Salinas and Puerto Rico 28/2/17
We crept along the coast leaving before 0400 to avoid the worst of the wind. It was a bit lumpy and motoring dead into wind, but it had to be done. We are now anchored in Salinas – outside the marina, which has a bar, restaurant, swimming pool and supermarket in walking distance – a cruisers dream. It is also the only marina we have found where you can relax in a rocking chair watching your boat bobbing in the anchorage.
Puerto Ricans in this sleepy backwater are charming and surveys always put Puerto Ricans in the top 5 happiest people. Trying to figure out this American overseas territory seems impossible. Everything is gated and barred to us. The Art Museum in Ponce had an exhibit of Puerto Rican ironwork and described its primary function as decorative, with security as a secondary benefit.
To us it looks like living in a cage. According to the museum this ironwork provides a sense of comfort and is a powerful signifier of cultural identity.
It is probably impossible to eat a bad meal out and beautiful beaches are everywhere, but some are impossible to access as they are gated and fenced off, as are some walks and nature reserves. We found this lack of access at times frustrating. In Ponce we were lucky enough to be allowed to dock the tender for free in a small fisherman's marina, so we could get ashore.
Of the Puerto Ricans we met, some do not like people who make no effort to speak Spanish and others don't like non-Spanish speakers. This territory is about to have a referendum on whether to apply to become the 51st US state.