Saturday, February 28, 2015

Pinned by the Weather

Now that we're back in Puerto Rico and looking forward to moving eastward, the tradewinds have us stuck; they are blowing persistently from the east at 25 knots. There is a practice that you can use the cool night time air flowing down from the heights of the island that stall the tradewinds up to a mile offshore, and use the time at night to move up the coast, but so far this has not been a successful endeavor for us.

Wednesday morning we set out from Puerto Real at 4 am, rounded the point and hit the winds that weren't supposed to be there. In cruiser parlance, I think we had our asses handed to us. The winds were hitting 25 knots by ten o'clock when we looked at the chart and decided that we weren't going to make our intended landfall. As happenstance would have it however, we checked again and found an anchorage at hand with one other cruising boat in it, and we turned the disappointment in not being able to move forward with a meeting of new friends: Robert, Shena and Kinsley aboard Almost There.

Early morning squalls just off the south coast of Puerto Rico.
Following Almost There into the sunrise.
We stopped and spent a windy, rolly night at Caleta Salenas (just east of La Parguera) and then testing the light wind theory once more we were up again at 4am. This time we considered the forecast for the next week and the fact the wind was already blowing through the anchorage and promptly went back to bed until 6am. Sunrise saw us up and moving just 5 miles up the coast to tuck in behind Punta Ballena protected from the swell by mangrove keys and some big reefs. The wind whistles through ensuring lots of fresh air and no bugs but the waters remain flat so we will make ourselves comfortable here for the next few days as we wait for the winds to blow themselves out a bit.

Funny thing is that here the anchorage is known as Gilligan's Island and I find myself humming to the tune and thinking of the seas tossing the tiny boat. Gotta love the irony. On the weekends here a little ferry runs from the mainland out to the island and loads of people come and sit on the little beaches among the mangroves, enjoying getting away from all the hustle and bustle.

The windy flat conditions don't go to waste with the wind surfers.
Nestled in behind the reefs with Almost There
Well protected from the swells and crazy conditions beyond the reef.
We turned yesterday into a boat work day: I cleaned the stainless to a gleam and Henry has hopefully solved our engine overheating problems with a bit of help from Robert. I also decided to learn some new techniques with the pressure cooker and managed to boil eggs and make fudge brownies which we took for desert as we joined the "Almost There's" for dinner.

Gleaming once again.
Perfectly hard boiled in just 5 minutes, plus sit time.
It's a wrap for the night aboard Almost There.