Palmas del Mar, Puerto Rico
Date: Saturday 14th March 2015
As I thought the strong easterly winds continued for another week, so we had an extended stay in the marina. We had stayed there on our way westwards the year before and had thoroughly enjoyed our stay. In some ways nothing had changed. The facilities were still relatively new and well cared for and the staff were as delightfully helpful as it is possible to be. But unfortunately not everything was the same.
The seas were working their way in to the marina basin and were creating the most dreadful surge. It was difficult to work out how they were having such a large effect. The enclosed area of the marina was large and there was only one small opening to the seas, but somehow they were getting in. It would seem that the problem was largely due to the lack of any sort of soft areas of sand or mangrove around the boundaries of the marina basin. It was all concrete, mostly presented as surfaces that went vertically in to the water. Any swell that got in, instead of being dissipated would simply bounce around inside and combine with any fresh waves that were coming in.
Even though at first sight it was considerably more sheltered than the marina at Ponce, the surge we experienced inside was much worse. So once again I wove a cat’s cradle of lines, snubbers, metal springs and other arrangements to make on board more tolerable. But our mooring lines inevitably suffered the consequence of the constant aggressive movement and I had two, new warps that were damaged and had to be cut back to a smaller length.
Whilst we were waiting for favourable winds we hired a car and drove around the east side of the island. We spent a day in San Juan, looking up some of the sights we had missed during our visit the year before:
Restaurant Casa Espania in Ponce de Leon:
The stunning interior covered courtyard at the Museum of Contemporary Art:
The Capitol Building:
They say he was a bit of a ladies man:
The marina is built inside a large gated community with golf courses, hotels and private villas. It was very pleasant to just walk around the estate, particularly the local beach.
This year we have noticed that everywhere we sail there has been large quantities of Sargasso weed floating on the surface of the sea. A certain amount of the weed is normal, but this year the amount of weed seems to have increased significantly. Where it washes ashore it dies and starts to decompose producing a strong sulphurous smell that has to be experienced to believe. Unfortunately the topography of the shoreline near to the marina, combined with the extensive period of strong onshore wind has deposited a lot of weed close to the marina. Fortunately for us this area was just downwind of our berth, so we spared the worse effects, but in order to leave the marina we had to cross a bridge over an area where there was a high concentration of the weed. It certainly puts hairs on your chest.