RETURN TO VIEQUES - 37 YEARS LATER
POSITION N18:08.04 W065:18.03
GREEN BEACH, VIEQUES, SPANISH VIRGINS.
Thursday 9 April 2015 LEAVING PUERTA RICO FOR THE SPANISH VIRGINS
VIEQUEZ Island is only 12 miles east of Puerto Rico, so a couple of long tacks and we were there at GREEN BEACH on the west coast, a delightful stretch of sand sheltered from wind and swell. First there, we were soon joined by four other cruisers, one of which provided the entertainment when the big fat guy tried to climb back onto the swimming platform on the back of his boat. Those little fat hands were just not strong enough to hold such a vast bulk, and back he went with tsunami splashes several times.
Friday, 10 April 2015 MORE CATAMARAN TROUBLE
BAHIA SALINA DEL SUR, VIEQUES, SPANISH VIRGINS.
We sail, yes SAIL the length of VIEQUES from GREEN BEACH to BAHIA ICACOS – recommended anchorage by Van SANT – up the North coast in very strong conditions, tacking all the way, only to find the anchorage recommended by him closed off with floating barriers. Nuts! So, having worked our way into the shallow entrance between two dodgy shoal areas, it was about turn and skedaddle. The only alternative at this end of the day was to continue on around the east end of VIEQUEZ and anchor on the other side in the SALINAS DEL SUR anchorage. This we did, with pretty big seas around the headland before turning downwind at last for the last couple of miles to this ex-US Range for fixed wing aircraft - on the way being overtaken rather too close by a large catamaran coming down fast from the North, which thoroughly pissed me off as it prevented me from downwind tacking to port, leading to an unwanted jibe. Luckily for him he went on whilst Pinball snuck into the empty bay and anchored at last – a long hard day for all.
Next day I called a halt as the winds were forecast 25kts with 9’ swell, whilst Stu on his swim found a couple of unexploded rockets on the east side, which another catamaran – WONDERLAND – later anchored right on top of. This was all very exciting and speculation was rife. Sure enough, when they tried to up-anchor, there was a terrific clunk which even I heard down in the cabin, loud as anything.
‘What was THAT?’ I shouted up. No one quite knew.
WONDERLAND was now drifting downwind towards Pinball, whilst several shirtless macho males peered over the bows.
‘Right, start the engine and get a couple of fenders ready. I’ll get the boathooks out’ It looked like we could be in for a collision. The collision didn’t happen, they drifted off to one side, then arrested their drift with a spare anchor. Later the Skipper motored over to tell us that the swivel on their anchor had parted, which sounded like the anchor had got caught on something! Must have been a tank!
Next day, with winds forecast to ease a little, we were off due North to the Island of CULEBRA in the Spanish Virgins, a short hop of 12 miles on a reach for once. Opted to use the smallish heavy weather staysail instead of the genoa – which was looking increasingly tatty from a ripped solar strip on the trailing edge. Like its Skipper it was showing its age. Half the size of the genoa, it would give us a gentler if a little slower ride, made up in part by being a crisp new sail and hence more efficient.
Pic: What a veggie crew buys