Saturday, April 23, 2016

Good Times In Puerto Rico

Enjoying good times at Cabo Rojo - Puerto Rico
We love Puerto Rico. It is an island so rich in nature and wildlife, it’s hard not to like. Couple that with catching up with new cruising friends and hanging out with old cruising friends we have not seen in 11, yes that’s 11 years – since our days in Venezuela, and it’s been good times.
Having a beer and good times catching up with Jan and Terrry
Jan (him) and Terry (her) were on the same dock as us in Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela for the hurricane season of 2005. And we have not seen them since. 
Vixen ii - on the dock at La Parguera, PR
They have swapped their sailboat for a motor boat and are living off the dock in a teeny weeny, little (party) town called La Parguera on the southwest corner of Puerto Rico. We had not been there before but could see that it has recently undergone lots of modernisation and looking very smart with a viewing platform in the square to see out across the bay with little bars and restaurants. 
La Parguera, Puerto Rico
The area is fringed with shallow reefs and mangrove islands. We weaved our way in as close as we could to our friends and had a blast catching up out with them. We partied on their dock along with a couple of other new cruiser buddies we had met earlier in the Bahamas. 

Not only did we get to hang out in their great (and often hilarious) company, they took us for a little sightseeing the following day to the SW corner of Puerto Rico past all the gorgeous countryside, past the pink salt flats to the Cabo Rojo lighthouse. Known as ‘El Faro’, it’s the second lighthouse ever built by the Spanish in Puerto Rico and is over 100 years old. It is still working to this day.

'El Faro' - The lighthouse at Cabo Rojo - Puertoo Rico.
This area is gorgoues with all its contrasting colours.

In the same part is one of the most photographed spots in Puerto Rico, El Punte Natural - The stone bridge. The area is spectacular with reddish brown cliffs giving a dramatic view of the blue Caribbean Sea. Totally stunning – we loved it there.Only I was brave (or stupid) enough to cross the narrow and thin bridge for a photo.
El Punte Natural - The natural bridge 
Dramatic clifftops at Cabo Rojo
We were having unusually calm weather so felt we should be continuing on our journey along the south coast – so much easier when the winds were down. We said goodbye to our friends and pressed on. Next stop Gilligan’s Island – this is not the first time we have stopped here but it is the first time with our kayaks. We had lots of fun kayaking around the mangrove islands and through the narrow mangrove channels. At the weekend it’s a bit of a party spot and all the locals are bought across by a ferry to BBQ and frolic in the shaded lagoons. 
Its party time at the weekend in Gilligans Island.
We moved on to Coffin Island, a little island about six miles off shore with another lighthouse. It is a state park with paths and trails to the lighthouse through scrubby bush. We didn’t climb the lighthouse this time. Instead hung out for a lovely afternoon in the water with the cruising peeps we had met in the Bahamas; Lauren and Brian from Nightingales Tune and Alison and Bo from Saleh. Lauren is a bit of a chef and whipped up some delicious conch fritters from a catch earlier in the day. A yum and a fun day.
Fun at Coffin Island
With the good weather we continued on to Salinas – where we are now.  A familiar spot to us and a well protected bay to hangout for awhile. There is not much going on here – a marina, some manatees – a long walk to the supermarket and a couple of bars within spitting distance. We have pottered on with a few things and are now thinking of moving on. In the mean time the whole ‘Southbound’ group that we travelled along the Dominican Republic with have pulled in so we are in good company.
Our anchorage in Salinas

Dolpins on the way to La Parguera.
Manatees in Salinas.
Iguanas in La Parguera
Sights of Salinas...including a long walk to the supermarket.
A good night at Sal Pa Dentro Bar - just outside the marina gates.

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