Strangely enough, it’s been an all American kind of week anchored here in Puerto Rico. Let me begin by telling you I can’t remember the last time I had a hot shower until most recently. I know it was in Florida, somewhere. Months ago we crossed over to the Bahamas, passed quickly through Turks and Caicos and then got pretty sick in the Dominican Republic, a hot shower was long overdue. The Yacht Club in Ponce had fantastic facilities that included a dry sauna. I couldn’t get enough of it! I was worried the guys wouldn’t have hot water on our first night so I was in and out of the shower quickly but the next day I really took my time. I can’t begin to describe how good that high pressured hot water shower felt. It was unreal!
I immediately chatted up probably the only fluent German in Puerto Rico who drove us around, for a fee, for two days solid. Franz was a gregarious character who spoke impeccable English and Spanish too. Boy did we get lucky finding him; Franz was quite helpful in more ways than one. We had places to go, parts to fix and provisions to restock and he was just the guy we needed. Based on conversations we had amongst other liveaboards we knew Puerto Rico had shopping that would be familiar to us but they really do have it all. In two days we (Trent, Steve, Dan and myself) conquered Sam’s Club, Wal-mart, Kmart, Supermercado, Sally’s Beauty Supply, TJ Max, several hardware supply stores, a welding shop, pawn store, marine supply facility and ate some of the most delicious food imaginable. I don’t know what was better, dining at Chili’s, eating frozen yogurt or watching The Jungle Book at Caribbean Cinemas.
You can pretty much guess that Trent and I went wild in Sam’s and Costco and were throwing things in the cart with very little discussion. This wasn’t like leaving Florida when we were absolutely clueless. I had been making a list since we left the states and was ready to shop. Now, we both have a good sense of how much stores Pepper can hold and we’re not afraid to fill her back up. The only preserved items we bought were 24 cans of diced organic tomatoes, which are now in the head, because we still have plenty of everything else. There’s a bag of chips, crackers or toilet paper in every nook and cranny of Pepper, candy bars and beef jerky are lining the tops and sides of the water tanks, 9 pounds of cheese rests in our tiny, filled-to-the-brim fridge and 4 cases of Silver Key light beer are under the settee and the other 4 are in the head. Provisions are even spaced between the towels, in with the tools, laying in the closet with our shoes and next to our head in the bed. Most importantly it’s organized in a way that only we could figure out and it doesn’t feel cluttered but maybe I’ve just changed. Trent and I agree that there’s more food on Pepper now versus when we first started cruising. We could cross 2 oceans with these provisions.
Things that were impossible to find, despite going to several supermercados, include chili powder, rye flour, molasses, dried fruit and boxed wine. The flour and molasses are for making pumpernickel bread in case you were curious. It’s interesting how some things you use all the time at home like chili powder are thus far non-existent beyond the states; I thought everyone uses chili powder. We’ve developed a real taste for plantains lately and even ask for them when we go out. Anyways, Trent can go back to having a beer in the evening and I’m on a fresh squeezed margarita making kick now that I found the key ingredient, tequila. I’m disappointed box wine doesn’t exist over here because bottles are just such a big no no on a sailboat. Those bags were both a money and space saver. A small glass in the evening can be so nice. I’m savoring the half a bag of Shiraz still on our shelf.
That sums up our all American kind of week. The Armstrongs will be in St. Thomas on the 28th so we’ve got to keep making some headway. The easterly trade winds are relentless so here we sit in Salinas waiting to weigh anchor. We’ll do one more stop in Puerto Rico before cutting over to Vieques. Meanwhile, I’ve found a workout buddy, Petra, and we sneak away to sweat every chance we get. We’ve had lots of fun with Steve and have continued to enjoy Dan’s company. It’s been nice taking turns doing meals and being able to navigate as group. Now this is buddy boating! There are very few disagreements and our group is extremely easy going and all are very good natured. I taught the guys to play spades and now they’re a bunch of card sharks. This cruising stuff is getting easier by the day. We’re really learning to “pick” our weather windows now that we’re a bit seasoned. What else can I say? It’s a good day, for a good day!
On a side note, happy birthday Mom! I love you!