April 13, 2015:
This bit of our journey has been the LEAST like a vacation of any of our cruising!! Getting east this time of year is not an easy undertaking. The explanation for this seems inadequate: It is hard to go east in prevailing easterlies—It IS hard to go east in prevailing easterlies—It is HARD to go east in prevailing easterlies—It is HARD TO GO EAST in prevailing easterlies!—IT IS HARD TO GO EAST IN PREVAILING EASTERLIES—IT IS HARD!!!!! As I’ve said before, there are books written about how to do it. The one particular book, the bible, of getting to the Caribbean through the Bahamas has to be STUDIED!! It’s easy to miss little tidbits of important knowledge. We’ve gleaned most of the important knowledge, but we have missed a tidbit or two. All-in-all, our journey east and south has been successful, if not always pleasant, and hardly ever fun. We’re glad to have made it to Puerto Rico where we are still making our way east along the south coast—ugh, and making our way toward the dangling carrot before us of being able to indulge in some American amenities such as Wal-Mart, West Marine and McDonalds! So far we haven’t been able to reach any of these carrots EXCEPT THIS BIG ONE—OUR U.S. CELL PHONES WORK!!! This is such a luxury! One commonality with the U.S. that makes life as a cruiser more difficult here than in some other places we’ve been is the wide use of cars and the American attitude about hitchhiking. It’s not as prevalent of a practice as we find in other places—a bummer for us. To be fair, we haven’t been in one place in Puerto Rico long enough to be totally qualified to make this judgment, and that’s one of the things that has made our time in this American territory less than pleasant. I’m getting ahead of myself, so I’ll back up and give an account of how we got here and a report of our time here with a few of the nice things we’ve experienced while here (because there have definitely been a few)!
We made the crossing from Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico via the infamous Mona Passage during Easter Sunday, April 4!
We left at around 5:00pm Saturday per “Passages South” with a decent weather forecast and hoped for the best. Earlier that morning, finally feeling better, I’d done yoga near the infinity pool with many of our group. That afternoon, I’d cooked a couple meals for us to have during our passage.
Logan, a 28 year old crew member on s/v Bueller, joined Wright, a single-hander on s/v Raven, to help him make the crossing to Puerto Rico. Logan was our teacher for yoga earlier that morning! The rest of Bueller’s crew, co-captains, Lars and Travis and crew member Jackie, left a couple of hours earlier than we did because they anticipated being slower due to their size. This was the first time we’d traveled with Bueller (like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off). We’d heard about them in George Town. You don’t often find “kids” out cruising on their own boats! Lars and Travis have left their engineering jobs for a sailing adventure, taking on friends of theirs as crew for extended periods time. That was the case with Logan and Jackie. The captains and crew of Bueller are all around Mark’s and my kids ages. You really never know who you’ll end up buddy boating with, but I never would have thought we’d be sailing with the “cool kids”!
Neither Mark nor I really wanted to leave the DR. Leaving a scene as awesome as these rainbow colored hills wasn’t easy. Dominican Republic is such a beautiful, interesting country, but we had reasons for not wanting to get “stuck” there for too long—me flying home to visit Ethan and Kristin in Ft. Worth and seeing my friend, Cathy Addison, and her family who were arriving in Puerto Rico on April 7! UNO and Ally Cat, who we left behind, planned to visit the national park that was just across the bay from the resort where we were docked. They’ve since emailed us and told us that they really enjoyed it. I hope that we get to do that plus much more inland exploring of the Dominican Republic when we come back northwest in the future (much much easier than going southeast).
The first part of our journey took us along the east coast of the Dominican Republic, so we were going southeast. A little north in the wind direction was anticipated, but we didn’t get as much as we expected. The east coast is where we experienced a maker-of-rough-seas, the Hour Glass Shoals, actually, just a bit of the west side of the Hour Glass Shoals (unavoidable), for a while before we turned more east to cross the 60nm of water between the DR and Puerto Rico. We had plotted a course to Cabo Rojo thinking that this would give us a decent angle on the wind. Going down the east coast of the DR was the most uncomfortable part of our journey, which is the opposite of what I expected. The part that took us through the DEEP waters past Mona Island and on into Puerto Rico wasn’t too bad. We got anchored at Cabo Rojo at sunset on Easter Sunday—not my choice of how to celebrate Christ’s resurrection,
but I saw the sunrise with Timmy Easter morning (with the full moon from the night before still high in the sky to the west) and meditated on the greatest miracle of Christianity as we wrestled with some of God’s beautiful creation .
Since we’ve gotten to Puerto Rico, we’ve been making little hops east across the south coast. Trying to follow “the guru’s” rules, we sometimes leave an anchorage at around 3:00am when the easterlies die down a bit to arrive at our destination around 8:00am before the easterlies kick back up—not fun!
We’re now in Salinas anchored out from Marina De Salinas where I am going to get a ride to the airport TOMORROW to fly to Ft. Worth. This is supposed to be a cruiser friendly place for Mark to stay while I’m gone for a few days. To tell the truth, we haven’t found a lot going on anywhere in Puerto Rico, but maybe it’s because we’ve just been so much on the move and kind of “clocked-out” on experiencing what Puerto Rico has to offer. We’ve had Salinas as a goal with an April 14 deadline, and we’re TIRED during the day!
Here is a photo journal of our time lately:
As recorded in our log book:
Samana to Cabo Rojo: left dock 4-4-15 @ 1630 (4:30 pm)/Anchored 4-5-15 @ 1900 (7:00pm) All but the last picture were taken close to sunrise on Easter Sunday at the end of my watch. When we have rough passages, little flying fish meet their demise on our decks. We don’t see them until morning. There were 3 dead fishys on Easter morning. One good thing about this passagae was the full moon by which we could see clearly. The last picture is Cabo Rojo at dusk when we arrived—so glad to have that passage behind us!
Cabo Rojo to La Parguera: Anchor up 4-6-15 @ 1115 (11:15am)/Anchored 4-6-15 @ 1430 (2:30pm) Logan joined Wright again for this little hop. He took some pictures of us, and I snapped one of him as he made it back to Raven’s cockpit. We went into the town of La Parguera one day to check it out. It was ghost-town like, but we enjoyed a nice lunch there with Raven and the Bueller “kids”! Mark made my airplane reservations to go to Ft. Worth on the 14th!
La Parguera to snorkeling site: Anchor up 4-8-15 @ 1130/ moored 4-8-15 @ 1230 The snorkeling wasn’t good here, but it was nice to get a little exercise. We watched the kite boarders doing their thing, and I worked on dinner for the gang.
Snorkeling site to Playa Santa: Anchor up 4-8-15 @ 1700 (5:00pm)/ Anchor down 4-8-15 @ 1830 (6:30pm) We all dropped our moorings and headed over to a staging anchorage clear of all the reefs for the short hop to Gilligan’s Island early the next morning. Man was it ROLLY there! As soon as we all got anchored, Raven and Bueller came over for dinner. It was fun to cook for everyone. I kind of got a “mom-fix”! Travis is looking sailor-cool sporting his head lamp before they headed home.
Playa Santa to Gilligan’s Island: Anchor up 4-9-15 @ 0530/ Anchor down 4-9-15 @ 0730 As we were getting close to the anchorage, I was searching the hills through my binoculars to try and figure out which vacation rental house was the Addison’s. I thought I had it figured out when a man came out on the balcony and waved, but that was just a coincidence. Jim Addison actually came out on his balcony next door to that house and saw Raven and Bueller as they went past. Nancy Lu was already out of his line of sight. Cathy called just minutes later! When we were exploring Gilligan’s Island (it looks similar to the island in the old sit-com; I forgot to take any pics.) later that morning we happened to meet the avid windsurfer who lives next door to the Addison’s rental. He offered for us to use his little beach for our dinghy and his driveway to access their house any time—so nice! We went to visit the Addison’s later that afternoon when they got back from their dive certification class out in that ROLLY Playa Santa Bay, so they were wiped out. After we left there, we dinghied around a point to a pretty resort where we had dinner and met up with Raven and Bueller for a nice visit! The next morning, I gathered up all our laundry, which was a lot of sheets, blankets, towels and a bedspread and took it to the Addison’s to use their garage washer and dryer. They had given us the code to get through their gate, and we had met the property manager who gave us the ok to use the washer and dryer. I was actually excited about the day! I laid out by their pool and started doing loads! the dryer ended up not working very well, so I ended up laying a lot of laundry all over the grass and patio furniture to dry—not exactly what I had envisioned! Cathy and I had a nice visit poolside when they got back, and Mark finished up drying the laundry. We had invited the Addison’s out to Nancy Lu for dinner later that evening. All 6 of them were on board to come, but the two boys couldn’t bring themselves to get back on another boat after being seasick all day on their dive boat. I didn’t blame them!! We were so glad that Cathy, Jim, Amy and Julie braved another boat to have dinner with us, though. Our anchorage was nice and calm, so no one got seasick at dinner on Nancy Lu. We were able to let them take some of the drug that works so well for us for seasickness, and they reported that they all got certified the next day free of seasickness!! It was amazing that we were able to connect with the Addison’s! Cathy had read a facebook post of mine that said we were headed for Puerto Rico. Although we would have, we did not change any of our plans to end up anchored just a dinghy ride away from where they were at the same time they were there—amazing!
Gilligan’s Island to Isla Caja De Muertos: Anchor up 4-11-15 @ 0310/ Anchor down 4-11-15 @ 0800 This was a pretty anchorage, but I didn’t get off the boat all day after such an early start.
Isla Caja De Muertos to Salinas: Anchor up 4-12-15 @ 0330/ Anchor down 4-12-15 @ 0745 This is where we are now, and will be for a while!!! I’m so ready to slow down for a while, and I’m even more ready to catch my flight tomorrow to go to Ft. Worth and visit Ethan and Kristin. I’m also going to see Claire and her boyfriend, Nathan, and my friends Kenny and Karen are driving over to see me Friday morning while Ethan and Kristin are working and before Claire gets there. I’m sooo looking forward to it!! Mark’s going to “bachelor it” with Wright on Raven while I’m gone. Yesterday, we had lunch up at the marina poolside bar and hung out with Bueller, Raven and one crew member from a family boat that I hadn’t met yet, Catchin’ Rays. I enjoyed a long surrogate-mother/surrogate-son talk with Logan. He’s such a kind young man! I really appreciated getting to know him and was impressed that he took the time to be interested in me. Later that day, Mark stopped over for a visit on Raven, and Lars took advantage of two old dude’s input on dinghy motor problems that Bueller’s been having. Lars and Travis just stopped by our boat to tell us good-bye. They’re traveling on tonight. We really enjoyed our time with Bueller. I’ll be back on Nancy Lu next Saturday, and we may be reconnecting with some of our Chat-n-Chill Rat Pack group that have just made it over to Puerto Rico. Some are still left in Luperon, but maybe we’ll see them down the road later on! We still haven’t reconnected with Sandra Louise. They’re busy in Puerto Real where they first landed in Puerto Rico, but we receive emails from them regularly. Vonn Dutch, another of our Rat Pack group who got to Puerto Rico before we did, just showed up here today. Groups change all the time!