Last time you heard from us, we where in the nice anchorage of Salinas, Puerto Rico, from there we continued west along the south coast of PR heading for Ponce, the second largest city in PR with ca 150,000 inhabitants.
The first sight was not very rewarding, on the contrary
A large commercial harbor, not exactly the kind of anchorage we are looking for, but according to the pilot book Ponce is a nice town well worth visiting so we continued in to the harbor, and
this was the view from Kerpa when the anchor was set, so not to bad given that you put you face in the right direction.
At shore the area was rather attractive
So, we decided to try out the restaurants one evening
Not very crowded even though we choose the restaurant with the most guests, the food gave not great value for money but sometimes it is nice to escape from cocking and wash up.
Ponce is not a very large town, but there is a long walk through the almost deserted harbor area
The government bought this deserted harbor for 180 million USD, i does not look as a very good investment.?
There is a long walk through the almost deserted harbor area before one reach the scruffy town area close to the water front
And then there are still at least 30 minutes’ walk to the more central parts of Ponce. We tried to find a taxi, but no one understand English so we continued to walk, but suddenly we were approach by a man, who had seen his best days, he spoke some English and he informed us that there are buses that passes by regularly, so we had a chat with him for half an hour while waiting for the bus taking us down town. The bus was more like a mini van and did not cost much 1,5 USD per person, it gave us a small sightseeing of the shopping center and outer part of the town before it stopped at the old town center.
Arriving down town the first thing we saw was this van who served chicken skewer
Tasted good and was much better value for money compared to the more posh and expensive dinner we had at the water front at the marina.
Just besides one finds Ponce’s famous fire station, now a museum
This was the first fire station in Puerto Rico, the building is from 1882, and came into use as a fire station 1883, when a massive fire threatened the city and volunteer fire fighters fought the fire for several days using the building as a base, hence it become the first fire station in PR.
The old part of the town is very much influenced by the Spanish heritage and rather attractive
This is the central bus station very attractive something to learn from maybe
We decided to walk back to the scruffy old part of Ponce where we stepped on the bus to the center, as we like to walk and not get very much “natural” exercises on the boat. When we arrived to the “scruffy part” we were really tiered and thought it would be easy to find a taxi from there to the marina (we had seen a few taxis when waiting for the bus to take us to the center) but no taxi around we thought if we ask at a restaurant, they might call a taxi for us, but most places was closed, finally we found an open restaurant and went in and asked them to call a taxi for us, they said no taxi around here, then they asked where are you heading, we explained that we had our boat in the marina and then the manager offer to drive us there. People are very kind and helpful.
Now it was time to continue west and we found a place called Gilligan’s island
A sheltered mangrove anchorage
It was a very quiet place but that was probably due to mid-week else it would have been very many boats partying on the small mangrove islands
And no way we would have been able to bath alone during a weekend
Or explore the mangrove all by our self. During a weekend it would have been a massive amount of peoples, boats and many many jet skies driving around in circles or just in straight lines at maximum speed, then suddenly make a manoeuvre and full speed in a different direction, among people swimming around, we are surprised that we not yet have witnessed any accident. many of these mangrove anchorage are natural reserves there to preserve nature and the very rare Manatee but that does not matter at all?
It was different on La Parguera, as we were there during a weekend
There the locals know how to enjoy a weekend and to party
Laud music, every boat play it’s own music on full volume on stereos with enormous capacity in watt’s, so it is a cacophony of sound and /or noise , on top of that barbecue, drinks and chilling out in the water the Puerto Rican’s who have founds know how to enjoy the weekend.
They also have a different view of eco-tourism
Running around with water scooters is hardly considered to be Eco in many places in Europe that is for sure
Else La Parguera is a rather sleepy tourist place, the main fascination is to experience the weekenders.
And not the best dingy dock
Kerpa at anchor among the mangrove islands of La Perguera.
Puerto Real was the last port in PR. Highly recommended as a safe and easy anchorage, further the Border Control was very helpful. I called them and asked how to clear out of Puerto Rico, according to the pilot one should take a taxi to the airport and clear out there. They said it is not necessary, download the CBP Form 1300, mail it in and we fix it from there, it took less than 20 minutes after I had sent it in before I got it back with stamps and everything, just print it to be able to hand it in, in next country when clearing in.
In Puerto Real there were three Swedish boats at anchor out of 6, must be rather unusual, but most unusual that two boats Andante and Trud were of the same make Allegro 33, a good old fashioned Swedish boat for blue water sailing.
We had a nice sun-downer on Andante with Roy and Åsa and the crew of Trud Pia and Hasse.
We had some very dramatic sky in Puerto Real
But at day time the sky and weather were very gentle
Next stop Dominican Republic