The number one rule about cruising is to be flexible. Nothing is ever certain and plans change at the last minute. Given that Kevin and I are both A type personalities, this has been a big adjustment for us. We had planned to stop at Puerto Patillas for the night and make stops at Ponce and Coffin Island over the next few days. However, the weather and downwind sail conditions were just about perfect so we made a last minute decision while out at sea to keep going all night along the south coast of Puerto Rico to Boquerón.
This was our first 24 hour overnight sail. We can do this! While on passage, it is difficult to cook anything and sometimes even hard to make it down to the bathroom with a rocking boat. Make it easy- sandwiches, wraps, pasta salad etc. Luckily we had rotisserie chicken left over so we made do. Kevin took the first watch from 8-11, I took 11-2, and then Kevin again from about 2 to 5. Overnights are tiring. We both worried about the other person on watch so neither one us slept too much. We could always see the lights of Puerto Rico in the distance but you have to look out for freighters and fisherman so you can’t just stare in space. The stars were out and at times it is peaceful. Other times the winds pick up and you hear the waves rushing under the boat and for some reason at night with the lack of other sounds, the wind and wave noise is intensified. Cruisers say it takes about three successive days at sea to get used to it and in a groove but the first 24 hours is always rough. Time will tell for we won’t experience multiple days at sea until we leave the Bahamas for Wilmington. My favorite part of the watch was watching the sun come up. It feels like you have a fresh start to a new day.
Boquerón is a huge bay- 1.5 miles wide. It is a beautiful anchorage and there is a unique local vibe to the place. We took the dinghy ashore to a fairly dilapidated dinghy dock and there were several restaurants ashore along with vendors selling oysters, clams, pinchas, and octopus-conch-shrimp ceviche. We had a couple of mojitos and tried a pincha and the ceviche the two nights we were there. The first night was a weekend- loud thumping music- the Puerto Ricans like it loud! The second night was a Sunday with bad weather moving in so much quieter. It was a funky fun place.
We then moved on to Marina Pescaderia a few miles north in Puerto Real. This place was busy and full of cruisers but luckily the dockmaster let us stay on the fuel dock. Marinas are places to wash the boat, do laundry, reload music and shows on Wi-Fi. We were also able to get fuel and water. We interacted with a few of the cruisers and met a lovely couple from the Netherlands who had been sailing for several years. They had even entered Masonboro Inlet and stopped at Seapath Marina. Small world. We went to a local bakery for breakfast which was fun and tried out the $5.00 locals lunch special at another restaurant the next day. Note to self: don’t do this again. Chicken and rice and coke- however Kevin and I couldn’t figure out which part of the chicken we were eating! We planned on staying two nights but stayed three waiting for the weather window to head to Samana, Dominican Republic.