I had a very fast ride from the island east of the main island Vieques and then along the south coast because the wind was from the east and the swell was up. It is quite disconcerting to sail towards a coral reef with the wind behind you knowing that you can't see the channel opening amongst the waves and therefore have to depend totally on the waypoints and the chart plotter. Scary but you are ready to act if the chart is wrong.
I made it through the channel and behind the reef in to a very large bay. Bahia Rincon. Salinas is at the eastern end up a shallow entrance into a bay surrounded by mangroves. The wind was still blowing above 20 knots so I deceiced to drop the anchor and stay the night outside but behind the le:-) e of the land.
Once the sun was up I entered the channel which I knew to be shallow but full of mud. At less than 2 knots I nosed my way in, at one point the depth below the keel was only 20 cm. Anyway I am use to that from the French canals. The channel opened up into a wide bay with a number of boats on mooring balls and a few at anchor. I dropped the anchor, made Malua ship shape and went ashore. Just outside the marina entrance is a sail maker. She gave me lots of good information about the area and put me in touch with Sydney who is the local car rental fellow. I am to rent a car from him tomorrow.
I set off to walk to the local town. Very run down with lots of people just hanging around. I stopped in at the local library. Not very many books, a few old reference books and lots of empty shelves. Three librarians and a few computers connected to the web.
Next day no Sydney with the car. But after a phone call he appeared with a Hertz car and all the paperwork. When I suggested that was not what I wanted he said wait a minute and appeared with a more modest vehicle. 35 dollars free use of all the tolls and no paperwork, just leave the car unlocked with the key in the glovebox. Right just what I wanted.
Get out the map. Select route 1 then 52 and I will find myself on old San Juan. Almost two hours latter after a nerve racking drive I was in the old city. The traffic is heavy and many cars don't have break lights but if you keep your wits about you and follow the signs you'll reach your major destination.
I headed towards the old fort at the end of the peninsula and found a car park. I took a few pictures of the car and its location just in case I got lost or could not find it at the end of the day.
On with the vhf radio - Jack Tar can you read me. Yes Malua where are you? In the park near Customs. OK we will meet you for lunch in a few minutes. How good is that!
We had a great lunch of Tapas in a Spanish style restaurant then set off to walk through the old city towards the fort. The fort has been restored. It is large with many levels dominating the entrance to the port of San Juan. We could see the open sea from the look out and both masters agreed today was a good day to be at anchor.
We returned to the car and I gave Pedro and Carol a lift to the marina where they had anchored off. I then set off along route 22 or 123/10 westwards and then south back to Salinas. Quite a challenge but again follow the signs and you are on your way.
I stopped in at a chemist to fill my Australian prescription because I was running low. I spoke to the chemist and yes they had the two sets of pill I required. How may did I require. I normally pay in Australia about 73 dollars for 30 of each. These would be 300 us dollars for the same quantity. I would not like to be a private patient in Puerto Rico or the USA. I paid the money, read all the does and donots and made a decision that I will have to cut down on these pills.
After negotiating the toll roads, the byways and the highways of the PR I would skip the city of Ponce and drive straight back to Salinas with a short stop at the large supermarket to pick up some essentials.
I arrived back at the marina well after dark. Dropped the car in the car park and back to Malua for a well earned rest.
A magical moment on Malua.
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