First stop was Patilla, a nice little coastal town with a park on their beach. The sail was quick, only a few hours. The anchorage was pretty open and a bit rolly but picturesque. After anchoring and a swim we were treated to a rainstorm. Literally the first rain we had had in 3 months! And it came down, wind, rain, lightening for awhile as we holed up in the boat. The only good part was that the boat really needed the freshwater rinse. Talking to locals the next day we found that this was one of the largest rainfall events that they had had in years as the south coast was known for it’s dryer climate. They likened this event as something you would see in San Juan.
We stayed another day, Kaylee got out her skates and we wandered around the area finding a neat kiosk selling empanadas that we ate on a deck overlooking the bay. Nice snorkling, easy going atmosphere and good stop despite the rain.
Palmas Del Mar offered us everything we could have hoped for as a staging point for my parents. Juano, the marina Manager, Coco, the dock master and Salvie, where friendly, helpful and made our stay here wonderful. They treated Kaylee like a princess and she soon had the run of the docks. The facility was substantial in it’s construction with the only drawback being the swell that would enter and rebound within the basin and forced us to put chafe guards on all of our docklines to keep them from rubbing through the rough concrete. Coco and Salvie entertained Kaylee while keeping a professional attitude and doing their work. They were always there when we needed anything.
My parents were very game and the five of us took up residence on the boat. We were a little worried about the need for some level of agility to get on and off the boat as we were either stuffed against the finger dock or 4 feet off. A jump for any of us. After they got used to the rhythm of the boat and the swell they became very adept at climbing on and off.
We had kept the rental car to do some touring and with the threat of rain we spent the next 2 days covering the country side. We took a run to Old Town San Juan and drove the blue cobble stone streets with all the other tourists. We tried to get a look at the fort but fortune was not on our side as the skies opened us and with elevators not working in the parking garage we were stymied. We bolted on the idea of the tour of the fort and grounds and made our way down to the waterfront where the hills were not so formidable and stopped in a local restaurant for lunch. Kaylee and Danielle went up to the Butterfly Shop and we walked down to a park on the bay.
We set off fairly early and had pretty strong winds. We reefed the main and headsail for a little more comfortable ride. We still managed over 6 kt and were heeled over as we shot through the water. A thunderstorm began forming over Vieques so we dropped sails and motored the last couple of miles. Retreat, the better part of valor when the threat of heavy downdrafts are a potential. The rain passed us quickly and we anchored on Green’s Beach and enjoyed a nice swim, cookout and great night on the hook, steaks and all!
The sail home the next morning was very calming with 15+kts on the stern and a nice swell. Mom and Dad enjoyed the movement of the boat as we made the 11 miles home in under 2 hours without touching the sails or the wheel.
The only real stress was getting them back to the airport as we were only 2 hours ahead of schedule and I missed a turn at the airport which delayed us 10 minutes! Dad was beginning to get tense. They made the plane and by all accounts had a good trip home.