Our first few days in Puerto Rico were marvellous. We were anchored in Puerto Real harbour and enjoyed several days of catching up on our rest after the Mona Passage. Although our journey from Luperon wasn’t difficult, it was long. Four days of overnight travel with only a couple of short rest stops to catch our breath. We were ready to decompress and hang out with our friends on Indigo Lady, Bitty Rose and Caretta. A few days later our friends on Bye Felicia also anchored in Puerto Real. It made Ocean very happy to be reunited with her little friend Rex.
By the weekend, we were all rested up and ready to get moving again. Wild Horses, Caretta and Indigo Lady all weighed anchor and headed south along the coast of Puerto Rico. We were only a pod of three this time as Bitty Rose had left two days before us and Bye Felicia needed to stay to fix their autopilot (it broke down at the beginning of their Mona Passage journey – yeesh!). Just an hour and a half into our journey, we rounded the southwest corner of Puerto Rico, where the Mona Passage and the Caribbean Sea meet. It was a beautiful moment for all three boats – we were finally in the Caribbean Sea! We congratulated each other over the VHF radio, excited to have met a big milestone in our journey. This is one of the perks of buddy boating. Yes, you are there for each other through planning and boat issues but, truly, the best part of buddy boating is sharing the happy moments. This kind of community has a bigger than life impact out here on the water. The bond becomes tight fast!
The south coast of Puerto Rico isn’t long, just 170 kilometres, and it is littered with beautiful anchorages. This means that we can make progress along the coast in short morning hops (2 to 4 hours) when the eastern trade winds are lightest. The view from each anchorage is stunning – sandy or rocky shorelines with either a small village or tiny local housing scattered about. There are tall mountains in the distance and we can watch the waves breaking out in the Caribbean Sea. Since we have our pup Ocean, we always take a few trips to shore which gives us a chance to hike a trail or wander about town, meeting local people and learning about the area. Our days are blissful mixes of exploring, chatting with friends, daily tasks (laundry never goes away!) and relaxing in the cockpit watching the sun disappear over the horizon.
Now we are currently in Ponce, which is an industrial-looking anchorage almost halfway along the south coast. Ponce was once a very happening stop for cruise ships, with a beautiful boardwalk and quaint shops and restaurants. Three hurricanes (Irma and Maria in 2017, Fiona in 2022) and one earthquake (2020) later, it is battered and bruised. The once bustling boardwalk is now fenced in and desolate. The parking lot is empty. Damaged structures, light posts and statues lay ruined. It isn’t the prettiest area these days but Ponce isn’t giving up. The city has plans in the works to bring this area back to its former glory. Hopefully, one day, we will return to see it alive and beautiful! 😊
Next for us is to head to Salinas, an active cruising anchorage where we will be able to rent a car and explore more of the interior of Puerto Rico. With the big city of San Juan just a few hours away, it is also a great place to use as a base to re-provision for our trip further south. Our plan is to stay at least a week in Salinas and then to start our journey to the USVI by early May.
Click the button below to find out where Wild Horses is currently anchored.
Victoria is a hiker, dog-lover, blog writer and planner extraordinaire. Oh, yeah and she is kind of fond of living on a boat.