They made it!
Trip Start Nov 06, 2010
108Trip End Ongoing
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No traffic at that hour, so we made very good time. One quick stop for fuel, and we were to the airport right around 07:00 - not bad seeing as we'd only been awake for an hour and twenty minutes
Task one: breakfast. We found a great little hole in the wall, and, go figure, Jake had eaten there before! He lived in San Juan for a month a couple of years ago, and was located right in the area we were in. Oh well - he'll experience plenty of new things after that. We enjoyed a round of bacon, eggs, potatoes, and piping hot coffee and started catching up with our good friends. It is so refreshing to be with people we know so well and love so much, and you just have to appreciate the friends who you can be apart from for months and immediately just pick up where you left off, as if no time has passed. We are all absolutely ecstatic that we get to spend the next week and a half cruising around, just the four of us.
Yes, just the four of us. There have been some new developments, but I have been waiting to update you until everything was confirmed. When in Punta Cana, Pete got several messages from home that caused some reconsidering of our plans - no emergency or anything (congratulations to Nick and Barbara Jean on their engagement!), it just brought about the desire to start heading back to Woods Hole for the wonderful summer months, closer to family and friends in a familiar harbor that we love
Now that you're updated... we finished up our tasty breakfast and tracked down the San Juan West Marine to use up our $50 gift card on much needed stove fuel and a few other items. Once we were fully supplied, we hopped in the car and started making our way to El Yunque National Forest, the largest rain forest in the United States. Having a rental car was a great idea, and we loved being able to just go where'er we pleased. The rain forest was absolutely beautiful and the air so refreshing. We stopped for a few photo opportunities, and did a little bit of wandering around one of the waterfalls. It was gorgeous
The drive through the small mountain villages was absolutely awesome. We got to see so many different areas of this part of the island, up in the hills and down in the valleys, going through farm land and along the coast. It was awesome. We took our time and enjoyed the ride, stopping to get pinchos de pollo (chicken meat sticks) at a little road side stand (delicious). We gave Jake and Amy the rundown on all of our boat friends, who belongs to which boat, and told them that everyone was really stoked to meet them and that they would be expecting a party of epic proportions.
After many hours winding south and along the coast, we finally arrived back in Salinas. Before returning to the boat, we made one last grocery stop. With our new ice box set up, we stopped to get chicken and bacon and beef - all these fun things we never get to have on the boat! Once groceries were secured, we drove the narrow streets back to the marina. We loaded all of the food into the dinghy, and Pete shuttled me out to Hejira to get a start on organizing all the food and putting it away, soon returning with Jake and Amy and luggage
Pete unloaded the suitcase from Big Pete and Lauren, and we are now fully stocked on gluten-free pasta (have not seen it anywhere since we left the states...and we ran out about three weeks ago), granola bars, chocolate, granola, and who knows what else. Thank you so much for sending all of that! It was a great hook up. And my parents managed a little care package as well - mail from home is divine. :) Also, a big thank you to Chloe Starr for getting all the random mail from Woods Hole down to us as well, in addition to the great Valentine's Day present. You're the best!
Once we were all settled in, Amy crashed for a quick nap, Jake and Pete went off on a little dinghy adventure, and I got a start on some beef tacos. While I was cooking, the radio started blowing up from all our friends regarding "the plan." We Don't Neaux had decided to move over to a little island with beautifully clear water for a little party and bonfire on the beach. It seemed like a lot to be moving all the boats around, so we weren't totally sure we would join. We chatted with Eventide and Yolo and decided that we would all just hang out on Hejira for the night with cocktails in hand
Amy and Jake are already pretty amused with the VHF life aboard. For those unfamiliar, boats monitor channel 16. You hail another boat by saying, "Yolo, Yolo, Hejira." They respond, and you switch to another channel so as to not hog the universally monitored channel. However, when in a harbor with a bunch of friends, you'll often hear them hailing each other and you switch your channel as well to listen in on their conversation...just in case you need some of the information being relayed... This is called "checking" or "reading the mail." And it can be absolutely hilarious. You know...someone mentions Hejira and you can pipe in with a little sass or something. Hard to really do it justice via blog, but it's amusing.
We gobbled down our tacos, and let Eventide and Yolo know they could come over whenever. We got dinner cleaned up and settled into the cockpit for some cocktails and chilling... As we had all been up early with minimal sleep, we were pretty mellow. Just as we actually all got a bit worried the night's festivities would totally fizzle if our friends didn't show up soon to liven things up, we saw the lights going crazy on Yolo. Even their anchor light appeared to be strobing. We realized a dance party was in full swing, so we grabbed our drinks and piled into the dinghy
Things were still pretty mellow, when Pete and Andy came up onto the foredeck to inform us all of the plan - we would all board Hejira, towing all the dinghies, and we would motor over to the little island where We Don't Neaux was partying. We all got a move on and got loaded into Hejira. It was great hanging out on the way over there. As we approached, though, it was apparently impossible to see any sort of channel...and it was shallow. And yes, we ran aground. :) I was down in the cabin, and I can not tell you how hilarious it was to come up on deck to see the mast let out to starboard with multiple grown men hanging on the boom, attempting (successfully) to shift our weight to break free from the sandy bottom. Awesome.
We got anchored up, and loaded into the dinghies to go see We Don't Neaux. They pointed us in the direction of the party - apparently this little island is the weekend party location for the locals. There were tons of boats just anchored in a big raft up with lights on and music bumping, everyone enjoying their drinks and swimming..
So we loaded back into the dinghies and found our way to the beach and carried on with the festivities, bonfire blazing. It was a good and hilarious night, perfect festivities to welcome Jake and Amy. Exhaustion eventually got the best of us and we loaded everyone back onto Hejira to head back to the other anchorage. With ten people, we just wouldn't be able to have everyone sleeping aboard! We made it back (don't worry, Captain Peter quit drinking earlier in the night so as to not inhibit his captaining skills), anchored, and were asleep the second we hit the pillows.
A breakfast of bacon, eggs, grits, and lots of coffee before heading ashore for a swim in the pool. Now we're just doing a little bit of internet to get you all updated as we imagine we'll be without internet the majority of this next week. Our plan is to head to Vieques tonight to explore there a few days before heading over to Culebra. We'll update as able!