31 March 2016
Here we sit at anchor in San Juan Harbor, waiting for the Trade Winds to die down enough to allow us to at least motor east towards the Virgin Islands. Waiting for weather is a regular pastime for cruisers.
Since we arrived in Puerto Rico’s capital almost two weeks ago after a long passage from the Bahamas, the winds have been consistently in the high teens and into the twenties, with gusts even higher. Fortunately our anchorage has not seen that level of winds, but the hum from our wind generator suggests that periodically some of those winds have made it into our protected anchorage, helping to keep the batteries charged even at night.
I’ve listened to the weather router several times since our arrival and checked my own sources for wind and sea state forecasts, and these conditions have been forecast to persist from here to Trinidad for two weeks. Even as they start to “let up” early next week, they are forecast to remain in double digits out of the east until the middle of next week, when they are forecast to shut down for a day or two.
Unknown to many people, the country of Puerto Rico includes several small islands off the east coast of the main island, collectively known as the Spanish Virgin Islands. They are relatively unknown because for decades they were controlled by the US Military and used for training exercises. Now, however, they are fully open to the public and undergoing some development to maximize their potential for tourism.
We visited the islands of Vieques and Culebra briefly on our last trip through the area in 2010, but hope to make stops on our way to St. Thomas in Fajardo on the Main Island and then Culebra. With the winds on the nose for the entire trip it seems wise to make the trip in two or three shorter legs. I’m hopeful that one of those stops can be to what is advertised as one of the best anchorages in the Caribbean, with full protection, a white sandy bottom and great snorkeling. It’s a stop we haven’t made before that could offer some great new memories as well as a blog of its own.
Until then we wait here in San Juan, using the time to take care of some issues onboard, but also trying to “smell the roses”, something it seems like we don’t always get to do enough of. The main island has some beautiful scenery and contains the Yunque Rain Forest, the only rain forest in the US National Forest system. If the rainy weather will cooperate for a day or two perhaps we can rent a car and venture out into the interior of Puerto Rico.