Monday, April 18, 2016

Puerto Rico, Part Dos (Ponce)

Ponce Yacht & Fishing Club

Ponce:  We pull in to the Ponce marina for a week.  We need to get a few packages, do taxes, do some provisioning and take the cat to the vet.  The Captain would like to top batteries, wash the boat, flush & top the water tanks, and do some chores.  Besides, their weekly rate is $4.50/ft or $23/day.  Can't beat that.

Stats:  Total time 3:41, avg speed 4.7 kts, total mileage 17.2 miles.  2-engine motor.  Total mileage to date:  2682 nm.  Straight line distance from Annapolis:  1360 nm

Beautiful sunrises and sunsets all week
I had been chatting with the crew of sv Orion about meeting-up while they were at the same marina for some maintenance.  When she saw our FB "check in" at the marina, she and her husband found our boat (in their old slip), tracked me back to the laundry, then went back to retrieve The Captain and whisked him off to Walgreens to get the passport photo he needed.  Her husband even swapped shirts with The Captain when they told him he couldn't wear stripes.  LOL.  We finally get to sit down, have some drinks and food, and pick their brains about our route to Culebra, their home port.  It's wonderful when your "virtual friends" become real people!

Tight fit and no dock hands.  Some days we look like we know what we're doing.

The bicycles are deployed the next morning and we head toward the mall.  (After living on a boat for a year, visiting the mall is our idea of a vacation.  Fun to visit.  Don't want to stay).  A 2 mile ride became 4 as we attempt to take the back roads.  We hit Sports Authority, PF Changs, Office Max and the grocery store.

Bicycles are out!
PF Changs.  YUM!
Kelly Nicole arrives and anchors out.  They dinghy in for drinks and we head to the Malecon at the La Guancha for dinner.  There isn't much for the vegetarians and celiac to eat here.  It is mostly bar food that is fried or pastry and stuffed with meat.  There isn't just one band but four!  The crowd at each varies from young to old, dancing or clapping and singing along. They love their music.

Crank up some J Lo's "Let's Get Loud" and you're where we're at.  We can hear the music at the boat.

Not a lot for vegetarians or celiacs

San Juan:  We haven't stopped to enjoy Puerto Rico like we should.  The strong trade winds have kept us moving when possible.  The Easter holiday kept us away from the more crowded town anchorages.  It's also a bigger island than we realized and we have a lot of ground to cover on the way to the Virgin Islands.  However, our side trip to San Juan turned out to be just the ticket.  The Captain needed to renew his passport and the First Mate needed to renew her GOES.  We were dreading this errand and it started off with the rental car company saying we'd have to take a cab over instead of them picking us up.  Then the cab was late.  Then the iPhone map tried to send us the wrong direction ("I'm pretty sure San Juan is north of here...")

While driving to San Juan, I don't fully appreciate the mountain views because I'm making phone calls.  I do glance up at one point and realize I should be taking pictures.  I can't explain it, but I like San Juan.  It is a great blend of two cultures.  You have your choice between Taco Maker and Subway.  More people are willing to speak English here and my Spanglish is in full force without even thinking about it.  One cashier at a restaurant even apologizes for greeting me in Spanish.  "I was going to try!"  "Go ahead."  "Diet Coke, por favor."  She laughs.  We've expanded from ordering food to asking questions, as long as the answer is si, no, or pointing--then we're lost again!  They speak faster here than in Luperon.

A little pilgrimage to the mother ship. Purchase exceeded rewards coupons :-0
Everything goes like clockwork.  The Captain gets into the downtown passport office early, we have brunch across the street, then off to see if I can get into my appointment at the airport early (after an hour wait, I got in an hour early), then West Marine, back to pick up the Captain's passport, late lunch and back towards Ponce.  Perfect--until we almost run out of gas.  Damned if we can find a gas station between San Juan and Ponce.  "Use your iPhone to find me a gas station."  "Are you kidding?  This thing doesn't know where Ponce is?!"  (We found one.  It was a close call.)  The day went so well, that The Captain swings by Starbucks on the way back so the First Mate can buy more tea, Sears for a new battery charger, then a quick stop at Pueblo grocery to start reprovisioning (Gluten-free crackers.  Phew!  Another close call).

Starbucks.  Stocked up on tea and replaced my broken mug.  What a treat.
The next morning, we run a few more errands before returning the rental car and we get truly lost.  None of the map apps work in Ponce.  You type in WalMart, you end up at Ikea.  You type in Home Depot, you end up at WalMart.  You type in McDonalds--well, there's a McDonald's on every corner so that didn't count.  Weird.

McDonald's.  We can do this!
McDonalds.  At least the menu looks familiar but without the familiar meals number's that The Captain is used to.  I got this.  "Double cheeseburger no pan, McPapas y Cafe fria, no azucar."  She didn't understand.  She didn't speak English.  Someone stepped in to translate.  Apparently, I lost her with no bread & no sugar.  I didn't get an ice coffee but a frappe with caramel instead.  It was yummy.

New chain & rope rode

A few chores:
Look who got more new chain & rode!  The Captain added 70 ft of new chain to the 60 ft of chain we purchased in Annapolis (taking off the old section).  He also added 100 ft of 5/8 nylon rode.  Why?  Once we're past the mooring balls in the Virgin Islands, the anchorages are going to start getting deeper, like 20-30 ft!  So a 5:1 scope would be 30 x 5 = 150 ft, but we prefer 7:1 so that's 210 ft!  That's the kind of math that we usually avoid on Odin.  We're a catamaran!  Drive it up on the beach ;-) OK, we say that, but we've never done it--yet.

Changing the starboard stator

One of the orders that gets screwed up is parts for our main Yamaha engines (rectifier NOT in stock so they were holding the whole order.  Boo!).  The Captain replaces the starboard stator in hopes of fixing our charging issues.  "Not a job for amateurs."

Written directions don't help in Ponce
We rent a car for a second day to take the cat to the vet for shots.  We drive around for an hour before we finally find it, partly because they moved and neglected to mention it.  Friendly locals have us follow them to the wrong vet.  We try to call but we are the first appointment of the day.  The staff doesn't speak English and the English-speaking Vet is from out of town so she doesn't know where we are.  On the way out, they give us written directions to pick up Princess Amelia's prescription. We still got lost...  Did I mention the crazy drivers?  They swerve out of their lane a lot and pass you on the left AND right when you didn’t go through an intersection fast enough.  Four way stops are a test in who is bolder/in more of a hurry.  Next time we'll take a cab.

The Captain catches a cold (aka the The Masters is on) so we stay a few extra days aka "waiting for the forecast trade winds to abate."

The cats of Ponce Yacht & Fishing Club.

They've been fixed and a woman comes to feed them

Whoops.  That's not a cat.  This pic was for The Captain.  "Aren't you going to take a picture of THAT?!"

No comments:

Post a Comment