It’s not easy! Sailing from Puerto Rico to the Virgin Islands

/It’s not easy! Sailing from Puerto Rico to the Virgin Islands

It’s not easy! Sailing from Puerto Rico to the Virgin Islands

In this episode, Nick and Kelly finally leave Salinas, Puerto Rico. They set sail for the British Virgin Islands to meet their friends. Jeff and Adrienne own a catamaran and invited the Satori crew to sail with them for a week. Oh, the Cat life!

Watch this video to see:

  • Satori Leaves Salinas to sail Southeast Puerto Rico
  • Satori has engine trouble, engine trouble, and more engine trouble
  • Sailing to the Virgin Islands
  • Meeting our friends in the BVI’s at Jost Van Dyke

 

Full Episode

The Full Story

With only a couple of months left in the sailing season, it was time for us to leave Puerto Rico. We had a date with our friends Jeff and Adrienne. They have their catamaran in the Moorings charter and invited us to sail with them in the British Virgin Islands for a week. Since we hadn’t seen them for almost a year, we were excited to spend time with them and experience sailing on a cat!

photo of Nick Kelly and Adrianne on a Catamaran in the BVI

Nick Kelly and Adrianne on a Catamaran in the BVI

First attempt leaving Salinas

After our trip to Old San Juan, we waited in Salinas for a weather window. This time of year, the weather seemed to be particularly awful, at least for sailing East. We attempted to leave Salinas one evening. There were thunderstorms on the North side of Puerto Rico, but the Southside was clear on the radar. The trip started great! About 2 hours in, we hit a storm. The storm moved quickly, so we decided to keep pushing forward. Then a few minutes later, there was another storm. We checked the radar, and the Southside still looked clear. The storms kept coming and were getting scary. Who wants to sail with gusts of up to 40 knots!

Seasick dog on rough night passage

Arthur got seasick on our first attempt to leave Salinas on a squally night.

The radar must have been wiped out during Hurricane Maria. That would make sense. Poor Arthur threw up from being seasick. At that point, we decided to call it and turn around. The great thing about turning around meant we would be going downwind. It was a nice ride back to Salinas, and we were flying! Arthur was traumatized from this run. It would be months from that point until he would become somewhat comfortable sailing again.

The second attempt leaving Salinas

As we returned to Salinas, we felt sad and stuck. This always seems to happen when you are trying to meet friends. The weather Gods were not in our favor. After about a week, we saw another possible weather window. Valhalla was on the same page as us, so we left together. Since time was precious at this point, we decided to make big jumps with the idea that we would see the islands we were passing on the way back to Luperon.

sargassum seaweed floating in the ocean

Sargassum seaweed near Puerto Rico

Our first sail was from Salinas to Los Palominos. (a small island off the East coast of Puerto Rico) We left around midnight and arrived in Los Palominos around 3:00 pm the next day. This part of our trip was exhausting. Our Yanmar engine was giving us trouble. The first issue was the Sargassum seaweed. The seaweed was getting stuck in the thru-hull and causing our engine to overheat. We had to stop and put her into reverse so the seaweed would come out. This happened so many times that too much seaweed got in and clogged our seacock. Nick had to (while we were underway) open the seacock and unclog it. It is scary because when you do that, water comes gushing into the boat. That’s never a good feeling. However, Nick’s attempt was a success, and we were back in business.

sargassum seaweed in a bucket after removed from engine strainer

Sargassum seaweed we removed from the engine sea strainer.

Engine Issues!

The second engine issue came up shortly after the first issue was solved. The engine kept getting fuel starved and would die. Nick tried a few things, but she just kept dying. Finally, for a temporary fix, he rigged one of our diesel jerry cans straight to the fuel pump. This worked! That meant there was a clog in the fuel line somewhere. It’s almost impossible to find while underway. This temporary fix was working so we left it.

jerry can set in sailboat bathtub as emergency fuel tank

Using the jerry can as an emergency fuel tank.

As soon as we turned the corner and headed north, we were able to sail. The three of us were so happy to get a break from the engine nonsense and be able to ride with just the sound of the water. Even though it was only for two hours, it was pure heaven. It makes it worth all the trouble you go through. At that moment, you feel completely at peace.

Satori sailing north along Puerto Rico's east coast

Satori sailing north along Puerto Rico’s east coast

Isle Palominos, Puerto Rico

When we arrived at Isle Palominos, we grabbed a mooring ball. Even though the trip was exhausting, we went to the beach for a swim and to let Arthur stretch his puppy legs. Arthur loves the beach more than anything; it’s his happy place. We were pleasantly surprised at how clear the water was. There were a handful of smaller powerboats filled with loud music and happy Puerto Ricans. We chatted with a few people, swam, ran with Arthur, then headed back to Satori. I made dinner while Nick worked on the engine.

isla palominos, puerto rico - sailing satori

Satori on a free mooring at Isla Palominos, Puerto Rico

St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands

While working on the engine, Nick was able to get satori back up and running. What the exact problem was is still a mystery. After disassembling the fuel lines and inspecting the fuel pump, everything just worked once put back together and we were good to go for our next leg of the trip. We were headed to St. Thomas from Los Palominos. We left at first light and arrived around 4:00 pm. This leg was uneventful, which is always a treat. The engine did not give us trouble, and the weather conditions were decent.

Brewers Bay Anchorage, St. Thomas, USVI - Sailing Satori

Brewers Bay Anchorage, St. Thomas, USVI

Once we arrived, it was time to take Arthur for his evening exercise. After that, we made dinner and hit the hay early. We were trying desperately to meet our friends, so that meant another early run the following day. This part of the trip was shorter. We were going over to St. John which is the next island. We arrived at our mooring ball by late morning. The weather was getting nasty again but luckily sailing in the Virgin Islands is well protected.

St. John, US Virgin Islands

Our friends Ryan and Sheena on “Seas Life” happened to be in St. John. We got off the boat and toured the island with them via car. We checked out a few of the bays and had Mexican food for dinner. Most of St. John is a national park, so the beaches are pristine and full of sea life. There are turtles everywhere! Cruz Bay is a charming little town with cute shops and restaurants/bars.

girls walking on beach in St. John USVI - Sailing Satori

Kelly and Sheena (SV Seas Life) walking on beach in St. John, USVI

Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands

The following day would conclude our journey. We had a short 5-mile sail to Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands. This is where our friends Jeff and Adrienne met us with their catamaran. Since it was a short ride, we left late in the morning and arrived early in the afternoon. We decided to anchor for the five days we would leave Satori because mooring balls are pricey in the BVI’s. It’s $30.00 per night. That adds up quick! We were able to find a great spot to anchor, and we felt good about leaving Satori there.

That evening, we went to Foxy’s. It’s a popular bar/restaurant that always brings in the party crowd. A few drinks and dances later, we went back to Satori where we would spend the night before jumping on our friends Cat the next morning. Arthur was beyond excited to have so much space for the next five days. He’s trying to talk us into upgrading Satori. 🙂

Related Links

Previous Episode – Old San Juan: Why you need to visit this beautiful historic city
Suggested Post – Boat Tour – 1989 Morgan 44 Center Cockpit (Sailing Satori)

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If Nick had a Street name it would be “Ziptie”! 😂⛵️🤪 #zipties #boatwork #sailingsatori

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Notice anything in Nick’s shirt? 😜👑🐶 #kingarthur #sailingsatori

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Song Credits

Intro Song – Carribean Cuisine 4 – Magnus Ringblom

Ending Song – Figure It Out – Daniel Gunnarsson

Download these songs for free at Epidemic Sound

Video Transcription

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By |2019-05-13T12:18:40+00:00May 13th, 2019|Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands|0 Comments

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