At the airport, Timmy says, “Hey, Puerto Rico, we’re back.” He did great on the journey in his carrier under my feet.
We arrived in San Juan Puerto Rico on January 6 and didn’t depart with the the boat from Sunbay marina in Fajardo, Puerto Rico headed for the Spanish Virgin Island, Culebra until January 20. Most of that time was spent working, but we decided not to get into too big of a hurry and took a couple of days for fun.
Because we left Nancy Lu in hurricane-preparedness-condition, there was a lot to do to get ready for sailing the Caribbean this season. We had taken sails down and stowed them away, our solar panel had been taken down and stowed inside, the bimini top was down and stowed, the dinghy was lashed upside down to the deck instead of hanging on its davits at the stern, and a special arrangement of dock lines were in place along with a homemade-by-Mark contraption to protect Nancy Lu’s hull from banging against the pilings, among other things. Oh, and we had an air-conditioner set up in the companion-way (door to the cabin) mainly to dehumidify the cabin (which it did, perfectly—NO MOLD!!!!). We were so thankful to have a nice cool cabin in a marina that is so protected from the wind. The downside of the air-conditioner; however, was that we had to hoist ourselves (and Timmy) up and over it every time we entered and exited the boat—a bit of a pain. All of this hurricane-preparedness had to be undone, grocery and other provisioning had to be done, AND the decks needed (well, I wanted them) to be cleaned. That’s always my big project along with provisioning. I find it very satisfying to get those teak decks somewhat restored to there honey color using TDS ECO-100 Concentrate Teak Cleaner Powder and elbow grease.
Our first night on the island, we rented a car (got upgraded to a Fiat SUV) and spent the night at a hotel close to the airport that would accept dogs, DREAM’S HOTEL. It was very reasonable at $60 a night. It was barebones, but clean and quaint. We would recommend it as an overnight stay to anyone travelling with a pet . I was happy with Mark’s arrangements, and he was happy that I was happy. As we walked to a close-by Denny’s for dinner our first night there, we heard the song of the tiny Coqui frogs that are ubiquitous on this island. It’s a happy sound, like a bird’s song, that is heard after the sun goes down. Hearing that sound was a nice welcome-back greeting. It was hard to believe that the weather could be so different after just a 4 hour plane ride.
On just our second day back, Mark installed a second solar panel that we had purchased. The guy we bought it from delivered it to the boat and helped Mark with the installation.
Mark had to make some modifications to stabilize the solar panel array, but we are all set now and enjoying all the extra amps that are being produced!
I have to admit that for the first few days of our time in Puerto Rico, my journal has quite a few entries with words like: blue, overwhelmed, and tired.
… as the boat got more and more put together, I got into a routine of daily bible reading again, and we did a few outings together, those kinds of words dropped off.
I updated our photo wall this year!
A trip to Costco was not really a pleasure outing, but it was pretty enjoyable because we were shopping mainly for goodies to serve when we have people over on the boat and for ourselves, but also because we treated ourselves to hotdogs and a sweet treat after the shopping was done. We’ve never shopped at Costco, so it was fun seeing all the good stuff you can get in BIG packages!
We ate out a lot while we were in Fajardo because we were working so hard. Mr Pollo was one of Mark’s favorites. It’s also a local favorite- not my favorite. The only American restaurant chain that we frequented quite a bit was Panda Express.
My favorite place to eat was the Blue Iguana at The Fajardo Inn, a resort close to our marina. Another place that I liked, but didn’t get very good reviews on Yelp, was Punto Latino. Interestingly enough, they specialize in Latino and Chinese food. It was a local favorite, too.
We really enjoyed our drive through El Yunque National Forest.
I started collecting children’s books from different sailing destinations back in 2011, and now, I have a face and a name of a little someone to imagine reading them to!
One evening, we went on another fun little outing to see how “the other half” lives. We could see the El Conquistador Resort in the distance from our marina parking lot with its trams that take guests down to the marina level of the resort, so we decided to go visit and check it out. We could look from there back towards our marina and barely see it. At El Conquistador, there was luxury everywhere we looked, but the people, although they looked to be enjoying themselves, didn’t look to be having any more fun than we do—just a different kind of fun. It did make me look forward to our planned trip to a resort on the west coast in May for a “destination wedding” for Kristin and Ethan with our two families. But for right now, we have a ticket on the good ship Nancy Lu for Caribbean adventures up close and personal!
Sometimes I’m guilty of taking photos of the beauty we see with special attention to only capturing what I think is beautiful. Sometimes this means moving the camera a little to the left in order not to have a man I don’t know in the shot or moving the camera a few inches to the right in order not to have a car in the shot. In reality, I think we do this kind of editing in our head and are able to see the spectacular beauty amongst the mundane, but it’s a little harder to do when one is looking at a picture and not actually there. Therefore the photographer gives a little bit of help with the editing….Well, I thought it might be fun to do a section in some of my blog posts called “Two inches to the right or left”, whatever the case may be, just to keep things completely real. So here it is for this blog post….
TWO INCHES TO THE LEFT:
The first picture captures a beautiful home more towards the foreground and the El Conquistador Resort in the distance with a tram heading down to their marina level. By moving my camera just a couple of inches to the left, I captured the shack-like house put together in hodgepodge fashion just across the little inlet from our marina parking lot where I once saw a woman throwing a pan of dirty dishwater out of the big glassless window, and I occasionally saw and heard gatherings of men out under the trees around some old out-board motors. You can also see the old refrigerator lodged on the side of the cliff. I find that those kinds of scenes capture my imagination as much if not more and seem more relatable than that of the fancy house and resort in the distance. One morning, I was out walking Timmy and I heard dogs barking frantically coming from that direction. I saw them half running-half sliding down that cliff and into some brambles. The next thing I saw was some creature’s white underbelly sailing headfirst down toward the water below!!! I didn’t actually see it land, but after playing the scene over in my minds eye, I’m pretty sure it was a huge iguana that had leapt from the brambles to get away from its pursuers. The dogs came barreling down the side of the cliff and into the water looking for it, but they came up empty handed.
On January 20 we left Puerto Rico and sailed to Culebra, Spanish Virgin Islands 20 miles to the east. That will be the subject of my next blog post…Thanks for reading!