Puerto Rico

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Photos of  Puerto Rico          
      Arrival in Puerto Rico    

7 February 2010

Having crossed the notorious Mona Passage in a 32 hour trip from Dominican Republic, we arrived in Mayaguez on the west coast of Puerto Rico at 5am on 7th February.

We rested for a couple of hours at anchor in Mayaguez Harbour, then headed into the port area to clear with Customs and Immigration. It was Sunday. All closed.

Rather than wait in the commercial harbor at Mayaguez, we decided to head a little further south to Boqueron, a much better anchorage where we knew Second Lady and the other boats from Ocean World were heading, and they intended to travel by bus to Mayaguez to clear in on Monday morning.

Ponce (The Harbour)
Isla Caja de Muertos
Ponce (The City)
Isla Culebrita

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We had a short pleasant motorsail down to Boqueron, which is another great anchorage with perfect protection from prevailing easterlies.

This is where the locals party at the weekends. So, arriving there on a Sunday afternoon, we found the little village absolutely humming with an assortment of small bars and restaurants along the waterfront that were all packed.

There were also several stalls along the narrow streets serving fresh oysters. Superb!

After some thought and as we needed to move east, we decided not to wait and spend most of Monday travelling up to Mayaguez by bus, but instead to make the journey around the south western corner of PR and east to Ponce, (pronounced Pone-say) about 30 miles along the coast and clear there.




      Ponce (The harbour)    

8 February 2010

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We left Boqueron at 5am to make the trip to Ponce, where we arrived at 5.30pm. However, the anchorage mentioned in the guide books was no longer available. It was full of private, permanent moorings. Ponce Yacht Club, (the only marina in the area) were very unhelpful. There was no good dinghy dock and customs and immigration a long walk away. We anchored overnight right by the port docks, but decided we really had no incentive to stay in the harbor, even though we wanted to spend time in the city.

Made contact with Customs and Immigration first thing Tuesday morning while we were at the Ponce Yacht Club fuel dock. Customs and Immigration then visited us at the dock to finally clear us in. Then we needed a Cruising Permit for the boat which required a visit to their office. Decided to take Dreaming On out of the Yacht Club area, around the port into Ponce’s main bay, anchor off the Customs building and find a way to get ashore.

We finally found an old broken concrete wharf, no longer connected to shore except over a pile of rubble in the waves. Iza dropped Geoff off and collected him an hour later with a one year Cruising Permit in hand.

Started engines immediately to head out to an island about 7 miles offshore called Caja de Muertos, where we could hang out until early the following morning for a night time run to Salinas, a highly recommended secure anchorage in a mangrove lined bay where the boat would be safer and we could rent a car to visit Ponce.

      Isla Caja de Muertos    
  9 February 2010

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Had a very exciting sail at 8.5 knots in a strong southeasterly, first tacking SSW, then NNE making a total distance of 14 miles. Arrived at the island around 5pm, picked up a mooring provided by the local environmental protection agency and had time for a quick dinghy tour before sunset.



  10 February 2010

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Left Caja de Muertos at 5am, making our way around the island in the dark, then as the sun rose, made a SE tack motorsail followed by a NE motorsail to the entrance to the mangrove lined creek leading to the village of Salinas, arriving there at around 8.30am. This is a very popular cruiser hang out in a very scenic well protected bay, with many small bars and restaurants. Probably 50 boats at anchor plus another 50 in the two small marinas.

Tried to walk to the highly recommended marine hardware store in the village, only to find they had moved some distance away. Started walking, became totally lost, then rescued by Carlos a retired policeman from Rochester, New York who is building a house here. He kindly drove us to the hardware store and back to the marina.


      Ponce (The city)    

11 February 2010

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We hired a car and drove into Ponce for a tour of the old buildings, a drive up the mountain to the Cruz del Vigia and Castillo Serrallés, overlooking the city and a visit to the local Walmart for food supplies and a  plumbing supply store for a generator fuel line repair. 

Lovely city centre, with many very well restored buildings and a beautiful plaza with cathedral. Great fun with the traffic system with narrow streets and one way systems without names!

Ponce was a 40 minute drive from the boat mooring in Salinas and well worth the drive. We drove there on the main road which skirts the fairly arid southerly facing mountains, then drove back on the coastal plain which was fertile and mostly agriculture.

Arrived back at the marina late in the evening with a car full of stuff, wondering if it would all fit in one dinghy journey. It did, BUT, the dinghy outboard refused to start for unknown reasons and we ended up paddling the half mile to the boat in the dark in the very heavily loaded dinghy.

Waited in Salinas for another windy session for one day, then left on the 13th February to a small group of islands a few miles away called Cayo Caribes to stage there for a trip around the southeast corner of "mainland" Puerto Rico and on to Vieques for our first taste of the Spanish Virgin Islands.


      Vieques, Spanish Virgin Islands    
  14 - 17 February 2010

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Ensanada Sun Bay entry



Ensanada Sun Bay



Puerto Mosquito




Beach at entrance to Puerto Mosquito


Lighthouse at entrance to Puerto Ferro


Puerto Ferro - kayaking in the mangroves


Puerto Ferro


We left Cayo Caribes  at 4am on 14th left for the island of Viegues, which lies 7 miles to the east of Puerto Rico..

Viegues, together with Culebra are the largest two islands in the "Spanish Virgin Islands", and are a part of Puerto Rico.


Vieques is a very picturesque island and we traveled the south coast which appeared to have many more interesting anchorages. We arrived at the town of Esperanza and anchored there for one night. As it was Sunday, the restaurants and bars were all very busy along the very pleasant waterfront.

On Monday morning we moved initially to a mooring in the next bay, Ensanada Sun Bay right next door, where there is a mile of crescent shaped beach. We made a dinghy recce to Puerto Mosquito, the next bay along which has a narrow rocky winding entrance into a mangrove lined bay. This bay is reputed to have the greatest nightly bio-luminescence show in the Caribbean. Books reported the entrance to have a 5' shoal, so we thought we'd take a daytime recce.

Mosquito Bay

Having made a recce, we decided to give it a go and brought Dreaming On around to Mosquito Bay. Although the books showed 5' in the narrow channel, we stopped securely with the depth sounder showing 3'9". Our draft is just under 5' so we were well into silt when we stopped.

So, gave up on that idea and anchored in the entrance to the channel, classed as a daytime anchorage as it has no protection from south or southeast. Around 8pm, we kayaked into the bay.

It was pitch dark and Absolutely SPECTACULAR! The blades of our paddles were glowing. The wake of the kayaks was glowing. As we paddled and disturbed fish, they darted off like illuminated torpedoes. There was a breeze which created ripples on the water, the crest of every ripple glowed. It was a truly amazing sight that we would not have missed.

Puerto Ferro

Early on Tuesday morning, the wind picked up so we moved right next door to Puerto Ferro, a similar mangrove lined bay but with a deeper entrance. Spent one night in this very good calm anchorage which we kayaked around in the afternoon and hoped to find some similar bio-luminescence at night. But it was minimal and not nearly as impressive as Mosquito Bay.

Leaving Vieques

On Wednesday 17th, we left Puerto Ferro for Bahia Salinas del Sur, the last bay on the south coast heading east. We had a great sail in 10 knots of wind in calmer seas than on previous days. Bahia Salinas del Sur looked superb from the outside, with many beaches and interesting rocky outcrops. BUT, sitting in the middle of this very scenic bay was a buoy stating "No Anchoring. Unexploded Military Ordnance." Ahhh!

So, we carried on and moved around the east end of the island to highly recommended Bahia Icacos on the north coast. SAME AGAIN!  On this sad note, we left for Isla Culebrita, directly north and sitting off the larger island of Culebra.

Military Vandalism

Vieques was used by the US Navy for many years for bombing and target practice. This, in our view, has amounted to unacceptable military vandalism of a beautiful island. Although the Navy moved out during the last decade, vast areas are now off-limits due to unexploded ordnance.

It looks like the whole of the beautiful eastern end of this wonderful island are totally off-limits because the military did not clear up their mess. Wonder how long they can get away with ruining this little piece of paradise?  The US military should be held liable for the clean up of the island and returning it to a fully useable and enjoyable state.
















Salinas del Sur



Salinas del Sur - no anchoring!





No anchoring!



Roca Alcatraz - bombed to oblivion, courtesy of US Navy

      Isla Culebrita, Spanish Virgin Islands    
  17 February 2010

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Exploring by kayak


A beautiful bay



As we rounded the eastern tip of Vieques, we could see St. Thomas and St. John of the US Virgin Islands some 20 miles to the east, Culebra of the Spanish Virgins to the north and Puerto Rico to the west. We headed for Isla Culebrita, off the east coast of the larger island, Culebra.

Having travelled so far to "The Virgin Islands" this was a real "We've arrived" moment.

There is a spectacular little anchorage on the northwestern side of Isla Culebrita. White sand beaches overlooked by an old Spanish style lighthouse, wonderful rock formations and the "jacuzzis", natural pools in the rocks refreshed by every wave. This island is a nature reserve with deer wandering along the beach early morning, reefs to explore and hillsides covered with Turks head cacti.

Of course we are seeing a lot more boats and day traffic here as we get closer to the US and British Virgin Islands.  The islands are relatively close together, just short day hops in between. From every anchorage we could see other islands. So much to explore.

We have to come back to see more of Culebra, Isla Culebrita and the surrounding islands. This is a good area to bring visitors who fly into the international airport at St. Thomas in the US Virgins.

We stayed in Isla Culebrita for two nights, then it was time to move and make our fist visit to the US Virgins.



The Jacuzzi


Turk's Head cacti


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US Virgin Islands












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