The first hop was a short one, we left Salinas late Friday afternoon. We didn’t care much about the time of day because we were only going about 5 miles away, to Boca de Inferno (horrible name, the mouth of hell) to stage for an early departure the next morning. The winds were a bit stronger than what was predicted but they were still manageable, with gusts around 20 knots. Anchoring in Boca was wonderful, a calm spot with no one in sight, but there probably isn’t enough room there for more than a couple boats at a time. Luckily we were the only ones there. The water there is calm and the anchorage is well protected leaving our boat sitting still all night. Word of warning, if you come this way, Van Sant’s anchor point seems to be right on the island, so be careful. That sail made us realize how important it is to scrub the bottom of your boat, with our engine running at 2600 RPM and we were only going 3.7 knots.
At 6:30am the next morning the guys were in the water for an impromptu boat bottom scrubbing so we could go at a barable speed again. Once they were done washing the krill off of themselves we set out for Puerto Patillas, 19nm away. Eben got one of his wishes granted as a pod of dolphins came to play at the bow of our boat for at least a couple of hours. We had always heard of this happening to others, but four years sailing and we had yet to have it happen to us, until this trip. They swam, jumped, and coasted the waves, while they guided us to our next destination. I instantly could see the boyhood giddiness appear on Eben’s face, it was priceless. About 5nm off of Puerto Patillas one needs to keep an eye open for fish/lobster traps as they litter the waters surrounded the route between the two harbours. Being so enthralled with the dolphins we nearly would have motored over three of the horribly placed traps had we not changed our course just in time.
Puerto Patillas is a quaint little town with a large park area and beach. The beach is nothing to dream about with its rocks and sticks everywhere but for anyone with kids it’s great. The water is shallow for a fair distance, and it is warm. And when they kids get tired of the beach there is a huge playpark for them to enjoy. If it were just us I would’ve stayed here a few nights and let the girls play off some of their pent up energy, but we have kidless guests to please too, and honestly this place isn’t quite that exciting if you don’t dream of shallow beaches and jungle gyms. Oh and it is rolly there. Even at anchored we were being bounced around back and forth and although it was good for a laugh watching Ellia zig zag her way through the boat it doesn’t make for a very restful night. We only stayed the one day, and at midnight that night we headed out for a straight shot to Vieques.
We have heard many bad stories about going straight across the Vieques Sound, due to the ebb and flow and the waves and current it causes, but with the wind being abnormally low Eben convinced me it would be ok. Even if we were to be pounding into the waves the whole way at least they would be smaller and far apart. It took us 8 hours, through the night, to a very slow and rhythmical beat of the waves and we arrived happily in Sun Bay this morning. Both girls slept the entire night, I was in and out of sleep, since I had Ellia rolling all over me the entire night, the boys did shifts at the helm and Kristin slept on the salon settee. It was a nice crossing and a smart choice on our behalf to take the crossing when the 9 knot winds and the 0.9m waves were offered to us.
This bay is quite picturesque with its long white sand beach and clearer water than we have seen in a while. The beach is lined with palm trees and the backdrop is a coast of rolling mountains. It will be a nice stopping point to spend the next few days while we explore the island. The bay has a slight roll to it, similar to that of Boqueron, but it isn’t bothersome enough to need to move. Today we chilax and recoup from the night crossing, because no matter how well they go they are still draining. We spent the morning at the beach where the girls played in the waves and on the paddleboard, then Eben and guests went spearfishing where they caught us our supper. Sushi is a wonderful way to finish off a day. As the girls are getting geared up for bed the adults are slowly melting into the couches as we struggle to keep our eyes open.