Puerto Rican Delights!
16 May 2010 | Currently in St. Thomas, USVI
Sorry it's been a while since our last posting. Luckily guest blogger Matt Maples came through with his blog in early May, but it is time for an update.
We returned to the US Virgin Islands in mid April planning to do some major provisioning and repair work. We enjoyed a few days back in St. John before heading to relatively busy St. Thomas to take care of our ailing autopilot and some other key mechanical things. While St. Thomas isn't our favorite place, we still managed to harvest some conch off Water Island, we enjoy watching the seaplanes take off and land just about every hour right next to our boat, and rum is only $9.95 a bottle.
We then headed west about 20 miles to the Spanish Virgin islands - for those who don't know, there are about 3-4 small islands off the eastern coast of Puerto Rico that are relatively undeveloped with beautiful beaches and great snorkeling. We really loved the tiny island of Culebrita, with its old 1850's era lighthouse, gorgeous beaches and calm protected anchorage. The kids and I went trolling in the dinghy one evening around sunset and we caught a nice sized jack for dinner.
On May 2nd we had our second visitors of the trip - Scott's Mom & Dad flew from Ohio down to San Juan for a mixed land/sea adventure. Boy did we have a great time, and we ate & drank especially well the whole time we were together in Puerto Rico! Seafood mofungo (made from plantain or cassava), authentic mojitos, spanish sausage, calamari and lots more. We cashed in on Scott's hotel points and stayed at the chic La Concha hotel on the beach in San Juan - the kids were thrilled to have TV and room service, while Jen loved the showers and the extra large bed. Upon entering the room, the kids exclaimed "it's an awesome ocean view room!" which we thought was kind of funny, since they've been living on a boat for 9 months now.
We toured the big 300 year old fort at the entrance to the harbor called El Morro - very impressive and huge - it played a key part of ensuring that Puerto Rico stayed Spanish while lots of other islands fell to the Brits, French and Dutch. We also toured the Bacardi factory where we learned about the bat on their logo and the history of the family (originally from Cuba) who still own the company. We toured the El Yunque rainforest and swam in yet another waterfall; Dad also signed up to go ziplining through the treetops with Anna and Scott which was great fun.
The best part of the trip was probably sharing a bit of the cruising life with Mimi and Gimlet (as we call them) including the excitement of catching a big mutton snapper on the way to Vieques island, being forced to change anchorages due to rough conditions, taking the dinghy up a creek to a true cruiser's place called Mamacita's in Culebra and soaking up the sun, sand and surf at Culebrita. Oh- and Mom & Dad are now confirmed Ti Punch aficionados. What a great visit!
Looks like the weather will enable us to make the 520mi sail north to the Bahamas starting tonight (Sunday). This will be the longest sail we've done as a family without additional crew. The kids will no doubt be watching lots of Hogan's Heroes.
Our plan is to cruise up the Bahamas for about a month or so, before jumping off from there for somewhere along the east coast. We hope to arrive Newport in the middle/end of July.