Thursday, May 10, 2012

Bioluminescent Bay, Vieques

Salinas del Sur
So, that bioluminescent bay I was talking about was fairly impressive. Look up bioluminescence, Puerto Rico in google images to get an idea. I did try taking photos but my camera is not good enough. The bay itself, Punta Ferro, is about half way along the south coast of Vieques.  I had pictures but I deleted them - Oops! It apparently is not the most spectacular bioluminescent bay in the vicinity – that being Mosquito Bay two miles to the west, but our 6’ draft is too deep for us to get in there. So Punta Ferro it was.  It is a pretty mangrove bay with caves at the entrance and small pretty white sandy beaches. As it has a narrow entrance it makes the bay a calm and protected spot to anchor in and we do like an un-rocking boat for good night sleep. You can only see the bioluminescence in the dark. So we waited for the sun to go down and for darkness to fall to get a glimpse of this natural wonder and sat in the cockpit, drinks in hand, waiting for something to happen.  Nothing did happen.  We waited some more and still nothing happened. So Sim decided he would go and dangle his feet in the water.  Which apparently is what you need to do; movement in the water is needed for these little creatures to activate their neon glow buttons (defence mechanisms that produce a chemical reaction). But before Sim even got to dip his pinkies in the water little glowing patterns were popping up all around us making spiral and zigzag shapes in the sea.  Once again we were big chickens and didn’t jump in.  I had heard the light attracted bigger fish.  And big fish that I can’t see = scary! But Sim did dangle his legs and the light sparkled like a thousand stars.  We were very impressed with what we saw.  Maybe next time we will be brave enough to swim….

Danger - Explosives
Next stop was Bahia Salinas del Sur on the south eastern corner of the island. We were a little anxious as we had just heard on the VHF radio that military practice was about to begin and Sim and I weren’t sure if the lat and long we had taken down of the area we were supposed to avoid was correct.  But we carried on anyway and figured (hoped) they would call us if we got in their way. (I thought they had stop target practice….maybe they still do it out to sea). We pulled into Salinas del Sur in one piece. It’s a beautiful big bay with white sandy beaches.  One thing we have noticed sailing along the coast are the amount of pristine beaches devoid of anything other than signs posted every 20m that were too far away for us to read.  Coming into Salinas del Sur we noticed the same signs on the beach. This time we could read the danger signs in Spanish and English with the skull and cross bones and bomb pictures making it perfectly clear we were not to go any further than the beach. I guess that is why so many beaches are empty if you can only access them by sea. We anchored in the middle of the bay and went snorkelling.  Under the water were remnants of things that once went bang! Large bits of shrapnel and an old yacht that had obviously been used as target practice; it was kind of eerie.  Despite the beauty of the bay I felt the solitude.  That afternoon another announcement was made on the VHF, this time telling us to keep a mile off a certain location to stay clear of unexploded explosives.  I think we both felt it was time to move on to Culebra.
Bombed wreck underwater!

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