Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Ah, Vieques. Fun!

Running the genoa lines outside the life lines to an aft pulley, then back to the winch
Our destination this morning is Vieques, a part of the Spanish Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.  This is another island we missed on the way south in our haste to cross over to the USVIs.  This mornings forecast is for "haze due to Saharan dust".  (There's something we don't see in Missouri!)

The winds are behind us, which gives us a better ride, but makes it trickier to trim the sails.  The Captain uses a technique of running the sheets outside the lifelines to keep us sailing (and avoiding a jibe), even with the wind on our stern (monohulls would get out a whisker pole at this point, but most catamarans don't use whisker poles).

The genoa rides a little higher like a spinnaker

Still sailing inside 120 degrees!
We usually have a destination in mind, but this time we don't decided until we got close.  Our choices are a protected harbor that may or may not be closed for ammunition cleanup, a less protected and deeper harbor, or town with poor holding but mooring balls and a history of dinghy theft.  A quick phone call confirms mooring ball #1 is available so we decide on the well-maintained moorings in Esparanza, Vieques (PR), coincidentally right next to Dos Libras!  The bad news:  the person who greets us tells us about another rash of dinghy thefts here last week (Police say out-of-towners, probably St. Lucia or St. Croix.  Whaaaaa?)  Bummer.  Really wanted to go into town for dinner.

Ahhhhh.  Back in Puerto Rico, on a Friday.  (Whoops!)  They are PASSIONATE about their music and like it LOUD, preferably in a bar close to the beach!  I'm intrigued.  The Captain is not.  He thought we'd be exempt on this tiny island.  Negative.  The live band starts after we go to bed and lasts until sometime between 2-3 am.  (think Jennifer Lopez, "Let's Get Loud")

Stats:  Total time 9:33, avg speed 5.3 kts, total mileage 50.5.  Motor sail with genoa, 1 engine 50%.

Practicing his technique before I get in
Day 2:  Dos Libras and their friends depart.  A charter boat arrives with a family.  After two failed attempts at anchoring, they caught a mooring ball (with some help) on the 6th try.  "Dad, next year can we go skiing?"  Wow.

Since our mooring ball is so close to the dinghy dock, we decided to try rowing in.  It's harder than it looks.  We started out going in circles (Both of us).  "Tell me which way to go."  {Pause}  "My left.  I mean, the dinghies starboard."  {Pause}.  "We're both facing the same way!"  "Oh, yeah."

Still need some more practice. (And yes, I tried it.  Didn't make it to the boat.  The Boss had to take over so we didn't get blown out to sea.  I'll try again on a calmer day.  Good shoulder workout, though!).

On the way back, I am scolded for letting him paddle right up between the hulls.  "Why didn't you tell me we were here?"  "Still trying to grab a hold of something!"  LOL.  Stand by neighbors.  Another exhibit of our excellent seamanship planned for tomorrow!  Some days you watch the show.  Some days you are the show!  #cruiserslife #rowing #lookatthoseidiots

Esparanza malecone

El Blok, unique and decorative hurricane shutters

Steel hulled fixer upper opportunity.  It's stripped but The Captain thinks it would float!

Esparanza, Vieques traffic

Puerto Rican Pateles
Day 3:  We stop at Duffy's Restaurant in search of internet and end up having Pasteles:  A traditional Christmas preparation of mashed root vegetables and pumpkin wrapped in banana leaf and steamed.  Chicken or pork.  Served with rice, beans and tostones (and the official sauce of Puerto Rico--ketchup & mayo mixed together).  Excellent.  Highly recommend!

Our forward inertia is gone.  It feels nice.  We sat in St Croix for two weeks.  We enjoyed the island, or maybe it was enjoyable not having to "be" anywhere.  We sailed over to Esperanza, Vieques and paid for 2 nights.  Stayed 3.  Not in a hurry to leave.  Not feeling very motivated.  Relaxing.  Reading.  Instead of grocery shopping & lugging water, we're cleaning out the provisions and burning the water tanks down for haul out.  ("Whooooo wants another can of beeeeets for lunch?!")  I'm sure we'll get stressed when we get to our haul out marina.  Maybe.

Kickin back on the hardtop

It's time to check out more of the island.   I took the day off.  I did a "Driving Miss Daisy" while The Captain did the 7 miles around to Green Beach, Vieques.  (That's me sitting on the hard top taking pictures while he decides which stretch of beach he likes best...)

Anchored off of Green Beach with Dos Libras

Stats:  Total time 1:36, avg speed 5.0 kts, total mileage 8.0.  Motored.

A view from our porch

A view of the sunset over mainland PR
After naps, I coax The Captain in for a snorkel from the boat to a reef on the beach followed by sundowners with Dos Libras on Odin.  ("When you guys went by, you're heels were in perfect unison.  How do you do that?" LOL).   It's hard to believe we haven't chatted in person since Georgetown, Bahamas?!

FaceBook post:  "What a beautiful evening.  The sound of crickets coming from shore.  Not a single light visible off the bow, except the glow of Dos Libras anchor light.  The stars are brilliant.  The glow of mainland Puerto Rico & San Juan off the stern."

Day 2 was a belly scrub for Odin.  He's getting a power wash when we haul out, but The Captain said to get the barnacles off.  There's a LOT of barnacles!  

Day 3:  Some storms skirted us last evening and then it rained the most of the night.  Dos Libras sails off their anchor and waves on their way by.  Gonna be another lazy day of reading and staring off at the beach, I think.  

Dos Libras photo of Odin as we arrive at Green Beach, Vieques

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