Monday, December 12, 2016

Our Dance Card Runeth Over - Culebra Life

The Plan:  Make it to the BVI by Christmas.  Reality:  TBD  Culebra is a perfect spot to wait out weather for pleasant passage to the USVI.  There is plenty of room here with several options, some anchorages and others FREE mooring balls.

Bruce on point checking out the ball...
Upon arrival we thought we would just pick up a mooring ball... but the only one left had no pennant and we figured that meant questionable maintenance... so we continued on to the Fuladosa Anchorage.


Vieques Sound on a rare calm day
Why here?  Why not just continue on into Ensenada Honda and drop the hook?  Well let me back up a bit...

Our spur-of-the-moment decision to leave Vieques and continue on to Culebra was due to today's benign weather forecast.

It was SO nice that Jezabelle hardly noticed we were moving!
It was so nice in fact that while on our way we considered a mad dash to St. Thomas... even set a course on our chart plotter... but then we though about the friends that were both waiting in, and on their way to Culebra and we settled down and went back to Plan A.  Culebra it is.

So while motorsailing on Vieques Sound I was online busily setting up a whirlwind of social events with various Facebook friends, both personally known and known only online...  Upon arrival at the anchorage at Fuladosa ( chosen for its proximity to Club Seaborne) where I had already set up plans to meet our friends from Orion AND new friends aboard Mermaid!
Club Seaborne Dock in Fuladosa Bay, Culebra

We enjoyed a rare night out and reunion/meeting for celebrations all around!

If you get the chance, drop by Azul for happy hour and dinner... Their food is top notch and the service is impeccable.  It's the perfect spot to celebrate a birthday or anniversary....

Blue dot where we anchored in Fuladosa, town is to the left

We hadn't anchored in Fuladosa Bay before and the center part is deeper than we like.  But we were able to find a spot near shore in 15-20 ft with wonderful protection from the waves and still enough of a cooling breeze for comfort.  And no mosquitos!

Next on our social calendar was lunch out (I KNOW!!! Two meals in a row!!!) with friends from Rhapsody. They were on a ball in Dakity but we had arranged to have lunch at The Dinghy Dock in town.

We made the move to town and dropped the dink in the water with barely a moment to spare and a comedy of errors that messed up plans for others to meet up with us.  So half of our group went to Zaco's Tacos while the rest of us ate without them at the Dinghy Dock.  This party lasted until about 3:30 in the afternoon and we left it in full swing to go and do some actual chores that couldn't be put off...

The next day I was able to combine chores with a social activity... I picked up Bonnie from Odin The Wanderer and we went off for an adventure in laundry.  It was an adventure because we had only a vague description of where the dock was... and we tried two others before we finally found the right (I think) dock.  And still this involved tying the dinghy to a rickety dock away from the shore and wading with our loads of laundry in knee deep water of indeterminate cleanliness... then a walk up the road to La Surana Apartments which also happen to have a decent coin laundromat in the back! (oh and BTW, the dryer on the far left doesn't work... long story)

Next up... word of a small Dinghy Drift (or raft-up) got around the anchorage and what started off with three or four boats... blossomed into some eight or so... I lost count!

Tyler working on the next video...
This turned out to be a Meeting-of-the-Bloggers with not only the aforementioned boats, but add Sail Pending, Trio Travels and friends from back in Salinas... Ketchy Shuby!  Toss in a couple traveling under the blogosphere radar and we had quite a gathering!

How to throw a Dinghy Drift:  Invite everyone you speak to and ask them to do the same.  At the appointed time and in the general appointed vicinity... bring your choice of beverage and a finger-food snack to pass around... tie your dinghy to the ones who arrived before you and just drift!

When peril threatens, one or two of the dinghies on the perimeter can start up their outboard(s) and gently push the flotilla back upwind.  Repeat.

The rain cloud seen in the photos finally began to sprinkle a steady rain upon us causing the group to scatter in record time.  Some of us (a-hem) left our ports and hatches open... But it was getting dark anyway and time to go.  Besides... we aren't used to this high level of social activity.  But an early night and an entire day of recuperating on Dos Libras and we were ready to go again!

Plans had been made to rent a golf cart from Carlos Jeep Rentals.  They are very nice and will come pick you up from the Public Dock, or anywhere else on the island for that matter... We checked out our golf cart from their office at the airport and were away!

We spent the day with Robin and Mike (Mermaid) and it was just what we needed.  Bruce and Mike had plenty of guy things to discuss while driving and navigating up front...

While Robin and I laughed and enjoyed some girl-silliness in the back seat!

First stop, the cemetery.  I know, I know... what is it with me and the cemeteries??? I don't know.  I just love poking around, looking at the dates on the stones and wondering what the lives were like of these people who called this place home.

A small hawk tried to chase us away... 
What a beautiful and peaceful final resting place this is...

Our next stop was Zoni beach.  We parked the cart and walked down the very steep hill to get there.  Our concern was that the cart wouldn't have enough power to make it back up this hill... but as we were leaving the beach a couple of carts showed up... Guess we could have skipped the walk but we really needed the exercise anyway... And the camaraderie was worth the effort!

We split up, us going right, them going left... and enjoyed some quiet beach time alone with our mates.  We can never get tired of walking the beautiful white sand with the crystal waves pouring liquid turquoise blue at our feet.

We drove around the island exploring the little off-road opportunities that a golf cart can offer...

The Dakity mooring field

By this time we had all worked up an appetite.  We couldn't find the Krusty Krab that was suggested by Sue (Orion)... so we backtracked along the western coast to Flamenco Beach on the north side of the island.  We knew there was a gathering of small vendors there and the beach was already on our agenda...
Instead of a fancy sit-down meal, we ordered empanadillas, pinchos and other Puerto Rican delicacies, along with drinks and we joined the chickens at one of the many outdoor tables provided for our dining pleasure.

You know you're living right when animals are the clean-up crew!

Starting to all look alike yet?  Not to ME!!!
Bruce and I had been to Flamenco beach back in June when friends from home were here on a charter.  But we hadn't seen all of the beach evidently...

Away from the crowds around the point to the west were a couple of old abandoned Navy tanks... One on land back amongst the sea grapes (that's Coccoloba uvifera for you Robin) and the other just off the beach further on.

Robin and Mike S/V Mermaid

We watched the fishermen bring tonight's catch to the restaurant
Eventually we found our way back to town and returned the golf cart.  We were all tired but the day ashore was a treat and we were happy.  Bruce and I left our friends at the Dinghy Dock restaurant after one last drink and retired home to our leftovers...

Bartolo - The "Town Dog"
High winds were forecast to descend upon us soon and we had some things to do... but we couldn't say no to one last lunch with our friends at Heather's Pizza... Mermaid and Rhapsody were leaving in the morning...  Although we will most likely see them both again soon... any reason for a party is fine with us... and we had heard wonderful things about Heather's... all well deserved.

OK, one more meal out... I swear! Then we're grounded!  Pat and Darnell (S/V Island Dreams) arrived today and presented us with the opportunity to try Zaco's Tacos.  We long for Mexican food and have never been able to find this place open, even though this is our FIFTH time to stay in Ensenada Honda...  Tonight is the night!  We joined our friends from Puerto Patillas

We had a lovely dinner with them and even though we have only known them for a couple of weeks, it was like greeting old friends.  I will tell you that throughout our more-than-three-years of cruising... this is the MOST social activity we have encountered.

Bartolo inmortalizad 
The whole time we've been out it seems like we're either too late or too early to wherever the Cruising Crowd happens to be.  This year it looks like we are poised on the cusp of being where the action is... and while it can be exhausting (and expensive) we're having a blast!!!

So what about those winds?  Well, I don't know if they are the "Christmas Winds" that we've heard so much (but found so little online) about...  but they're HERE!

All social activity has come to a complete stop while we hunker down in our respective boats and endure the mid-to-high 20 knot winds with higher gusts.  Our boats are rocking and we are all doing whatever Cruisers do when trapped aboard.  (for those of you in Canada and other colder climes... we are NOT complaining!!!)

Using the wind to blow dust and cat hair off of the bedspread!
For us it's cooking, cleaning, blogging, and surfing the internet...

So now here we are awaiting the arrival of more friends, and wondering where we will end up spending Christmas.

Don't ask us... because we don't know!  But either way... here is just fine and I'm sure once these winds subside... our Dance Card will continue to be full!

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