Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Puerto Rico - west to east

What an incredible couple of weeks we have had. The south coast of Puerto Rico was not really on our agenda for this trip. You may recall that, originally, we were headed to San Juan and intended to go the northern route around to the Virgin Islands. Our detour to the Dominican Republic changed all of those plans. The new route took us along the classic 'Thorny Path' across the bottom of Puerto Rico. As is often the case, the unplanned turns out wonderful and you see some great things you would otherwise have missed.

Our stops along the south coast of Puerto Rico. Up at dawn on moving days, never more than 5 hours to the next stop.

This route did, however, have a negative effect on my blog postings. We anchored out for 10 straight days as we made our way along the coast. The only data coverage we could get was via the cell phone hotspot. We usually did not have very good cell coverage.  Several times we did not even have voice coverage, much less good data connections. Short story - no postings, no pictures for several days.

We absolutely love being out at anchor. You have privacy, quiet and 360 degree water views. Most of the time you are in beautiful places looking down into clear water. Manatees, rays, fish and dolphins go right past you. At night, we get out the big flashlight and play with the fish underneath the boat. Morning coffee, lunch and dinner in the cockpit is the norm. Roosters crowing on the nearby island has been the constant background chatter everywhere except the uninhabited Isla Caja de Muertos.

'SeaClearly' has performed beautifully. She got an engine oil change back in Puerto Real so she was happy. The watermaker kept us supplied nicely so we did get our showers along the way. The wind and the sun were very cooperative in keeping our batteries happy while we were anchored.

Being at anchor for days on end has some other, less attractive, effects. We have a mountain of laundry. We were both down to the end of our clean clothes. We have washed out some of the quick-dry things in the sink. Forget washing anything cotton - it will never dry on the boat. Also, when anchored out, there is always a little bit of stress regarding your anchor. Is it set well? Will it keep us in place? And there is also some worry about security. Sometimes we are in some pretty remote spots all by ourselves. Worry is good. If it turns out to be unnecessary worry, that's better.

Once the wind settled down some on Wednesday, January 12, we started making fast progress in short morning trips from one anchorage to the next. We did three one-night-stands.
  • Isla Caja de Muertos - This is a totally isolated island 6 miles off the coast. At night, the only light is a very dim glow from the abandoned lighthouse high up on the hill. We were there by noon, sitting in the cockpit loving the view. Up at dawn the next day to move on.

The lighthouse atop Isla Caja de Muertos - Coffin Island.
Literal translation - Box of the Dead.
Puerto Rico 6 miles distant in the background looking
northeast from Isla Caja de Muertos.
  • Salinas - This is a very popular cruiser anchorage and we were planning on staying 2 nights. But, frankly, we did not see the attraction. In fact, we didn't even take any pictures. I guess that sums it up. It is a well protected anchorage but is crowded with permanent boats on moorings. There are some bars and restaurants. We dropped the dinghy, went into shore, looked around, went back to the boat, raised the dinghy and waited for dawn so we could move on. 
  • Puerto Patillas - Tucked back into a bay behind the reefs, and supposed to be just an opportune last stop along the coast, this was a neat little place. The hills rise up into mountains right behind the little town. From where we anchored, we could watch the traffic moving along the coast road like a little miniature model. We could hear karaoke night (en Espanol) from the little bar perched on the hill above the beach. We could see the waves breaking over the reefs out toward the ocean. We even had a very Caribbean Chill dolphin come to visit. This was our second laid-back, no-worries, I'm-in-no-hurry dolphin that we have met on our south coast adventure. Once again, we were up at dawn the next day to move on.
Puerto Patillas

Saturday morning when we left Puerto Patillas, the ocean was as calm as we have seen it in weeks. There was no hope of sailing but the boat ride was awesome. There were some rain showers moving through as the sun was rising which created some dramatic ocean-mountain contrasting views. We got a rainbow. Then, a double rainbow that lasted for 30 minutes and looked as though it fell into the water between us and the coast. As we rounded the south-east corner of Puerto Rico, the island of Vieques appeared ahead of us as the rain clouds and mist dissipated.

Early morning headed out of Puerto Patillas. Beyond the reef and turning east.
Southeast corner of Puerto Rico nearing Punta Tuna. The rain clouds introduced some incredible colors to the scenery.
The hues changed from minute to minute as the sun rose and the clouds moved.

Full double rainbow. It was so close that I could not get the entire rainbow into one picture.

It was tempting to sail over to that spot.

We spent two nights anchored off of Green Beach at Vieques. We, actually, moved from one spot to another (about 300 yards away) for the second night. The first spot was really cool. We could look over the edge of the boat and see fish swimming around the rocks. We could identify individual species of fish on the bottom in over 20 feet of water. We could see the outlines of the rays buried in the sand between the rocks, waiting for unsuspecting victims.

Unfortunately, we had dropped the anchor in rocks. As soon as we snorkeled off of the boat and got a look at the anchor, it was clear that it was not set. It was just wedged under a rock. We stayed in that spot overnight only because there was no wind predicted so it seemed relatively safe. The next day, we pulled the anchor up and moved over to an obvious sandy area where our hook dug in nicely.

Green Beach at Vieques

Green Beach is a popular local boater destination. Small boats, run-abouts and sport-fishers all make the short 6 mile trip over from Puerto Rico to anchor up near the beach and hang out. We were there on the weekend so there were about 15 - 20 boats. That part of the island is a park so there are people arriving by car and rental jeep from the land side. It is a party scene but most of the crowd is gone by evening. By the time we were ready to leave on Monday morning, there was only one boat left in the whole area.

There are snorkelers everywhere in the water. And the snorkeling is pretty good. There are rock formations just off of the beach that rise up from 6 - 8 feet to within a foot of the surface, There are abundant tropical fish. Not too much in the way of coral in the shallow areas but there are some nicer specimens out a little deeper. Junie and I took the dinghy into the beach, tied it to a tree and pulled out a stern anchor to keep it from washing up onto the beach. Then, we snorkeled around for nearly 2 hours. That evening, we could feel those seldom-used swimming muscles. We thoroughly enjoyed the stop here.

One fish, blue fish.

Clear water, sand, grass. From the surface, eight feet deep.

SeaClearly in her element.

And now, we have made it to Fajardo! All the way on the east end of Puerto Rico, Fajardo is a busy, populated area. We are tied up in Sunbay Marina with good water, good wifi, good electric, good security and a rental car. We found the laundry, we found a good panateria for sandwiches and pastries, we found ice cream and we found the grocery.

Cremaldi is the TripAdvisor #10 rated restaurant in Fajardo

We have a list of provisioning and maintenance tasks for the next week but a high priority is sightseeing! We are looking forward to visiting Old San Juan. We will be arriving by car instead of boat and we will be meeting son and daughter-in-law, Jeffrey and Alyssa, there to share the experience. We want to hit the rain forest at El Yunque. We are going to eat out to make up for all those days at anchor when we couldn't.

I can't begin to describe how excited we are. We have reached a point in the trip where we can just kick back. The big journey to get here is done. We will be day-tripping and day-sailing for the next couple of months. The weather is wonderful. The scenery is overwhelming. The water is gorgeous everywhere you look - a different gorgeous in each place. Feeling pretty lucky.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Moving Across the South Coast of Puerto Rico

We are sitting at anchor just east of Guanica behind Cayos de Cana Gorda - Gilligan's Island. There has been no sign of the castways or of the SS Minnow so we assume it was all a marketing ploy dreamed up to attract tourists. It is, however, a cool spot. When we get better internet, I will post pictures.

We moved south from Puerto Real to Cabo Rojo and then jetted around the corner on Saturday for the 22 mile trip here. The wind was forecast to pick up and we could have been stuck on the west coast for a while. At least, by taking this quick trip, we start making progress along the southern coast. And, the wind did pick up. We can sit here and watch the waves crashing over the reefs and see them rolling by in the big water just outside. We are going to sit here until at least Wednesday before we start moving east again.

Having a great time. Relaxing, playing in the water over on the mangrove islands. We visited the ferry dock restaurant and also the nearby resort, had ice cream! Tonight, we are the only boat anchored in our side of the bay. More later.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

A Healthy Departure fromPuerto Real

OK. It ain’t all beaches and banana daiquiris. After our arrival here in Puerto Real on New Year’s Day, Junie and I developed separate and different illnesses that kept us out of circulation for days. Junie’s malady was of the gastrointestinal variety and, eventually (after several days), drove her into our supply of onboard medicines. Fortunately, before we left North Carolina, we had a discussion with our doctor regarding our upcoming trip. He hooked us up with some key prescriptions that could, potentially, come in handy on our adventure. One of them was Cipro-blah-blah-cin – specifically for the type, severity and symptoms that Junie was experiencing.

Before she could begin recovering, I came down with a nasty head-cold, upper respiratory thing that took me out. I don’t get sick much but this classic head-doesn’t-fit, brain-swelling, chills-in-the-night, oh-great-now-I’m-coughing bulls%#t is awful. I spent one entire day just sleeping in the cabin. We have been traveling for months and this is the first time we have had to deal with being sick on the boat. Why we had to do it at the same time, I do not know. So far, we have not traded illnesses. 

We did try to get out. We walked a mile to the north one morning to find a pharmacy. It was closed. But we got lunch at the bakery next door. Two days later, we walked a mile south to another pharmacy. It was closed. We went into the market next door but we both felt so rotten that we were only focused on getting back to the boat before something bad happened. We bought coffee creamer. We did not take any pictures on either of these walks because we were so preoccupied.

I’m sure that our marina neighbors all thought we had become boat hermits. But, finally, we both turned the corner on our sickness and crawled out into the brilliant, warm Puerto Rican sun (sorry to all of you folks back in the frozen US -  couldn’t resist that). As we recovered, things have gotten progressively better.
The late afternoon view from the marina out into the bay.

Roadside produce!
We really like it here. It is a unique blend of old culture, semi-rural but nice. Of course, it has a lot of familiar US businesses and characteristics but, at the same time, is nothing like the US. A little bit of Spanish is all you need to get by here. Most people speak some of each. The number of roosters crowing in the morning is amazing. The pigs, goats and horses in people’s yards (or in the street) is fun. And the endless stream of local fishermen passing through the market is always interesting. Paulette, from 'Seamantha', has found, and shared, amazing local places to get fresh bread, pork, seafood and produce.

Yesterday, one of the longer term residents in the marina, Bob, offered to take us to the grocery and a Walgreen’s (which was open). We offered to take him to lunch in return. Which we parlayed into a trip to a lighthouse, lunch overlooking the beach and a tour of the Puerto Real area! When I say Bob is a longer term resident, that does not imply that he is a long time resident. Bob has been around the world, literally, twice on his sailboat. This is just his latest stopping point and he has been here longer than us.

The roads to the lighthouse took us through natural and commercial salt ponds - one of the oldest 'industries' in the caribbean. When the Europeans arrived, they found the local Taino indians working the salt and let them keep doing it for the good of Spain, England or the boss-of-the-day - as slaves, of course. 

Salt in-process

Salt. No snow in sight.

The lighthouse is perched atop Cabo Rojo – the point of land, not to be confused with Cabo Rojo, the town or Cabo Rojo, the county – and is one of many positioned along the coast of Puerto Rico.   It is a beautiful location with views out across the ocean and across the rugged corner of the southern coast. 

For us, it is also a preview of our next upcoming leg. We will, shortly, move the 12 miles down the west coast to this corner and anchor in the bay west of the lighthouse. From there, you can see the ocean around the corner being whipped up by the tradewinds without being beaten up. We will then get up early the next morning, before the winds pick up, and jump around the corner, move a few hours along the coast and get into an anchorage around noon. We will spend that afternoon, and maybe several more, watching the palm trees sway in the breeze and reading e-books. Sounds tough, right?

Here you see the lighthouse...

and this is what the lighthouse sees. East...

...and west. We should be anchored out there tomorrow.


On to lunch at Annie’s Place at Combate Beach. We sat out on their covered deck, right over the water and had traditional Mofungo, served in wooden bowls. It was awesome. And incredibly filling. No surprise since the bowl is lined with mashed yucca and plantanos then filled with savory broth and meat or seafood. Lobster and shrimp in our cases. 

Then back to Bob’s boat to pick his brain regarding places to stop as we travel from here towards the Virgin Islands. We got some great stories from his other journeys as well. We spent the rest of the afternoon there and had just enough time to grab a shower so we could – wait for it – go eat again!

The current residents near the end of Pier One at Marina Pescaderia all got together for some tapas and drinks at Vaiven, the small restaurant  right on the marina property. Ken and Sylvianne, Bob, John and Paulette, Junie and I had a wonderful evening eating out under the sky. Ken supplied the Thermacells to keep the bugs away so that helped the evening last. We are all going, basically, our own ways on our own schedules now. But, we are all going in the same direction so we will cross paths again. We are all, also, anxious to get out of the marinas and back to anchoring out.

With that in mind, tomorrow we will check out of here and move south to that spot I mentioned by the lighthouse. We are not sure what our internet access or phone coverage may be. I will post stuff when I can but you can always track us!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

The Mona Passage to Puerto Rico

While we were on our 'Christmas break' in Virginia, we were already studying the weather patterns between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. This is a significant trip that requires transiting the ‘Mona Passage’. Entire chapters of books have been dedicated to this crossing. It is a serious passage - sort of like crossing the Gulf Stream. Except three times longer, with worse currents, unpredictable winds that are, predominantly, directly in your face and washing machine seas. Leaving Samana, we have to pass several different capes, use the night-time island winds to help negate the strong trade winds and avoid a huge dangerous shoal. There are areas along our path where the charts have a symbol I had never encountered before –a little spiral-looking tornado thing. Upon closer examination, these represent turbulent water in the middle of the ocean. What?! You are smack in the middle of the confluence of the Atlantic Ocean (and one of its deepest trenches - 25000 feet) and the Caribbean Sea. Some days it flows north, some days south, most days both. Once the Tradewinds settle in to their normal east-to-west direction around Christmas time, there can be periods of weeks or months where crossing is impossible for sailboats, trawlers and other slower vessels.

Our planned route from the DR to Puerto Real
So, you get the picture. When we saw a potential window for us to make the passage on New Year’s Eve, we starting planning. As soon as we got back to 'SeaClearly' – and cleaned up from our refrigerator fiasco – we began the leaving process. Lists, tasks, charts, routes, studying the books, looking at the charts again. Ken and Sylvianne were also eyeing this window to get their Krogen trawler to Puerto Rico and had the same destination in mind - Puerto Real. We compared notes and came to slightly different conclusions based on our individual boats and conditions. ‘Sylken Sea’ would take the northern route above Hour Glass Shoal and then down the west coast of Puerto Rico. About 22 hours for them. ‘SeaClearly’ would go south down the coast of the DR and then cross below the shoal, below Isla de Mona and approach Puerto Rico from the southwest corner.

We expected our trip to be somewhere between 30 – 32 hours. Basically, two days and one night. This is the path recommended by a Caribbean guru, Bruce Van Sandt, but he recommends doing it in two nights with an anchorage stop in the middle at the aforementioned island. It didn’t look like our weather window would hold that long and the forecast got ugly for weeks after this opportunity. We opted to skip the stop and pound our way across.

Sunrise leaving the Dominican Republic
We dealt with Customs – re-enrolled to ‘SeaClearly’  - and made arrangements for the Navy guy to issue a ‘Dispachio’ early in the morning on the last day of the year. He, willingly, agreed to show up at 6:00 am to provide our document so we could leave the port early enough to insure a daylight arrival on the other side. He even wished us a safe trip and God’s protection in our travels. We will, absolutely, take that. At 6:30, still dark, we were pulling in the docklines (by ourselves – nobody around that early), maneuvered out of our slip and into the Bahia Samana. We got a few small rain showers and grey clouds but an otherwise nice morning. 

We slid past Cayo Levantado and out into the mouth of the bay. An hour later, a treat. With the mountains of the Dominican Republic rising to the south of us, the sun shining through the low, grey clouds and ‘SeaClearly’ plowing through calm waters, a whale spout appears then drifts away in the light breeze. Then another. And another. Several hundred yards away but very clear in the morning light, we saw at least five different whales. These are the early arrivals for what will soon be thousands of humpback whales coming to this area to breed and give birth. We were afraid that we might be too early and miss them. But here they were. We suddenly felt much better about our passage.

The rest of the passage was a mixed bag. We alternated from choppy to snotty to slightly scary to calm and spooky. One big issue was our radar. It had stopped working during our run down from the Turks and Caicos. I had gone up the mast while in the DR and checked connections to no avail. So, we still had no radar. This, rightfully, made us nervous. But, getting parts shipped to the DR can be problematic so we decided to make this trip without it and take care of it in Puerto Rico. We still had the AIS to alert us to the big commercial ships. We also had a three-quarter moon and clear skies to help us to see.

We tried our best to sail but that just was not going to happen. We had about one, glorious hour running with the cutter rig. Then, the wind collapsed. Now, being from the Outer Banks, we should have immediately known what comes next. I have said, many times, that the wind in North Carolina only stops to change direction. In the space of five minutes, we went from a nice 12 – 14 knot reaching sail to 4 knots from astern to 23 knots directly on our nose. We fought the headsails in, reefed the main and never properly sailed again until we were 6 miles from Puerto Rico.

At midnight, Atlantic Standard Time, we celebrated the arrival of 2015! No champagne, no hors d'oeuvres, no one sang Auld Lang Syne - just a change of watch - but we were still very happy. I would say it is a New Year’s to remember. 

We passed Isla de Mona in the dark hours of the morning as the moon was setting. The shape of the island was barely visible in the dark. Were it not for the lighthouse on the north end, we could easily have not seen it at all. At that point, we seriously missed the radar, wondered how many things we had not seen and hoped the GPS and charting technologies were all working correctly for us. We did not hit the island.

The final run to Puerto Real just got a little boring. It was a sloppy pounding ride in 4 -6 foot seas and 15 – 18 knots of wind. Not really fun or comfortable. Seeing the headland of Puerto Rico appear through the haze was very exciting. At about 10:00 am, as we made our last course change to approach Puerto Real, ‘Sylken Sea’ popped up on our AIS screen. They were making their final run to the harbor from the north a couple of hours ahead of us. We had powered through the night and made a faster passage than expected.

Ken and Sylvianne had some other Krogen friends who had been skipping, slightly ahead, down our same path and were already docked in Marina Pescaderia .When we arrived in the harbor at noon, on New Year’s Day, the marina was very short-staffed. So Ken, Sylvianne, John and Paulette were there to guide us to a slip, grab our docklines and welcome us to Puerto Rico. Then they invited us to their boat for a New Year’s celebration dinner! I love cruisers.
Sylken Sea


We called in to US Customs to check in. We had filed a ‘Float Plan’ through the Small Vessel Reporting System website so, as registered US boaters with this float plan number, a phone call was all it took. Now, we can relax a little bit. We have a replacement radar unit being shipped here. This may be our last overnight passage for a couple of months. From here, the path across the southern coast of Puerto Rico, through the Virgin Islands and, technically, all the way to Trinidad, is just day-sailing.

We find it a little hard to believe that this is us. Here we are in Puerto Rico. ‘SeaClearly’ has safely carried us all the way from Colington Harbour to Puerto Real. As dumb as we feel some days, and for all the times we wondered about our sanity, we managed to run down the east coast of the US, cross to the Bahamas, the Turks and Caicos, the Dominican Republic and, now, here. Our goal of making it to the Virgin Islands seems a lot more reasonable now than it did when we first said those words out loud back in North Carolina. We may have some scars but, boy, do we have stories!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Christmas Vacation

Happy New Year! I am way behind on posting due to an unexpectedly busy holiday season. But, first and foremost, we are in Puerto Rico! Not San Juan as originally planned. We are on the west coast in the small town of Puerto Real. SeaClearly is safely tied up in Marina Pescaderia. Roughly translated that means Fish Market Marina and, indeed, there is one here. The story of how we ended up here on New Year’s Day is a long and twisted tale with several sub-stories woven together.

We had landed, unplanned, in Samana, Dominican Republic on December 15th but resolved to follow through on our last minute arrangements to get to the Richmond, Virginia area for Christmas. That involved a lot of ticket changes, rental cars, bus trips across the DR, more pesos to the government, fumbling our way through transactions in Spanish and, finally, arriving back in the US via Atlanta. We were very happy when the US customs folks handed back our passports and said, “Welcome home.”

Emily and Tyler at home for Christmas. And both actually had
some days off!
We, frankly, had no idea how tired we were. We have been traveling, sailing, moving, checking in and out of islands non-stop for weeks. The last passage that brought us to the DR was a bit stressful. The last minute changes and ‘experiential’ travel adventures drained us down. By the time we reached Emily and Tyler’s home we were beat – but very happy.  The exhaustion set in when we realized that we had nothing to worry about, no chores to attend to, we were safe and we were with family. We were absolutely thrilled to be there and absolutely sure that we had made the right decision to make the trip. 

We had done nothing to recognize Christmas on the boat. Well, actually, we stuck our naked little fake tree on the table a few times. Not one Christmas song had been played aboard. Junie was, clearly, homesick and we had no spirit. We needed to go home for the holidays and we needed a break.  We got everything we could have asked for. A few highlights:
Seafood Gumbo and Sweet Potatoes - a Christmas treat.
  • ·         Sleeping in a bed that didn’t move for the first time in almost three months
  • ·         A wonderful Christmas with Emily and Tyler (and grand-puppies)
  • ·         Traditional (for us) Christmas Seafood Gumbo
  • ·         Another  couple of wonderful days with Dusty, Holly, and grand-daughter Reagan (and more grand-puppies)
  • ·         Holly’s excellent Tortellini soup
  • ·         Christmas Town at Busch Gardens – beautiful light displays
  • ·         Visiting, all too briefly, with Aimee, Lauren and Jared (and cousin puppy). Richard, sorry we missed you.

Holly, Dusty and Reagan
at Christmas Town, Busch Gardens,
Williamsburg, Virginia

A not-so-little girl not-so-wanting her
picture taken.

Reagan, Junie and Duane at the North Pole.
Believe me, it felt like it to us after
several months in the islands. We had not
packed much in the way of winter wear.
The time went by very quickly and we were soon back at the Richmond Airport on Sunday afternoon. Delta did us right. We had no issues with flights. We managed to get seats together on all segments despite our last minute arrangements. We even got exit row seats for 3 out of 4 flights. One minor inconvenience in our plans involved our late arrival back into the DR. Our flight touched down in Santo Domingo at 12:34 am. The first bus back to Samana would not leave until after 8:00 am. We had already spent a gob of cash so we decided to suck it up and hang out in the airport until morning. We had this vision of sitting, two gringos alone, in the corner of the airport, hugging our luggage. 

Not so! The holiday season in the Republica Dominicana is a time for family and travel. Many of them are traveling to the US and bringing home gifts during an extended duty-free holiday period for citizens. There were packed flights arriving throughout the night. There were hundreds of people there. Almost all of the little shops, bars and food stalls were open all night. People came out wheeling stacks of bags on carts and were met by cheering families and friends.  We were jealous. No one, not even the little kids, looked tired at all. We were, indeed, hugging our luggage, but only to use it as pillows to try and catch a little sleep amongst the racket. And, we were two of the few blue-eyed travelers in the Santo Domingo Las Americas Airport that night.

Finally, at about 7:00 am, we approached the taxi stand, babbled the right Spanish words and grabbed a 15 minute ride to the Parada Samana (bus stop near the airport). After a brief time in an open-air waiting area overlooking the Caribbean Sea (not bad) the bus showed up. This time, there were no seats together so Junie and I sat next to strangers for the 2 hour ride ‘home’ to SeaClearly. I may have fallen asleep and leaned over on my seat-mate.

We reached Samana,got off of the bus, into a three-wheel motor cart and were soon back at Marina de Puerto Bahia. As I opened up the big companionway hatch on SeaClearly, I said, “Wow. Doesn’t smell so good in here.”  Then a quick glance around gathered the facts that told the sad story. On the Xantrex battery monitor - a big red ‘LO’. The freezer temperature indicator – 51 degrees. The AC line voltage – 80 volts. Our shore power had browned out, our batteries were nearly dead and our refrigerator and freezer full of food was all spoiled. Not a pleasant homecoming. We threw away 3 garbage bags full of food. The most significant loss was the 5 pounds of North Carolina shrimp - already peeled and deveined – that we had been jealously guarding for months. Gone.

After some quick troubleshooting, I started thinking that the problem was not on our boat so I fired up the generator to start recharging our poor batteries. Very thankful that the engine and generator starting battery is separate from the house battery bank.  Our genset had no problem providing 120 volts so we knew the problem was the shorepower. Turns out, about half of the plugs on the dock were only putting out 80 volts. They found us a power pedestal one slip over from us that was still fine. Never trust marina power. Remember that, somewhere in all of those papers you signed at check-in there is one that says, the marina is responsible for nothing, ever.

Our Krogen friends, Ken and Sylvianne, were still in their slip at the next dock. It was sure nice to find that they were still there. We thought they might have found a weather window and taken off. They  immediately offered us dinner and provisions if we needed anything.  How nice is that?

We, actually, recovered pretty quickly from our loss. We had such a wonderful Christmas. There were many aspects of the trip that could have gone wrong – canceled flights, bus station robberies, inappropriate comments accidently made in Spanish. This, after all, was only food. It could have been much worse. Say, a through-hull failure after the batteries died and the pumps wouldn’t work. That would have been worse. And, there is no time to dally about. We see a weather window opening up on New Year’s Eve to cross the Mona Passage and make it to Puerto Rico. Ken and Sylvianne, on Sylken Sea, are thinking to make the run then, as well. Let the planning begin! I will have to tell the tale of the Mona Passage later. Oh, yeah - we still don't have radar.