S/V Koinonia Weekly Sailing Log - Exploring PR & Boat Project Woes (Wed Jun 21 - Tue Jun 27, 2023)
Highlights this week - tropical storm Bret passes us by; riding horses around the tropical rainforest at the base of El Yonque; Ruta de Lechón in Guavate; a fun day with friend's at their coffee farm, Havienda El Limón; working through woes with our new windlass.
Wed Jun 21 - kids do school; TS Bret looks like with will not become a hurricane, at least not in the Eastern Caribbean. Thankful for answered prayers! Booked a car for the weekend to travel and explore the interior of Puerto Rico; told the girls they would have Friday off from school and they were thrilled! Ben did some consulting work. Got an Uber ride to Walmart for more provisions. Dinner was roast chicken from Walmart with biscuits and steamed broccoli with a homemade cheddar cheese sauce. Sense and Sensibility for the family movie - the girls enjoyed seeing Alan Rickman play the part of a good guy.
Thu Jun 22 - Amber and kids do school; Ben spent most of the day wrapping up his consulting project. Amber caught up all the laundry. For dinner, Ben made seared ahi tuna steaks with a lime, jalapeño, cilantro, soy sauce vinaigrette with authentic Puerto Rican rice and beans. Didn't get a pic because it disappeared!
Fri Jun 23 - ran a number of errands including going to the butcher shop, El Tablajero, to order meat to restock our freezer before heading further south; good prices and very high quality (beef is from the US). This shop is located in one of the nicest neighborhoods in Ponce. Went shopping at Marshall’s to replace the pillows in the saloon and settee. Went to Ace hardware but only found a few of the items we need. Went to King's Cream, which sells Puerto Rican style ice cream that is a lot like sorbet (most famous ice cream shop in Ponce and maybe in all of Puerto Rico). Cleaned up the boat and hosted our new friends, Jochie and Ani Becerra, for drinks, snacks, and a little entertainment, courtesy of Aliza, before they attended a party to celebrate Noche de San Juan (Night of St. John the Baptist). At midnight, the tradition is to jump in the water backward, as though being baptized, up to 12 times to “rid life off negativity.”
Sat Jun 24 - picked up about 40lbs of meat we ordered from the butcher’s shop, which cost $257 US (including tax), filled the rental car with gas, then picked up our packages from the marina office, including our new windlass. Everyone got ready for an afternoon of horseback riding and driving around the base of the rainforest at El Yonque. Each of the girls got to ride their own horse, including Aliza. About midway through our ride, we got to experience a brief rain shower, which made Amber very happy (she loves the rain). After the ride, we treated ourselves to some piña coladas and frozen lemonades for the kids, then drove to the infamous Ruta de Lechón in Guavate, off Hwy 184. In route, we saw a triple rainbow (see photo at the top). The food and dessert at Mojitos was good, but it would have been better had we gone at lunch when the whole roasted pork was coming right off the fire. When we got home, Ben dry fit the new windlass and everyone got showers.
Sun Jun 25 - made a lemon cake and a Puerto Rican inspired pasta salad to take to our friend Jochie’s mountain farm, Havienda El Limón, for a taste of Puerto Rican farm life and a laid back BBQ picnic. Jochie and his wife grow coffee and plantains commercially and have their own coffee label that is sold in stores in PR. It was a beautiful drive up a narrow winding road into the mountains. Everything was green and lush; mangos by the millions hung from trees along the roadside. When we got to the farm, we learned Jochie also grows avacado, mango, Mandarin oranges, papaya, almonds, breadfruit, tomatoes, peppers, pumpkins, and various herbs like cilantro and oregano. To the girls delight, they also had several horses and goats (even some baby goats). The property is 700 acres of mountain and valley that has been owned by their family over 150 years. Tropical plant life, birds, etc. we’re everywhere. We toured around the farm learning about the machinery used to remove the husks and dry the green coffee beans before slow roasting. After the tour we enjoyed a lovely BBQ with ribs, beans and rice, tostones from plantains cut right of the tree, etc. Then it rained and we sat around listening to the rain on the palms and the tin roof. It was very serene. As we said our goodbyes, Amber developed a bad migraine. Ben and the girls made sandwiches for dinner (we were all still pretty full from the BBQ); we tried to let Amber rest.
Mon Jun 26 - returned the rental car while Amber and the kids did school. Came back and wired up the new windlass, but it doesn’t work...Gah!!! Contacted Lewmar and after explaining all the troubleshooting steps I had taken, they deduced that the problem must be a faulty solenoid, so they are shipping us a new one. Decided to channel frustrations into completing unrelated projects: installed a fire port for the engine room (finding from the survey) and reinstalled the repaired mainsail. Amber made homemade chili and hotdogs with cheese for dinner.
Tue Jun 27 - Amber and kids do school. Continued working on windlass troubleshooting with support from Lewmar and also our good friend and sailing mentor, Don of “Cat’s Meow.” After a bit of back and forth, Lewmar is now sending us two solenoids and a complementary manual recovery kit, which hopefully will get our new windlass working again ASAP. Installed insulation on positive battery terminals for the house bank. Jochie called this afternoon and graciously offered to let us borrow one of his cars while we remain in Ponce, which is greatly appreciated. Amber made chicken and dumplings for dinner.