Friday, March 28, 2014

Dexter and I have a Scare

Dexter and I both came into some unfortunate situations, Dexter, luckily, came out unscathed. I on the other hand, was not quite as lucky. I'll start with Dexters scare.

Dexter was nearing some wild horses, and one of the horse took quite an interest to him. It was actually very quite, the horse approached him and they were touching noses, some might even say they were kissing. It was Romeo and Juliette, the beautiful horse with the scruffy dog from the wrong side of the island (aka the water). Juliette left, wanting to leave a little to Romeo's imagination, but he was not finished with her. Kissing wasn't enough, so he went up to take a sniff of her behind, and she was having none of it. She gave it to him, with a mighty kick, luckily, his reflexes were quick enough just to miss the blow. The moral of this story-Dexter, don't get fresh-no means no.

Mine is much less romantic, and slightly more dangerous. I was cooking dinner as usual. I lit the oven. I went back to check on it and noticed that it had gone out so I went to re-light it, and KABOOM! A giant fireball flew out at me. I literally thought I was on fire (apparently I wasn't). Luckily I am ok, minus my now non-existentent eyelashes, arm hair and singed hair. My hand and arm hurt like crazy for 2 days, but the burns were apparently sub dermal so no permanent damage (right?). So now John will give me a break in the kitchen and take over for a while (yeah right!).

The next day we were walking and I tripped and fell really hard on my knee. I'd like to blame Dexter, and say that he was pulling me and so I fell, but really I think that my feet are actually too big, is this a problem easily fixed? So now I have a giant scrape on my knee (which weirdly actually hurts more than the burn), and look like a child with a big band-aid. So I'm not feeling super attractive these days, with my bum knee, singed hair, arms and eyelashes, good thing I'm on a boat and away from public viewing!

Never walk behind a horse!         
Love at first sniff
Dexter pushed his luck!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Isla Caja de Muertes

As we were getting ready to leave Ponce for Isla Caja de Muertes (which means coffin island, though I don't really think it looks much like a coffin), we were delayed as we noticed a big 44' catamaran that was anchored far ahead of us, was suddenly our neighbor. Then it was a mere 3 feet from us. Not only did we not want to let the boat crash into the industrial structures that it was headed for, we also could not have been able to pull our anchor up without getting tangled in theirs that was dragging across the ocean floor.

We tried calling them on the radio, but no answer. John went over in the dinghy to see if there was anything he could do. Just in time the owners made it back to the boat before they crashed. Needless to say, we were eager to get out of that anchorage.

Isla Caja de Muertes was only about 6 miles away, but we did 11 to get there. The wind was stronger than we thought (an average of 23 knots, with gusts up to 30), and the waves much bigger. We had decided to tow our dinghy, thinking it would only take us an hour. We were wrong, and were very lucky that the dinghy made it over ok, but part of one of the tow lines snapped along the way, we were definitely lucky!

We anchored next to Rêve D'océan and took a bottle of wine to the beach to relax and swim in the beautiful blue water. It has been a while (since the Turks and Caicos), that we've really seen beautiful beaches. I really enjoy the rich culture and people in the Dominican and Puerto Rico, but the beaches and water of the Bahamas are far more beautiful. 

We watched a beautiful sunset and full moon before going to bed early, first thing in the morning is the passage to Salinas. 

A bit too close for comfort
Even closer
Yep, definitely too close!
Uh oh
On Isla Caja de Muertes

There we are!

I think Dexter missed the beach too!

Did anyone know that John had a thing for Hermione?
Someones comfy


Does this look like a coffin to anyone?

Monday, March 24, 2014

Ponce de Leon

While in Ponce, John and I decided to check out the Plaza Del Caribe, which is one of the nicest shopping malls I have ever been in. They had a big food court with one of the funniest restaurants, called Hot Potato, which has any and every kind of baked potato imaginable, what an original idea for a restaurant! 

John wanted to buy new boat shoes, and 3 hrs and 6 stores later, he finally made a decision and ended up choosing a pair that he was offended when I first suggested it to him, apparently they grew on him. Needless to say, I was exhausted after shopping, and am happy to wait a while before doing it again. 

Our friends on Rêve D'océan joined us in Ponce and we went to the city centre together.  It was much nicer than the part of the city that was surrounding the anchorage. We went into the old fire station, walked around looking at the old Spanish architecture, and John and I even went to their art museum, which was quite impressive, with some well known European  painters as well as Puertorican artists. The city centre is also covered with 15 lions, painted all different ways by Puertorican artists, which reminded me of the polar bears that are scattered throughout Winnipeg.

We had an amazing dinner of Wahoo, courtesy of a neighbouring boat who caught too big of a fish and had to get rid of some (don't you hate when that happens!).



This is real!
This is the famous statue in the food court
Some kids learning to sail
One of the many lions
I swear we didn't plan the outfit coordination!
The old fire station

Quinceanero time!

Some photographs of Puertoricans in the art museum

nothing like the American influence
They even had this painting by Rosetti

And some by Burnes-Jones
The most beautiful caterpillar

Sunday, March 23, 2014

To Turn Back or Not toTurn Back

Now that we have made it all the way to Puerto Rico, we find ourselves in a bit of a pickle. 

We have finally finished the "hard part" of the journey, sailing wise (long and rough passages) after here it's all little passages between all the beautiful islands (virgin islands etc). But now is also unfortunately the time when we need to turn back...

John needs to be back in Montreal for July 1st or else his health care is void for the rest of the year. I'm pretty sure my health care is probably already void since I've been out of Manitoba for quite some time, so this is less of a problem for me (also, I'm young and health, while John just turned 35! Just kidding!). And he can't just fly back for a couple days and then come back to the boat to continue, because he can only be gone a total of 6 months in a calendar year-not 6 consecutive months unfortunately.

So we have this deadline we need to follow, and its never good to have a deadline on a boat. So our options are these:
Turn back around immediately and go back the way we came
Go entirely around Puerto Rico and see more of the country, including the capital San Juan
Keep going south, all the way to Grenada or Trinidad, and put the boat on land and fly back to Montreal before July 1st

Number 3 is my personal favourite. We are so close to the US Virgin Islands, it seems like such a waste to make it through all our long and rough passages, not to go further. This is the reason that people suffer through coming down here, because then you're in paradise, and all the islands are right next door to each other, and we would get to see so much more. Also, there are tons of people going down that way, while we have yet to find someone going up our way, so we wouldn't be travelling alone if we kept going, but we would if we turned around. Also the US Virgin Islands are about 30 miles away, while the Dominican Republic is over 200.

So what is the issue with this near perfect plan C? That once we made it to Trinidad, put the boat on land and flew back-then the boat would be in Trinidad, and we would be back in Montreal, starting school or work (aka real life), and then would have to figure a way to get the boat back to Montreal at some point, or leave her there. Which is doable, if we we able to leave at the end of spring/beginning of summer for a while to bring her back, but we don't know where we will be in our lives, so this gets a bit more complicates.

I think that we will most likely end up just going around the island of Puerto Rico before heading back the way we came, but I'm still going to do my best to convince John to go with plan C! 

Friday, March 21, 2014

United States of Ponce

We decided to leave for Ponce right away, and left without Rêve D'océan since we are running out of days before we unfortunately have to turn around and start the journey home (though it seems such a shame since we are so close to all the little, beautiful Virgin Islands!). So we sailed the 50 miles to Ponce in 8 hours, in nice calm water. I have been so lucky, I have not been sea sick since we arrived in the Turks and Caicos, which is amazing, since we have been doing very long passages, but have been so lucky with weather (knock on wood!), and it really makes everything so much more pleasurable. 
We hit 3000 miles on the odometer!
The beautiful ship was following us
The anchorage in Ponce is not exactly what you would call scenic. Our surroundings are very industrial, think construction. There isn't much near us in walking distance, but we did find some local fishermen who sold us some red snapper, $5 per lb, which is about 1/3 of the price you could buy it in Canada. We also made friends with a very nice Puerto Rican named George who kindly offered to drive us to get our propane tank filled (we had been out for a while, and were running out of things to eat that didn't need to be cooked). So far we are enjoying the Puerto Rican hospitality.
Topanga in the beautiful anchorage


Cutest little boat ever
Very strange fish, in which there is an abundance swarming around the fishing station

 We also have yet to see the actual charms of the city, though we did see the American side of it. It seems like this is what America would be like if no one spoke English. We took a taxi with the boat Dover Mists to a Walmart which was next to a Radio Shack, which was next to a Home Depot, etc.  The Walmart was incredibly busy (especially for a Wednesday), and some of the items I had to ask for, since they were kept in odd places. But other than that, it was the same Walmart. Except of course the ransom horses wandering free in the parking lot, with absolutely no one around, just eating the grass. The McDonalds in the Walmart, I was disappointed to find, did not have milkshakes (I don't know why, but I've really been craving one!), and the McFlurries are just vanilla ice cream with some toppings dumped on top. But I was still happy, ice cream is ice cream!
I guess he needed something at Walmart
Are they lost?