THE MYSTERIOUS DUI

We are heading to Vieques to experience the bioluminescent bay. It takes us the whole day to sail over to the anchorage and we have not caught any fish yet! We are getting ready to bring in the fishing poles, when we hear the beautiful sound of the line reeling out and Matt yells “FISH ON”, we caught an African Pompano. Once we got anchored, which took a few tries as it did not want to hold, Alisa and I made a print of the fish and dare I say it was the best one yet!!! 

As it got dark we headed off in the dinghy to check out the bay. I see the bioluminescence in the water when we sail at night, I can see them when I am flushing the toilet at night, BUT this was different. You are not allowed to use your engine so as Matt and I paddled our dinghy deeper into the bay, the oar would appear as a blue torch when you would dip it into the water. I have never seen it so dense as it was in this bay. Incredible to put your hand in the water and see this light glowing off your skin. At one point Alisa just couldn’t take the excitement and stripped down to her underwear and jumped in the water to experience it. It was very cool to watch as it looked like a glowing angel swimming through the water. If we were a little braver it would have been awesome to swim under the water with your mask and snorkel.

The next day we continued on our way not having the best of luck sailing and needing to stop sooner than we had hoped. We stopped at a small town on a Tuesday and learned that nothing is ever open in PR on a Monday or Tuesday, no wifi, no cocktails, no fun! I entertained myself by playing with all the local dogs who decided it would be best to come home with me and made that clear by swimming out to follow the dinghy when I left. We continued along the south coast and made it to a small marina that offered wifi, car rental, and a walk to a grocery store. We considered renting a car to visit El Yunque but timing was limited and cost seemed high. We moved on and made it to a cool hip bar called Gilligan Island and ate some amazing empandillas before heading over to the fancy resort for a drink.

Sailing so much so quickly can be stressful for everyone on board. But sometimes it works out and you get a little gift. One of the days a pod of dolphins came swimming along side Kokoi and gave us a few minutes of fun! We also managed to reel in the first Mahi of the trip with Asa and Alisa, now they really have completed their fishing adventures. We finally made it Puerto Real, a comfortable anchorage next to a marina that offers wifi, showers, car rentals, and a large Walmart within a short driving distance.

Matt working at the marina once we finally got some wifi. The stress on that face…

We didn’t have the poles out but we saw this guy swimming and just as we set them he hooked it!

It just so happens that we are arriving in Puerto Real just before Semana Santa (Easter), and all the cars are booked. We waste time trying to get a car and eventually hire a local to drive us to the mall so we can get groceries at Walmart, go to Office Depot and just generally stretch our legs. Matt and I do a huge grocery run as we are trying to provision as much as is possible before getting to the Bahamas where everything cost more than you have in your wallet to spend. We spend a total of $60.00 to hire Jose to drive us around doing our errands. Jose is very kind, friendly man that has retired from his lifestyle in the U.S. and come to live a simple life in Puerto Rico. In fact, Jose decided that he is going to let us use his car tomorrow for the day, for only $50.00. Wonderful!! The next day we go from beach to beach surfing with a break to eat pig roast on the side of the road. Alisa and I even get to join in the fun when we steal the guys surf boards and try our hand at crashing and falling in the water for a bit.

We decide to check out a waterfall we THINK we MIGHT be able to find using the map.  Of course we seem to be lost and confused as we drive along, but the view is gorgeous and I tell Alisa that the scenery is similar to what it looks like driving through El Yunque. The car is breathing heavily as we push it to go up the mountain and unfortunately it hits something on the road and the tire goes flat. DAMN. Please tell us Jose has a spare tire in the trunk. Our silent prayers were answered and Alisa jumped into action. I told her to sit back and relax and let the guys do it, which was/is my plan, but she is happy to do it herself. When I first got my car, that was the first thing my Dad had me do, learn how to change my tire myself. I had to jump up and down on the wrench to get off the lug nuts. Since then I have gotten a flat tire about 5 times and not once have I needed to change it. I am all about being an independent woman and taking care of myself but I will gladly accept my door being opened for me, my chair being pulled out, and any gentleman that wants to stop and change my tire for me.

I don’t want to get locked in so better keep the door open
I started talking with the owner of this car and he insisted I get inside for a photo

It is getting late and we wonder out loud if we should call Jose to tell him our status, but we don’t have phones and Asa says it will be fine. When we get back to the marina, Jose is waiting for us and has been worried that something happened. Now we feel awful we didn’t make more of an effort to call. Of course, he was worried it is almost 9:00pm and has been dark for two hours. We buy him a beer and make a plan to get the tire fixed the next day. As we are sitting there talking Matt taps the guy on the shoulder sitting next to us and asks him “Is your name Tapio” A little confused he responds “YEAAAA??”. Then a huge reunion starts as Matt explains that they use to live together in Cuba and Tapio recognizes him and they reminisce and tell us stories about how crazy the other one is. Tapio is on a boat delivery with an old friend of his and they seem to be a shit show put together, especially when we go have a drink on their boat and listen to the crazy adventures they just had in the DR, one of which involved trying to bring a Russian “lady” they just met to Puerto Rico with them.

The next day we only managed to use the car to do some errands. One of the more important and eventful of those is checking out of the country. We wait an hour until it is our turn and hand over the documents we filled out. We wait another fifteen minutes before the custom officer comes over and tells Matt that he has an open case pending. He asked Matt what the situation was with his DUI. This crazy thing happens to your body when someone approaches you with information like this, your stomach drops, your heart starts racing and you wonder if they are right. Your mind starts scanning through files in your brain that do not exist. Did I have a DUI unknowingly? Could I have murdered someone without knowing it? What is going on?!!?

Matt is clearly upset and the panic is in his voice as the volume starts to climb higher and higher and Matt asks the custom officer if this is some kind of joke. At that question the officer’s demeanor changes from bad guy to good guy and he defends his position and tries to calm Matt down. Matt hands over his social security number and his Louisiana drivers license. The man has us wait another fifteen minutes while he is running some background check and brings us a print out of the open ticket. He says that we have nothing to worry about, that we are clear through customs, and the ticket is overall meaningless. He does not know what the ticket was for and was just fishing when he said the DUI comment. Matt did not calm down and was still yelling about calling his lawyer when we left the office. We did a few more errands and were done around 4:00pm when Asa suggested we drive up to Rincon to look for surf. Matt asked him if he was joking and explained that it was too late, we promised the car back to Jose before dark, and we needed to get ready to sail tomorrow morning.

And so it was our time in the U.S. and we were glad to be on our way back to Samana Marina in the DR.

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