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Tuesday, January 03, 2023

2022 Spanish Virgin Islands: Bahia Isla Chiva to Punta Arena

 We had a leisurely breakfast, turned on the engines, and raised the sail. With a tail wind behind us, we easily made 5 knots past the tip of Vieques, going 3 miles out to dump the septic tanks again, before turning into a beam reach and arriving at Punta Arena in less than 3 and a half hours. Upon arrival, the point seemed to be filled with boats, but we would later find that one boat after another would depart, leaving us with only 2 other boats to share the bay with. What got us to stay despite the apparent crowd was that most of the boats looked like they would not support anyone on it staying overnight, so we were confident that it wouldn't be a loud party.

We dropped anchor in 15' of water, and snorkeled around in what looked like mediocre water. The water was calm, however, making me eager to make use of the paddleboard. To deliver the kids to the beach. I discovered that the approach to the beach was very steep, so ended up delivering Bowen and Boen to separate parts of the beach as I found a better entry later. I decided I join the snorkelers, but the snorkeling was fairly mediocre.

The beach was unlike any of the other beaches we'd seen in the Spanish Virgin Islands: the sand was coarse and easy to clean off. We walked the length of the beach heading South, and unlike the beach at Bahia Isla Chiva we pretty much had it to ourselves, as one boat after another pulled off --- the only other sailboat, a Catamaran, pulled off to join a BBQ on Puerto Rico proper.

When we were done, I swam back to the boat, got out the paddleboard and ferry'd the kids back to the sailboat, making them jump from the paddleboard to swim the last 10 yards so that they'd be sand free when they got to the swim ladder. I then used the paddleboard to explore more of the Bay to the North, and found some places that looked quite a bit clearer. It would have been a pain, however, to move the boat, since the coral was interspersed with sand, making it tricky to find a good place to anchor.

Arturo and I went snorkeling to see if the snorkeling was any better --- it was indeed a lot better, and he spotted lots of stuff, but I was tired and the visibility still wasn't great --- the water had looked much better from the paddleboard than it did from snorkeling. Besides, we had to pack! The next morning had to be an early start as we had been warned that it took 2.5 hours of sailing from Punta Arenas back to Punta Del Rey Marina. We extracted all the luggage out of one of the V-berths after showering, and started packing away everything that could be packed.

That evening, we enjoyed our last beautiful sunset from the beach, had dinner, and did a little bit of star gazing before clouds came over and occluded our views. I would wake up in the middle of the night to pee and would see one last shooting star in the early morning before waking up for real the next morning.

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