Wednesday, January 28, 2015

La Parguera - Into the West

To the west of Ponce the steep ridge of mountains settle down to rolling hills, at least as far as we can see from the coast.

The winds never picked up today so we motored along, made water and arrived just after lunchtime at La Parguera. Don't worry if you're not from Puerto Rico and haven't heard of this town. Lonely Planet describes it as a sleepy fishing town but on a weekday in the winter it is pretty much comatose. This doesn't detract though from the unique location and views from the water-side.

The bay is fringed (almost like a minefield) with reefs, mangrove cays and shoals. After meandering our way in, carefully following our chart and guide books we found a spot to anchor in a channel between shore and one of the many little islets. Just to give an idea here's a view of the chart of the bay and where we ended up - glad to have the sun behind us and a good pair of polarized sunglasses.

We set off in the dinghy to find a dock to go ashore. The channels are lined with colourful little holiday homes, built right out over the water on pilings and the folks we met were super friendly.
One of the larger island used to house a zoo, but is now home to a university research station. Apparently there are large iguanas running wild there that were imported from Cuba. At the other end of the bay we dinghied through some narrow creeks, listening carefully to see if we could find Monkey Island. Here, there was once a research station that used monkeys. Why is that whenever we humans try to mess with nature something goes a bit awry, and these monkeys have now escaped and gone feral in the local area.
We never found the monkeys (or iguanas for that matter), but this was our first experience with dinghy exploration through mangroves - quite magical and we wondered if we could somehow leave a breadcrumb trail.
Can we fit through there?
Yep, just made it!
Back to the boat for a quiet evening in complete darkness. Star watching will be good.

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