Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Week in Culebra, SVI - Part 1

We spent a fabulous week on the island of Culebra in the Spanish Virgin Islands.  Don't get me wrong, there is wifi available on the island but between us having a problem with our bullet (wifi) connection and then spending loads of time in isolated bays with barely a cell-phone signal, we just didn't get the blogs posted as usual.  Sorry for the length of the post but now we're back home and I'll catch you up on what we saw and did; it's the whole week in one go!

Nov 22 - U.S. Thanksgiving

Thanks to Jim for getting up so early to drive us to the airport in the wee hours of the morning under a blanket of thick, freezing fog.  Flying through Charlotte we arrived perfectly in St. Thomas and got an $8 pp cab ride down to CYOA.  What a change in one day!

Being Thanksgiving and not being near a mega mall preparing for Black Friday, the island retail was actually shut down, so finding a meal and groceries was going to be a little more of a challenge.  Wonderful Nancy however invited us to join herself and friends just next door to the docks for a fabulous pot-luck turkey and ham dinner with all the fixings, all topped off with an evening of music.  What a great welcome; never before have we sat out in the tropical breeze enjoying a traditional Thanksgiving dinner as the moon rose over the harbour and the lights twinkled on the hillsides.  Definitely something to be thankful for.

Nov 23 - Just Around the Corner

Friday morning saw us up bright and early for a walk up the 99 steps in Charlotte Amalie. I missed my usual walking companion Jan, but Henry came along and enjoyed the early morning views of the harbour as a cruise ship pulled into the dock.
Yes...we broke down and had Egg-McMuffins for breakfast (guilty yum)
Provisioning was done at Pueblo since we didn't have a car; what a difference in the grocery store in the morning, compared to when we are usually doing our shopping in the evening, when we're completely bagged from the full travel day. It was so quiet that there weren't even the usual complement of taxis lined up out front, so I'm not sure who actually gave us (and our groceries) a ride back to Frenchtown, but his 2 year old in the back seat wasn't quite sure what to make of us either.

We have decided to head to Culebra in the Spanish Virgins this week but the winds were very light, only 5 to 8 knots from the south so we decided to take a very easy day, got off the dock and just headed round the corner to Linberg Bay for lunch. We've always thought if anyone arrives in St. Thomas that we were meeting at the airport that it would be fun to pick them up in this bay and dinghy them out to the boat, and that is exactly what we saw others doing. After the excitement of doing a lot of nothing ourselves we decided to pick up and move round to Brewers Bay for the night. We were the only ones in the bay other than some moored boats so we had a charming evening until a front arrived bringing heavy rains and black skies. In hind-sight, with the winds forecast to swing around to the north overnight we should have probably moved a bit closer to the airport side of the bay, but our anchoring proved worthy to the high speed winds whistling down the steep hillside overnight and in the morning all was calm.
This was our view of Brewer's Bay a week later as we departed the island.

Nov 24 - Off to Culebra

Another early start, but this was most likely due to the fact that with the rain last night we were in bed by 9 pm. This morning we had one of the most perfect sails over to Culebra. We were off the hook at 8:30 and with winds of 8-12 knots on or behind the beam and flat seas, we were over to the west side of Culebra and tied up on a mooring ball near the ferry dock by 1:30. The sail was so relaxing, with no anxious moments, high gusts, squalls or anything else to deal with, other than watching for wind shifts and avoiding the dreaded gybe.

Sadly we discovered, as we wandered through the town of Culebra, that Mamacita's - the little bar that we had enjoyed so much with John and Eleanor - has closed down, as has also the Dinghy Dock Bar. We popped into the dive shop where they told us that Mamacita's owners are moving to the Dinghy Dock and hope to have it open as the season gets underway, but they are suffering the loss of two great hangouts at once in town.

Last night with the wind from the south and then the north we didn't have to contend with the sun shining into the cockpit as the day wore on. Today, being a much more typical Caribbean day with the winds settling into the east, we unfurled the sunshade that I made at home, and it fits and works perfectly. I can tell already that it is going to be wonderful having the additional shade at the back if the boat.
So pleased with the fit and effect of the new sunshade - it is so much cooler in the cockpit and cabin as the afternoon sun beams down.
Stay tuned for part 2...

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