Thursday, January 22, 2015

On The Doorstep of Puerto Rico

The Spanish Virgin Islands lie just off the east coast of Puerto Rico and this is not the first time we have visited. In fact this our fourth foray to Culebra and it still remains one of our favourites.
We awoke to find St. Thomas wearing a cap of cloud that developed through the early morning into rain, but it never caught up with us as we headed west. We had a near-perfect sail for four hours that landed us just off the town of Culebra (Dewey) in time for lunch.
The slopes above Brewer's Bay disappear into the cloud cap.
St. Thomas fed a line of squalls that happily stayed north of us.
Looking west to blue skies over Culebra.
The town is accessible from the ocean side on the west or from a deep bay on the east, the two are joined by a mangrove lined lagoon that we dinghied through to get to the dock. As we approached we were intrigued by this new addition to the breakwater. Much of life here is peppered with humour and this proved no exception: this portulant, bearded, rock-hurling character guards the lagoon and the surrounding waters and yet looks as though he could be pulling up a bar-stool at Mamacita's for happy hour if you invited him along.
Looks like pretty good shot-putt form.
Mangrove lagoon, main channel on the left leads under the non-functional lift bridge to Ensenada Honda where we tied up to the dinghy dock.
We stopped in at the airport to do our check-in for Puerto Rico. Primed with the pride of PR, a cold Medalla, and our freshly issued arrival number we are all ready. Yeah, yeah, it's a Medalla Light, but that's all they had at the airport cafe. If we don't find regular Medalla soon, we'll switch back to the pride of the DR which is Presidente and our beer of choice pretty much up until now.
Most welcome after the hot walk to the airport.
Since we hit customs at lunchtime we were pretty much delayed in Culebra until early afternoon and decided we really didn't want to make the 25 mile run to the west end of Vieques this afternoon, so we strolled around town, picked up some bread (pan agua), and admired some of the local artwork before heading back to Mowzer.
Everywhere you turn in Culebra you are afforded brightly painted houses, fences and utility boxes. In fact, just about anything that offers a permanent surface has been at least painted and most likely decorated in some fashion. Not only does this create a most pleasant effect, but I bet it cuts down on graffiti too.
The lively street front across from the ferry terminal.
Not sure what this building was, but look carefully on the right and you'll see what keeps their grass so I nice and short.
Just to give an idea of the skill level, this is not just paint slapped on a wall, this takes some talent.
To put this all in perspective, here's the Google view of where we've come from and where we plan to be in the next few days. St. Thomas on the right, Culebra by the blue dot where we are tonight, a planned stop on Vieques tomorrow and then the south shore of Puerto Rico after that.

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