Here a box, there a box, everywhere a box box   2 comments

I kept finding myself humming that tune while Lee and I packed our possessions. We employed some of our best problem solving skills to figure out how to get our stuff back to the mainland.


First, there was the question of how exactly to ship everything. I spoke to several international moving companies and the consensus was that our move was too small to be economical for that shipping method. It would have cost at least $2000 for the minimum amount of poundage. After some more research on Lee’s part, the U.S. Postal Service was the obvious solution. Lee found that we could ship some significant-sized boxes parcel post from Puerto Rico, which the Postal Service treats like just another U.S. state as far as rates are concerned. As long as we conformed to some maximum dimensions and kept each box’s weight below 70 pounds we were set.

Next we had to find boxes, not an easy task when you haven’t been collecting them in a garage for years. At least we had a rental car to facilitate our search. We drove to Ponce, explored the loca shopping mall a bit, and then hit up the auto parts store (for oil) and Office Depot to look for boxes. Office Depot had some rather expensive and somewhat small boxes but we left with three of them.

Our most important purchase in Ponce was a dehumidifier from Wal Mart. We want to leave one in the boat while it’s in land storage. Wal Mart was the fourth store we tried for the dehumidifier. Sears had them but they were expensive. K-Mart didn’t have them. Home Depot had them but only on the top shelf on a pallet (One employee there actually let us to the smoke detectors when Lee asked about dehumidifiers. The language barrier wasn’t helping our search).

Back to the boxes. Wal Mart saved the day for those too. We spotted a stack of huge cardboard sheets in a dumpster alongside the store so Lee fished out as many as he could fit in the car. The cardboard sheets were so big he had to fold them several times so they would fit.

Lee and I spent the next several days making, packing, and shipping boxes. We would cram a couple at a time into the car and take them to the Salinas post office. The employees there came to know us as the weird people who kept bringing in huge packages. We brought squares, a long, unruly tube full of windsurfer sails, flat boxes containing bike frames, and some uniquely shaped boxes for the bike wheels. My dad and Peggy are going to get some interesting mail in a couple of weeks.

Getting the boxes off the boat was probably the most challenging part. Lee had to detach the lifelines so he could heave his 70-pound-pushing monster box off the deck and into the dinghy. Thankfully nothing went overboard!

Our second challenge for the week has been surviving the torrential rain. Apparently Salinas is usually dry, sunny, and breezy but we’ve had nothing but wet, stagnant weather since we’ve been here. The rain comes in buckets and traps us wherever we happen to be, whether that’s on the boat or in the bakery using the internet. The weather hasn’t helped our box-building enterprise and I go stir crazy when I’m stuck on the boat with all the hatches closed because of the rain. There isn’t enough air in there!


We made ourselves take a day off on Thursday to drive to the mountains. We took a windy road up into the rainforest to the scenic mountain route that runs from East to West down the center of the island. The forest was beautiful! I have never seen to many exotic plants and so much green! We stopped at a recreation area that I’d read about in a guidebook. According to the book, this area has a swimming pool in the rainforest. We found the trail that led to the pool and set off for a swim. To our disappointment, the pool was empty. It was a huge pool fed by a natural stream but the stream had been diverted around it and leaves were collecting in the pool instead.



We continued down the path, past quite a few picturesque campsites with covered picnic tables, and into the forest. The bird sounds were beautiful and it was a hiking experience unlike any I’ve ever had. Of course, when we were nice and far away from our car it started pouring rain. Thick tree foliage and a picnic table cover gave us some shelter but we got impatient and slopped the rest of the way to the car. We were both soaking wet for the rest of our drive, which included a stop to bug a bag of mangoes and getting lost in the highest town in PR.

After an epic battle with the rain yesterday while we tried frantically to accomplish everything we needed to with the rental car, we are relaxing a bit today. It looks like we’ll leave tomorrow for Vieques, one of the Spanish Virgin Islands off the east end of PR. We are meeting my dad there on Wednesday and he’s sailing with us to St. Martin.

Puerto Rico has been fun but I’m ready to go.

Posted May 21, 2011 by Rachel in Uncategorized

2 responses to Here a box, there a box, everywhere a box box

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