Monday, 13 February 2012

Spanish Virgin Islands–with guests

After a long haul east along the south coast of Puerto Rico, it was nice to have a goal of meeting some visitors and exploring the Spanish Virgin Islands with them. Even nicer was the fact that it was my Mum coming to stay, egged on and accompanied by Sally.


After much deliberating and planning we decided to meet the guests in a bay that was not in the cruising guide, just round the corner from Las Croabas. A large bay protected by a reef with lots of turquois water. The car hire firm delivered our car and off we went to the super market to fill the cupboards, then once that was all packed away a quick trip to the airport.



LasCroabasOn our return with the guests we realised why not so many yachts anchor in our bay, a northerly swell was hitting us side on making the boat roll terribly, and the guests a bit Ill. Not a good start. Not a good nights sleep for the skipper.



In the morning the gap out of the reef was a lot smaller than when we came in, and with waves breaking all around we were very relieved to be out in open water.


P1010397In our first nights stop we found some great snorkelling, world class according to the guide book. Sally found a conch that was big enough to be eaten, so we set about the long process of making chowder.






Firstly making a hole in the top to cut through its ‘tail’ which it attaches to the inside of the shell, being sure to hold onto its claw.







P1010407If its done right eventually you can pull out the large lump of fleshy slime ready to be skinned and chopped up and put into you favourite dish.

You are also lucky enough to be left with a very nice shell.













On our second day we were lucky enough to catch a small tuna, small but plenty enough for steaks for 4. After much fighting he was subdued by firing cheap rum into his gills with a water pistol, then when a bit calmer we chopped off his head, just to make sure.




The tuna was saved for a feast at our beach BBQ, along with coconuts, baked spuds and marshmallows.






P1010554Whilst Sally seemed to spend her time in the water cataloguing the fish in the area, mum spent her time knitting, gifting Di with a rather fine hat.



We had been advised by our friends on Vontana that we must visit the beautiful and quiet bay of tortuga on the north side of Cubrilita. When we arrived it seemed that half of Puerto Rico had the same idea as it was a bank holiday weekend. The walk to the top of the island was much more peaceful with a fine view of the chaos below.





We also swam in the magical phosphorescent waters of Viaques, drank painkiller cocktails at sunset and ventured up the mangrove rivers of Las Croabas. We hiked in the rain forest of Yunque. Managing to fit in a couple of meals out and a couple of days lazing about doing even less than normal, we managed to pack in a lot to a 10 day trip.





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