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Old 18-01-2009, 17:50   #1
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Inquiry About Spanish Virgin Islands

This was a response I made to someone who asked be about my trip to
the SVI in December. I thought I would post it on this website in case
it would be helpful to anyone.

Hello Larry,

I read with interest of your pre-trip posts to the cruisers
forums seeking infromation about Culebra
and Vieques. Curious if I could pick your brain briefly, since
my wife and I pick up a charter out
of Fajardo, PR in mid-March. We plan to travel clockwise from
Fajardo to Culebra and Vieques over
the course of 5 days.

I've bought a few of the cruising guides but wanted to know if
you had found any relaible GPS
waypoints for approaches to key anchorages in the SVI's. Also
trying to find a nice spot between the
PR mainland and Culebra to overnight.

Hope your trip was a good one, and thanks in advance.

With best wishes,


Hi Mark,

My wife Eileen and I had a great two week trip. Had lots of
wind (15 to 30 kts)
and good sized waves (up to 14 ft). We did not get to any of
the islands between
Culebra and Fajardo because we got winded in a couple of days in
Culebra. Here is
what we did do in the SVI.

Sailed from Jost Van Dyke (BVI) to Dakity Harbor, where we
moored overnight. Had
a wild dingy ride into Dewey to eat and do customs the next
morning, then sailed to
Luis Pena to our favorate anchorage on the south west end.
There was too much wind
and swell to be comfortable, so sailed to Bahia Tamarindo on the
west side of Culebra.
It was very comfortable, had great snorkling, and a beautiful
beach. The only way to
get to this beach is a 1/2 hour walk, so not alot of people and
they were all gone by 4pm.
We spent 3 nights moored there due to the wind and the beautiful
location. There was
one other boat there. The 1/2 hour walk takes you to Flamenco
beach, one of the prettiest
beaches I have ever seen. Dewey was a nice smooth 15 minute
dingy ride from there.

We then sailed around the east end of Viaques and moored off the
west side of Chiva island.
It was nice enough we stayed 2 nights. Snorkling was OK off our
side of the island. Our
next stop was Esperanza, where we enjoyed the town, the people
and the party. We
took a trip to the Mosquito Bio bay.
This would be a "don't miss" item to me. I have to believe that
it will be destroyed one
day by some "stupid human trick". It was a Sunday and all the
locals drove or rode their
horses into town and partied until about 9 pm. We moored at the
north west end of Cayo Real.
If you stay there and use the dingy dock, the islanders want you
to tie up on the west side
of the dock close to shore, because fishing boats also use this
dock. Right off the dock is
Blue Carib, where we took the Bio bay trip.

Monday we motored into the wind around the east end of the
Viaques and then sailed back to
Culebra, where we moored in Bahia Almodovar. This is another
very pretty anchorage. From
there we motored around the north side of Culebrita til we got
into the lee of St. Thomas,
then sailed to St, Johns.

The wind, waves, and swell prevented us from going to several of
the places I had wanted to
visit. I believe you may not have this problem because of the
time of year you are going. I
would love go go back once more before this area gets deveolped,
so I would love to hear about
your trip after you go. I am also interested in where you
chartered from and how your boat was.
I could not find a charter company in PR.

As far as GPS, I did use a couple waypoints to mark a couple
reefs I wanted to avoid and to line
up a couple of aproaches to anchorages. All were accurate and
useful. They came from the
2003-2004 cruising guide the the Virgin Islands by Nancy and
Simon Scott. The current edition of
this book no longer contains a section on the SVI. If you would
like me to, I'll mail it to you if
you will mail it back to me after your trip.

I don't think I anchored at all in the SVI. There were free
mooring balls everywhere I went.
Where do you guys live. We are in Northwest Michigan and sail
Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.

Looking forward to hearing back from you,

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Old 22-01-2009, 17:00   #2
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Thanks Larry,

We are on our way there (slowly, currently in Bequia). We have the current Virgin Islands by Nancy and Simon Scott and you are right, no info on the SVI. Is there another guide?

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Old 23-01-2009, 06:43   #3
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The only one I'm aware of is Don Street's guide to PR, Spanish & US & British Virgin Islands. It's out of date, but still for sale, and includes sailing directions to get into some very out-of-the-way and beautiful anchorages.
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Old 25-01-2009, 19:03   #4
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Besides Street, the Stephen Pavlidis --A Cruising Guide to the Virgin Islands-- has a section on the Spanish VIs.

we had planned on going in Dec too but due to some unforseen events, thank you Continental airlines, didn't make it over there.

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Old 25-01-2009, 19:41   #5
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Originally Posted by NW Craig View Post
Besides Street, the Stephen Pavlidis --A Cruising Guide to the Virgin Islands-- has a section on the Spanish VIs.

we had planned on going in Dec too but due to some unforseen events, thank you Continental airlines, didn't make it over there.

Pavlidis has some good info on the SVI's in his Puerto Rico cruising guide as well. A full chapter, I believe. Plenty of excellent nav info, including GPS waypoints. I may have an extra copy, if anyone wants to buy one. Just send me a PM.
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Old 03-02-2009, 19:39   #6
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Just read an article in October 08 water sailing">Blue Water Sailing..Exploring the Spanish Virgin Islands, more of a cruising log, but some interesting information.. one of the places I would like to cruise.
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Old 15-03-2011, 20:17   #7
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Re: Inquiry about Spanish Virgin Islands

I see that there hasn't been any activity on this thread in a while but thought I'd chip in anyways...

We sailed the SVI in November of 2010 for 10 days starting out of St. Thomas where we keep our boat in charter. The winds and swell were quite high as we started out so the crossing over to Culebra was pretty quick.

Briefly, we started off with visits to Culebra (Ensenada Honda) to check in with customs and enjoy the town, and then we headed over to Luis Pena the next day. Then we set off for the western end of Vieques where we rounded the reef at 2-fathom bridge and pulled into Green Bay. The beach there is phenomenal and there was only one other boat in sight so we had our pick of free mooring balls. In fact the whole time we were in the SVI we picked up free mooring balls, all of which were in very good shape. After Green Bay we headed round to Esperanza where we actually stopped in Sun Bay and then also had a night on a ball just outside Mosquito Bay where we were able to easily take our dinghy in to view the night-show (absolutely magical.) The winds, current and swell were against us for the beat eastward up the south shore so we motored but once we rounded the eastern tip of the island the sail back up to Culebra was fantastic. This time at Culebra we picked up a ball on the west shore right off the town, near the ferry dock. Finally we headed around the north shore of Culebra for a bit of a wild ride to Culebrita where we spent a night followed by a hike up to the lighthouse and over to the jacuzzi pools. The beat back to St. Thomas took about 4 hours but we actually managed to sail most of the way without resorting to motoring.

A couple of pointers - there is nowhere very easy to fuel up or fill your water tanks so be conservative or take additional supplies. As I mentioned above the mooring balls were ample (in November) and free (in 2010). Even though we were there over the Thanksgiving weekend and there were lots of boats over from Puerto Rico, it never felt crowded like in the BVIs and the islands are really undeveloped, as in, there is nothing there in some places.

In addition to the cruising guides already mentioned (we have the older copy of the Virgin Islands guide that includes the SVI) we found Don Street's notations on the back of the Imray chart really useful, especially regarding reefs and harbour entrances.

Can't wait to get back - these islands are wonderful.

If you want more details, check out our blog and click on the tag in the cloud for Spanish Virgin Islands: s/v Mowzer
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