Friday afternoon – after I published the blog and before we left the restaurant – we checked our credit cards on line. We were horrified to find that they had been suspended again – and this time because they had been compromised with over £5k worth of expenditure from places as diverse as Vancouver, Delhi and Agra. Quick telephone call to alert the company and, phew, we are not liable. But of course now the cards have to be destroyed and we lose access. Very frustrating as we are very careful with them and have only used them in reputable stores…and never let them out of our sight. The bank reckons we got cloned at a checkout with a card reader… There really is no defence against this happening. The bank are willing to post new ones out to us but it will take as long as it takes – and we need to stay in one place to receive them. We have heard horror stories of people being stuck for as long as seven weeks during this process so we ask them not to send new cards – we’ll be in touch when we get somewhere we intend to stay for a while….. So we had two more beers and a late lunch while we talked through our strategy for coping without them!
When we had recovered from the news – and had devised a plan – we talked to the restaurant owner about the spy blimp and we were told that the locals are very suspicious as the area is heavily guarded and not accessible to anyone – leading to views that there are aliens being held there…. Is this another Roswell LOL???? A local guy had even painted their idea of the secret installation.
Back on board we were buzzed by a spy helicopter – the authorities here appear very nervous about who is in this area as there are only two occupied boats in the anchorage – conspiracy theorists would love it here!
Saturday morning we were up very early and bade farewell to La Paguera as the sun was coming up. We headed out along the coast and had to motor as the wind hadn’t picked up yet. And that remained the case – the seas were still rolling along behind us – but the wind didn’t reach 10 knots so we ended up motoring all of the 20 miles around the bottom of the coast, past Cabo Rojo’s cliffs, and made our way into Boquerón.
We recognised Cutter Loose in the anchorage straight away so anchored not too far behind them. We were still getting ourselves organised when they swung by – they had hired a car so were on their way out for the day. Boqueron has a large anchorage all sheltered behind reefs with a long beach at the head of it. Flat calm too – nice.
Having got ourselves and Morphie all cleaned up we dinked in – to a proper dinghy dock, hurrah! – to wander the town. Well the town is really small with a number of bars, restaurants, residential and business properties littered up and down the narrow streets. We found a little supermarket and got some fresh produce and then I found a beauty parlour. Yay – am long overdue for a haircut! So popped in and booked for Tuesday – looking forward to that.. As we wandered back down towards the waterfront we were given a lift back by Eric and Pat in their car and so we sat on the waterfront together, had a couple of beers, and enjoyed people watching as the Puerto Ricans started partying. After a few hours we headed back to Morphie for a lovely sunset.
Sunday morning and we did boat jobs. Richard got into the water – which, while a pretty colour, is full of nutrients and has no visibility whatsoever – and cleaned the waterline while I did the laundry. We then wandered ashore and looked around a bit more. We enjoyed the sight of the local oyster / clam sellers although definitely did not fancy trying them. We loved the gulls who sit on the pilings of a broken down pier – one each and no squabbling. We went in a few shops – all selling the same tourist tut – and then the skies turned black. We dashed for cover and ended up in a bar – oh well – worse ways to spend an afternoon.
Back on board – in a gap in the weather – and we were sitting in the cockpit and realised that we were in the middle of a race track! Did we tell you that Puerto Ricans are petrol heads????!!!! Finally the boat left us alone, we enjoyed a spectacular sunset, and had an early night. The party ashore was just getting going at this point but we didn’t fancy it…..
Monday morning and we had a lazy start. It is so still out here in the anchorage it is hard to believe the forecasts that say that the Mona Passage currently has 10 foot seas and 35 knots! We can’t even determine where the sky ends and the sea begins today…. We had a busy cleaning and tidying day as Eric and Pat are coming over for dinner and I do like to make sure Morphie looks her best when we have company. We are cooking them a curry as they like to eat it and don’t know how to make it. Well it was a success – they loved the food – and very kindly supplied the wine to go with it. We had a lovely evening.
Tuesday morning and I go to get my hair cut while Richard goes off to the petrol station – called Doggy Gas would you believe LOL – to fill up our diesel and petrol jerry cans.
He then went to the bar with the best internet we could find and I joined him there later, suitably shorn, having dodged the rain again….. We caught up with the news and spoke again to the credit card company as online it was saying we had to pay £4k by 13 March… Errrrr, don’t think so! Got that sorted – headed back to the dock – and bumped into Eric and Pat again. We arranged to meet the following day and went our separate ways. The whole town appears only to be awake and open at weekends! We had a lazy – rainy – afternoon and evening back on board.
Wednesday morning and we got up early – did a few boat jobs – and then met Eric and Pat who took us in the car to the large Pueblo supermarket. I am amazed at how industrial this area is inland with the four lane highways and the endless parade of restaurants, fast food outlets and malls etc. It is all a bit run down too…. We had a great shopping trip and came back laden with some lovely fruits and fresh vegetables. Back on board we stowed all the stuff – and then Richard and I went for a walk along the beach and had a glimpse at the marina. The water is really cloudy with lots of sea grass so you can’t see the bottom – so we didn’t fancy bobbing here. It is a manatee area but no chance of seeing them in this water.
We enjoyed the beach although was a bit surprised by the ramp for wheelchair users to access the sea – which was clearly no longer in use – and perhaps it might be something to do with the 12 inch step to get onto it in the first place? Duh! Pretty palm trees and lifeguard huts with very few people around – and then we come across a huge recycling centre. What??? Strange place to have it…
Anyway…. we wandered behind the beach back towards the town…. And we came across a lovely bar with a really nice swimming pool. Hmmm…. wouldn’t mind spending time here. So we asked the barmaid Claudia whether we could use the pool and the answer was yes – for $18 per person per day. Er…. don’t think so – thanks. Obviously that’s why the place is empty! We had a nice time chatting and watching the iguanas in the tree near the pool. They bathe in the pool as well apparently….
Back later to Morphie and we spot an iguana in the sea – this isn’t the first time since we had been here – and very strange to have one of these turning up around the boat as we are a good 500 yards off shore. We have another early night after a spectacular sunset.
Thursday morning and went off out with Eric and Pat again. We stop by Puerto Real on the way – definitely a one horse town but Richard was at least able to replace his lost fishing lure that got eaten by a (huge?) fish on the trip round here. Then onto Mayaguez and we went into the old colonial style customs house. Through security and to the customs window – and the guy just gave us a stamped and signed piece of paper for us to fill in at our leisure…. Took all of five minutes – so we can leave whenever we want – excellent! Although seems slightly at odds with the requirement to make telephone calls every time we move port.
Back to the car and we went to an artisan baker / café for lunch – soup and speciality sandwiches. What a find….delicious food. And we came away with some ciabatta for later. After dropping off the car we headed back to Boqueron by taxi and had a couple of beers before heading back to Morphie for another quiet night on board.
This morning – Friday – and we are making preparations to go to sea early Saturday morning. So a busy day ahead but we are looking forward to being on the move again – having been frustrated whilst waiting for decent passage weather. We have enjoyed our time in Puerto Rico, particularly the splendid architecture of old San Juan and Ponce. However, as a cruising area, we have been a bit disappointed…. But the people are really friendly and helpful and we have felt very safe here…..
Our next destination is Samana in the Dominican Republic – across the notorious stretch of water called the Mona Passage. There is a huge trench running down this channel with areas that shallow up from 3,300 to 120 feet – creating a washing machine / whirlpool effect. There is also seismic activity with the last underwater eruption last month. On top of that the coast of the DR will be a lee shore – so we need to stay a good distance offshore to remain safe. Nothing to worry about though so long as we take a longer route to avoid all this – making a 150 mile plus passage. We should arrive sometime Sunday afternoon….. and hoping for whales along the way as it is breeding season right now – fingers crossed.
Bye for now