Tuesday, September 24, 2013

More Vieques

We did quite a bit of sailing within the past few months...exploring Vieques is fun and we will sail there again. Vieques is a sister island of Puerto Rico with a variety of beaches that are absolutely stunning! Vieques was used as a training bombing range and closed off to the public for a long time. Here is an excerpt from wikipedia:

"Vieques is best known internationally as the site of a series of protests against the United States Navy's use of the island as a bombing range and testing ground, which led to the navy's departure in 2003. Today the former navy land is a national wildlife refuge, with numerous beaches that still retain the names given by the navy, including Red Beach, Blue Beach, Green Beach and others. The beaches are commonly listed among the top beaches in the Caribbean for their azure-colored waters and white sands."

Last time we explored Bahia Icacos on the north coast. This time we explored the south coast of Vieques...starting with Ensenada Honda, which is a huge mangrove area with canals...a great hurricane hole...surrounded by reefs! We loved it there...fabulous nature, total quietness enveloped only by birds singing and calling...we had the place to ourselves!

From Ensenada Honda we sailed to La Chiva or Blue Beach...another spot of extreme beauty surrounded by a reef...La Chiva is more equipped for has small wooden huts nestled under the trees surrounding the white sand beach that seems to go on forever. La Chiva also has trash cans placed by the huts, which was a welcoming site for us, as we were able to dispose of our garbage! Snorkeling around the rocky areas at La Chiva was interesting...we saw quite a few fish and even a spotted eagle ray.

From La Chiva we sailed downwind to Esperanza where we met my friend Ann, who lives there. Ann and her husband Tom have a small charter business with their sailboat "Caribbean Lady". I knew Ann only from cyberspace where we became friends in one of the women sailor groups on Facebook! So now we are friends in the real world also :) We had a fun afternoon with Ann and will be visiting her time we'll meet her husband Tom also! Rick and I rented a car for two days and drove all over the island, learning much in the process. Of note were the many horses that roamed around virtually everywhere...seemingly happy! We visited the more than 300 year old Great Kapok Tree that made us feel like dwarfs! We explored Isabel Segunda where the big ferries come in. We also were able to do our laundry there and visited a lady I had met earlier in Esperanza...she has a boutique in Isabel Segunda...I purchased some very nice tie-dye dresses from her :) During our stay in Esperanza we walked the malecon (board walk) quite a bit and tried out the different restaurants...we enjoyed the variety of choices so close together...some of the highlights were "El Quenepo", a fine dining upscale restaurant and "Duffys", a place where we kept coming back to because of excellent fish and chips and other dishes served in an atmosphere of casual dining, affordable prices, and super fast service with a view of the ocean and in our case "ORION" :)

We left Esperanza for Sun Bay which is the next bay to the east...anchored ORION and enjoyed walking along the white sand beach for hours! There are sea turtle nests right amongst beach-goers zoned off by yellow crime tape (works great)...beautiful clear water...and horses everywhere...quite an eclectic mix...
From Sun Bay we sailed upwind to La Chiva (Blue Beach) where we stayed a few days again before sailing back to Culebra...Puerto Rico has so much to offer...we love Culebra and Vieques and will spend more time exploring both islands...Culebra is our chosen "home" for now and we are grateful to be accepted here :)