Friday, December 07, 2007
We're in Culebra
Salinas to Viequez to Culebra
Our last morning in Salinas we all gathered at Cruisers Galley for breakfast and internet. Cruisers love finding FREE internet!
We left at day break on Wednesday. We planned to go 40 miles to Viequez - one of the Spanish Virgin Islands. It was a long haul considering the 15 to 20 miles we’ve come accustom to. It would also be Mismo’s first sail. Oh Boy!
Well it started out fine. Seas were calm early in the morning as expected. As we headed more east toward the eastern part of Puerto Rico the seas and wind and storm showers picked up. We had a rolly ride for most of the 10 hour sail that day. Mismo did her best and came up on deck to play a bit between her poops and throw up. It was a rough ride for the first time. Even with that she did come to find the time to take care of the important things.
Once we were anchored at Green Beach, Viequez Mismo was feisty again and ready to rumble - which means she wants to bite your toes. So she did. What's with that tail?
This anchorage was spectacular. We were traveling with 3 other boats (Tiama, Bellagio, and High States) and we and one other boat were the only ones there. We all took a mooring ball since they were available and helped us from anchoring on coral and sea grass.
After a bumpy ride this calm anchorage was very welcome and we enjoyed every minute of it. Scott immediately dove in with his fins and snorkel to check out the prop. It seemed like we should have gone faster than the 4.5 knots we were averaging. The water was crystal clear and to our surprise the prop was also very clean. We just had the prop and bottom cleaned by Moondancer a few days before we left Salinas and he did a good job because it still held. Not sure why we were sailing so slow. Except that we don’t point to windward for schiezta. We decided not to worry about that too much. Instead we swam around the boat in our dog paddle side stroke fashion and marveled at how clean the water was. So nice to be in caribbean water where you can see the bottom 15 feet down.
After our swim we opened a bottle of white wine and toasted our sail and arrival in the Spanish Virgin Islands. ‘Look where we are now.’ Scott was going to make tuna casserole in the pressure cooker (a wonderful cooking invention that we are just now discovering how to use - thanks Kay and Gary for the insightful gift). Instead we held off on a full meal and just snacked with our wine on cheese and crackers and watched the sun set. Lovely. Later once the mosquitos disappeared (they seem to be busy at sunrise and sunset then go away) we stood at the bow looking at the stars. Spectacular since at this island there were no bright lights to block out any celestial light. I looked down at the water and noticed that stars were reflected below as well. But wait. What was that? Oh my, it’s lightning bugs in the water! Yep - those bioluminescent jobbers were a glowing down below. Just like lightening bugs. What fun.
Scott set the alarm clock for 3 am since we planned to set sail at 0400. We could see Orion through our hatch opening. All was well until about midnight when we heard a power boat enter our anchorage. I got up to see him shine a bright light on each of our boats. There were no lights on the power boat but it had the distinct shape of a police boat. They tend to have a tall bar above the helm. Hmmm....... What’s this about? After several minutes the police boat’s motor turned off and he just sat there. Hmmmm.... I went back to bed waiting and expecting a knock on the hull and officers announcing they were boarding our boat. But nothing. About 3 am when we were getting up, their motor started up again and they were gone. Homeland Security at work - I’m guessing.
Thursday - Green Beach, Viequez to Culebra (click to see map)
We decided to go to Culebra instead of Isla Palominoes this day. The trade winds are supposed to crank up to 25+ knots tonight and then stay there for several days. Culebra looks like the better anchorage for that with more to do and see if we are pinned down for awhile. So, up at 0300 and off the mooring ball at 0400. I don’t want any more mid day trade wind sails! Of course Culebra was bearing dead up wind. What else is new! We motor and main again along the coast of Viequez and did ok. When we started to lose the protection we were getting from that island we tack to the north and headed for Culebra. About 10 miles out I could see three other islands way off in the distance to the east. Checking the charts those can only be St. Thomas, St. John and Tortola! Everything is really close now. What fun.
There is a big bay running east west in Culebra with many anchorable smaller bays off of it. We sailed to the far west end to be near town and the wifi signal by which we are posting this. Nice to have wifi on the boat again for awhile. We’ll be here perhaps a week and then we’d like to go back (yes!) and explore Viequez some more and then back up to Isla Palominoes. We’d really like to explore this little island group rather than just pass through. That little trip should actually offer something other than beating to windward too!