Updated: May 15
Yesterday afternoon I had a chat with Lourdes’ husband who runs the kayak business. He was an American with a Nordic Scandinavian appearance that would stand out in any crowd in Puerto Rico, but he spoke fluent Spanish. He’d lived here for over twenty years. “I won’t lie to you; I never liked the cold winters up in Minnesota. I was born there, but I wasn’t born to be there. I came here once on a summer vacation and decided that the next time I came I would not be leaving. Life has a different pace here, it’s much more peaceful.”
“When you go out on your kayak tomorrow, be a little careful when you pass the mouth of the Añasco river just south of here. When the fisherman clean the fish there, they will throw the scales back in the water and the sharks go absolutely livid. Don’t fall in the water there.”
In the morning, the sea was flat like a mirror. The West coast of Puerto Rico is in the shadow of the trade winds which get held up in the central mountains. However, yesterday’s afternoon noon downpour seems to be an almost daily occurrence. Around 1:00pm I noticed very heavy clouds gathering over the land marching steadily towards me. I checked the forecast on my phone, and it showed an amoeba blob of orange and red just East of Mayaguez soon to be on top of me. I decided to quicken the southward pace hoping that the storm would miss me.
I stopped at a small island for a rest where I met with two snorkelers who had swum in from the Mainland. They pointed out to me the beach where they’d come from and that not far from the road was a supermarket. Although I still had food and water for a few more days, I decided to stop for supplies. I found the one thing I like to eat but was missing thus far on this journey; canned ravioli and meatball pasta from Chef Boyardee. To me it’s one of those adventure foods I would never eat at home as it’s really boring food, but after days of eating nothing but canned tuna, cold pasta with generous amounts of powdered cheese was a welcomed variety on the menu.
From North to South, Puerto Rico is only about forty miles. In the late afternoon I reached Boqueron bay which is the last bay before rounding the South West corner. Up to now the journey has been the easy stretch. With the wind in my back, I’ve covered one third of the whole distance around the island in less than a fifth of the time I’ve given myself. Tomorrow however, the tough part into the wind begins. On the last two miles today I got a taste of what’s to come. Gusts whipped up short pounding waves that made forward progress almost impossible. I gave up on the intended campsite on the beach at the back of the bay as I would have had to paddle directly into the wind to get there; instead, I decided to cross the bay by going due South taking on the winds from the side. I saw a stretch of sand with a couple of boats anchored nearby and some swimmers. It seemed good enough to camp for the night.
Sea Kayak Puerto Rico Circumnavigation