S/V Delilah

A Blog to track the wanderings of the S/V Delilah, a 37-foot Tayana sailboat.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Back in Our Mother Country

Alternate Title: Mona Shmona

Sunday, March 19
Boqueron, PR
N 18 degrees, 01.41 minutes
W 067 degrees, 10.69 minutes

We have a bottle of champagne saved for this anchorage. I wish we had two, as we deserve them both, though we will probably fall asleep before we finish a glass. Plus there is the minor step of our needing to check in with Customs and Immigration first. It's probably best to do that before we start drinking.

So what's so significant about Puerto Rico? Lots of things.

For one, we are in American territory again, so all the phone calls, bills, financial issues, boat needs, mail, and so on can be taken of here with less hassle and for less money.

But more significant is that PR is tough to get to from the east. Not only do you have to tack or motor straight into the prevailing winds and current, you have to cross this narrow but deep strip of ocean water that runs between the DR and the PR--the Mona Passage. The waves pile up here, and they get particularly steep around a massive shoal that extends out into the Passage from the DR. Then there are countercurrents, eddies, rips, thunderstorms, and what have you. Cruisers speak in hushed tones about this body of water, and one couple we know who made the crossing once before considered doing a five-day offshore just to avoid traveling this stretch again.

Needless to say, Dean and I were nervous, and we have been anticipating that this would be one of the most trying crossings in a series of trying crossings on what they call The Thorny Path to the Caribbean.

After our failed attempt at leaving Luperon on Tuesday, we bided our time until a great, big weather window opened up, and we ran for it. Instead of making short hops with the night lee along the coast of the DR, we took advantage of light winds and calmish seas and made a beeline for the southern Puerto Rican coast. We left Friday at two in the afternoon, and we dropped anchor at three o'clock today, 49 hours later.

We had nearly flat seas and some good wind, but even when it was not on the nose we kept the engine going, wringing every knot we could from Delilah so we would be sure to arrive before our window slammed shut. We are tired, smelly, and hungry, but we are also very, very happy to be here, and we are now wondering what all the fuss is about this Mona Passage.

Dean here. 48 hours really takes it out of you. I got no more than 1 consecutive hour of sleep at any time over the past two days. That makes me cranky. Jill sure is swell to put up with it all!

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