Luperon to Boqueron
We stayed in Luperon four days more than planned and really needed to get moving to meet company in the Virgin Islands. Otherwise, we would have waited for a better weather window. A winter storm had just passed and the conditions were questionable, at best. The two weather experts on the SSB, Herb and David Jones, had different opinions. David said "don't go" but Herb said it "should be ok". I've mentioned that lyric "a man hears what he wants to hear" before. So on Monday morning, March 4, 2002 we left Luperon for Puerto Rico.
As soon as we left the inlet, the chop and roll was so bad we should have turned back. I was terribly seasick - may have had something to do with the Cuban cigars and red wine we had enjoyed with Alexus and Pegasus the night before. The conditions seemed to worsen during the day. At 4:00 pm we headed into Sasua, D.R., to anchor. A big cat coming out hailed us and,after wondering what we were doing out there in those conditions, said we were welcome to pick up his private mooring for the night. Because of the heavy chop I kept missing the pendant on the mooring. A small boat, with two men, appeared out of nowhere to offer assistance. Once secured, they remained and kept repeating something in Spanish. It seemed they wanted money. With my very bad high-school Spanish I was able to determine they wanted $20.00. Now, we knew that wasn't right because the cat's captain had told us it was his mooring. Perhaps they were officials and it was a fee of sorts, but we doubted it. What do you do in a strange country, especially when you have no command of the language? So, we gave them the $20.00. The plan was to sleep for a few hours and leave again around 10:00 that night. The rolling and pitching was so bad there was no sleeping or resting, so at 8:00 p.m. we left.
The next day was another bad one pounding into the seas. Again we tried anchoring for a little rest and again, after only a few hours of being tossed around, we headed back out to sea. On the third evening we entered the dreaded Mona Passage. The first few hours weren't so bad but as the evening wore on so did the misery. It was literally so rough we had to hold on with both hands at all times, even sitting. The waves pounded against the side of the boat so hard, it sounded like we had been hit by a truck. Then they wrapped around and pounded the other side. I couldn't see how the boat kept from splitting in half. Watching the waves build on the horizon looked like a big freight train. Then that train would head toward us sideways. At several points, water washed over the bow, into the cockpit and down the companionway. This truly felt like a trip of shear survival.
Beautiful Puerto Rico
Boqueron, Puerto Rico
We arrived in Boqueron, Puerto Rico at 5:00 am on Thursday, March 7. We were so exhausted, we didn't even try waiting for daylight to drop the hook. Sick, tired, sore, and defeated, we fell into bed for the first time since Sunday night. After a few hours of sleep, we spent several more hours just cleaning up the mess below decks. What a mess it was - sodas had exploded in lockers, water had soaked cushions and so many things we thought secured had broken and/or spilled their contents all over the place. We were safe, so how can you complain.
Boqueron felt like coming home again. Not that it looked anything like home but because it was American territory. It felt great. US phone cards worked, dollars worked, and there was a certain secure feeling we hadn't had in other countries. Boqueron is a cute little town that we were able to enjoy for a few days. We even had wonderful margaritas and pretty good Mexican food at El Coyote restaurant.
The first day heading down the southern coast was super slow going. No matter what we did, we couldn't make more that 1-2 knots and sometimes not even that. We didn't get to our first anchorage in time to see how to get into it, so we kept going. Mid-morning the next day we were able to anchor in Punta Arenas off Vieques Island. What a beautiful scene. We didn't go ashore but just seeing it from the water was great.
Puerto Rico is a beautiful country but was just a pass-through for us. We have been there a few times before and may decide to go back again, but not this time.
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