce a bit longer, we even moved the boat to the marina for a day. The marina is actually super nice, with a pool and fast internet and everything. In the bay is also a manatee-area, where we would sometimes see a manatee swimming by! We spent the whole day doing laundry, organising new batteries, changing some of our last lights to LED and doing route planning with our boat neighbours. With our boat, which has a keel of 2.20 m, it is quite difficult to navigate the shallows and banks of the Bahamas. Luckily our French boat neighbour had exactly the same draft and was extremely organised. Everything he told us was new to us and we felt a bit unprepared. So we basically just copied his route..

But before we would sail to the Bahamas, for which the weather wasn’t perfect yet, we first sailed to Boqueron. This is a bay on the southwest corner of Puerto Rico where boats wait for good weather for the long passage to the Dominican Republic or further. It was also a party town, where the weekends are filled with booze and reggaeton. Luckily for us, we arrived on a Friday! We didn’t do much partying though, we basically waited for wind and dragged our beach towel into the wandering shade of a palm tree every half an hour or so. And we went on a mission to find a shower, which we did. Got to love waiting for good weather. With that we were all charged for our 700 or so mile passage to Nassau in the Bahamas!

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