Spanish Virgin Islands: March 1 - 12, 2007

Click on the above thumbnail for a map during this time period.

After several quiet days at Bahia Mosquito, we moved in to Ensenada Honda, and anchored at the end just off the little tourist town of Dewey.   Culebra is a relatively small island with around 2000 "regular" residents, a large number of tourists, and, judging from the sound of it, at least 300 billion chickens and roosters.  So far as we can see, the major "industry", besides raising chickens, is tourism.  Cruisers from around the world.  And a lot of short-term visitors from mainland Puerto Rico, here for the fabulous beaches.   The town has a number of watering holes and restaurants that are very popular, mostly run by folks with "American" accents that are also fluent in Spanish.  Thursday nights are "Karaoke Night" at the bar/restaurant "Dinghy Dock", and Barb drug a reluctant Chuck over to see the action.   We had once suffered through some atrocious karaoke in Bonaire, and so Chuck's expectations were rather depressed.  Turned out the place was rocking.  Jam full of cruisers and locals.  Most of the singers were pretty decent.  But what really made the night was the ambiance.  We met a number of interesting folks -- one of whom is a sailor from Sweden, presently single-handing his way northward up through the Caribbean toward the USA.   During our stay in the Dewey area, we have enjoyed socializing with Haakon and trading tips about destinations.

On our way into the restaurant/bar Mamacita's one night, we had to run a gauntlet of smokers.  Turned out March 2 was the first night of a smoking ban in restaurants in Puerto Rico.  So now, the employees are spared the secondary smoke, but arriving customers must duck their heads, hold their breaths, and scurry through the fog clouding the entrances.  But it was nice inside!

Sunday night is "Bongo Night" at Mamacita's.  The place was packed, and the drums were surprisingly musical (as in "multi-toned") and entertaining.   But the venue didn't work for us, somehow.  Couldn't meet and talk with others, and so we left much sooner than we had expected.   Funny about expectations:  we hadn't had much hope for the karaoke, and had a great time, and had high hopes for the bongos, but left feeling disappointed.

Our stay in Culebra has been longer than we expected.  The place has a certain charm.   And Chuck got involved with putting down three "maintanance" coats of varnish on the caprails (and also touching up the back door.)   On Tusen Takk number one, varnishing had mostly been Barb's job, since she was retired and Chuck was still working.   But now, on Tusen Takk II, varnishing has become mostly Chuck's job, with Barb's contribution largely limited to putting down the protective masking tape.   And so it was that on one of the varnishing days, Barb took the ferry to Fajardo, to do some shopping.  It is a large ferry, but is sometimes filled to the max.  We witnessed a couple of vacationers from Boston who had waited too long to get their tickets back to Fajardo on Sunday afternoon.  The ferry was sold out.  The two small commuter planes that zip back and forth between Culebra and San Juan were sold out.  And so our two procrastinators were destined to miss their flight out of San Juan to Boston.  Later, we read in the guidebook that in the summer the ferry is so popular on weekends that would-be passengers camp out overnight with sleeping bags at the ticket office in Fajardo.

Friday, 3/9/07, we got down the folding bikes and went on an extended tour of the island.   First, north to Flamingo Beach.  Two and one-half miles north of Dewey -- the exact distance known by Chuck since it has been serving as a running turn-around destination -- the road ends at the large parking lot for the State Park, where in addition to the beautiful beach, there is a nice campground and an extensive concession.  Busses and taxis and vans were bringing in lotsa folks -- presumably from the ferry -- as we left the area around noon.  We biked back to Dewey and then took the road east, intending to explore and find Zoni, the other well known beach.   Along the way, we stopped and gawked for a bit at the busy headquarters of the Culebra Regatta.  They were just getting set up, and so it was interesting to watch folks bustling about.   (As this is written on 3/10, I can see the associated Dinghy Regatta being conducted further out on Ensenada Honda.   I bet our good friend from Norway, Lars Helge, would like to see that!)   Back on the eastern highway, we soon ran into a number of very challenging hills.   As we approached a refuse-disposal area, a couple that had parked there in their pickup asked if we were going to Zoni.   Would we like a ride?  Would we!   And so it was that we traversed up and down the steep hills to the northeastern corner of Culebra -- who knew it was that far?! -- perched in the back of a pickup truck.  Nice couple.  American accents.   Dropped us off at their driveway and we coasted down several steep hills to the much smaller parking lot but the even more beautiful beach of Zoni.  No concessions here.   We soon discovered our new Swedish friend, Haakon, had also biked in, and so we spent some time visiting with him under a palm tree and then walking the beach.   Found some very clever stick figures in the sand that someone had constructed and then abandoned.   (See pics, below.)   And then it was time to face up to the long trip back.   No pickup trucks to rescue us this time.   Peddle as far we can up the hill.  Push the bike the rest of the way.  Jump on the bike and tear down the other side!  Then, do it all again.  And again.  And again.   (Barb went to bed kinda early that night.)   But this sounds more negative than we felt about the experience; actually, we both came back remarking on how much fun the touring had been, and vowing to use the bikes much more often.


Barb at her favorite Pincho stand

Bongo Night at Mamacita's

Bongo boys

Fajardo/Culebra Ferry

Fresh coconut juice at Ferry Dock

Nicknack stand in Dewey, Culebra

Varnishing the back door

Fence along campground at Flamingo Beach, Culebra

Flamingo Beach

Enjoying a Pincho at Flamingo Beach concession

Steep hill coming back from Flamingo Beach

Barb and Haakon at Zoni Beach, Culebra

Zoni Beach

Zoni Beach

Zoni Beach

Zoni Beach

Zoni Beach -- Chuck & Haakon

"Sunbather" at Zoni Beach

"Pointing to the sunbather"


Culebra Regatta

Culebra Regatta

Dinghy Regatta too


Flag courtesy of ITA's Flags of All Countries used with permission.