Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Our first visit: The Spanish Virgin Islands

With the winds at a manageable 20 knots and the swells down to 8-10' we decided to make the jump to Culebra.

The Spanish Virgin Islands are made up of the islands of Culebra, Vieques and numerous other small islands, or 'itas' as we've come to call them.  This morning by 10am we headed off from Brewers Bay, raised the sails and headed across the Savannah Passage to the south shore of Culebra.  Ensenada Honda creates a deep bight into the middle of the island that hosts 3,000 inhabiltants, most of whom live in Dewey.

We were able to check in by phone to the border and immigration authorities, reporting the vessel and crew ids which saved us a walk to the airport - rather strange to check in a boat at an airport but that's the way it is done here.  Very efficient and all completed in a matter of about 10 minutes; resulting in a mega-digit confirmation number that should keep the U.S. Coast Guard happy over the next few days.

We picked up a mooring ball behind the reef at the entrance to the bay and then spent the afternoon snorkling around the leeward side of the reef, but all-in-all it ended up rather uninteresting with the seagrass bed and not much else.  Of more interest to us were the results of our excursion into Dewey.  A canal cuts from the bay on the east side to the ocean-side on the west in the middle of town.  The colourful houses and tidy streets create a wonderful ambience, replete with feral cats and chatty locals.  We finally came to roost at Mamasitas for sundowners and my favourite, the banana daquiries.

Thankfully we recorded our GPS track for the mile-long dinghy ride into town and were able to find Mowzer awaiting us on the return in the dark.  Dinner aboard, a few rum punches and a happy crew has been at sea for the day.

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