March 25, 2015. Boqueron, Puerto Rico. 18.01.46N 67.10.77W

David Batten
Wed 25 Mar 2015 23:32
March 21.  Beautiful morning, calm, sunny, clear and perfect for lifting the keel after we cross the shallows at the Salinas Bay entrance and so calm, we had to motor sail most of the way to Ponce.
visasmallAnd as we motor out of Salinas the next morningdavid
The entrance to the bay at Salinas, early morning calm...
visasmallDSC_0190 (2)david
...And even by the wind farm just west of Salinas.
We arrived at Ponce at about midday, just in time to fill up with fuel before the man at the pump went off for lunch.  The staff at the marina were all very welcoming, helpful and polite and fortunately for us they had a good slip, not too difficult to get into, although we do find these bow posts a bit of a challenge.  With the help of two members and after lifting the keel to get off the sand bank just behind the fuel dock, we tied up to the land for the first time exactly 28 days after we left the pontoon at Peeke’s in Trinidad.  We spent the afternoon organising car hire and planning where to go tomorrow, allowing for the fact that we got hopelessly lost driving the hire car back to the marina from the airport, what with driving on the right, with all left turns to make and signs we did not follow as intended and a hopeless road map.  Shades of Venezuela when the skipper’s wife and David’s parents hired a car and got lost in Caracas and had to be shown the way out by a consultant from the Medical School.  Memories that remain with one for ever!
visasmallThe Yacht club beech and anchorage at Poncedavid
The Ponce Yacht and Fishing Club Marina beach, with anchorage the background.
March 22.  After Armed with the iPad and google maps, we managed much better and had an excellent day exploring the Guanica dry forest, having lunch on the beach at Cana Gorda and then driving into the hills and forests around Lake Luchetti.  On the way back, we drove into Ponce and visited Plaza de Las Delicias, with its cathedral, fire station and other interesting buildings.  Just off the Plaza, we found the theatre, where we caught the end of a really excellent choral performance.  By that time it was raining quite heavily, so back to the car to find the Piaza del Caribe shopping centre, where we wanted to shop in the morning and which we had failed to get to at least 3 times.
visasmallWalking in the Guanica dry forestdavid
Walking in the dry forest at Guanica
visasmallPearly Eyed Thresher Guanica Dry Forest, Puerto Ricodavid
Pearly Eyed Thresher in Guanica dry forest.
visasmallLake Luchetti, Yauco region, Puerto Ricodavid
Lake Luchetti, just one small view of part of it.
visasmallSkipper with our red Fiesta in the background, by Lake Luchettidavid
visasmallThe Theatre near the main plaza at Poncedavid
The Theatre at Ponce
visasmallTown House, Poncedavid
Town House of Plaza de Las Delicias
March 23.  After doing 3 loads of washing in the slightly run down laundry, it was off to the Pueblo in the Piaza del Caribe to stock up while we had the car. We needed both essentials and odds and ends that we knew would be difficult to get in the DR and Cuba. The whole day seemed to be consumed by washing and folding and shopping and stowing, plus returning the car, so there was not much time for R and R, but we did see parrots in the palm trees on our evening walk around the mini golf course at the marina.  We would highly recommend stopping here as a safe place to leave the boat and go exploring and we could not fault the marina staff for the way we were looked after and the facilities they offer if you can get a “slip”.
visasmallMonk Parrot in the palm trees in the yacht club groundsdavid
Monk Parrot settling down for the night in a palm tree at the Marina
March 24.  Another early start to leave the marina in the calm morning conditions, so calm in fact, that it was another motor sail for most of the 47nm to Boqueron.  The wind got up just as we turned the corner off Cabo Rojo and had to start concentrating on navigating and we arrived in the bay in quite rough conditions and dropped the anchor quite a long way off the beach as the bay is quite shallow for a long way out.  However, it is another amazing place, with mangroves, miles of sandy beach, a small town and friendly people.
visasmallThe anchorage and beach at Boquerondavid
Boats anchored off the beach at Boqueron
visasmallThe town of Boqueron behind the mangrovesdavid
The small town of Boqueron behind the mangroves
We were planning to leave early in the morning to go to Mayaguez to check out at the customs there, but luckily for us, an American called Eddie saw us and advised us that leaving the dinghy anywhere in Mayaguez was likely to get it stolen as you can no longer tie up at the ferry dock.  The ferry has not run for several years and the dock is fenced off.  He runs a taxi service to customs for $30 and we agreed to go with him in the morning and spend the day at Boqueron.
March 25.  We were very glad we chose to go with Eddie, he met us at the dinghy dock on time, no hassle getting there, he took us to the door of the customs house, explained what we were there for and was very entertaining.  We can heartily recommend using his service and have his telephone number for any other yacht like us not familiar with Puerto Rico.  Having checked out, we spent a very peaceful day in nearly zero wind preparing for our trip to the Dominican Republic, our first overnight sail as a duo since the Canary Islands in 2013.