Tuesday, March 03, 2015

USVI Day 9 - Culebra - Culebrita - Culebra

1/24 - Another dawn start. Today, we were headed for the neighboring island of Culbrita and we'd been told by one of our guides at the bioluminescent bay that there were plenty of mooring balls but that it was a very popular weekend day trip for boats from Puerto Rico, so you had to get there early to snag one. We had a fine, if short, sail over, it's only about 5 miles away so we'd planned to motor over, but we actually had a nice breeze and were happy to sail instead. 

The first spot we checked, on the southwest side of the island, didn't have any mooring balls, so we headed on around to the other side where we found a few boats already moored and plenty of mooring balls. It was day use only, but last night's mooring was so nice we were fine with going back to that.

We moored and hiked up to the lighthouse that stands at the top of the island. 

Neat old ruin - sturdy brick, with tall windows and black and white stone tiles on the floor; we all thought this must have been a pretty neat place to be a lighthouse keeper. 

TQ, Kat, Dave, Jenn and I all looked up in the old tower and then walked over to look at the view near the modern structure that replaced the old light, 

and then we heard Lenore call "Hello!" and turned to find her waving at us from the top of the tower!

- so then of course we all had to take turns going up there (not enough room for more than a couple at a time).

Lots of critters on the hike - a flock of goats, and tons of hermit crabs, and big shy lizards, plus some interesting giant cacti. And of course lovely views from up on top. 

A few shots from the walk back down

Eventually we headed back down, and when we got back to the boat, Lenore and I decided to go snorkeling again. We swam over to the big reef on the west side of the bay, which turned out (surprise surprise) to be another very nice snorkel spot The water clarity was pretty good, the reef was healthy (and shallow enough that I didn't feel like we were going to get run over by an incoming boat, of which there was getting to be a steady stream), and there were plenty of I saw a new kind of fish for this trip, trumpetfish, in blue and yellow. 

I started getting peckish pretty quickly though, it had seemed a little early for lunch when we got back from our hike. I'd just told Lenore that I was ready to head back to the boat, TQ and Kat showed up in the dinghy - while Lenore and I had been snorkelling, that steady stream of incoming boats had steadily filled up the bay, and the decision had been made to run back to Culebra a little earlier than originally planned. 

Another nice but short sail brought us back to the same mooring we'd left behind at dawn; we picked it up around 3 and then spent a quiet afternoon there swimming, snorkelling, and floating around with pool noodles and refreshing beverages. I actually decided to go for a swim swim, I'd mostly just been snorkeling but since this was such a nice quiet place with such lovely water temperatures, I decided to get out my goggles and do a little distance - don't know how far I went, it was measured out in "First I'll go to that boat over there, and then I'll cut over to that mooring ball, and then I'll go back to the Kinja". As I approached the Kinja, TQ came out to meet me - I wish I'd had a camera on me because he was floating on his back, wrapped up in a pool noodle as a sort of floating armchair, with his Tilley hat and his shades on and a beer in one hand and his camera in the other. He was wearing flippers and started motoring along next to me, grinning and taking pictures - do you know how hard it is to swim when you're cracking up? First few strokes with him I kept stopping to laugh - finally I just closed my eyes for a few strokes to get back into the rhythm and we went on back to the boat together.

Dinner on the boat, using up the leftovers. More turtles around!

Another very, very nice day.

Click here to read more about the Culebrita Lighthouse.

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