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Wednesday, December 28, 2022

2022 Spanish Virgin Islands: Esperanza to Bahia de Isla Chiva

 I looked through the guidebook and realized that there was an anchorage we had bypassed on the way to Esperanza, which was Bahia de Isla Chiva, which supposedly had good snorkeling. Sure, we'd have to do some motoring, but after the long day yesterday and dropping off Niniane and Dan this morning, we could go there, drop anchor, and check it out. If we found it good, we could stay there, otherwise we could sail to Point Arenas and not be worse for where.

Dropping Niniane and Dan off turned out not to be so dramatic --- despite the luggage (and they'd taken a lot of the non-perishables off our hands), when the dinghy wasn't loaded with extraneous people (i.e., my family), once they could get Niniane and Dan off they could just hand the luggage over without any drama or even tying the dinghy to the dock! So after all that, the dinghy was back on the Yamuy's davits by 9:30am, and we motor'd over to Bahia de Isla Chiva.

We were the only boat at that location, so we anchor'd in about 15' of water over seagrass, and then jumped in with mask, snorkel and fins to check our work. There was a surprising amount to see, starting with a starfish that had parked itself over our anchor chain, and then a barracuda had settled in near the island. The snorkeling was mediocre compared with past experiences, but with the water this churned up there's only so much you can do. Still it took a good hour to do all the snorkeling we wanted to do before it was lunch time.
After lunch, I paddleboarded Boen to shore, but immediately realized that it was too hard, and when returning to the Yamuy, declined to paddleboard Bowen over. We swam instead as I noticed that despite giving me a headstart, Arturo made it to the beach snorkeling faster than I could paddleboard. Swimming a shore was fine, and the kids enjoyed the beach while we walked along it.
The beach was popular, being less than half an hour's drive from Esperanza, and we met some fairly large groups, but they would all disappear around 4pm, since most of them had a bioluminescent tour to go to! Arturo had wanted to snorkel on the Western end of the point, but it looked so rough that I talked him out of it. He did find a pair of shoes that were his size and were abandoned though! At around 4pm, clouds appeared over the island and we swam back to the Yamuy.

We debated what to do the next day. The charter company recommended spending the night at Punta Arenas, but sailing back all the way to Isla Palominos was a possibility, though it was likely to be crowded and noisy with parties. We saw that Icacos was also a possibility, but if you got there and conditions were unpleasant you didn't have a lot of choices left. We decided to just sail to Punta Arenas and have a look.

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