Columbus landed here in 1493, on his second trip across the Atlantic, and most of the first settlements in the new world were all here in the middle of the Caribbean. In San Juan, the capital, lives 2 million people, and is one of the top 15 metropolitan cities in the Western Hemisphere. Also in San Juan, you are able to walk through 600 years of history in 7 blocks all in a walled fort in Old San Juan. Definitely on the to-do-list!
We first made landfall at a town called Palmas del Mar, Palms of the Sea. It is a resort town, full of condominiums and golf courses. Rachel and I took a hike around the town and we saw tons of empty condos and after looking at some real estate magazines, the prices seemed really low for such an amazing area. If anyone reading this has a spare few hundred thousand dollars lying around, this looks like a great place to invest. All the ingredients are there: lush green hills, sea, beautiful climate, and super clean neighborhoods.
OK, so we spent one night in the marina, our chart showed an anchorage(free) in the bay, but has been replaced with a marina($$) But, no one was complaining with the first hot showers in I don’t want to say how long, and the kids also spent the day at the pool there and were shocked to discover that not all swimming is in salt water! So they were not so happy when we left the next day.
We scooted around the south side of the 100 mile long island, and after another 30+ miles of sailing, we tucked into some mangroves, finding a pretty calm corner. Our first try was up a narrow river between some mangroves, and coming in after dark, we managed to get stuck on the mud bottom. Engines revving, and going nowhere! So, we dropped the dinghy in the water and with Levi pulling from the front with the 15 horsepower motor, and me revving the main engines on full blast, we slowly unglued ourselves from the muck. Next time, we didn’t try to get too far off into the bushes. ;)
So, we pulled into Salinas, a very calm and crowded bay about 1/3 of the way around the south side, and looks like we’ll use this as a base for exploring inland. We plan to rent a car while we’re here, and do a major provisioning for the Bahamas, also a trip to the capital of Old San Juan, and a huge mall Maggie is really excited about. If we plan it right, we won’t have to shop again until we reach Florida in late April. We’ve heard from our friends on S/V Imagine, who are already in the Bahamas, we do NOT want to be stuck shopping for groceries up there, very expensive and hard to find anything.
See you soon!