A few things are still the same as when people voyage the sea in the old days, from the Vikings to Columbus and less in time distant sailors who cruised the oceans before the electronic age.
The sunset in the beginning of a voyage looks the same today as it did thousands of years ago.
The anxiety for deteriorating weather is maybe not the same but similar, we have good weather reports to relay on.
The ragged coast line looked the same
The discovery that the sea turned blue when approaching Puerto Rico was probably the same for more ancient sailors.
The Mediterranean Sea is claimed to be blue, but we just noticed that the sea when leaving Culebra now has similar color.
The joy and anxiety to explore a new country I assume is similar, the need to clearing in, provisioning and finally when all the procedures are finalized, the joy of entering a bar/restaurant emptying the first glass into a dry throat.
Maybe the old sailors also had to share the bar with
Hens, chickens and..
But there are of course some very fundamental differences, we have very good charts, GPS plotters, the latest updated pilot books, so the navigation challenge is very minor, we know what to expect from the well explored areas we are visiting. AND finally the determination which we seeking Wi-Fi or the almost “holy grail” a SIM card with unlimited internet, if that is found we are close to the” Shangri-La”. Connected with the World again! Hallelujah
Then we can rest peacefully in the cockpit knowing that nothing that happens in the world can pass by without our knowledge and concern. But wasn’t that one of the reasons we cast of, to get away from all the this? Politics, intrigues, banks doing money laundry, the North Korean issue etc. Well for us I think our interest in Politics, World economics, etc has increased, I do not know why, maybe we can now put it into another perspective?
Old people often complain on young people spending to much time in front of the computer or mobile phone, but I am rather convinced old “grown up” people are as addicted to the “net” as the young are. I am convinced grey-haired people are in majority among the one postings on Facebook.
But back to cruising, from St Martin we set course towards Culebra, which we visited not long time ago. This time we knew we must clear in which we did not do last time thus last time we were “illegal immigrants”. The boarder control officer in St Croix, where we cleared in to USVI answered on a direct question, do we need to clear in to Spanish Virgin Island or Puerto Rico or can we just sail over there? No problem now you are on US territory so no further need to clear in. Thus, we’d cruised the Spanish Virgin Island without clearing in last time. But this time we did it right, a walk to the airport on Culebra, the boarder control officer had to take a break in his lunch to service us, but everything went smooth.
Culebra is a very charming place not to be missed
I do not think they take things that serious, or?
As I wrote earlier that the water when leaving Culebra became blue, like it is in “The Med” It gave us a nice feeling of comfort and welcoming. The first overnight stop was
Before we headed to Bahia de Fajardo where we anchored outside
Isla Marina, with a marina and a large condominium on a small Island
The sight on the main land was also residential areas. No good dingy dock was to be found on the mainland, so we took the dingy to the Island Marina
For 5 USD a person we could park our dingy and take the Island water taxi for free over to the main land, not a bad deal.
On the Water Taxi we got in contact with an American couple who had a house in the neighborhood, they offered us a ride to the shopping area, where the very much sought after Sim card could be bought. The walk back was just over an hour so good exercise that day.
The area we walked was not very attractive, but in general US urban areas are seldom good for walkers, but better for cars.
Back at the Key and the Water Taxi, we could again see the damage from the hurricane 2017
Not only the Sim card, we also got a courtesy flag for Puerto Rico
One find for us very strange root crops in the grocery stores
but so fare we have been to coward to dare to try them, but maybe later we will find the courage.
Salinas was a very nice stop, very different to approach compared to the old days as we have very good electronic charts to helping us to navigate the very shallow bay of Salinas
The lowest draft we saw was 2,5 meters so about 40 cm margin, enough as it was very in shelter, but it was falling tide.
Again the 2017 hurricane damage was immediately visible
The Marina had suffered damages
But the Sunday party was at full blast with loud live music and dancing people
We took a walk into the village and again not very walking friendly, and more evidence of the hurricane. Hurricane Irma made the whole of Puerto Rico out of electrical power, Puerto Rico was badly hurt.
Many houses in need of a lot of TLC
But the municipality house and the market were in very good condition
As well as the town square
Fuel is very cheap from an European perspective
We also found this very beautiful flower, do not know the name or what kind of plant it is
For the one with good eyes one can se that the bush has large pea pods
If one is not careful the nature takes back initiative
Soon this electrical “installation” will be grown over, not strange, warm climate and rain the best conditions for plant growth.
An other interesting thing with Salinas is the Manatee, a mammal that lives in the water like a sea lion
They are an endangered spice, with less than 700 in Puerto Rico and ca 4500 in Florida (want to know more about Manatee click on the link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puerto_Rico_Manatee_Conservation_Center ). One evening we heard a snort and a splash, we quickly looked out and in the light from a flash light we saw a Manatee dive in under our boat, In the morning when leaving Salinas we could see one in the distance as well.
After Salinas we go further west ….