"House" on the reef, Culebra
Moving west from the US Virgin Islands, it is an easy day sail to Culebra, the closest of the so called Spanish Virgins.  It is a whole different world, with no cruise ships, no charter boats, no beach discos, and plenty of nice friendly people.  We felt like we were  cruising again rather than being on vacation.  As we entered the large sheltered harbor on Culebra, we passed the reef anchorage called Dakity.  When we anchored here in 1999, navigation was "eyeball" to find the deeper water through the pass and into the anchorage behind the reef.  Now, the DNR has put out free moorings (however we tried one and were not satisfied with the maintenance, so we slept much better on our own anchor) and red and green buoys mark the channel.  One enterprising soul seems to have made a home, with 360 degree sea views, for a song. 

After Culebra we sailed 10 miles to the south to Vieques.  In 1999 it was closed to cruisers because the navy used it for test bombing and local people were protesting after a tragic accident.  Since then, the navy base in Puerto Rico has been closed and Vieques is now mostly a park--very little development and all of that on the west end of the island.  We spent 3 days in Ensenada Honda, and anchorage that is totally protected by mangroves and reefs and is so large it could hold well over 100 yachts.  The most we saw was 3. 

Then came one of those days which unfortunately happen when cruising.  As we sailed 10 miles west to Esperanza, the strong winds ripped a meter long tear in our 14 year old headsail.  That night, as we were rolling miserably in the anchorage, our refrigerator evaporator sprung a fatal leak.  Harry repaired it 2 years ago, but the metal is so thin to improve efficiency that, on a constantly moving boat, its useful life is about 5 years.  We put this one in 7 years ago in New Zealand, so it was time.  Our despair was short however.  The next day we sailed to Salinas, on the south coast of Puerto Rico and found a very large, beautiful protected anchorage with friendly, helpful people ashore.  We took the sail in for repair, got in back in only 2 hours, and the total cost was $45.  We ordered the new evaporator which had to be shipped from South Carolina, and 30 hours later we got the call that it was in the store and when were we coming to pick it up!  Now Harry has been working all day to install it, and right now the lid is going back on the freezer.  We will enjoy our sundowner time today for sure.

Chuck Spratt
3/14/2012 02:56:57 am

We really love the updates and the cruise narratives. Gosh, that water looks beautiful.

5/31/2012 01:14:44 am

will come back shortly

7/12/2012 12:56:12 am

will return before long

9/24/2012 08:45:02 am

I enjoyed reading your article. I think your article is quite good and informative ...


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