Culebra ... the first touch of Spanish
As we got closer to the island - even from a few miles away ... we could just tell the vibe is so totally different from the Caribbean, BVI or USVI ... the architecture and the vegetation on the island as well as the "little small holdings" with a few horses makes you think - this belongs to Spanish culture for sure!
Saying that ... the Spanish Virgin Islands falls under the jurisdiction of Puerto Rico ... So - although there are very little American influences ... these island groups are a special territory of the United States. So we have our yacht has now a cruising licence for all American Waters! A big deal! Trust me....it makes life easier to get in and out of US waters! The Customs office is located at the airport - a nice 15min stroll through the colourful town...with Air Flamingo their main airline ...with only ten-seater planes that looks like toys! HaHa! Quite scary!
Stepping ashore confirmed our previous suspicions that the culture has completely changed from the previous islands. The people are European (Spanish looking) with hardly any African influences around. ... unlike the other islands that are still bearing the consequences of slave-trading from earlier days.
The language is Spanish and although you get the odd American working in bars and shops - they speak Spanish and you don't lose out on that special feel of the island. Al we need to do to get the feel of it all is to switch on the radio and listen to the ling, and beautiful Spanish music!
Tourism is on a much smaller scale ... no big cruise ships means that you can still feel part of the island ... without standing out as a tourist! If people start talking Spanish to you while you buy your veggies or bread ... then you know.... You are fading into the islands people! Most of the shops tenders can speak (a broken) English - so you are not totally stuck (with your little pocket dictionary as the only assistant)!
is the bay where the main town Pueblo
of the Island Culebra is located- and is just picturesque colourful ... every home or shop has beautifully chosen colour schemes (unlike in Grenada where any colours just have to do!). It gives you that real happy island home feel!
The flair with which they arrange and use pot plants, lanterns or artwork outside and inside places to emphasise special features has been done in very European style... just love it!.. I think we are slowly getting the feel of a culture shift...
What will mark this as a special stop for me is the clear waters (again! ... but this time it really looks like a glass of water with fish in it!), the architecture and vibrancy of the colours of the buildings and the feeling that you are just part of them... if you can keep your camera in your pocket...they would not know if you are living here or visiting!(needless to say ... I struggled with the camera bit...) .... By now we are both very tanned but I do think there is still a tag too much blond for me to claim to melt in with the locals with their beautiful slick black hair! It is great to hear and feel the Spanish influence....
We had to pop in at the Dinghy Dock Bar (seems like every harbour, town or bay has one! HaHa!)
... Captain J reckoned that is where all the sailors will be and he needed some advice on anchorages and things to do at the next island (Vieques) - we have absolutely no literature or any information on it ...and no internet access either! So firsthand knowledge it will be...over a beer or two... Cannot wait to see Puerto Rico and the next stop at Vieques Island... Mosquito Bay ... with more dazzling lights in the water at night! Apparently - that is what that bay is known for!!! ... dyno-flagellates ....So!!! Bring it on!
After a day with a rent-me-Jeep and a great tour of the island with our picnic basket...having lunch on a deserted beach where there once were a beach shack...
We overnight the last night at the bay just around the corner of Punta Soldado
(no name again!) and was the only boat there... with a tiny little beach ... while we were getting ready for our sunset rituals... we noticed a group of young Spanish guys and two girls... sitting on the rocks with each a drink watching the sunset ...and serenading in the most beautiful harmonised voices until the sun has set. Such a great end to our day!.. and that is the last image imprinted in my mind of this beautiful island!