Sailing in the Spanish Virgin Islands, Part 1 – Culebra

When our friend Joyce invited us to sail with her and boyfriend Jeff on his boat in the Spanish Virgin Islands, we didn’t deliberate very long.  We chartered there with friends 2 years ago so we were already aware of the beautiful sailing and uncrowded beaches.

Jeff has a year old Lagoon 45 catamaran in the Sail Caribe charter fleet out of Fajardo, PR.  They run an excellent operation with plenty of new boats and excellent service.  Staying on a Lagoon 45 is a lot different from living on Moondance.  The boat is very roomy with 4 separate cabins, each with their own head.  The helm sits above the main cabin.  The view is very different from high above the water.

Our boat - big and boxy!
Batubara – Our home for the week

We arrived in San Juan a few hours before Joyce and Jeff so we opted to get a rental car while waiting for them to arrive.  When we finally made our way back to the airport to pick them up it was already dark.  Driving in Puerto Rico is a real experience.  We floundered about making several wrong turns before we were headed for Fajardo, about 30 miles away.  For the record, if you’re going to drive after arriving in PR, I recommend doing it in daylight!

We decided to spend the first day in the marina so we would have enough time to visit the rainforest.  While Jeff and Skip checked out the boat, Joyce and I bought provisions for the week.  After lunch, we drove to the nearby El Yunque National Forest.  It’s the only rainforest in the National Forest system.

Rain Forest flower
Rainforest plumage

Ferns reaching to the sky
Ferns reaching to the sky

Hanging roots
Hanging Roots

I don’t know if I should feel ripped off that we didn’t get rained on as we walked one of the trails down to a waterfall.

Waterfall

On the way back to the boat we made a few more provisioning stops, including the local Walmart (which was a whole new level of Walmart experiences!)

Sunday morning we departed for Culebra with the goal of watching football games at the Dinghy Dock bar.  At least that was Jeff’s goal and he’s the captain!

Sailing up high
Sailing to Culebra

Morning in Ensenada Honda, Culebra
Morning in Ensenada Honda

Strange warnings
Cryptic warning near the helm – “Alert, don’t flip the boat over, read the manual” Guess the lawyers came up that one!

The next day we went a short distance to the island of Culebrita, an uninhabited island that’s a nature preserve.  Normally there wouldn’t be many people there but it was a holiday and the locals were doing what they like best – hanging out on their boats and listening to loud music. At least they left us in peace and quiet before nightfall.

selfie
Fun being on a boat again

Shadowed sail
Shadows on the sail

Joyce and I kayaked to the beach and explored the jacuzzis, small pools created by the water flowing in from the ocean.Pretty water
View from Tortuga anchorage. Tortuga means turtle in Spanish and we saw plenty of them. No photos, though. They dive pretty fast!

Love this clear water!
Enjoying the water

Skip enjoying the view from above
Skip enjoying the view from above

Paddling around
Jeff on the paddle board. I tried it and it’s a lot harder than it looks!

Cooking up lunch
The barbecue master cooks up lunch

The jacuzzi
Jacuzzi pool

Joyce and Jeff
Joyce and Jeff

Jacuzzis
Jacuzzi is the greenish pool in the center

Ocean beach
Beach on the ocean side

I will continue in another post…

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2 responses to “Sailing in the Spanish Virgin Islands, Part 1 – Culebra

  1. Beautiful place, Too bad you had to come home for rain forest rain!

  2. One of the last great undiscovered treasures of the Caribbean!

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