Auto Ads by Adsense

Friday, December 23, 2022

2022 Spanish Virgin Islands: Ensenada Honda to Culebrita

 We got up early, wanting to sail at first light. Well, sail was the wrong word. There was still sufficient weather from the East that prolonging the 45 minute motoring to Culebrita into a 2-3 hour sail seemed ill-advised.  Indeed, making our way out, we were greeted by a storm that gave us rainbows later after it passed us.

Arturo and I looked around for good anchorages and potentially good snorkeling for after Culebrita. The guidebooks had recommended the hike to the lighthouse, as well as the Jacuzzi hot springs on the north side of the island, but wrote that the snorkeling was only good on the side of the island with no good anchorages.  There was said to be good snorkeling near Playa Zoni, but it looked like questionable anchoring,  being so exposed. The most promising anchorage seemed to be Bahia de Almodovar, but that would require backtracking.

Arriving at Culebrita, the Bay had quite a few boats, but there was one obvious parking spot in the middle of the Bay between a few boats so I anchored there, calling for 55' of anchor chain but by the time we were done it was more like 70'. We settled there and its seemed like a nice spot. Mark wasn't feeling good, so he decided to skip the first excursion, but the rest of us decided to go hike to the lighthouse.

The kids resisted, but Boen finally agreed to be ferried to the beach via paddleboard, which I'd yet to use on the trip, so I did that, landing the paddleboard on the beach. Xiaoqin decided to stay and take care of him.

Hiking on Caribbean islands rarely impresses me, but the lighthouse hike was surprisingly good. There were lots of hermit crabs, and the hike had more wild butterflies flitting about the trail than any hike I'd been on. The lighthouse at the top was broken down and the lighthouse tower unsafe to climb, but there was a weather station which was a great place to get a panoramic view of the area.

After we got back I swapped with Xiaoqin and she hiked up to the lighthouse while I dealt with Boen. Actually, Boen wanted to return to the boat, so I paddleboarded him back to the Yamuy, where Mark had turned off the generator after filling the water tanks with fresh water. I then walked over to the Jaccuzzis for the view, destroying my Keen Newport sandals in the mean time. I would discover that Keen had switched to an "eco-friendly" glue, which would cause sole separation after only a limited use. I really liked Keen sandals but this experience will keep me from buying any more Keen sandals for the foreseeable future.
After all the exploration, we went back to the boat for a sandwich lunch. By this time Mark was feeling better. From the top of the weather station we had seen the "snorkeling beach", and it looked like fantastic snorkeling, so we arranged an expedition to do so. This time, I ferried the kids back to the beach on the paddleboard, but then swam this time as our plan was to snorkel. It turned out that the lone mooring ball in the bay was marked "dinghy only", but it probably was too much trouble to get out the dinghy for the short distance.
The snorkeling beach was a bust. The surf had churned it up so there was no visibility and the waters so rough that I scraped myself getting near the reef. We abandoned the idea, though Mark did end up going to the lighthouse and the Jaccuzi.
We were told that turtles were easy to see on the far end of the beach near the Jaccuzzis hiking trail, and indeed, I spotted no more than 4 turtles there. After 4pm, boats started leaving the Bay, and while there were still 3 boats that would overnight there, things got a lot quieter, and we had a nice quiet dinner followed by star gazing and some luminescence observations. There was no question of moving the boat --- it was unlikely that we would find a better spot to hang out overnight. The star gazing was great, with the lighthouse beacon on the weather station pointing East and therefore not interfering with our night vision. Culebrita was indeed a hidden jewel of the area.

No comments: