Puerto Rico was good to us.
Here we met again many of our old cruising friends and we also made many new friends.
One of our best moments was visiting Guavate’s lechoneras and spending an afternoon with Greg and Michel from S/V Semper Fi eating roasted pig Puerto Rico style and dancing with the locals.
In Fajardo, the most wonderful thing happened: we got a new kayak we named Junior, thanks to our great new sponsors KaykShop.bg. We tried the kayak right away on a short expedition up Fajardo river. It was a smooth ride and we were very pleased with Junior.
Our favorite place on the island remains old San Juan with its massive forts and colonial buildings, narrow streets and blue cobblestones.
The most unexpected non-touristy site we visited this time around was the Monkey Island, where we met the resident Macaque monkeys used for scientific research.
We are leaving Puerto Rico with a feeling of deep gratitude to this beautiful tropical island, which was home to us for the past 6 weeks, and its people, who treated us like friends and made us feel welcome every minute of our stay.
We felt safe sailing in the waters around the island knowing that the US Coast Guard is just a call away on channel 16. They deployed an airplane and a helicopter investigating a mayday call we overheard on the radio, which to us sounded like a prank, and they took the positions of all boats in the area, who have heard the call, ours included, in order to establish a search perimeter, but a boat in distress was never found. Way to go guys, thank you for watching over us!
The customs’ officials in Fajardo and Ponce were pleasant and smiling when we cleared-in presenting our one-year cruising permit. As Canadian cruisers, we don’t need a visa to visit any US territory, only a cruising permit good for an entire year with multiple entries, which costs 19 US$. No other fees are charged entering or leaving Puerto Rico.
We are grateful to the Fajardo’s Post Office manager who let us use the phone and the branch address for free, so we were able to order and receive mail, as well as to the supervisor in Post Office Ponce branch, who assisted us as well when we had an issue with a package held by the US customs in New York for over 3 weeks.
We are grateful to the Fajardo ferry operator who gave us a free lift right to our boat with one of the little shuttles that go between Isleta Marina and the main pier, when we accidently locked our kayak to the fishing docks, forgetting the key for the padlock aboard Fata Morgana…And to the guys who gave us and our huge pile of provisions a free lift with their motorboat in Ponce.
We are grateful to Marina Puerto del Ray for immediately hauling Fata Morgana out and accommodating us at a discount price in their boatyard, after we had an emergency issue which could turn ugly if we weren’t near a haul-out facility (Ivo popped out the through-hull fitting for the starboard head while at anchor in 20 feet of water, and we almost sunk the boat).
We are grateful to all those women and men, about a dozen, who gave us free lifts when we were walking and hitchhiking in Fajardo and in Ponce to the stores and shopping places, which unfortunately in both cases are miles away from the anchorages, and public transportation is unavailable. They would go out of their way and bring us to wherever we were going for no charge at all.
We are grateful to the free outdoors gym near La Guancha, just next to our anchorage in Ponce, where Maya loved to go now and then and do some exercises in the company of a few noisy green parrots building their nests in the palm trees in the park.
We are grateful to the pizza-woman in Sam’s Club, who always took our order with a smile teaching Ivo new Spanish words, and, it appears to us, she would put extra cheese on our pizzas, every time (we would share an extra-large 10-dollar cheese pizza in Sam’s Club every time we went there, about 10 times).
We are grateful to the waters of the sea around Puerto Rico for being so generous with us and sharing a few of their tastiest fishes.