Our push to get to Puerto Del Rey in Fajardo, Puerto Rico, was to get the boat hauled out and have the keels repaired. So our first order of business after securing a slip was to visit the boat yard. There, we promptly learned that you need to schedule with a contractor to do the work before they will schedule the haul out. Makes sense. They provided a list of contractors and recommended two that specialize in catamarans. Now we know we are in cruising territory when we find catamaran specialists. Unfortunately, they were all booked up. We arrived in Fajardo just in time for Holy Week (and Spring Break). Everyone and their brother was having their boat prepared for the holiday and all the contractors were backlogged for two weeks. If we scheduled the work two weeks out, we would need to stay minimum of another week to allow the boat to dry out enough to do the repairs. This would put us even further behind schedule just as we were starting to catch up. Time to change plans.
Dave and I decided the most important work needed now was the electronics. Our VHF radio and AIS are not transmitting or receiving properly. Ted Weyhrauch, our project manager back in Palmetto, replied to an email from Dave suggesting that it was a loose connection. Dave tried to follow the wiring, but didn’t find anything loose. So we tried calling the electronics contactors on the list and failed to secure one for the job. So I ran an online search and found one through Facebook. Oh boy. Who knows what we will get. But he will be available in just a few days and will come to Puerto Del Rey. Score. Now we will only stay long enough for the electrical work before moving on. That set, it’s time to enjoy the island.
We rented a car and expected to receive some tiny Kia or something, but received a pretty nice Nissan Sentra. We had some errands to run, so we drove to Ponce. Dave has had pretty bad luck with sunglasses lately, losing his pair in the Bahamas and my good ones (which he borrowed) in the Dominican Republic. Therefore, I insisted we go to Sports Authority and get the same sunglasses of mine that he lost. He liked them, too, and was game. Luckily, they did have two pair (and on $ale, yay), making me very happy. Then, while we were figuring out our next stop, a bright green iguana descended a tree and walked across the parking lot (pictured top of page). S/he was beautiful and I couldn’t resist a photo op, even though locals looked at me like I was nuts. We stopped for lunch in downtown Ponce before heading to Costco and enjoyed some delicious pizza at Campioni Pizza Birra & Tapas.
While downtown, we walked around and saw some beautiful buildings and some interesting ones, like the Firehouse Museum pictured above. And:
However, as soon as you leave the downtown square, you are just as likely to see buildings in disrepair, under renovation, or nearly as beautiful.
The structure is collapsing on the bottom floor of this building, endangering the buildings around it, as well. Ponce is a funny mix, where I am used to seeing nice areas and run down areas as separate neighborhoods in Los Angeles and New York.
Even with the dilapidated buildings, there are signs that Puerto Rico is no third world country. We saw a policeman on a Segway in the park. I only remember seeing them in airports on Segways back home. Another sign: Costco. Dave and I stopped and marked quite a bit off our grocery list. Next stop, Walmart, where Dave chickened out and waited in the car while I fought for my life for things like pudding mix and condiments. Properly traumatized from the two worst shopping stops people can make (any Costco or Walmart, not just Ponce), we called the day quits and returned to the boat.