Friday, June 10, 2016

There's This Place...Cayo de Luis Pena, PR

Just WOW.  People often ask us "What was your favorite place?".  We stumble with that one since every place is unique and different in so many ways... it's hard to pick just one as our favorite.  We like them ALL!  Cayo de Luis Pena would be on the short list for sure!


It started out so easily...
We started out with a nice easy sail from the Green Beach on Vieques, across Vieques Sound to this small Cay near Culebra.  We left our anchorage early and got out into the Sound just in time for the mid-morning flip of the wind switch.  Literally in went from a perfect sail to a desperate scramble to reduce sail and slow the boat down from a headlong gallop with the rail nearly in the water!  Some might like that sort of thing, but we're Cruisers now and we definitely do NOT.

Just off the rocky beach in peaceful calm.
As usual, wind and current were against us going East and the waves built to slow us down even more.  We'd had about as much as we could take when we finally reached the lee of Cayo de Luis Pena and felt it's calming effects.  Perhaps the instant moderation of conditions had us predisposed to love this place... but I think it would have made it's own place in our hearts soon enough.

There was one mooring ball.  One.  We snatched it up and took a look around us.  The shore was swimming distance away and we could see the rocky reef just beneath the surface.  We relaxed and enjoyed the afternoon watching the changes brought by the ebbing tide as the tops of sea fans could be seen popping above the surface of the water as they swayed.

In keeping with our "bird theme"... this little fellow paid us a visit.  He was very inquisitive and acted as if he knew just what he was looking for.

He hopped around on the aft deck, peeking into our bedroom with no fear.  Jezabelle was down there and if we're depending upon her to defend us from marauding feathered fiends... we're SOL.

The bird must have seen her though, because he flew to the foredeck to continue his inspection.

His investigation was very thorough.  We began to wonder what exactly he was looking for... because he sure knew his way around a sailboat!

He came very close to us with no fear.  We sat still and watched in delight!

See him peeking in from above?
Suddenly it looked as if he was going to leave... but he made a dash to one of the smaller open hatches and peered inside the saloon...

Faster than the camera could recover from that picture, our little invader hopped town through the hatch and flew to the top of the open v-berth door...

I barely caught him atop the door on the left...
I just barely caught his departing form as he dashed through the v-berth and exited through the open forward hatch.

We must have been found wanting because after this final run-through, the bird flew away.

Our routine on travel days is that we get where we're going, tidy up from the trip, then relax and enjoy the scenery before getting an energetic start on exploring the next day.  This plan is wholly approved by our Ship's Cat.

This place is a snorkelers paradise.  We didn't even have to drop the dinghy... we put on our gear and splashed in off the transom.

The distance to shore was covered quickly and we congratulated ourselves on our decision NOT to attempt it by dinghy.  The rocks are very close to the surface and completely protect this tiny sliver of perfect beach.

We held our breath to give our bodies enough buoyancy to get over the rocks and dragged ourselves onto the sand.

This is one of those places that we wonder how many people have left footsteps before us... It can't be many.

Coral placed carefully into the holes in the cliff wall
We explored the beach, finding shells as well as proof that at least ONE other person was here first.

Back in the water, we continued our exploration of the rocky shelf.  The visibility was the best we've had in the area.

Scribbled Filefish?

Redband parrotfish

Scrawled Filefish (I think)

Baitfish ribbons

The shy Porcupine Fish

Intrepid Cruiserfish
After snorkeling and a nice lunch, we decided to stop being lazy and let the dinghy down.  There are beaches on the north side of this Cay that we would love to investigate.  Active Captain  reported deep anchorages there so we would rather not move the big boat...

So we dinghied around the point and up the northern coast to check it out.

What we found was a bit of a surprise... Somebody was having a very bad day.

We asked what happened as we dinghied up to see if we could help.  The reply..."It Sank".  Ya think???

Sea Tow was on the way and they assured us they needed no help, so we continued on to the beach.

What do you think happened to us there?  Of course we were visited by another bird... or maybe it was the SAME bird from yesterday.

This is beginning to be creepy... like the nautical version of an Alfred Hitchcock movie or something.

Luckily there was less boat for him to inspect so he flew off quickly to leave us in peace.

The beach was just beautiful.  We collected shells and hung out for a bit, sorry that we had left our snorkel gear back on the boat.

So we walked the beach, climbed around on the rocks and played with the camera until time to go back for sundowners.

A willing subject... sea urchin remains

The sahara dust that has been hanging around here making the days hazy... has treated us to some really eerie sunrises and sunsets.  Here on the western side of the Cay with the entire Vieques Sound at our doorstep, we were treated to an especially stunning show.

The next morning we got an early start.  We would move to another anchorage today with a relatively long day ahead... but we wanted to go back to the northern beach to snorkel.  Benign conditions were holding so we took a chance.

There is a vast sandy expanse with coral beds surrounding it making it impossible to bring the big boat up close to the beach.

We were sad to see much of the coral was dead or dying, but we still found lots to entertain us.
Bruce hovering above the baitfish cloud.

A worm!!!

This fish thought he was camouflaged...

I watched in fascination as he changed colors before my eyes...

Another worm... Glad I didn't step on one of these!

You can see the baitfish clouds.
This is one of those places that we will consider a favorite.  We can't wait to come back her to spend more time exploring the other small coves that this area offers.  But... We are Cruisers and we must move on!  Next stop... Culebrita!

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful....great pictures,,,,,see why you like this place.