Puerto Rico

Josh and Connor - the surfer dudes
We had another nice sail from St Thomas to the Spanish Virgin Islands, except for the fact that where the main sheet block is attached to the deck snapped in two so we had a bit of excitement for a few minutes.  The good news about steel boats is that it seems like there are a million eye holes welded everywhere so we just shackled the block to another eye and we were good to go.  

Maria at bat
Culebra is a great place and we enjoyed visiting it again.  We made our way out to Flamingo Beach where we did some surfing and body surfing in decent size waves.  We revisited the cute town and watched the Super Bowl at one of the bars.  We ran into a guy we knew on his 60+ foot boat who needed a little bit of welding done.  It turns out that his friend who had the exact same kind of boat also needed some welding done, so we took Joana into the protected area they were in, rafted up to first one boat and then the other and did a full day's job of welding on the two boats.  Now that is what we call portable welding service!  
Sports day at the baseball field

We decided we had been doing too much eating and drinking, so we decided to have a sports day.  We played softball and kickball and had a great day.  And then we went to the closest bar for a cold beer afterward....you can lead a horse to water...

The Fort in Old San Juan
After a few days in Culebra, we made the day sail over to Farjardo to stock up on supplies at West Marine and Wal-Mart before we went around the north coast to San Juan.  

A little close for comfort
We had heard that San Juan was not safe and it was a poor anchorage and we found neither to be true.  Yes, there is not a ton of room to anchor in San Juan, but not a whole lot of boats go there, so we didn't have a problem.  The bottom is sand/mud and had good holding.  You do, however, need to watch out for the cruise ship docks, however, as our friends on Solmate can testify too.  While the chart says you can anchor where ever you want, cruise ships will sneak in on you, as one did in the middle of the night.  When they went to bed they were in a wide open spot, but when the woke up, they were about 50 feet from the cruise ship.  The ship had a great captain - he snuck in there without waking up anyone!  

Old San Juan's roads
We never worried about safety issues in San Juan and I would recommend making this a stopping point, if you are doing the North Coast.  The main reason why we went there was to see Old San Juan, and it did not disappoint.  Rich in history and beautiful architecture, Old San Juan is a beautiful place to visit.  We were told that the blue cobblestone streets were actually made out of the ballast of the old ships that visited there.  They would off load their ballast to make room for all the gold they were carting back to Europe!

The Puerto Ricans love their music and love to dance.  We continuingly stumbled upon impromptu concerts and people dancing in the streets.  One concert had a full band including drums, horns, keyboard, bongos, saxophones and more!  Women, men and children were all dancing and singing - It was more fun than you can imagine.  

Jamming in the square
We spent a few nights out exploring the nightlife and filling our stomachs with great food.  We managed to meet up with our friends Ronnie and Bobbi who were with us in Grenada for hurricane season and who live in Puerto Rico. 

We rented a car for two days and did an insane amount of provisioning, trying to get ready for Cuba.  Oh, did I mention that we decided to go to Cuba?  Well, more on that in later posts...but first, we have to make it across the dreaded Mona Passage to the Dominican Republic...

Rafting up to do some welding work on another 60 footer
Maria hard at work
Our second raft up of the day!
Cruising the bay in our Laser
The fort
Impromtu concert

What a show!

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