Where is YOLO?

...Off to the Sea for Adventure

...Off to the Sea for Adventure

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A HUGE entry to cover LOTS of miles, LOTS of places, and LOTS of guests!

Whilst anchored in Salinas we had the chance to leave our boat in a safe place for an exploration of the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico.  The feeling of this place was very much more American than the D.R. and our friends on Eclipse invited us to travel to San Juan in the minivan they rented.  Their friend Adrian and our friend Amy both had to fly home and our 5am departure got them to the San Juan airport on time.  The kids all wanted McDonald’s for breakfast and our first order of business after the airport was a search of epic proportions that Geoff wrote about on Eclipse’s blog (www.huffordfamily.com).  Finally we made it to Old San Juan, a part of town built by the Spanish and enclosed in a 2 mile long wall and protected by 2 forts.  The view from the top of the fort was spectacular as was the walk around the old town.  There were beautiful open pastures, parks, narrow streets, and great restaurants that made it feel like Spain.  By the time we made it back to Salinas we were all exhausted and went to sleep. 

Salinas was a great time because we were surrounded by all of our buddy boaters.  Eclipse, Eventide, and Hejira were anchored so close together we could yell to each other.  After we got our jibsail sewn up by the local sail loft Pete invited us aboard Hejira for a night sail.  The Yellow trimaran was anchored only 1 mile outside the bay and we wanted to make the flotilla complete.  Local Puerto Ricans had their boats rafted up alongside the yellow trimaran with salsa music blasting and everyone swimming in the night.  It was an exciting local party but we felt a little out of place so we found a nice beach out of the way and Chris started a bonfire for us.  It got late so we sailed back to YOLO at about 2am and I went straight to the Airport to meet my lovely girlfriend who came all the way from India and landed at 5am. 

After a night with no sleep I was just as tired as she was from her travels so the next day we spent sleeping and beaching.  I still had the car and Miles convinced us with promises of free ice cream to take him to the grocery store so he could buy supplies for his ice cream delivery business.  He put the ice cream in a cooler and drove the dinghy around the harbor selling cones for a dollar to all the cruisers sitting in the hot sun.  He made a profit and got some ice cream for himself so Myles was a happy 12 year old.  Titli had made plans with Michelle on Eclipse to make some Indian food for Lances 27th birthday.  We brought it over and she surprised him with a birthday cake!  Another great meal of aloo gobi, and chicken curry and the great chocolate cake for dessert. 

The sail to Palmas Del Mar was quite rough and of course into the wind.  We motored most of the way because we had yet another guest to meet in San Jaun (Gina, our friend from college).  Chris had heard good things about the marina in Palmas and we were all ready for a pool and hot shower.  The marina was great, and thank god it was adjacent to the nicest beach we found in Puerto Rico, because the pool was closed.  Lance rented a car to meet Gina at the airport, so we thought it would be the perfect day to check out El Yunque national park.  The park has 2 entrances that have roads and trails to fresh waterfalls and an actual rainforest.  The problem started when we entered the park on the wrong side.  We arrived at a waterfall and Lance realized he was out of time and had to leave for the airport.  There was an old Puerto Rican that spoke no English but we thought he said we could hike up the waterfalls to the other entrance in 45 minutes.  I convinced Titls and Chris that we could hike over to the other side and Lance would meet us over there after he picked up Gina at the airport.  Before we knew it he was on his way down the hill and we started hiking up the trail which ended about 100 yards away!  I went back and used my best Spanish to ask the same muchacho where the trail was.  He said to just climb the waterfalls (cascada) and rocks and it would be 45 minuto.  So off we went climbing steep cliffs with our bare feet because it was too slippery for sandals or shoes.  We were having a blast for the first hour.  The falls were cool and refreshing and the view was great so we kept going.  Eventually when the scenery never changed we started to worry.  Chris went ahead to find any signs of civilization, because Titls’s feet were starting to hurt on the sharp rocks and we couldn’t keep a good pace.  By the time we saw Chris again on his way back down it had been 2.5 hours and we had seen no trails, or any signs of humans, definitely not the parking lot we were supposed to be meeting Lance at.  It was decision time, there were 2 hours of daylight left and we had no light.  These falls would be a deathtrap at night so we decided to go back from whence we came.  If we hurried and we were lucky we could get back before dark hopefully without injuries.  I was worried we wouldn’t make it because my cute little lady was hurting and made the going slow.  When she saw that I was prepared to camp overnight in the rainforest using whatever was in my backpack, she realized how important it was and through the pain we traversed down these falls twice as fast as on the way up.  We got to the bottom as the last bit of twilight slipped away and were able to send Lance a text telling him to meet us where he left us.  He arrived with Gina but there was no way to describe what we had just been through except that we needed a feast.  On the way back to Salinas we found a Chili’s where we devoured a meal that was especially appreciated by the hiking crew. 

With so many visitors on YOLO space was getting a bit tight.  For several days we had Chris, Titls, Gina, Lance and I all living and sleeping aboard our 30 foot vessel.  So many old friends onboard made for an excellent time.  We all spent a relaxing day at the awesome beach near our marina, played a rousing game of ultimate Frisbee, and Justin from the yellow trimaran climbed some palm trees for coconuts.  That night we met a woman named Angie, she lives on a boat in the marina that just so happened to be our dream boat!  Lance and I had seen it earlier that day, a vagabond 58!  There was a Vagabond 47 at Pikes Bay marina and we always talked about it as our future boat, they really are pretty.  Anyway, Angie came to our potluck aboard YOLO, and brought an excellent salad, we had over 11 people in our little vessel for dinner.  Afterward she invited us aboard the vagabond and we got to see exactly what boat envy feels like.

Next stop for YOLO, Eclipse, Hejira, and Eventide was the Spanish Virgin islands.  We sailed to Vieques, where we found an anchorage surrounded by another beautiful beach.  It was only a 20 minute walk to the town of Esperanza and a 20 minute walk the other direction to the bioluminescent bay.  This bay has the most bioluminescent water in the world, so after dark we all hiked over to it for a swim/kayak.  We had seen these microorganisms glowing in the water before but never like this.  As you got further from shore it got more intense, every splash is like a firework exploding tiny bits of light in all directions.  We started in a kayak and eventually Titls and I were just swimming in the glowing water splashing it at each other.  Vieques is a beautiful island so we spent several days there swimming, walking, meeting people and getting delicious food at the local establishments. 

Chris's vacation was already coming to an end.  We wanted to get to San Juan a day before they left, so we could go back to Old San Juan.  We took an early morning ferry back to Puerto Rico and checked into a hotel call the Coqui and had a great sushi dinner in Old town.  It was sad to see both of them go.  When I got back to Vieques Lance and Gina were aboard Eclipse so Geoff came to pick me up in his dinghy.  We had to say goodbye to the Huffords because they were heading back to Puerto Rico to get a wind generator installed, and we were heading further into the Virgin Islands.

All the boats in our flotilla went their own directions and we said goodbye knowing it wouldn’t be long before we met up again.  YOLO sailed to Culebrita instead of the main island of Culebra in search of natural jacuzzi’s in the rocks.  They were recommended to us, but we were a bit disappointed to find only small tidal pool that didn’t seem to resemble jacuzzi’s at all.  The sailing in these islands is absolutely phenomenal, being able to see your next destination is nice, and it’s a change for us.  We had a nice sail to St. Thomas where we anchored at Charlotte Amelie and did indeed meet Eventide and Hejira again. 

St. Thomas is a cruise ship destination that is crowded with tourist shops and bars.  We strolled the streets and said goodbye to Gina who had to fly out.  Aaron, Jared, and Sally from Eventide plan on staying on St. Thomas to work for the summer, so we explored more of the island with them and took the taxi to Redhook on the eastern tip of the island.  From there we could see St. John’s, we had to get there for a reggae concert the next day.  The protected waters between St. Thomas and St. John’s are perfect sailing waters, calm protected seas with steady wind. 

St. John’s is mostly national park, the town is in Cruz Bay and that is where the concert was.  Eventide found jobs and decided to take a cruise with us before they had to start the working life again.  We tied to some mooring balls in the national park did some snorkeling and fishing.  Aaron had more luck than any of us so the friendly crew of eventide invited us over for dinner.  Sally made us some fish curry and we brought over some rice and cheap Puerto Rican vino.  We all talked about our excitement and how happy we were to finally be in the Virgin Islands, it felt like the culmination of our whole trip.  The next morning we sailed to Tortola so we could check into BVI customs.  Our goal for the day was to go to the Soggy Dollar bar and have one of their famous “painkillers.” A short but exhilarating sail brought us to Jost Van Dyke and the Soggy Dollar bar.  The place was all we had dreamed it would be and we had a stellar night together.

Virgin Gorda was only a few hours away and we had a reason to get there.  The famous Michael Wolter was supposed to be there on a break from his career entertaining hundred of people on a cruise ship.  We stayed at the marina and sure enough in the morning we saw an enormous cruise ship in port and at about 10am Michael was brought to shore in one of the lifeboats.  He was accompanied by a buff Italian engine-guy and three nice british girls who were also part of the entertainment on the ship.  We took them all for a short daysail to “The Baths” which are giant boulders on the beach and are known as the coolest thing in the BVI.  It was an overall fun day.

Currently I’m sitting at a restaurant on Saba Rock located just across from the bitter end in Virgin Gorda.  The BVI is renowned as some of the best sailing in the world and we have made it here from Lake Superior, now it’s time to leave the boat for awhile and go back to work.

Saying goodbye to Amy O at the airport in San Juan
Taking a snooze at the fort in San Juan. It was an early morning for all of us to get to the airport on time!
Some of the crew from YOLO and Eclipse exploring the fort.
Geoff and Michelle
Crazy cemetery by the sea
The YOLO bros
Captain Warrington's other ship

Some of the "We Don't Neaux" crew aboard YOLO for festivities in Salinas
Sometimes dance parties happen on yolo. and andy looses his pants
Couldn't resist miss Sally. I forgot what she was trying to do here. (Aboard s/v Hejira on our way to the out island party)
Ellie and I aboard Hejira sorting through something... not sure
Peter, Me, and Drew trying to figure out what we just got ourselves into at the island party.
The boats were rafted about 25 deep and music was blasting. All a big surprise to us when we arrived.
an impromptu beach bonfire with the Yellow Trimaran, Hejira (and guests), Eventide, and YOLO.
Justin being Justin.
t/t Hejira, t/t YOLO, t/t Eventide
Showing Jared the ropes on YOLO
Jared was nice enough to help Andy restring his guitar.
The feast of feasts aboard YOLO. (Jared, Sally, Aaron, Lance, Tits, Andy, Chris)
Titli's wonderful indian cuisine aboard Eclipse!
After dinner rough housing
Michelle baked me a birthday cake! and Jerome decorated it! Love Eclipse!
Receiving absolutely wrong directions from a local, which led to Andy, Tits, and Chris's misadventures in the rainforest.
Justin was so proud of himself cuz he found these "sweet" white pants at a thrift store... little did he know that these were maternity pants. Nor did he even know what maternity pants were. He still rocked them.
New boat buddy Anjie. She had our dream boat... Aboard her Vagabond 47. 
We reciprocated and invited her aboard YOLO. She promised a trade, straight up...
The perfect little family. Ashore in Esperanza, Vieques
Dinghying at a fantastic rate. This always happens with our 3hp johnson.
Amy O's last night out
I'd follow this explorer anywhere. In some caves on Isla Caja de Muertos (coffin island)
Chris trusting the vines/roots to finagle his way out of the caves.
Atop the hill at Coffin Island at the lighthouse building
Ellie struttin her stuff.
Mr and Mrs Lovers. 
On our way to some kind of mis adventures... little did they know what was in store.
Chris and Titls posing before the waterfall. Before they scaled it
And now scaling it.
Birthday dinner in Fajardo, PR! Thanks for dinner andy/chris!
Gina still in shock over my manly quantity of facial hair
Justin doing what he does best. The coconut man.
Gina and I in a standard "Get Jealous" photo
Enjoying the view from inside a delapodated light house on Isla Culebrita
These Eventide guys are just trouble...
Sally rocking it hard in the galley of Eventide fixing the YOLO boys up some super good dinner!
Eventide hot on our trail headed to Jost Van Dyke BVI. 
No caption needed
We met up with another Red Wing friend, Mike Walters. He came bearing gifts in the form of three pretty British girls. Nicole, Georgia, and Victoria
Trying to model. Here we are in "The Baths" on Virgin Gorda BVI.
Mike getting aquatic
Our next saling vessel. These things are everywhere now that we're in the BVI!

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