Stopover in Arecibo

Gudrun V
Axel Busch
Sun 22 May 2011 16:05
Sunday, 22.05.2011, 12:00 local (16:00 UTC), 18:28.77N 66:42.086W
After leaving San Juan yesterday we sailed westwards with 6kn in a nice easterly of about 10kn. We had rigged up the running backstays in a way that allowed as to keep the bimini up while sailing, and Liz enjoyed the shade in the cockpit while reading. The setup wouldnât work in strong winds or going upwind against swell, when the mast is prone to pumping, but downwind especially in light winds no problem.
Later in the afternoon the wind increasedbriefly to 20kn as it rushed in to a forming thunderstorm cell ahead of us. The clouds didnât look anything like the thunderclouds I was used to, just smear of dark with a little curtain of rain. But I was suspicious of the increasing wind. From the looks of the rain curtain it looked as if the cell was moving across our path to the north, and I would have to move inshore again a little to avoid itâs center. Iâd rather catch some rain on the back side then risk lightning strike. As it turned out it wasnât much rain, but of course the cell completely ruined the wind and for four hours it was a frustrating (and mostly futile) exercise to sail and we ended up motoring for more than an hour. With only a sixty liter fuel tank Iâm very cautious about starting the engine.
I had hoped to make it Isla de Mona before the early Sunday morning, when the foreacst said that the wind would drop and not return for a while â perfect for anchoring. But as it was we were not even passed Arecibo, in less than five knots of wind, and not moving very fast, and tired. We decided to sail (slooowly) into Arecibo and stay there until the situation improved, which should be Monday or Tuesday.  On the way we got vriefly checked out by the coast guard, who came up fast from behind unlit, then motored along for a little while with lights on, before turning away again and killing their lights.
It was past midnight when we arrived in Arecibo, where we were welcomed by a commitee of six police officers, two armed with M4 carbines. They came out on a boat and then asked us to dock at a commercial pontoon, where they checked our papers and asked the usual questions: whereâre you from, when did you leave, whereâre you going, whatâs your occupation. Like all officials weâve met in Puerto Rico they were very friendly. After half an hour of talking a mix of spanish and english we were cleared to anchor in the harbor.
Earlier today I checked the weather forecast, and it looks like weâll be stuck here with no wind for a day, maybe two. But we donât mind very much, we have so much reading and writing to do. It would have been nicer in Isla Mona, the brown water here in the harbor doesnât look very inviting, but what can you do, this is how it is with a sailboat. Today is Sunday and the people or Arecibo are strolling along the beach, paddling surfboards and riding waverunners. An icecream vendor plays his typical tune and the atmosphere is one of relaxed enjoyment of life.