25 March 2016
Since our arrival on Tuesday we have remained at anchor in San Juan Harbor, content to sleep in and recuperate from a long and sometimes difficult transit. It’s easy to get back in the habit of sleeping more than 2 ½ hours at a time and waking up in the morning naturally. We’ve both experienced sore muscles from the physical exertion but no major issues; none that a little Ibuprofen or a beer won’t take care of.
Not wanting the issues that we encountered to remain on the fix-it list for too long, we searched the local stores for some necessary parts. I talked with a technical person about our Autopilot situation and he gave me some things to check to narrow down the problem. The vexing issue for us is that we’ve landed in Puerto Rico during the week before Easter, where schools let out all week and many businesses close as families use the time for a vacation. We’re pretty much on our own until next week.
The VHF radio issue has been resolved, the bilge pump has a new float switch, and various compartments around the boat are being cleaned up, dried out and put back together. This weekend I will remove the Autopilot drive unit to make sure that the problem is not something that can be easily repaired before enlisting the expensive help of a local technician whose reputation and level of competency we have no idea about.
Our friends Jerry and Sally on S/V Encore drove up from their marina on the south side of the island to see us today, and together we enjoyed Old San Juan for the afternoon. While many of the shops were closed for Good Friday the streets were alive with people and we enjoyed some excellent Puerto Rican cuisine at a nice little restaurant in the old part of town. Afterwards we wandered around one of the forts that protected this important town, called by some the Gateway to the New World, which the Spanish settled in the mid 1600’s and successfully defended from invasion for almost 400 years.
We ended the day with a stop at a real grocery store, then dinner and a TV episode before bed.
A look at the wind forecasts over the next week shows strong easterly winds until Wednesday or Thursday of next week. Remember the Thorny Path? We’ll be slugging it out to windward for the next few trips. Our next step looks to be a jump to the eastern end of the main island and a stop or two in small islands at Puerto Rico’s far eastern end, known as the Spanish Virgin Islands. It took some doing to get here but it feels good to be back in the Caribbean.