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Old 24-10-2011, 09:00   #1
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Vieques and Culebra

I'm picking up a week-long charter in Red Hook St. Thomas next month and plan to visit Culebra and Vieques. I plan on visiting Culebrita, Dewey and Esperanza. I'll be on Vieques for the New Moon and will see the Bio Bay then. Any suggested itineraries? Also, I have some specific questions:

I noticed that there are still some restricted areas (not the "danger area" on the east) along the southern coast of Vieques (including the Bio Bay). I read the regulations and these are true no-go areas, even for boat traffic. I thought that other than clean up the Navy was gone. Are these still in force?

I've also seen some recent posts about theft of dinghy motors on Vieques. I will have a cable, but is sounds like they cut the cables. It's really impractical to have someone watch the dinghy all the time. Is that really needed?

Finally, we are scuba divers and will have all of our own gear. We will go out once or twice with local dive operators, but are also interested in diving on our own. Suggestions?
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Old 25-10-2011, 18:40   #2
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Re: Vieques and Culebra

Go to TTOL's (travel talk on line) forum. There is a Puerto Rico/SVI forum and scroll down to page 2 or 3 (can't remember) and you'll see a couple threads regarding trip reports and info. Enjoy!
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Old 25-10-2011, 20:54   #3
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Re: Vieques and Culebra

Culebrita is a must-do. Anchor west of the island and then hike to the AWESOME beach on the north side. The old lighthouse is a cool hike too. If the swell is down you might even get lucky enough to go anchor off that fabulous horseshoe beach.

On Culebra, Flamenco Beach is great if you're into surfing/boogie boarding/body surfing. Beware though, the waves are pretty strong.

On Vieques, you already know about Bio-bay. If you can get a moonless or cloudy night, it'll blow you away.

As far as sailing on the east side of Vieques, I'm pretty sure you can do it (I know folks who have) but check with the charter company.

On Culebra, there are a bunch of cool anchorages. Feel free to explore. If you're going to be in Dewey, anchor in Ensenada Honda.

Have fun, and maybe you'll see us there. Bojangles is leaving from NY on Nov 5 and we would hope to land in Culebra by the 14th or 15th. Then we'll be there again over Christmas.

Cheers,
Colin
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Old 26-10-2011, 05:10   #4
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Re: Vieques and Culebra

Challa,

There are several threads in the CF archives on the Spanish Virgins that have a lot of good info in them. Click on the link in my sig line and do a custom Google search and you'll find them.
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Old 13-11-2011, 01:36   #5
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Re: Vieques and Culebra

I am with BoJanglesIV on the Bio-bay. Go on a night with a new moon not a full moon. We anchored in Ensenada Sombe, dinggy into the beach south of the swimming area and there is a dirt road that will take you back to Mosquito Bay. It truly is amazing on a moonless night!
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Old 13-11-2011, 04:41   #6
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Re: Vieques and Culebra

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Chris W.
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Old 13-11-2011, 13:59   #7
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Re: Vieques and Culebra

For those who contemplate hiking to lighthouse on Culebrita: Do NOT do this in anything other than LONG PANTS and good shoes with socks. The briars will eat your legs up.
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Old 13-11-2011, 14:52   #8
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Re: Vieques and Culebra

Quote:
Originally Posted by bstreep View Post
For those who contemplate hiking to lighthouse on Culebrita: Do NOT do this in anything other than LONG PANTS and good shoes with socks. The briars will eat your legs up.
Is this new info from experience this year? We hiked to it (in shorts and sandals) in March 2010 and didn't have any problems with briars. Might have overgrown since then.

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Old 16-11-2011, 14:33   #9
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Re: Vieques and Culebra

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Originally Posted by colemj View Post
Is this new info from experience this year? We hiked to it (in shorts and sandals) in March 2010 and didn't have any problems with briars. Might have overgrown since then.

Mark
Both old and new - but not as recent as March 2010. Last folks I heard of had the problem about 2-1/2 years ago. This might be a seasonal/rainfall thing?
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Old 16-11-2011, 16:30   #10
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We are planning on going early next week, and if we do the hike up to the lighthouse, I'll report back..
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Old 29-11-2011, 20:12   #11
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We ended up hiking across the island, but didn't do the lighthouse. Although we were fine in shorts and sandals, the path going up to the lighthouse was narrower. Might be fine without, but I would consider some long pants, if you have them handy. Culebrita was great!
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Old 30-11-2011, 10:09   #12
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Re: Vieques and Culebra

We just got back from our trip to the SVIs so I thought I would provide a quick update to this thread. We used Island Yachts in Red Hook, St. Thomas and took an Island Packet 4400. I highly recommend them and the boat. For most of the week we had 15-22kt winds and the boat was a rock. It moved great, hitting its sweet spot around 12 kts and I never felt a need to shorten sail even in the lower 20s with some stronger gusts. It was also very comfortable and well kept, especially for a 4 year old charter boat. Red Hook Dive Center is at the same marina and we got tanks and weights from them.
The first day we did a short hop from Red Hook to Buck Island. We took a mooring ball on the west side above the Cartanza wreck. It was a dive boat ball (red), but the dive shop said it was okay to use them. This is a really nice spot. The wreck is in about 40 ft of water and there are lots of turtles, rays and friendly fish that are obviously fed. We liked it so much we stayed the night – had the place to ourselves.
The next day we had a fast reach in 15-20kts around the north end of Culebrita. We went to the anchorage on the north side, which was absolutely gorgeous. The north swells, however, convinced us to go around to the west side. We grabbed a mooring ball and spent the afternoon snorkeling and diving. The reef was mostly dead in the shallows and not that interesting in the deeper areas. The anchorage was beautiful and we had it to ourselves. We did not hike to the lighthouse – next time.
We next went around into Ensenada Honda and spent two nights anchored near Cayo Pirata. It’s a good anchorage, but be careful not to foul your ground tackle as many of the boats are obviously there long-term and have multiple anchors out. The Dinghy Dock was marginal, Mamacita’s was very good, but our favorite was Zaco’s Tacos. They supposedly close at 6 pm (odd!), but we showed up around 7 and stayed until 9. Excellent food and drink – try the ginger mojito. Flamenco Beach was worthwhile and interesting to see the old tanks used for target practice by the military. We did a dive through the cut on the south end of Cayo Luis Pena. Fantastic soft corals and lots of life, including a napping nurse shark, once we got to about 25 ft. Air fills are available at Culebra Divers.
Another fast reach down to Vieques in 20+ kts, and then a run over to Esperanza. No pole on the boat so the crew got a good workout trimming. We anchored away from the town near the little island thinking that it would be calm with the north swells. Surprisingly, it was a little rolly and I would probably go a little closer in next time. The town is really cute – lots of bars and even a “yacht club.” We ate at Banana’s, which is obviously popular, but was also very good. It was a new moon and we did the biobay. It was really amazing, though we did not see any sharks or rays as we were hoping.
Then it was time to start paying for all the wonderful reaching. It was a beat all the way back to the east end of Vieques and then a reach back to the west side of Culebra. We took a mooring ball just north of the cut and enjoyed a quiet Thanksgiving dinner with only one boat at the other end of the anchorage. The next day it was a slow beat back to St. Thomas -- we ended up getting a pretty good look at St. Croix before tacking back. A header on starboard tack pushed us back towards Savana Island and forced us to crank up the engine so we could be bedded down before dark. We went back to Buck Island and got in a quick dive with the resident spotted eagle ray and the aggressively friendly yellow tail snappers. We returned the boat to Red Hook the next morning. Very sad. I am already planning my return.
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