Saturday, March 21, 2020

Isla Culebra

Isla Culebra, Puerto Rico


Ensenada Honda, Culebra

After a nice quiet sail up from Vieques we passed through the narrow entrance to another Ensenada Honda. This is doubly confusing because the two adjacent islands both have large enclosed bays called Ensenada Honda and the Spanish word honda means waves and both bays are well protected from the winds and therefore have little or no waves. The one on Culebra is also quite shallow and extends more than a mile but has houses on all sides and the town of Dewey, known locally simply as Culebra, is located in the northwest corner. 
Looking across Ensenada Honda at Dewey, the canal is in the center of the photo.
The town is set on a narrow strip of land beside a shallow small mangrove lagoon that has been dredged to form canals at both ends joining Ensenada Honda to the west coast of Culebra where the foot passenger ferry from Puerto Rico docks. On the Ensenada Honda end a draw bridge was erected that looks quite impressive but actually has only been raised once since it was built many years ago. The town has two grocery stores with a third on the north edge of town near the small airport. There are a number of bars and restaurants but the two we frequented were 
Our view of the Dinghy Dock Pub from the anchoage

The Dinghy Dock that fronts on Ensenada Honda and Momacita’s that is on the canal. Both had some good menu items but more importantly both had wifi.

The anchorage was busy with a regular turnover of boats heading east and west. Most are cruisers on their own boats but Fajardo, on the east end of Puerto Rico, is developing a charter fleet so we did see several of them anchoring close. They were generally very friendly and full of questions about Culebra and the cruising life in general.
Mamacita's with the canal and bridge into the anchorage.

Culebra is famous for having Flamingo beach that is frequently on lists of the world’s best beaches and draws a lot of tourists to its many small guest houses and bungalows. We had an enjoyable walk up past the airport half way to the beach when a lovely young Spanish couple in their rented golf cart offered us a lift. After a brief but enjoyable visit they dropped us at the Flamingo Bay Guest Cottages. We immediately met another couple from Maine who were staying in one of the cottages. They have returned to the Cottages for several years and were also very interesting and well-travelled in the Caribbean.It is fun meeting happy people.

Culebra is equally famous for having very clear water and many extraordinary snorkelling locations most notably at Isla Culebrita on the east side and Tamarind Beach on the west side. We were fortunate enough to see a turtle when we took our dinghy through the canal on a snorkelling trip to Tamarind.
The 10' high wooden monkey that welcomes the ferry passengers to Culera.
He is at the west end of the canal through to the anchorage.
The weekends are busy at Culebra when the Puerto Rican sport fishing fleet, locally known as the Puerto Rican Navy, arrives from Fajardo and San Juan. The bay is really colourful on a Saturday night as many of the fleet have underwater coloured LED lights, blue the predominant colour of choice. Surprisingly, as with other Puerto Rican anchorages, Culebra’s night life ended early and by comparison to Cuba, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic, very quiet.

Our Spring break visit in the British Virgin Islands from family was drawing close so we prepared to weighed anchor and set course for the US Virgin Islands. First, as instructed in the cruising guide books and by several cruising friends, we gathered our papers and walked to the airport to file our departure and to receive the zarpe to enter St Thomas. We had questioned the need for this because both locations are under the control of the US but we were assured for various reasons the beurocracy demanded it. Hmm, we do not know if it was a recent change but Puerto Rican officials did not need to see us but assured us St Thomas officials would. Just another unnecessary walk on a hot day while we were preparing to leave. Life is good and we are smiling.

No comments:

Post a Comment