Posted by: August Sandberg | 12/02/2013

Puerto muy Rico

2 The Camuy Cavernas

We limped in to San Juan, Puerto Rico, to a new world. After months in the third world, we were walking amongst skyscrapers and malls in an american metropol. Our first trip was, as always, to customs and immigration. They received us quite coldly, and fined us 2340 dollars for arriving without visas. Apparently, the online Visa Waiver program does not work if you arrive the US in a private boat, and it seemed like we would have to live of oatmeal and salt water for the next months. When we suggested to leave the country instead, they were quite ready to arrest us.

Luckily, we had called the office the day before, wich had assured us that we would not get in trouble. Armed with this argument, we took on the US Department of Homeland Security, and after a day of arguing, begging and praying, they stamped our passports for free and sent us on our way. We celebrated with a night out where everything seemed very cheap.

1We had to clean out the entire cockpit locker in order to make the chubby mechanic reach the rudder quadrant

The next day we said goodbye to Morten. The four weeks he shared with us was far to short, but thanks to his bottomless enthusiasm and positive energy, they were filled with adventure from the first day to the last.  To ease the pain of his departure, we set of to mend our broken steering. We feared that the wire connecting the rudder to the wheel had snapped, but luckily, it was not that bad. The strands in the end of the wire had parted, and thus slipping trough the wire clamp connecting the wire to the rudder chain. After a few hours, the steering system was mended, and the very next day FedEx brough us some brand new, original parts for it, replacing some of our less successful improvisations.

But soon, we were ready for more adventure. We rented a car, and set of to see some of Puerto Rico’s attractions. First on the list was the Camuy Caverns, the third-largest cave system in the world. Sixteen entranced have been found and 11 kilometers of passages explored so far. The caves were huge, beautiful and filled with amazing rock formations that made Vegard, the ship’s geologist, drool in sheer delight.

4The original caribbean fountain of youth

3Underground awesomeness

After we reemerged from the underworld, we went on to see the Arecibo Observatory, the world’s largest single-aperture telescope. The radar disc is 300 meters across, and 150 meters over it hangs 900 ton reciever-unit, supported by three massive concrete towers.  It has been part of countless important scientific discoveries, and was also the location for the climax of the James bond movie Golden Eye. 

7The Arecibo Observatory

6900 tons of spacetech

5Two tall Vikings, dwarfed by the worlds largest radio telescope

Being in America, we also decided to find a gun range where we could blow some steam. Unfortunately, Puerto Rico has some very sensible laws regarding the use of guns. We did not get to do any shooting at the gun range, but something a lot better; we made some very good friends. Alberto, and the one and only Andrew Alvarez, a major TV and radio celebrity in Puerto Rico. We spent the next days with them, and they took us around the entire island, showing us some wonderful places and teached us lots about their country.

8A merry gathering. From the left; Vegard, August, Alberto, Anna, Anette, (Alberto’s wife) Denise (Andrew’s wife) and Andrew himself 

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