8 Jan 2017

Sunday 8 Jan 2017 Boqueron, Puerto Rico

The journey down here from the Turks and Caicos was something of a nightmare - beating into winds strong enough that they would blow your clothes off (luckily I wasn't wearing any!) and crashing into seas that made the whole boat shudder with the impact. We were both totally salt-encrusted, as was everything on the boat, from the incessant spray whipping by.  What was so frustrating was the inaccuracy of the weather forecasts once again.  We expected south-easterly winds but under 15 knots.  Instead we got them constantly over 20 knots, often over 25 knots and at nighttime in excess of 30 knots.  Not pleasant to say the least, and in fact at one point we were so fed up that we had decided to sell the boat at the end of this season. However, arriving in a safe harbour is a bit like the reputed after effects of childbirth - extremely painful when one goes through it, but you forget the pain almost immediately afterwards.

That said, we have done a great deal of reflecting on our sailing futures and we have decided that we will do the Pacific next year, and then sell the boat when we get to Australia. Downwind sailing is infinitely more enjoyable than beating into the elements and so we have decided that we will only keep going in a westerly direction once we have reached Grenada and hauled out for the hurricane season.

It is nice being back in Puerto Rico after a four year absence.  We had a long, long chat to the new owner of a waterside restaurant yesterday who has the opportunity to really make an impact with sailing community, and we were exchanging ideas with her as to the things that cruising sailors look for in anchorages. She made copious notes and we wouldn't be surprised to see that if we returned in a couple of years that all our suggestions are in place. It would make the place more appealing to itinerant mariners and encourage visitors.

Boqueron itself is a lively and colourful little town, very popular with Puerto Ricans at weekends.  They are still celebrating Christmas with a lot of salsa and marangue music filling the streets, stalls lining them and families enjoying the atmosphere.  All good fun.

There is some very bad weather heading our way early next week, currently hammering the Bahamas, but as we will be on the south coast of Puerto Rico we will be in the lee of the island and protected from it.  One thing the weather front will introduce is north-easterly winds, typical for this time of year and perfect for sailing south-east but you've guessed it, our next few days we need to be heading north-east.  C'est la vie!