Puerto Real, Puerto Rico
18 04.3N 67 11.5W
Not the greatest start to our time in Puerto Rico, we arrived here in company with L'Aventura, yesterday after a short and pleasant sail down from Mayaguez, and managed to work our way in through the gap in the shoals to anchor in the well protected bay off Puerto Real.
We got in at 3pm, and went ashore for a walk round meeting lots of friendly locals all interested in who we were, which boat we were off, how many of us there were on board etc etc. They all helpfully gave us directions to some restaurants on the edge of town, but finally we decided on sundowners on the boats instead.
When we got back to Matsu we discovered that one of the many "helpful" locals had been on board our boat in our absence and stolen our lap top! All this despite it being broad daylight and having to hang his own boat off the back of ours in a small harbour in full view of the shore while doing it, amazingly none of the other "helpful" locals noticed him doing this!
We put it down to experience (a bad one) and went to bed early as we were still exhausted from the trip across from the Turks and Caicos. I woke with a start at midnight when there was a big thud and the boat shook, I knew straight way what it was, either the same or other "Bandidos" had come back and had cut the harness we use to lift the dinghy out of the water at night. I rushed out of the back companionway shouting profanities and they sped away, leaving our locked dinghy still partially suspended by the harness and us rather shocked at their audacity.
We were a little unsure then what to do, after 9 hours in Puerto Real we had been robbed twice, but it was the middle of the night and there was no way we could get back out over the shoals in the dark so we had to stay put. The next thought was that having had the cheek to rob us in broad daylight and then try to steal a dinghy suspended 6ft in the air while we were on board, whether they may come back a 3rd time, possibly armed and just force their way onto the boat.
We rang the police who were unable to send a boat as it was busy on a training exercise, so we were left on our own. Our solution in conjunction with L'Aventura was to stay up all night in the cockpit with a bright spot light, our flare gun and a machete at the ready should they choose to return! Not the most relaxing night for us, or the many fishing boats that we shone our spot light on as they went out to fish, finally dawn arrived and we relaxed slightly.
We upped anchor after a brief visit from the police to take our report and then moved round to Boqueron, a lovely anchorage with another 15-20 cruising boats there for company and security and a less creepy population of locals! If anything even more tired than we had been when arriving in Mayaguez after the long passage!
Any other cruisers reading this, miss Puerto Real and go straight to Boqueron, at the moment this is not a safe place to anchor, with some strange locals!