Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Exploring Vieques on ORION...Bahia Icacos

Having established our temporary base in Culebra it is time to do a little cruising and explore the nearby areas. We sailed to Tamarindo Bay in Culebra on Saturday, June 8, 2013, stayed overnight, set sail again the next morning and made a spontaneous decision to sail to Vieques...just like that! The weather was perfect...10-15 knots wind with waves around 6 feet...we sailed for 3 1/2 hours under full sails (both main and jib) to Bahia Icacos on the north shore of Vieques! We plotted a course on the go...with the Navionics app on our ipad this can be done in no time at all...a simply amazing tool!

Bahia Icacos is stunningly beautiful...a horseshoe shaped bay surrounded by a white sand beach as far as the eyes can see! Hundreds of star fish can be viewed through the crystal clear water. We arrived on Sunday afternoon when 20 or more power boats were anchored along the shoreline...but they all left well before darkness on their way home to Fajardo, where most of them had come from. So we found ourselves alone on ORION, virtually in Paradise...this beach is made for walking hand in hand for miles and of course this is exactly what we did :) Vieques used to be a bombing range, so unfortunately there is plenty unexploded ordinance left in and out of the water! There are signs placed all over the edge of the beach warning not to venture inland beyond the imaginary line between is a shame, the clean-up process will most probably take decades, but that is how it is. On a positive side the area is now a wildlife sanctuary with hundreds of different species of birds calling it home :) We had no desire to walk inland...there is so much blissful beach area to explore...we had a great time away from everybody and almost felt like "The Blue Lagoon", hahahaha...just kidding ;)

We left Bahia Icacos a few days later with the unspoken promise of returning to explore more of Vieques...whilst maneuvering through the reef we noticed the engine overheating, so we shut it off and sailed the rest of the soaked by a passing squall but were happy and enjoyed the journey...had to enter the main channel into Dewey under sail only and continued to sail right onto our mooring ball...phew...there is always a first time for everything and this was our first time having to approach our mooring ball without deploying the good old worked out okay and we are pretty proud of ourselves...another notch in the belt of our learning curve :) Why was the diesel overheating? That's the story to tell next...stay tuned please!