The crew of Windigo has returned to the U.S., but to different places: Karin has abandoned ship and returned to Wisconsin to live close to family. I spent a wonderful six weeks in Puerto Rico. Karin did get to be in Puerto Rico for a while, and enjoyed the last days of her liveaboard life before getting to WI to greet her son after he completed his second tour of Iraq.
This is not the usual exhaustive tour typical of the Windigo Travelogue, but a short stay in San Juan with 600 miles of cycling and the primary elections for US President. Another more thorough trip is expected at another time, but I really needed to get this letter out as it is already very late.
You see, I am presently in the British Virgin Islands, and dealing with a grueling work schedule: a week of teaching sailing at Sunsail Tortola, and then two weeks of sailing Windigo among the islands with a week of cycling mixed in -- and then I MUST do it all again. Whew! (Once my new bike is sent, I'm sure that cycling will rule my time.)
See all the photos and read an introduction about the island of Puerto Rico at:
ALTHOUGH I HAVE NEVER ALLOWED ADVERTISING IN THE TRAVELOGUE CATALOGUE,
I PERIODICALLY RECEIVE REQUESTS FOR CLARIFICATION OF SOME OF MY OPINIONS
AND ENGAGE IN LENGTHY DISCOURSE CONCERNING THE STATE OF AFFAIRS IN FOREIGN
PLACES; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS REGARDING SAILING; & THE MECHANICS OF LIVING ABOARD;
AND THE CONDITIONS OF NATURE, WEATHER, AND THE WORLD WE CURRENTLY LIVE IN.
I PRESENT HERE, IN THIS SPACE, AN OPTIONAL RESOURCE FOR YOUR PERUSAL.
I FULLY ENDORSE WHATEVER I POST HERE, AND WILL BE GLAD TO HOOK YOU UP
WITH THE ORIGINATOR OF ANYTHING I ADVOCATE. CRACKPOTS NEED NOT APPLY!
THIS ELETTER IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY:
David Gordon Wilson, PhD., Emeritus Professor of Engineering at MIT, Inventor, Author, and Activist. (He also rides a bicycle a lot.)
Dave is a really smart guy, and he has come up with an interesting and useable proposal to solve multiple problems in America and the world [isn't that what engineers are suppose to do?].
A website presenting his proposal is at: <http://www.davidgordonwilson.net/index.html>
Or a white paper can be downloaded by right-clicking here:
Also, while I have your attention, British Broadcasting Company World Service has recently ended its broadcasts in short wave to the Caribbean. I have updated my posted schedule of available radio broadcasts for travelers in the North Atlantic Ocean. BBC World Report can still be heard on local AM & FM stations throughout the Caribbean and The Bahamas. The station schedule for 27 Caribbean countries is included in the updated document.
And now, with no further ado, the ELETTER:
So, this is the United States. Definitely not "America", but the United States nonetheless. Definitely a Latin country, as it was held continuously by Spain for hundreds of years, Puerto Rico (PR) was a pivotal island in the tumultuous time following the initial conquistador invasion into the Caribbean. [By the way = this is THE FIRST true Caribbean island visited by Windigo!] PR was well-defended by successful Spanish forts positioned at necessary points along its coast. San Juan has five! Fortí® de San Geró®©o del Boqueró®¦¬t;/a> [Fort Saint Jerome of the Large Entrance]; Castillo de San Cristó¢¡¬ [Fort San Cristó¢¡¬]; Fort San Felipe del Morro [a.k.a. El Castillo San Felipe del Morro, and today as "El Morro"]; Fortí® San Juan de la Cruz [Fort Saint John of the Cross] [a.k.a. "El Cañµ¥¬o"]; and La Fortaleza, [The Fortress] [a.k.a. Palacio de Santa Catalina (Santa Catalina Palace)] which is the current official residence of the Governor of Puerto Rico. The Fortress is the oldest executive mansion in the New World, built between 1533 and 1540. All of these have very interesting stories and are beautifully maintained by the National Park Service (NPS), U.S. Department of the Interior.
The United States received proprietorship of PR in the Treaty of Paris following the Spanish-American war at the turn of the 19th Century. This was also the Treaty that awarded the U.S. Cuba, the Philippines, and other island nations. Let's look at what lands the U.S. has governed outside the 50 states currently held.
The link above does a great job at explaining the islands that are or have been a part of the U.S. I researched these unusual territories and offer this summary:
There are two major groups of insular territories, organized and unorganized, but they are not defined nor described consistently.
Guam (organized under Organic Act of 1950)
Northern Mariana Islands (commonwealth, organized under 1977 Covenant)
Puerto Rico (territory with commonwealth status, organized under terms of Puerto Rico-Federal Relations Act)
U.S. Virgin Islands (organized under Revised Organic Act of 1954)
*American Samoa (officially unorganized, although self-governing with a constitution last revised in 1967 under authority of the U.S. Department of the Interior)
Baker Island, uninhabited
Howland Island, uninhabited
*Jarvis Island, uninhabited
Johnston Atoll, uninhabited
*Kingman Reef, uninhabited
Petrel Islands, uninhabited
Palmyra Atoll (uninhabited, owned by The Nature Conservancy but administered by the Office of Insular Affairs; part of the United States Minor Outlying Islands)
Midway Islands, no indigenous inhabitants, currently included in the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, administered as the Midway Atoll National Monument
Minor Outlying Islands claimed by the U.S. and (an)other nation(s)
Navassa Island, uninhabited (disputed with Haiti)
Wake Atoll consisting of Peale, Wake and Wilkes Islands, no indigenous inhabitants, only contractor personnel (claimed by the Marshall Islands)
Serranilla Bank, uninhabited? (disputed with Colombia)
Bajo Nuevo Bank (disputed with Colombia, Jamaica, AND Honduras = a four-way fight!)
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
Philippines, granted to U.S. through the Treaty of Paris in 1898, achieved independence on July 4th, 1946.
Cuba, granted to U.S. through the Treaty of Paris in 1898, gained formal independence on May 20, 1902.
The freely associated states are these three sovereign states with which the United States had entered into a Compact of Free Association. They have not been within U.S. jurisdiction since they became sovereign; however, many considered them to be dependencies of the United States until each was admitted to the United Nations in the 1990s.
Republic of the Marshall Islands
Federated States of Micronesia
Republic of Palau
I didn't load this section up with a bunch of links, but there a several interesting stories concerning these places. All you have to do is copy a name of an island and paste it into Google or Wikipedia and read about their history and current disposition.
The Political Character Of The Land.
Spain ruled PR consistently for four hundred years, since it first invaded and occupied the island in the final years of the 15th century. Any military conquest was very short-lived and quickly overturned; Only through negotiation and treaty did it permanently change ownership to the US, after the Spanish American war.
In 1946, President Harry Truman appointed Jesus T. Piñ¥²¯ to the Governor's seat. This marked the first time in history that a native Puerto Rican held the highest office on the island.
In 1948, Luis Munoz Marin was elected Governor of PR, serving until January 2, 1965.
He was one of the greatest political leaders in the world of his time, forming the destiny of PR for decades to come.
On July 25, 1952, the Constitution of PR was approved by the United States Congress.
Three times since then, there has been referendum elections in PR to determine the future of PR = statehood, independence, or continued commonwealth status with the US. Right now, the makeup of the House of Representatives of PR pretty much show where the people's choice lie; the referendums invariably end up leaving things status quo, with PR remaining a commonwealth [NOT a Free Associated State, as it would wish to think of itself and calls itself = "Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico"]. It is semi-autonomous, but totally dependant on aid received from the US; this aid equals a per capita amount of federal aid equal to that of actual states.
Breakdown of the House of Representatives of PR by party affiliation:
35.29% = Popular Democratic Party (PPD) = commonwealth
62.75% = New Progressive Party (PNP) = statehood
1.96% = Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) = independence
The governor is Anibal Acevedo Vila, a member of the Popular Democratic Party. He won by a .4% margin. Total voter turnout in the last presidential election = 81.7 %! Compare that with the upcoming November numbers in the US, which will be pitiful.
In the last presidential election, over 50 percent of all eligible Americans over the age of 18 did NOT vote. The 50 states could take a hint from PR: In presidential election years, Election Day is a holiday in PR; non-presidential elections are held on Sundays.
[Congress set-up the commission on electoral reforms in 2000, headed by former presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford. The commission suggested making Election Day a holiday by moving it to Veterans Day.
President Bush ignored this recommendation. It is this ignorance and disrespect of the wishes of the American people & the opinions of the MOST qualified individuals in America that continues to erode the freedom of choice and the practice of "majority rule, minority respect" in America. Another checkmark on my list of reasons NOT to live in the US.]
[Seeing I am on a rant: a recent poll reveals that "Americans" do not wish to conserve fuel, they just want oil companies to dig up more oil. Do they only poll stupid people? Don't "Americans" realize we are sacrificing our young men & women in a battle over the world's dwindling natural resources. Mad Max anyone?]
PR has delegates up for grabs in primary elections, but has no Electoral Votes and Puerto Ricans cannot vote in the general election for president.
They select all their own Governor & local governmental representatives, their own judges, and their [non-voting] member of US Congress.
Through great planning and coordination (it was dumb luck), I was in San Juan for the 2008 Democratic presidential primary elections. The race was close this year, and PR was one of the last elections, so the division of the 55 delegates was important; even though Clinton won PR, Obama received enough votes to get him the nomination. Campaigning is done in a very Latin way here, with loudspeaker towers mounted on trucks in caravan driving every street in town, blasting campaign songs at full volume. Remember campaign songs?
Puerto Ricans have a per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $5,000 less than the poorest state of the Union, Mississippi. It is obvious to 98% of Puerto Ricans that complete independence as a separate country at this time is not feasible.
The populated three islands [the main island, a.k.a. "Borinquen", Culebra & Vieques] measure almost exactly the same area as the entirity of The Bahamas. the main island is roughly rectagular, 110 miles east-west, and 40 miles across. The island is also known as La Isla del Encanto, which is printed on the license plates - sometimes in English.
Vieques had a controversial bombing range for the US Military from WWII until 2003. If I do not get there to take my own photos, here are some good ones.
They are still cleaning up the very dangerous and carcinagenic debris dropped there over the decades.
PR is composed of volcanic and plutonic rocks, overlain by younger sedimentary rocks. The oldest rocks are approximately 190 million years old (Jurassic) and represent part of the oceanic crust.
PR lies at the boundary between the Caribbean and North American plates and is being deformed by the tectonic stresses caused by their interaction.
The Puerto Rican Trench, the largest and deepest trench in the Atlantic, is located about 75 miles (121 km) north of PR next to the at the boundary between the Caribbean and North American plates. It is 1,090 miles (1,750 km) long and about 60 miles (97 km) wide. At its deepest point, named the Milwaukee Deep, it is 27,493 feet (8,380 m) deep.
There are 4,000-foot mountains, and the interior of the island is very undulating. [see Cycling Notes!]
It was in the upper 80's in San Juan during April & May; it is cooler on the middle of the island, but season temperatures only vary 5-10 degrees.
PR has rivers! There are over 50 actual rivers here; this is refreshing after spending a year-and-a-half in places with NO rivers. The 17 lakes are all manmade, presumably resulting from diverting water for irrigation.
One thing that makes PR interesting to me is that it is a real Latin country, and the official language is Spanish. Another very interesting thing is that although I attempt communication in my barely passable Spanish, nearly every single Puerto Rican I have conversed at length with speaks English to me. The statistics say 50% of the population speaks fluent English, but whenever I tried in earnest to speak Spanish, they ALL muster a very respectable English conversation with me. They are very accommodating and friendly (or my Spanish is TERRIBLE!). Not that this in stark contrast to The Bahamas & TCI; it just happens immediately here in PR and there never seems to be an underlying intended benefit for the generous gestures. They are simply nice people.
4 million people live in PR, but there are far more Puerto Ricans and Puerto Rican descendants living in the continental US than in PR. 2 million live in the metro area of San Juan, and the Mayor of San Juan is the second-most important political figure on the island.
Skipping the Mona Passage, we sailed from South Caicos to San Juan. This is normally a three-to-four day excursion, but of course took us FIVE full days, as the forecast called for good NE winds "tomorrow", so I headed NE on the gentle SE wind to get lined up for a quick sail into PR. It took four days for "tomorrow" to come, so we ended up quite far north, but had a great sail the last day into Bahia San Juan.
It was during that last day when Windigo crossed the deepest point in the Atlantic Ocean. Located in the Puerto Rican Trench, it is named Milwaukee Deep because I am from Milwaukee . . . no, no, really it was the name of the US Navy ship that first accurately recorded the depth early in the 20th century.
The program also displays complete information for each ship including size; home port; intended destination; cargo; exact range, bearing, speed, heading, and how much their rudder is turned! Most importantly, it calculates the "closest point of approach", or how much margin we have to avoid a collision at sea! This is all brought to me through a small, inexpensive VHF receiver called an Automatic Identification System. Way better than radar, and very useful in crowded places.
Then I continued alone around to Isla Marina across from Fajardo, the largest sailing town in PR with thousands of boats at slips, moorings and anchorages. I investigated the northeast coast, protected by a reef and several islands, and of course got hit by a five-minute thunderstorm with gale-force winds while traversing the narrowest passage. I anchored at the old Navy pier in Vieques to search [unsuccessfully] for a geocache; and then across to Culebra (although I did not anchor there) before continuing on the St. Thomas and the BVI. The worst thing that happened in the four days of sailing out of San Juan was the failure of the newly repaired clew of the foresail. Another sewing project for the list.
Large iguanas are everywhere, and the barrios are full of dogs, cats, chickens, goats, etc. just as in The Bahamas. I didn't get to spend much time in the wilderness on this trip, but saw countless birds of tropical types, and will investigate the larger indigenous animals on a future visit.
The Canadian Navy was quite active in San Juan during Windigo's stay. First, an Upholder-class submarine came into port; it was rumored that they had severe environment system problems and needed to fix it if they wanted to stay inside for any period of time. (The entire crew was seen topside for at least the last several miles of the trip into the harbor.) The sailors enjoyed a few days in a friendly port.
After the sub was fixed and left, a fleet of three ships arrived and took up positions along the quay next to Windigo. They were three different types of high-tech naval vessels:
HMCS Protecteur (AOR 509), an auxiliary oil replenishment ship:
172 meters long, with a? 21,000hp engine. It displaces 24,700 tons, and can go 20 knots at sea.
This big ship took up the cruise ship dock at Isla Grande.
HMCS Calgary (FFH 335), a multi-role patrol frigate:
134 meters long, with 2 gas turbine high speed 47,500hp engines AND a diesel cruising engine @ 8,800shp. It displaces 4,770 tons, and can go 30 knots at sea.
Two tugs assisted the Calgary to its berthing spot.
HMCS Iroquois (DDH 280), an area air defense destroyer:
130 meters long, with 2 gas turbine high speed 50,000hp engines AND 2 gas turbine cruising engines @ 12,788shp each. It displaces 5,100 tons, and can go 30 knots at sea.
The Iroquois docked right next to Windigo and we could hear all the announcements over the ship's PA system.
Clicking on their names will bring up information pages that will tell you about their myriad capabilities. They each carry aircraft = the destroyer can carry THREE high-tech helicopters! Canadians must feel safe.
Of course, there is a US Navy presence in San Juan, also.
Isla Grande forms one side of the San Antonio Channel, and has an airport used for private, corporate and military aircraft. One of these craft is the Army National Guard's drug patrol copter; painted flat black with no markings, it displays a sinister silhouette in the day or night. Probably only armed with small weapons, the cameras and radar are surely first-class.
I also caught a glimpse of the Earthrace, a biodiesel-fueled boat attempting the fastest circumnavigation of the world by a powerboat. It was delayed during its very first stop along its route in San Juan Harbor waiting for its special fuel; but I dawdled in getting my camera, and when I got around to it -- they were gone! Well, it is a race, after all.
The surfing is quite nice along the north shore of PR, and these guys are commuting to the surf in the very early morning via their boards! It is still over a mile to the first nice surf, and they must have come that far already . . . but they certainly think it is worth it!
I thought of my friend Gil and his driving range back in Milwaukee when I saw this prominent landmark in the Bay. Turns out to be a famous golfing school.
Large luxury yachts also call on San Juan to visit or stay. The owner of this yacht and restaurant started in Clearwater just like us. I bet he made the trip faster than the two years it took Windigo!
The San Antonio Channel is busy, San Juan Bay even busier. Great place to boat-watch and be in the thick of things.
Geocaching and Windigo maintenance were high on the priority list. being on a large island afforded both endeavors to be fruitful. Over 100 geocaches in Puerto Rico, with many within riding distance of San Juan - situated in beautiful parks, along bike trails, and high in the scenic mountains. Very enjoyable.
There was a very special geocaching "event" I attended while in San Juan, the WWFM III-Plaza V Centenario, San Juan, Puerto Rico. This is a simultaneous social gathering of geocachers at many locations around the world. It is considered an virtual cache, so someone is selected the honor of being "First to Find" = it was me! Very nice to meet Puerto Rico's geocache rockstars.
[click on the first link in this paragraph, and then look at all the logs. Click on the links to photos to see what it was like.] As I say in the log, "?Có¯ refresque es eso?"
Old San Juan is on a peninsula at the northernmost part of San Juan and forms one side of the entrance to Bahia San Juan. Some of the cruise ship docks are here, as well as the capitol building and a few of the forts. It is a never-ending stream of activities and interesting people, places and events.
Inside the capitol, the Hall of Presidents contains portraits, statues and busts of tribute to the men and women that have shaped this country. Frescoes cover the ceilings and some walls depicting the early history of visiting conquistadors and more recent political landmarks. The original constitution is on display for tourists, school groups and the patriotic citizens of Puerto Rico. The PR Veterans' Memorial is on the grounds of the capitol, and is beautifully adorned with two large fountains and the monument listing every Puerto Rican soldier who gave his life in defense of America.
Luis Munoz Marin, of course, holds a place of high esteem in the Capitol and in San Juan, having the largest park named for him. The park is beautiful and immaculate, with natural benches carved from native trees; a large amphitheater; a fountain about two blocks long!; And of course, statues and monuments. They really have nice statues here . . . and lots of pigeons!
On the weekends, hundreds of people flock to the parks at the shores of Old San Juan to picnic, relax, sightsee and FLY THEIR KITES. How cool is that? So, after a considerable hiatus, I break out my kiteboard kite and . . . . well after a while I get it launched. The windward shore guides a tremendous amount of wind through here, and I have my hands full staying on the ground. The interesting terrain made for this photo while kiting.
Being here and having access to West Marine, Home Depot, WalMart, and the USPS gave me a chance to affordably catch up on maintenance and projects accumulated over the last year. Windigo is in fine shape now, has a few improvements, and plenty of provisions for future work.
Several "farewell" rides were made with the Moultons before they were shipped off to a new owner in Austria. The roads in PR are superb, and the drivers are INCREDIBLY CONSIDERATE, even through downtown or on the freeway! The mountainous terrain was exhilarating after spending many years in the flatlands of Florida and The Bahamas [Karin preferred the downhill portions]. This is the view of San Juan from a nearby mountaintop nature research facility. The grass roof is a nice touch.
I met Tony Lugo, owner of Ciclo Mundo (Cycling World), one of the best bike shops in PR; but more importantly to me, he is the ultramarathon champion of PR! He holds the record for cycling around the entire island =17 hours. I told him after I get my new bike, we will do it in 16 hours!
Over six-hundred miles were spent on my new "K-Mart Bike", actually purchased at that department store. It is aluminum, and with a few refinements, it is actually rideable, although I doubt it would have any longevity in the conditions on Windigo and under the punishment of KL. It did carry me to a dozen-and-a-half geocaches (some in the barrios in the foothills and rugged mountains of the interior of the island!), a tour of the Barcardi rum distillery, and to WalMart several times. It is only intended to service my cycling needs until the Dream Police Ti is completed and shipped by Wheel&Sprocket in Milwaukee, WI.
Let's take a look at how the corrosion-proof, low maintenance machine is progressing . . .
. . . a list of components so far:
FRAME.................. Carver Bikes
Carver imports hand-built custom frames made in CHINA!
This PDF shows the conception of the frame - I can hardly wait for it to be birthed!:
PAGE 1: my measurements; PAGE 2: computer-aided fit program; PAGE 3: add these special rear dropouts and a concentric bottom bracket for the special rear hub; transfer the exact sizes; allow for custom attachments for componentry and position preferences . . . . PAGE 4: the resulting ACTUAL blueprint for my ACTUAL bike, actually being built in Xi'an, China by Changda Titanium Products Co., LTD.
FORK.................... Rock Shox Reba World Cup
This was a top-tier fork, made at one time for racing; Over-production put it in the "affordable" category.
BRAKES.................. Avid Juicy Ultimate
Disk brakes, like a car, eliminate rim-wear. These are superb, with carbon levers and magnesium calipers.
REAR HUB............... Rohloff Speedhub w/ disc brake mount
The heart of the machine. 14 speeds, WIDE gear range; no freewheel or cassette. Shift while stopped. Oil bath; corrosion-proof. Less complexity, same weight. Symmetry makes rear wheel very strong.
SHIFT CABLES........... Gore Ride On
Special housings and stainless steel cables increase reliability & longevity, reduce maintenance.
FRONT HUB............. Chris King
No maintenance, anodized for greatest corrosion protection, 5-year warranty for longevity. Very strong.
SPOKES.................. DT Swiss Competition (stainless steel)
Strong and reliable.
RIMS..................... Salsa Delgado Race
Also strong and reliable. Focal point of maintenance to prevent corrosion at spoke nipples.
TYRES................... Panaracer T-Serv
Three different sizes in minimal-tread design provides lightweight and high-performance on- and off-road.
BB....................... Phil Wood Titanium
No dissimilar metals here; built by the first innovator and producer of sealed bicycle bearings.
CRANKS................. Eastern 2007 175mm Ti
Again, no dissimilar metals; very strong and light.
HEADSET................ Chris King Titanium
Another frame-mounted part that eliminates dissimilar metals in contact. 10-year warranty for longevity.
STEM.................... Oval R710 Adjustable
Replicates the extremely flexible and adjustable positions of the Moulton Mosquito Bar that I loved.
BAR...................... Titec Enduro Flat XC
Titanium bar from China that is corrosion-proof, strong & light weight.
BARENDS................ Ergon GX2 Carbon
Ergonomic carbon-fiber ends with contoured grips = maximum comfort.
AEROBARS.............. Profile Jammer GT aero bar
For cheating the wind on long, fast rides. Replicates traditional Dream Police modified riding position.
SEATPOST............... MOSSO Titanium
Titanium pillar from China that is strong & light weight; eliminates dissimilar metals in contact.
A nice new design with Ti rails? -and-? a cheap one from my Chinese suppler with a good ergonomic design.
RACK.................... Tubus Cosmo (stainless steel)
Super-strong, heavy-duty design. Good choice for corrosion resistance.
BOLTS/FASTENERS..... All stainless steel
Corrosion resistant hardware throughout.
If you click on the name of the components, there is more information linked there.
Windigo didn't really 'cruise' Puerto Rico this trip, it was a spur-of-the-moment stop that was extended by circumstances and welcome conditions. I hope, someday soon, to return to the islands of PR and enjoy much more of what the harbors offer, and to check out the roads and trails with my new mountain bike.
Here are the places we anchored in Bahia San Juan. You really only need to go into San Antonio Channel and anchor by the San Juan Bay Marina.
Cantano, PR N18o26.605' W066o07.425'
Straight south off the ship channel once you get inside the bay. It is much better protection than the ocean, but a little rough when the wind kicks up (but great for the wind generator!)
Bomberos University (Firemen's School), Isla Grande, PR N18o26.855' W066o05.774'
Although I did get access to land here, it is not recommended = the USCG was real concerned that I crossed government land to check in with Customs & Immigration. I got permission from a firefighter, and the Customs & Immigration guys dealt with it, but somewhere, somebody "complained", and the USCG reacted as they do in the States by kicking us out!
San Antonio Channel, just off the San Juan Bay Marina, Santurce, PR N18o27.535' W066o05.538' & N18o27.593' W066o05.505'
Now this is an anchorage! Reminded me of Davis Island back in Tampa Bay. Transients get close access to land from a protected spot, and the derelict boats stay until they sink. It is actually too calm, and some mosquitoes wander in; and Windigo's bottom and anchor chain got a bit of growth [crusty, but easy to remove-more akin to a small eco-system!] from the rich run-off from land, but the Marina provides a dinghy dock. (Prices vary from free for limited use, to $5/day with shower & laundry. We paid $60 for the six weeks Windigo stayed.)
Lots of ACTION = the whole Canadian Navy stayed alongside during our visit; lots of fishermen go in and out of the marinas early to late; up to five cruise ships berth at the entrance of the channel; the San Juan Bay PILOT boat docks adjacent to the anchorage, so he is in & out every time a big ship transits the Bay; airplanes & helicopters of private, corporate, and military types takeoff and land 24/7 - 300 yards to the south; there is a jet ski rental nearby (Vrrrrrroooom); the main road to Old San Juan is within earshot & the industrial access road to the Isla Grande Airport and commercial docks is right next to the water, and two HUGE speed bumps allow the trucks to create unique voluble noises.
The week before the presidential primary elections saw the campaign trucks drive past every fifteen minutes, playing a rousing Latin version of "OOOH - BHAM - AH . . . !". Hillary was already destined to win the Puerto Rican race, but lose the nomination, so her campaign songs were not as rousing.
It was kinda interesting after the tiny and usually quiet islands of last year, but enough is enough. Free wireless I-net signal from the marina (bathhouse)- SSID:1Centennial BluZone; you must sign-up and get a password, but it is free nonetheless.
Isla Marina, PR N18o20.159' W065o37.291'
Across from Fajardo, the boating capitol of PR. Lots of marinas, sailboats, dive boats, fishing boats, excursion boats, ferries to the other islands, charter boats, etc. Thousands of boats in this medium-small town, and the boating-service specialty shops are more located here and in Ponce, on the southern coast, than in San Juan.
The terrain is more dramatic along this coast, as the mountains are very close to the shore. An unsecured wireless I-net signal emanates from the mainland- SSID: Motorola. Many other stronger signals from resorts and marinas available for a charge.
Mosquito Pier, Isla Vieques, PR N18o08.720' W065o30.870'
A very long earthen pier extends out from the old US Naval station. The west side provides immaculate protection with excellent holding. Lots of activity onshore, as the pier has become a favorite fishing / picnic spot for locals glad to be rid of the Navy and their bombing range.
I made one stop in USVI on the way to the BVI at N18o20.440' W064o58.690' in Brewers Bay, St. Thomas. I picked this spot because I missed all the aircraft in San Juan, and Brewers Bay is in the backside of the runway for Harry S. Truman Airport!
Good I-net access through the Virgin Island University unsecured wireless signal.
In closing, I have a humorous sign to show you -- humorous unless you have a broken YATCH! What PR needs is a PRECISION sign shop . . .
Read about new & interesting countries in upcoming editions of the Windigo Travelogue Catalogue.
See where Windigo has been since Puerto Rico:
(and zoom in when it starts tracking)
[to see Windigo's anchorages from St. Pete to Puerto Rico, Enter the callsign: W3igo]
Where we are right now:
My permanent and EXACT address:
S/V WindigoIII ? PMB 365
88005 Overseas Hwy. #9
Islamorada, FL? 36033-3087
Text-only Email addresses aboard Windigo, checked daily:
Email addresses checked when at a land-based computer
(infrequently, but good for attachments):
And of course, the Windigo Travelogue Catalogue: