One of the coolest parts of being a traveling vagabond is all of the new and interesting people we meet along the way. What’s even cooler is the instant connection we forge with other cruisers because we live a similar lifestyle. Just like in land life, there are always people that we just naturally click with more than others. We take special care to keep in touch and follow their journey, exchanging messages and oogling at their updates on social media.
Chances are though, after spending time together, it’ll be a very long time until we see these people again. As the ‘cruising lifestyle’ suggests, we all go our separate ways and keep moving on. It’s always a little sad to say goodbye, but we all know that we’ll eventually meet again later down the line.
We had the good luck of running into one of those special people as we were making our way west to Puerto Rico. Like you know, we’ve been bee-lining it to the States since we hit the French islands back in November. After our little stint exploring the BVIs, we hopped through the US Virgins and were preparing ourselves for a long, four day passage straight to Luperón, DR. There was a northeaster brewing on the horizon however, so our original plan to sail the north of PR got derailed and we opted to go south along it’s shores to get protection from the wind instead. Not only would this change our route, but it would shorten our passage. We could make shorter, less harrowing jumps along the south instead of one giant leap. As you can imagine, I was thrilled. I hate long passages with a passion. I HATE THEM.
With the change of our sail plan, we happily discovered that we would serendipitously be crossing paths with our friend, Jono, who we’d met a year earlier in George Town, Exumas. He was on his way to Salinas, PR to take stock of his old boat, Miss Adventure, who’d weathered the wrath of Maria. We’d coincidentally be at the same port to rest while we were crossing paths.
Even though we were changing our route, we knew we’d still be exposed to the big, northern swell for the first 1/2 of our trip as we sailed the stretch of water between Culebra and Puerto Rico. We prepared ourselves, but as usual, were surprised at how rough it actually was.
With the winds from the nor’easter whipping up the seas, we rolled back and forth for the first 12 hours. It was awful. Our auto pilot crapped out because it couldn’t adjust the helm fast enough as we surfed down waves and rolled hard to either side. We had to hand steer the entire time.
I was actively cursing at Dave every time I had to take the helm, especially when it got dark. Our butts were getting grated like cheese on the non-skid of the cockpit while we were actively bracing ourselves. I was MAD.
On the upside (I can’t believe I’m saying this) we were averaging six knots, which is fast for us. Ultimately, we shaved some time off the trip (so I guess in the end it was worth it), but I’d rather be comfortable and move slow than be miserable and speedy. Thankfully, as we rounded the southeast corner of PR, the seas leveled out and we were more comfortable for the remainder of our trip.
After all was said and done, we finally landed in Boquerón the next day and rested up. The following morning we went around the corner to Puerto Real where our friend Jono would be joining us. In the anchorage we had flat, calm water and a gentle breeze. After our long and bumpy ride, it was phenomenal.
Our reunion was a great one. We got a tour of Jono’s new boat, Horizon, which had us drooling over all of her space and storage. We also met Jono’s crew -his uncle Doug, a very interesting fellow from Mexico.
The next day Jono and Doug came over to Alli Oop with a giant plate of Puerto Rican goodness. Beef, rice, yucca, beans, peppers,onions and more. It fed Dave and I for about two days. That night, we gathered on Alli Oop for some late evening sundowners. We swapped sailing stories and got some well needed coaching for our sail across the Mona Passage.
We said our goodbyes and went our separate ways. The next day Jono and Doug headed east to Salinas and we left in the early morning hours to continue on to Luperón. Although our reunion was short, it was sweet. After not seeing a familiar face for many watery miles, these guys were the breathe of warm, fresh, friendly air we needed to rejuvenate us for our trip ahead.