Thursday, June 11, 2015

Six Weeks in Culebra

While we were still in the Bahamas, we made the difficult decision to haul Tangent out of the water in Puerto Rico for hurricane season. None of the hurricane season options were particularly appealing: Go north (not again), go south and park somewhere (yawn), haul out (barf), or continue cruising and keep a close eye on the weather (ugh). We went with the haul out and gagged on that decision all the way up to the moment she was out of the water. It didn't help that we were struggling with the personal disappointment of being about a two hour sail from Walmart rather than trading fishing hooks for bananas in the South Pacific.

So there we were having hopped from Vieques to Culebra with six weeks to kill before our haul out date. We had grand visions of exploring around the Spanish, US and British Virgin Islands. However, after a year of moving almost nonstop, the natural energy that carried us along toward each goal or destination along the way completely evaporated. We got ourselves a primo spot behind a reef and there we stayed growing a lovely garden on our bottom. We're not sure where the time went or what we did other than obsess (read: wig out) about our total lack of plans for our impending homelessness and tear our hair out over near-catastrophic technology issues. Toshiba and Claro, I hold you personally responsible for our lack of mental health during this period. Thankfully, Culebra is a pretty nice place to hang out and it will be fun to go back in the fall! 

This chicken had a NCE: Near Cannibal Experience. Thankfully a piece of chicken was swapped with a french fry.

Outside of Zacos Tacos.

We called this "Monkey Throwing Poo" until we learned he's actually called Hector the Protector.

On the weekends the Puerto Ricans come out to the islands en masse. They will tie so many boats together hanging off of one questionable mooring ball. I think we counted 11 boats rafted up together next to us. One more boat and we would have been connected to the whole party.

There was lots of fun stuff to find in the sand under our boat. Drew is like a cat that proudly brings home a gift of a dead mouse. I think he presented this gigantic sea cucumber to us multiple times.

One of the many starfish on the bottom.

We stayed so long many creatures took up residence under and around the boat. This file fish liked to hang out right under the transom.

Culebra is a great place to have visitors. It's a quick hop from San Juan on one of these white knucklers. Elizabeth, aka Babcia, arrived in this plane.

There's a nice outdoor produce market twice a week. It's easy to just pick up a few things in town when you need to. What a luxury!

The Dinghy Dock in the background is a popular restaurant and yes, you can dinghy right up to it.

A relatively tidied up Andy tootling around in the dinghy.

Babcia and Cubby making sticker animals.

Being in one place for an extended period gave us a chance to catch up on some school. It's really hard to stick with it when we move all the time.

The kids love playing games that involve knocking Andy off the paddleboard.

Our starboard engine temperature had been running a little high for a while which was baffling us. Andy discovered a very large mollusk had grown in the water intake! He loves that pick.

Andy won this one.

Babcia treated us to dinner out at the colorful Dinghy Dock. Mmmm rum drinks.

Speeding off to catch a taxi to Flamenco Beach.

There are so many feral cats at Flamenco Beach. The kids gave names to every single one of them.

Relaxing after sharing lunch with us.

Flamenco is the greatest beach! $3 taxi ride, endless supply of empanadillas, lovely sand, shady spots beneath the palms, clear, warm water, and snorkeling spots a short swim away.

This is the lifeguard hut.

Ahhhh, cerveza.

It's easy to get gas for the dinghy and pick up groceries nearby.

Andy with the two Johns. They are full-timers in the mooring field where we were and always super helpful.

We spent a lot of time here using the wifi to make our summer plans. Drew and Evelyn used the wifi to binge watch Family Guy and learn some new vocabulary. Giggity.

Off on a snorkeling expedition to Melones.

Cubby was the photographer on this trip. She did really well!

Elizabeth was really impressed with this snorkeling trip. She was even inspired to make a watercolor of it when they all returned.

Drew is naturally buoyant so wears a weight belt to help him go deeper down to look under the rocks and coral. Nice pic, Cubby!

Everyone was happy to see healthy coral.


Another pretty photo.

Getting back in to the dinghy from the water is never an elegant or graceful experience. Just kick, flip and flop. If you can actually pull it off, you're ahead of the game. We used the paddleboard as a middle step for Babcia.

Then the kids got to ride it back.

Our location was a great spot for kayaking and paddleboarding. Andy managed to launch his kiteboard a couple times here, too.

This miniscule lobster took up residence in between our rudder and hull. Drew would check to make sure it was there every day.

Comic book writing became the obsession for many weeks.  

Large tarpon hung around our boat at night. Even though they are sort of big and lunky and prehistoric looking, they have a reputation for putting up a good fight when caught. Drew and Andy were obsessed with catching one. After a disappointing catch that took Andy on a hard fighting walk around the entire boat only to have the line get cut, he came up with a strategy that, of course, involved the entire family. Once caught, Andy and the kids piled in to the dinghy for a ride around the anchorage in the dark courtesy of a tarpon. Andy called it the Culebra Sleigh Ride. Impossible to get a good pic in the dark!

Yet again, a massive barracuda took up residence under our boat. This guy was caught and took everyone for a sleigh ride. He was huge! And, of course, he returned after being released.

This is Stumble, the library cat. Every time we went there she was hanging out ready for a cuddle or to play. We heard she was being sent to a new home in Colorado but maybe we'll see her again in the fall. She seems perfectly happy at the library!

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