Salina was our first stopping point on Puerto Rico proper so the first thing we did was phone the US Customs and Border Patrol number and report in. All very easy this time.
We stepped out from the anchorage and marina into a tiny, sleepy place. There were ramshackle, brightly coloured houses; some restaurants and a bakery. Oh and some very shiny signs that were showing the Tsunami escape route. There were only three however and they ran out about 100 yds from the sea so probably not a lot of help in reality.
We needed to re-provision and knew that we could walk to a larger store on the edge of Salinas proper. Trying to get directions was a mission and a half. Most locals we asked gave very confusing instructions with no landmarks at all. Even when we said “is that by the bright green restaurant with orange chairs?” they looked blank and told us it was “straight on”. An American lady who had been there many times saw us looking lost and came to the rescue confirming that the store; A. Was one, not four, miles away; B. Did have a good selection of food. C. Could call a taxi to bring us back. All clear.
We walked. We found it. It was great and had everything we needed – and some things we didn’t. On the right here you can see what appears to be some kind of messed about with cheese with excessive E numbers. There is a choice however because on the left, look carefully, you could buy an imitation version of the same thing, appetisingly labelled as ‘White imitation Pasteurised Process American Cheese’. An imitation version of something that seemed pretty imitation in the first place. Yum.
The internet in the marina hadn’t worked for months apparently but everyone was confident it would be fixed in a few more days. Mmmmm. In the meantime we were directed to the local bakery. We were also directed to the same bakery for gas. (As in propane)
The assistant who spoke English was busy. Busy that is playing one of the 9 slot machines round the walls. No gas. Two coffees, a Danish pastry and a doughnut seemed to be just the thing while we picked up our emails. The remaining three assistants in this very tiny place were all engaged in trying to get a young man’s debit card to work. By all I mean taking it in turns to try while the other two helpfully watched. Queue building up. Queue ignored. First assistant still playing the slot machines. Eventually the debit card was put inside a polythene bag and the whole thing then swiped through the machine; numbers put in by hand and hurrah, all was well.
Two assistants disappear. One goes back to the slot machines and the remaining one deals with the queue.
On closer inspection the Danish pastry was mostly glistening, bright yellow ‘pineapple’ so we stuck with the donut.
Outside all was very jolly as people came and went. Everyone seemed to know each other whatever nationality and it was delightful to see. The gentleman on the left was watching Tom Jones videos via the internet so we drank our coffee to the strains of ‘Delilah’. His wife then arrived on a bike bringing his lunch and a drink. So, seems OK to use the wifi but not actually buy anything.
We made an early start to head west along the south coast of Puerto Rico and were startled by a large, smooth, black shape moving through the water in the channel as we were chugging out. A very rare Manatee, or sea cow. They are known to be around this anchorage but we didn’t expect to see one, even fleetingly.