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Puerto Rico & Spanish VI - colour and charm

We were stamped into the USA! After the busy anchorages of the BVI the US Virgin Islands, especially St John, were a surprising & welcome change. After successfully checking in we went to the quirky small village of Cruz Bay (capital of St John island) and enjoyed a great-tasting American Burger.

With a good swell emerging out at sea St John provided us with a few restful nights in the very sheltered “Francis Bay” anchorage. We bumped into our very hospitable friends Richard and Alison who cooked up a great lasagne while we all sang along to the film Mama Mia 2. This resulted in two weeks of torment on the boat as for days we sailed and one of us would start humming – Andante, Fernano, Super Trooper … the whole repertoire would not erase itself from the forefront of our minds….-ahhhh it just sticks in your head.

St John offered us quiet coves, a few walks ashore on lovely beaches, a walk to a deserted sugar plantation and a most relaxing evening back in the main village listing to a wonderful lady with her guitar singing at the Cruz Bay bar. St

Thomas and Charlotte Amilie was an action stop, with fuel loaded amongst the cruise ships, phone sim cards purchased, shopping loaded, and of course the Customs clearing out process completed we set off for Culebra – an island off Puerto Rico and part of the Spanish Virgin Islands.

What a treat - we rocked up at a tiny colourful village of Luguna on the Isle of Culebra and spent an hour on the phone with CPB (Customs and Boarder control) explaining what we were up to. They were so polite, but it required a lot of questions to be answered and a walk to the local airport where we were granted a cruising permit and dutifully stamped in to the country. We enjoyed the stroll back to a lovely yachty type bar at the small harbour and a calm anchorage. The highlight of Culebra was a night at Flamingo beach – anchored off the beautiful palm lined beach with crystal clear waters we had the place to ourselves. –

Time for lots of swimming to the beach and jumping off the boat where Brent mastered swinging from the halyards in fine style.

Next – the Isle of Vieques – a cracking sail, but what a rolly anchorage we landed in. After a sleepless night in Sun Bay there was no argument from the crew to up anchor early and move to the next bay off the tiny village of Esperanza tucked in behind the small island of Cayo Real - perfect and what a treat we had that day.

We went horse riding and it was truly magical. We went on a group ride at 4pm and after trekking up into the hills behind Esperanza we found ourselves riding along the beach splashing through the waves riding into the sunset. The horses were immaculately well behaved and those cowboy saddles were extremely comfortable – Thank you Esperanza riding company.

This was Puerto Rico and it just got better and better – we broke up the longish sail to San Juan with a night in the lovely anchorage off the Isle of Palamainos.

When we arrived half of Fajardo (on mainland Puerto Rico) seemed to have arrived for a boat party on Sunday afternoon. Apparently it is a regular occurrence! The music was deafening, very vibrant and there were a lot of people just having fun. The best bit, with the coastguard arriving just off the bay they all left by 7pm and we had the place to ourselves.

The following day we cruised majestically into San Juan Harbour – just spectacular giving way to the cruise ship as we slid past the impressive old fort and into the designated anchoring spot -which was free! Anchored right in the centre of San Juan – enabling us to explore the old town – this was very cool indeed.

We did the sights of San Juan, even hired a car for the day to explore the North and East of the island – a grand day out. Emma and Brent also found the night life. – party party.

Next stop – a four day sail to Cuba…..