Friday, July 3, 2015

What a difference a few months make

We have now been in Puerto Rico for over a year.  While the island is beautiful and there is a lot to do and see here, we never intended to stay this long before continuing down the island chain.  Our earlier posts have detailed problems we were having with our diesel engine and the rebuild.  Our last problem was a new engine head that Perkins was making for us with "delivery 110 days from date of order".  Our payment was processed on December 17th last year.  Early April was the 110 days and it came . . . and went.  We finally were told that Perkins was having casting problems for our order, and several others.  This week we got the following note from the Perkins parts house in Tortola: "Our logistics department just informed us that the Factory confirmed your head would be ready in mid August."  Woo Hoo !!!!!!!  With any luck at all this will be the last hurricane season we will spend in Puerto Rico for a while.  It is nice to know that the best hurricane hole in the entire Caribbean, Bahia de Jobos, is right next door to our current port of Salinas on the South coast of P.R.

We recently spent a couple weeks at an anchorage about 5 miles East of here (an eastern lobe of Bahia de Jobos), mostly to spend some quality time away from the demanding social schedules for shopping, matinee movies, restaurant food, Mexican Train Dominos, etc.  We were actually hoping to make it to Isla Calebra but the weather window we were looking for never opened.  We did get to spend most every day in the water snorkeling around the mangrove creeks.  The water was not nearly as clear as the Bahamas but at least we found a few interesting things to use our Ion Air Pro camera.

Lion fish and Sea Urchin

Tiny lobster feelers sticking out

Lots of starfish

Yet more starfish

Artificial reef?

When we left the U.S. I figured our smart phones would just gather dust in a bin until they rusted away.  Boy, was I ever wrong.  My phone has the Navionics Caribbean charts app, Pocket GRIB, DGS Tides,, and a logbook database app.  For entertainment I have Mahjongg, picture puzzles, Soduku, Shortyz crosswords, card games and the Kindle reader.  Turns out it is a good thing I didn't throw away the old Samsung Galaxy Nexus :)

We keep getting sim cards for one of the phones, Straight Talk w/ATT for here in P.R. and the U.S. with 5GB data and unlimited talk for $45/mo.  Tethering works great to maximize the data usage for both our phones and computers.  We only have to go to the bars for the more heavy downloading. 

While in the U.S. for the birth of our granddaughter, I decided to get the newest Raspberry Pi 2 Model B.  When we got back to the boat I started playing around with it and realized that OpenELEC the little credit card sized computer and our WD My Passport 2TB WiFi drive would replace our home theater PC.  The Pi uses virtually no power and takes no space tucked up as it is behind the TV.  To the basic Pi box I added a case, WiFi USB bud, keyboard bud, the Media Center wireless remote bud, and a USB extender to make easy thumb drive access.  The unit is powered by a USB port on the back of our not-smart-enough TV.  So far everything works perfectly!

Raspberry Pi wrapped in Saran to be tucked behind TV

We have a friend from Saint Petersburg coming in next month and we expect to do some more touring of this beautiful island with her.  So far we have seen the Aricebo radio telescope, San Juan, Ponce, both West Marine stores, and various assorted other places around the island. We have yet to visit the caves, rain forest and the German restaurant in the middle of the island everybody raves about.  Lots to do before end of hurricane season.

Road hog!
Easter with Salinas cruisers
A view of Arecibo radio telescope
Fuerte San Felipe del Morro castle, San Juan
Pasa Fina in Salinas
Lighthouse at Rincon

Food court statue at Ponce Mall

Fire station, Ponce

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