Thursday, July 17, 2014

Boqueron to Ponce

Boqueron, Puerto Rico is like a little Key West. It's a ghost town on Monday, and Tuesday, or on any given day before noon for that mater. All other times, watch out! The potpourri of bar music carries across the bay until 1 or 2 am. They sell canned Medalla beer, the national brand, for a dollar, and you're allowed to walk around the streets with alcohol...or drive a car for that matter. Aside from the many bars / restaurants, there are about a dozen food kiosks selling an assortment of kabobs, fritters, clams, and oysters. The most popular local dish is called mofongo. It's fried green plantains that are mashed up into a ball, a lot like mashed potatoes only firmer, and like mashed potatoes they make a big dent in the middle to hold the gravy. Only in this case it's a bit more spectacular than just gravy, it's shrimp, conch, or one of a half dozen other toppings. Much like pizza, even when it's bad, it's good, but when it's really good, oh man!
The typical street scene in Boqueron.

You can buy beer and cocktails right off the street.
When we were done horsing around, a few days later, we decide to do a little restocking of the pantry. Not knowing the area, we just started walking up the main road. We had gone a couple of miles with the kids fussing away behind us, "I hate my life, blah blah blah", when we noticed a fenced in fruit stand with an office towards the back that also read travel agent. Let me just say that you are never in the same state of mind after 2 miles of walking in the hot tropical sun as when you first started to walk. We were now quite ready for a car. Shelly Vargas was really pleasant, and she quickly made reasonable arrangements to rent us a car. The problem was getting to the rental agency, it was in the next town. Shelly bargained with the rental agency to meet us half way, and Shelly's mom drove us to the pickup point. We have met so many benevolent people throughout our travels. Who says mankind is evil?
I have to admit that we all went a bit crazy as we drove down the street and began seeing all of the familiar fast food restaurants. We had been deprived of this for almost a year now. There was KFC, Wendy's, Popeye's, and on and on. MacDonald's and Burger King, like graffiti are everywhere. Yeah, we had greasy lips, and a dark conscience after that first day. Eva even made us all wait at Krispy Kreme for 2 hours while they made fresh doughnuts.
We rambled about the western half of Puerto Rico for a week. Every evening we would return to the boat. After our fast-food fix that first day, we were really enjoying all of the local creations. In the college town of San German we found a restaurant called "De Lirios". Their signature dish was called the Volcano. It was mofongo with a tender rolled skirt steak in the middle that formed a cone. The cone was then filled with jumbo shrimp and everything was drizzled with hollandaise sauce. It was sensory overload. You can't just jump into a dish this rich, you have to work your way up to it.
Arecibo Observatory has the largest radio telescope in the world. It was in the movie "Contact".

Vanilla is a real party animal!

In Cabo Rojo there are salt ponds.

The salt is very coarse.

Sometimes I just have to induce a smile.

We may not look alike, but we sure act the same.
This is Eva's birth-week kick-off party.

Nine candles, and then some for good luck...Eva style!
We needed to start working our way towards the east. There are plenty of anchoring options along the southern coast of Puerto Rico. We were torn between stopping at the town of La Parguera at 4 hours travel or Ponce at about 10 hours. La Parguera was surrounded by mangroves, I felt we would probably have an issue with mosquitoes so baring heavy seas, Ponce was our choice. We lifted our anchor just before 7 pm. We had been in Boqueron Bay for 10 days, and the anchor chain was already growing barnacles. The wind was right on the nose so we had to motor the whole way. Tacking the boat doesn't seem to payoff, especially not at night when I have to muster the crew, talk about being unpopular! Any gains in speed are offset by our deviation from the course, and so we motor.  The Caribbean Sea was fair that night, not calm , but fair. I gave Marie the helm at 2 am. At 7 am I took over, we were approaching Ponce. The anchorage at Ponce is really crowded. Mainly because the locals have installed moorings all over the place, and there is little room remaining. We choose to take a slip at the Ponce Yacht Club. We'll be here for a week or two while we explore the local curiosities.
Our anchor chain was growing barnacles in just 10 days.

1 comment:

  1. Great blog Joaqui.....looking forward to reading more about your family's adventures...God speed