We arrived in Boqueron to a stream of jet skis flying in every direction. A very nice woman at the yacht club gave us information on clearing in, which we would need to do at the next town up the coast we’d just sailed down. Whoops. We received conflicting reports that either there was currently or there had never been a public bus that could take us to Mayaguez, but after wandering around looking for a bus stop for awhile we eventually gave in and paid $30 to Eddie, a transplant from the Bronx who served as the unofficial taxi for cruisers. If he hadn’t told us he was from New York, we might have guessed it from his driving. It worked out that we were able to share the ride with another cruising couple and we enjoyed getting to know them over lunch back in Boqueron after we’d checked in.
We learned that we had arrived just in time for Holy Week in Puerto Rico. We landed on the Monday before Easter, and the sleepy village of Boqueron seemed to be slowly waking up, day by day. We were told that people love to party during Holy Week, and the crowds would be flocking in any minute now. That statement didn’t really jibe with the work crews we saw on Tuesday, just getting started on painting curbs, benches, and buildings on every corner. We thought maybe someone procrastinated on the party planning. But by Thursday night the whole town had a fresh coat of paint, a stage was set up near the dock and the live music started up that night.
At this point we were still under the impression that sailing along the southern coast of Puerto Rico we would, as usual, be able to average 5 knots (covering five nautical miles per hour) and could plan on making 50 miles or so in a long day. It turned out that this was a grossly inaccurate assumption, but more on that later. On Thursday morning we attempted to get fuel only to find that the gas station was out of diesel. “Try back tomorrow. You might as well just relax and stay awhile,” Jon was told. Good advice. Instead, we decided to see if conditions were right to sail to the next port anyway. It turned out that they were not, so not wanting to use up all of our fuel motor-sailing to the next port – which may or may not have had diesel – we turned back.
Following along before we decided to turn back.
Cabo Rojo
We thought we’d make the most of the day by renting a car so we could do our laundry and get groceries, and maybe even scoot over to Rincon the next day to go surfing. That meant we needed to pay another $30 for a ride to town. (What were we thinking?) Eddie drove us around to four different rental car agencies and each in turn informed us that they were out of cars. It was actually kind of funny. Eddie took pity on us and our bad luck, and took us by the Claro store so we could at least get cellphone service out of our trip to Mayaguez. When we stopped by the gas station later that day they had received their diesel delivery, so the next morning we were able to fuel up and set out to cover half the distance to St. John.
Ha! We made it about twenty miles. The next day we got up at three in the morning to take advantage of the break in the east winds overnight. And we made it about twenty miles further to Ponce. One more long day and we were in Salinas, PR. With the wind against us and steep choppy seas, we would often find ourselves going 3 knots or less, even though we had the motor running and the mainsail up tacking back and forth into the wind.

South coast views

With no breaks in the trade winds expected we had to face the fact that we weren’t going to make it to St. John to see Jon’s sister and her husband on their anniversary vacation. We always knew it was possible that we wouldn’t get there, but it was a huge bummer to be so close yet still unable to make it in time. They understood and had a blast without us, and we felt happy to have had the motivation to make it as far as we had already.

Since we weren’t going anywhere fast we decided it was time to stop and rest for awhile. For some reason it seemed that renting a car for a week and driving for hours each day to visit every corner of the island would be the best way to relax. Writing all this is starting to make me wonder what is wrong with our brains, but we did have fun thoroughly exploring the island. We saw a lot and took lots of pictures which will be in the next posts.   

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