Gilligan’s Island

Yesterday, we visited, believe it or not, Gilligan’s Island! No, not the one from the TV show. That island was a fake one located in a TV studio. In fact, the “lagoon” was drained during the off-season for a parking lot. But, the isle we visited is a “real” Gilligan’s Island. At least, it’s called that by the locals. It’s real name is either Caña Gorda or Cayo Aurora (names change around here). “Cayo Aurora” comes from the name of a woman (Aurora) who escaped from misery and mistreatment on a nearby farm at age 40. She swam to the island and set up a Robinson Crusoe type existence for many years. Later, locals who used the island for pig roasts began calling it Gilligan’s Island after the TV show. It looked like the one on TV, and one of the fisherman resembled Bob Denver, who played Gilligan.

Beatitude at anchor off Gilligan's Island

Beatitude at anchor off Gilligan’s Island

It's nice to see lots of Pelicans again.  There weren't too many in the Bahamas.

It’s nice to see lots of Pelicans again. There weren’t too many in the Bahamas.

Gilligan's Island Lagoon from the dock where we tied up.

Gilligan’s Island Lagoon from the dock where we tied up.

So, mid-morning, we raised our anchor and travelled the 3.8 nautical miles from Guánica Harbor to the well-protected anchorage between Gilligan’s island and the mainland. After a quick lunch, we took Dalí over to the island. Seeing how it was Saturday, the island was quite busy with Puerto Rican families. A boat ran back and forth from the mainland shuttling beach-goers to and fro. The water was beautifully clear, especially for Puerto Rico. And, the lagoon did have that Gilligan’s Island feel. We enjoyed playing in the water for awhile and then returned to Beatitude.

Leaving our anchorage behind.

Leaving our anchorage behind.

Looking out through the entrance to Guánica Harbor.

Looking out through the entrance to Guánica Harbor.

Cindy, enjoying the lagoon

Cindy, enjoying the lagoon

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Before getting too settled, I hopped back in the dinghy while Cindy pulled me around Beatitude with the painter (the line attached to the front of the dinghy) so that I could wash the tannin mustache off our hulls. It was still there from our journey back down the U.S. east coast.

Using "On and Off" to clean the hulls from the tannin stains of the southeastern United States

Using “On and Off” to clean the hulls from the tannin stains of the southeastern United States

Before (right) and after (left).  I'm hoping my labels are superfluous.

Before (right) and after (left). I’m hoping my labels are superfluous.

Taking a dip after cleaning the hulls.

Taking a dip after cleaning the hulls.

This morning we motored out from behind Gilligan’s Island and out through the reef shortly after 6 a.m. It was a quick pleasant passage of seventeen nautical miles to the east in ocean swells of mostly 2-3 feet. Shortly after 9, we tied our lines to our T-head at Ponce Yacht and Fishing Club. We’ll spend a few days in Ponce, tied to the dock. It’s actually cheaper to stay here a full week than to pay for three days, so we’ll not be in too big of a rush to leave. We’ll do some exploring and deal with a few boat issues, if possible.

Sunrise on our passage to Ponce

Sunrise on our passage to Ponce

Bahia de Ponce

Bahia de Ponce

Lines prepared and fenders ready to dock at the Ponce Yacht and Fishing Club

Lines prepared and fenders ready to dock at the Ponce Yacht and Fishing Club

Guánica/Ensenada

Our last sunset in La Parguera

Our last sunset in La Parguera

Yesterday morning at 6:30, we lifted our anchor from the mud in La Parguera. Just as dawn was arriving, we began to zigzag our way through the mangrove islands and reefs to make our way toward Guánica. Two hours fifteen minutes and 12.3 nautical miles later we dropped our anchor in 8 feet of water in the deeply indented harbor. Entering Guánica harbor was striking. The quarter mile-wide entrance resembles a tropical fjord, narrow and bordered on either side by rugged hills. On August 12, 1508, Juan Ponce De Leon entered into this same impressive natural harbor and founded a town he called Guaynía. And then, on July 25, 1898, United States Troops made landfall in this harbor as part of the Spanish-American War. This invasion ultimately led to the acquisition of Puerto Rico by the United States.

Morning passage to Guánica

Morning passage to Guánica

Passing Punta Manglillo

Passing Punta Manglillo

Following in the wake of Ponce De Leon and the U.S. military into the impressive entrance to Guánica Harbor.

Following in the wake of Ponce De Leon and the U.S. military into the impressive entrance to Guánica Harbor.

Inside the harbor, on the way to our anchorage.

Inside the harbor, on the way to our anchorage.

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In the early afternoon, we dinghied over a mile from our anchorage across the harbor to the town of Guánica to explore. A very nice gentlemen who spoke very good English met us as we tied up to a dock. It’s rarely clear whether we are allowed to tie up to a dock in Puerto Rico. This one was in front of a pescadería (fish market). He told us it would be fine and gave us the layout of the town. Guánica, like Boquerón and La Parguera, appears to be a weekend party town. As we walked along the malecón (boardwalk), we were struck by the desolate appearance of the place. We walked about three quarters of a mile down the main street in town (25 de julio) to Caño’s Pizza for lunch before ambling back to Dalí for the quick ride back to Beatitude.

Beatitude at anchor, Ensenada behind

Beatitude at anchor, Ensenada behind

Ponce De Leon

Ponce De Leon

The main street in town, the 25th of July

The main street in town, the 25th of July

The small local hospital

The small local hospital

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Walking the streets of Guánica

Walking the streets of Guánica

Lunch (and a haircut if you need one)

Lunch (and a haircut if you need one)

A house on calle 25 de julio

A house on calle 25 de julio

Stone commemorating the U.S. military landing on this spot in 1898

Stone commemorating the U.S. military landing on this spot in 1898

Fishing boats along the waterfront

Fishing boats along the waterfront

Shortly after arriving back on board, we received a FaceTime call from our son, Jeremy, and his wife, Fran, who live in California. They sent us a text message while we were talking of an ultrasound showing our first grand baby! Cindy and I are going to be grandparents for the first time! How exciting! Our grandchild is due on September 4th. We’ll see how this impacts any of our cruising plans as time goes on.

Our Grandbaby!

Our Grandbaby!

In the evening, we dinghied over to the Bodegas Andreu Solé, a nice, restaurant, vineyard, bar and winery situated on the water in Ensenada (We are actually anchored in Ensenada, which is across the harbor from Guánica). The vineyard was begun in the early 1980s by the Andreu family which had previously owned a vineyard in Valencia, Spain. The evening was wonderful as we sat outside under the stars as a young man provided entertainment on guitar. We sampled the winery’s sangrias and house wine along with the six liqueurs they produce. The menu was tapas style. The chorizo and bean soup and the pimientos stuffed with crab meat were delicious. By the time dinner was through, it was pitch black on the water, but we dinghied back to Beatitude in the dark with no problem.

The sun has set behind Ensenada

The sun has set behind Ensenada

Looking good for our date to Bodega Andreu Solé

Looking good for our date to Bodega Andreu Solé

A look down the dock at the Bodega

A look down the dock at the Bodega

My alias in Puerto Rico

My alias in Puerto Rico

Tapas and wine

Tapas and wine

The evening's entertainment

The evening’s entertainment

Today, we are raising our anchor once again for a very quick jaunt to a small group of islands not far east of Guánica harbor.

La Paguera – Segunda Parte (Pt. 2)

Beatitude at anchor at La Paguera

Beatitude at anchor at La Paguera

Today will be our last day In La Paguera. We’ve basically been relaxing aboard, awaiting a diminishing of the trade winds to move a few miles to our next port. We’ve made a couple of trips into the small village for dinner and some grocery shopping. We’ve been practicing our Spanish with Rosetta Stone (this, for me, has taken the place of reading Shakespeare as my primary daily discipline). We’ve watched a few movies on board (finishing up the four Pirates of the Caribbean movies and both Zorro movies). And, mostly, we’ve enjoyed the beautiful scenery in our anchorage, surrounded by the mangrove islands and reefs on the one side and the mountains of Puerto Rico on the other.

Our setting in La Paguera

Our setting in La Paguera

On one morning, before the trades kicked in for the afternoon, we dinghied over to Cayo Caracoles, a mangrove island protected from the ocean swell by the nearby reefs. The water was warm and clear, and only about three to five feet deep between the island and the mooring ball to which we tied Dalí. It was really quite nice. We were the only ones around except for a gentleman in a small boat at a nearby mangrove island who appeared to be snorkeling and fishing with a fishing net (as in the one you might have on your boat to help bring fish aboard after catching). Because the water was so shallow, Cindy was able to completely relax and enjoy the area as well. It was a different experience snorkeling the edge of the mangroves. There were two or three small barracudas, a few small snapper, and thousands of tiny baitfish traveling together in small schools. Mostly, it was just fun being in the refreshing, pellucid waters inside the reef.

We were surprised that most of the mooring balls were already taken at Cayo Caracoles

We were surprised that most of the mooring balls were already taken at Cayo Caracoles

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Snorkeling toward the mangroves

Snorkeling toward the mangroves

Snorkeling in the mangroves of Cayo Caracoles

Snorkeling in the mangroves of Cayo Caracoles

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DCIM100GOPRO

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DCIM100GOPRO

Small Barracuda by the mangrove roots

Small Barracuda by the mangrove roots

Cindy relaxing in the shallows of the Cayo

Cindy relaxing in the shallows of the Cayo

Getting back into the dinghy after snorkeling can be a bit of a challenge (for some more than others). I had recently seen a YouTube video of a lady with a novel technique for doing so. I thought I’d give it a try. What follows is my first attempt at this new method. It will probably be my go-to technique from now on. 🙂

Returning from our snorkeling expedition

Returning from our snorkeling expedition

We also took a dinghy ride over to Isla Cueva, an island separated from the main island of Puerto Rico by a small mangrove creek. It is apparently home to about 400 rhesus monkeys. We were hoping to catch a glimpse of a few monkeys, but alas, the only monkey to be seen was the one driving the dinghy (according to my wife). We did, however, immensely enjoy the quiet trip up the mangrove creek and back. How beautiful and serene!

Piloting the dinghy up the mangrove creek

Piloting the dinghy up the mangrove creek

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Isla Cueva and her monkeys are to the left, the main isle of Puerto Rico to the right

Isla Cueva and her monkeys are to the left, the main isle of Puerto Rico to the right

Beauty

Beauty

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Green Heron in the mangrove creek

Green Heron in the mangrove creek

Tomorrow morning, we plan to arise early to make a short 13 nautical mile trip further eastward as we continue our way toward the Virgin Islands.

Seaside, over-the-water home in La Paguera

Seaside, over-the-water home in La Paguera

More waterfront (and watersides and water bottom) homes

More waterfront (and watersides and water bottom) homes