Ahh, the Spanish Virgin Islands

Featured picture for this blog: We purchased a string of lights in St Thomas to decorate Lone Star for the holidays.

Culebra

We enjoyed an easy 20 mile downwind sail to Culebra, Puerto Rico from Brewer Bay, St. Thomas. It’s only five days until Christmas and we were excited to spend the Holidays with Jeff & Marcia on UJAM’n.

UJAM’n in Ensenada Honda, Culebra

We made several trips ashore to walk around Ensenada Honda, learning the town and where things are. A highlight was shopping at D’s Garden, across the harbor from town. A plethora of fresh tropical vegetables and fruits, like pomegranate, melons, and decent salad vegetables. A little disconcerting to have no prices listed and sticker shock at checkout. The fresh smoothies were a big hit at this store as well! However, so very thankful for this fresh bounty before the holidays.

Almodovar Bay with UJAM’n and Tethys

A few days before Christmas we motored around the corner to the east and picked up some moorings behind a shallow reef.

Calm anchorage with wind coming across this reef, no waves in the anchorage.

On Christmas Day we gathered in the late morning on Lone Star for appetizers: a fresh fruit salad, raw vegetables with homemade dips and mixed nuts. Stories of past holidays and cruising grounds were shared.

Christmas Day, appetizers on Lone Star
…with crew of Tethys and UJAM’n

A few hours later, we continued the fun with Christmas dinner on UJAM’n. Grilled steak or chicken, chili, twice baked potatoes, steamed vegetables, and wine. Topped it off with lemon squares and turtles for desert.

Vieques

The sail to Vieques was also 20 miles, a reach to the east end and then downwind to another Ensenada Honda (translation: deep cove). This one had twists and turns, a very protected anchorage, and some rocks for snorkeling that looked like and were named the Turtles.

Sunset near our buddy boat in Ensenada Honda, Vieques

When the winds calmed a bit, we sailed 3 miles to La Chiva. Mother Nature provided a beautiful canvas to capture.

A full rainbow in La Chiva

Rather than the oh so common and protective mangroves hugging the bay, we finally had a beach to admire and to stretch our legs!

Ahh, beach walking in La Chiva, Vieques

Our next stop was Sun Bay. There was a very nice park here with shelters and marked swim areas along a couple mile beach. They even had a section of storage lockers so the locals did not have to cart chairs and beach equipment home every time they visited.

Sun Bay park shelters, our boats in center

This was a well protected harbor and we enjoyed some lighter winds while here. Time for laundry and boat maintenance. Tom climbed the mast and while up there he discovered a single strand, of a nineteen strand wire that is our back stay, was broken at the top fitting. Luckily, there is plenty of rigging wire in the turnbuckles, so we only need to redo the top fitting. After checking our spares he discovered we did not have the right size replacement cones. We ordered some and will have them shipped to a Marina in Salinas, Puerto Rico. In the meantime, we rigged two running back stays to help support the mast in that direction.

Maintenance time, Tom climbed the mast stairs.

There are many wild horses on this beautiful island. They have plenty of room to roam and graze. There are also some working horses on farms or available for rides.

Wild horses that are quite used to people
They like the fresh rain water puddles

On our last full day on the island of Vieques, we took a long walk down the beach to Esperanza with Jeff and Marcia. We enjoyed a relaxing lunch and a walk around the town. This is an absolutely beautiful island.

Tom, Marcia, and Jeff on our hike to Esperanza

We spent nearly three weeks in the Spanish Virgin Islands rekindling our love for these remote and picturesque islands. We last visited Culebra in 1989. Let’s hope we return before another 33 years go by.

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