In Fajardo, we stayed in the marina for two nights to fill our water tanks and welcome Thomas’ parents aboard. We had made great use of their car, searching high and low for a place to fill up our gas tanks. We were running out of cooking gas and found out that its very difficult to get our European gas bottles filled in the USA. In the end we had to buy a big new American propane bottle (in Europe we use butane) and a new regulator plus a new gas hose. The smallest American bottle didn’t fit in our gas locker (which fits THREE European bottles) so we had to fix it in the cockpit. The placing is a bit suboptimal but at least we’ve got cooking gas for months now..
When the boat was filled up with gas, water and food we set sail for a vacation within a vacation on Culebra. This is one of the Spanish Virgin Islands, which they are called now. Only a few decades ago, these islands were known as US military practice targets.. The islands are lined with white sand beaches, palm trees and just general paradise. We sailed a few hours across the Virgin Passage, where we saw two humpback whales. They were turning in circles, flapping with their fins and tails on the water. Such an amazing sight, and I was so happy they stayed far away from the boat! In spring, they migrate to the banks of Turks and Caicos (which is just north of Puerto Rico) for their mating season.
We dropped anchor deep in the Ensenada Honda, a deep bay in the center of the island. We anchored quite close to the city of Culebra, so it was a short dinghy ride ashore. It is such a small island that there aren’t any major car rentals, just golf carts. We got in line and were lucky to get one of the very last ones, as it was easter weekend the island was full of people.
We drove to the Playa Flamenco, which is claimed to be one of the most beautiful beaches of the world (go there and decide for yourself!). We also explored some of the other roads on the island, and found a spot that would be great for snorkelling, where we returned the next day. This beach was a bit less crowded, and there were dozens of chicken walking around.
After a few relaxing days, we returned the golf cart (it would be great to have an electric fold-up version of it for a boat!) and sailed back to Fajardo. Thomas and I continued straight to Ponce on the south-east, which was an overnight sail. Thomas’ parents had a hotel booked there and went by car.