Monday, March 12, 2012

Spanish Virgin Islands

Teaming up with Rich and Margaret aboard Dance Aweigh, we pulled out of Brewer’s Bay, St. Thomas, for the leisurely 24 mile trip to Isla De Vieques, in the Spanish Virgin Islands between the USVI and Puerto Rico.  
Coming in thru the reefs

I’m so ‘over’ the bar scene in the BVi’s, tired of crowded anchorages and the occasional marina stay, I can’t wait to play in isolation, away from the crowds.   
The Spanish Virgins ‘belong’ to Puerto Rico & were discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1493.  Spain colonized Puerto Rico for centuries but after disputes over ownership, finally ceded all of the islands to the USA via the Treaty of Paris in 1898. 
Finally Fun & Dance Aweigh at anchor
Isolated with lovely pristine snow white beaches, empty anchorages, quaint towns (one or two per island) that I’m looking forward to seeing, rocky cliffs and extensive coral reefs are everywhere in these 400 square miles encompassing the islands of Vieques, Culebra and La Cordillera.   
Dragging Dance Aweigh's dinghie to the NO Trespassing beach, Bahia Salina del Sur
Amazing how the threat of bombs negatively impacts any development!  For nearly 100 years, our US Navy and NATO used the east end of Vieques for weapons training, practicing with live shells.  My out of date cruising guide makes reference to “DO NOT go inshore when visiting the beaches” due to the fear of tourists finding live bombs, coming to harm’s way.  

These islands no longer are part of any training and have been cleaned up extensively over the years.  There are, however, still some areas where anchoring is forbidden, for fear of hooking one of those perhaps still live rounds!   
Humm, sticking the umbrella in the sand made me nervous
Ah, Vieques (vee AYE case) is so unspoiled.  Our first stop, Salinas Del Sur, was a huge reminder of the all the bombings! 
Large signs every few hundred yards along the beautiful sandy beach warned us to stay off the beach due to potential danger of  live shells.  Finally Fun and Dance Aweigh were the only boats in this large anchorage, so we took advantage.  
Old parts of a boat? on the ocean bottom
Rich and I snorkeled all over the place, in high hopes of finding an old bomb.  What we did find, however, could make the basis for some good stories told over cold beers.  Rich finally determined that what we were looking at - in several different locations, were sunken ships.  Humm, did they sink because they hit an old bomb?  Were these boats target practice?  We wonder...........

Clearly been here a long time - look at the growth!

A conch crawling along the bottom of the ocean
Dinner aboard Dance Aweigh - Andy & Rich
 After rocking and rolling for two nights, we gave it up, moving onward to Ensenada Honda, another unspoiled and secluded anchorage not far away.  Lined with mangroves, we had a fun time poking about in the dingy, trying to see how far up the ‘river‘ we could get.  For all the beauty, we spotted no wildlife, except a couple of fish AND two spotted rays swimming rapidly away from us.  
Sharon in the mangroves
With a ‘schedule‘ of sorts (remember that granddaughter due at the end of May?), we pulled out, eager to see the remainder of Viequez, especially the bioluminescent bays - cited as the second largest in the world.....Don’t have any idea what #1 is.., but I want to jump in the water, in the dark of night and watch the water turn into a zillion tiny lights fizzling all over me and around me as I move about and even after I get out of the water.   
Sunset over Viequez

No comments:

Post a Comment