Salinas and Ponce Puerto Rico

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We have spent a few days in the Salinas harbor as we waited out the East trade winds to calm down a bit from 20-25 knots to 8-12 knots. During our stop here, on anchor, we all were able to complete boat chores, oil and fuel filters and cleaning and laundry. Along with these common cruising tasks, we  rent a car/van, and drive into Ponce to explore this historic town. Ponce is a 30 minute drive west of Salinas. Salinas is a fantastic harbor and there are several live-aboard sailors living on the hook in this harbor. It is well protected and very safe. Van Sant recommend this harbor to do a refit because you have access to supplies and good boat mechanics. As we have said before, Puerto Rico is really very interesting with a fun mix of third world scenes mixed in with American franchises and products. Add in a full spectrum of roads and highways to drive, ranging from dirt roads with massive pot holes and goats and chickens to four lane highways with automated toll booths, making Puerto Rico very interesting!

But first we had to sail or, should I say motor sail, EAST from our last anchorage of Isla Caja de Muertos. When pushing east into the trade winds you have to get up early and motor sail directly into the calm winds. By 1000 to 1100 hours the trades rebuild and you should pull into a harbor and stop. The other option is to move at night when the trade winds are much calmer due to the heated island and the winds that now flow down off the islands blocking the trades. We motor into this using our staysail and 2700 rpms on the engine doing 6.5 knots. This is the view looking into the sun heading east…the sun glare can be fierce. This is called “up-wind and up-sun.”

Once we arrived in Salinas, we worked our way into the harbor around many anchored and moored yachts and we found a very nice open area at the head of the harbor. The winds were forecast to blow East at 20-25 knots and here we never felt more than 12-15 knots. This is a recommended hurricane hole with mangroves around the east side. During storms, the yachts are moved into the mangroves and tied into the trees. Here is our boat on anchor with our west facing shade cloth tied into the rigging. The sun is soooooo hot and intense at 1400 to 1700, the shades helps block the sun.

On our trip to Ponce the team, which we now nicknamed “Team Six Knots” or “Team Six Knuts” decided to find the office for the massive wind farm that is between Salinas and Ponce. Sure enough, we did find it and the manager offered us a tour of the office and the wind turbine. This was so interesting. These wind turbines are massive and when you stand under one that is spinning and whipping the blades around you realize just how powerful these machines are. Each turbine is a 2.3 MW and they have 44 turbines installed. The site is rated at 101 MW capacity and it will pay for itself in 8-10 years! Each turbine, we were told, can power 1,000 homes. The 5,500 acre site is all farm land that is leased back to farmers by the Puerto Rico Land Authority. Here are some photos from our tour of the Santa Isabel Wind Farm.

Thank you to Rueben, Santa Isalbel Manager, on the right, for our fascinating tour!

We then drove into the historical center of Ponce, where we toured the Catholic Church, the bright red and black Fire Department Museum, Ponce Museum and the Fine Art Museum. The church is Our Lady of Guadeloupe Cathedral where noon mass was being conducted after we took this photo.

After a fine lunch at Chef’s Creations and a nice break, we hit the road and drove back to Salinas passing Sheep, Horses, Goats, Dogs, Chickens and Roosters on the city streets….

Then back at our very nice marina and harbor we enjoyed the pool and the shaded decks where we all talked about our next leg of moving into the USVI and eventually the BVIs…

For now, we will enjoy one more day here in Salinas and then we will take the calm trade winds and power 50 nm to the end of Puerto Rico. Here is the chart of the Salinas Harbor, you can see why this harbor is a hurricane hole!

Now, finally, after all our pushing south and east we will soon arrive in the USVI and then move into the BVIs. Take a look at our last routes here!

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