Saturday, May 19, 2012

Culebra & Culebrita - The sun shines and the birds sing.


Alianna Cayo De Luis Pena

Culebra and Culebrita are the Spanish Virgins eastern most islands.  In fact they are closer to the US Virgins than to Puerto Rico. I like it here, it is relaxed and laid back.  There is no hustle and bustle, there is no daily grind to life.  The sun shines, the birds sing and the wind blows and thats about it. Instead of heading straight to the main town of Dewey in Culebra, where occasionally a shop may decide to open, we decide to stop at a small islet to the west of Culebra called Cayo de Luis Pena and pick up a free mooring ball. We had read there was good snorkelling and once again (and I apologize for the repetitiveness of these adjectives in my blogs)as we pulled into the bay, we could see the waters were the clearest shade of turquoise. In 10 meters of water I could still see the bottom.  A small sandy beach was fringed by dense shrubs. After a day-charter boat had left with its boat load of tourists and thier holiday smell of sun lotion) we had the bay to ourselves.  We jumped in and spashed about, checking the mooring was safe and not about to snap. Below the surface of the water lovely underwater coral gardens opened up before us with large purple fans, brain and elk coral and a huge amount of colourful fish all darting hither and thither.   We walked on the beach in the shallow water as the sand was too hot for our feet.  It is truly exquisite to have a whole bay to ourselves, how lucky we are. 

Pretty fished
The wind and seas picked up when we got back to the boat, deflecting around the corner, turning our little piece of paradise into a washing machine ride.  We decided to head over to mainland Culebra for a bit more protection and a peaceful night’s sleep.  During the night the swells had become more southerly and the boat was rolling around all over the place 

West side of Culebra

 By the morning we decided we had had enough and moved Alianna around the corner and behind the protection of the reefs at Ensenada Dakity, (I love the way that name rolls of the tongue....dakity, dakity, dakity).  Once again we picked up one of the free moorings.  It was lovely to be protected behind the reef from the seas with the benefit of the cooling trades blowing through the boat.  The water was murkier here as it was surrounded by mangroves but we could still see hundreds and hundreds of starfish below on the seabed.  We saddled up the dinghy and rode into town (I wondered if my rising trot was helping me from being thrown out of the dinghy or softening the blows to my spine as we bounced the mile or so over the big seas) for a spot of provisioning (apparently we don’t shop, on boats we provision!). It was market day and we filled up with fresh fruit and vegetables only to find them cheaper in the supermarket (that was open) later – why is that always the case with markets?

Culebrita
A couple of days later we moved around to Culebrita (little Culebra) to the east. Culebrita is a stunning spot.  It has the Jacuzzi baths where large seas from the Atlantic Ocean push through rock formations into protected pools and make the water froth and bubble.  The derelict lighthouse at the top of the hill, built in 1886, is apparently a national monument.  The island is deserted except for wildlife like the turtles that lay eggs on the beach and the birds that sing.  We love it here, there were a couple of other boats but we all kept ourselves to ourselves.  A north swell had started to run making the bay uncomfotable.  It was time from us to head over to the bustling island of St Thomas in the USVI’s.
Starfish
Turtles nesting
Culebrita
Colourful houseboat at Ensenada Dakity

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