It’s been, again, a while since the last time I updated this journal. I had a couple of busy months since my return to Beirut after the summer. Work took me to Ryad, Frankfurt, Washington DC, Algiers, and Peru where I spent my 50th birthday (and was robbed). Christmas and New Year’s Eve I was in Ecuador with the family. From there I came to Salinas where I have been since last Saturday.
The first few days time went by provisioning and preparing Antares with help from my friend Julio and Joe, an entrepreneurial and hard working young Puerto Rican who lives with his mother not far from the marina. Richard also came for a few days thinking we would set sail but the wind didn’t cooperate; he is back in DC. One more reason I am still here is that I shipped a new outboard for the dingy from Jacksonville, Florida that was supposed to arrive last Friday to San Juan but didn’t. If I don’t get it before I depart it’s going to be a nightmare to ship it to another island. So here I am waiting for the outboard and a change in wind direction, whichever comes first.
We installed a new radar. It’s a wireless Raymarine Quantum. It connects via Wifi to a multi-function display (MFD) of the same brand – a 7” Axiom. We used the old wiring and the old mounts for both the radar and the MFD (see pics). The view of the MFD is from the navigation table.
Other than that, the most demanding job was setting the sails again. The big genoa needed stitches so I first decided to use the 110% jib and repair the sail at the next stop. But the jib was surprisingly small and it wouldn’t roll properly. Since I was delayed, I tried to find a sailmaker in the vicinity. I found one in Ponce who did the job overnight. Joe’s mother drove me there. The genoa is back in the forestay, maybe for her last season. Running the reefing lines and lazy jacks for the main sail also took several tries because of the breeze. They are now properly set.
Otherwise, I haven’t done much; some work, some reading, a couple of long walks, cooking, soirées with friends. I’ve slept a lot, I guess recovering from the time in Ecuador. Salinas is a small, sleepy, town that doesn’t offer much. It requires local knowledge to visit and enjoy. It used to be one of the poorest towns in Puerto Rico but things are better now. Two famous people come from here: Miss Universe 2006, Zuleyka Rivera and the former World Boxing Association Welterweight champion of the world, Angel Espada. There are good shopping facilities, a few restaurants and bars — albeit with similar menus –, and a couple of nice beaches. I like it much more than Ponce, the larger and wealthier neighbor. The last earthquake and subsequent tremors are not helping though. People are concerned and fewer go out, which is not good for an economy that relies mainly on services. Further west, many have fled their houses and are living in camps.
My plan is to depart on Wednesday. There is a low forming south of Bermuda that is sucking the trades. Winds might start blowing from the south, a nice angle to sail north east. If I get the outboard I will try to make it to St. Martin. If I don’t, I will have to stop in St. Thomas to get it there. And that would be a waste of a very nice weather window…