SailNet Community banner

1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,000 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
We are contemplating a sail next spring out of St. Thomas to the Spanish Virgin Islands of Culebra and Vieques. Has anyone made this trip? It looks like a great sail to the islands but coming back to Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas could be hard on the nose. Possibly leaving for St. Thomas out of Vieques, having a bit more north in the sail, may make it more of a close reach. Are there customs offices on these Islands? Was it an enjoyable destination? Thanks for any feedback..Popye
 

·
Salty Dog
Joined
·
120 Posts
We took a run down to the SVI's this last February on a buddy's Isand Spirit 37 cat, S/V Sanctuary.

Great sail down, caught a bunch of fish (released) pulled into the back side of Rio Honda Harbor in Culebra, checked into customs via cell phone, had a great dinner at Mamacitas, then off to Culebrita and Viques, picked some provisons up at Dewey, very big latin influence, feelt like Mexico.
The Village Idiot greeted us and chased us and our dink off the fishing complex dock, quite an experience! We put hher on the beach instead!

We sailed back to STT in 20-25 knot winds and steep 6'+ seas, all to weather, logged about 70 miles on the GPS, left around 9:00 in the morning and arrived right at sunset, about 9 hours wind at the nose.

Caught a really nice Blackfin Tuna at the dropoff and had her prepared sushi and also seared at Eppernay in Charolette Amiale, YUMMY!

Go for it, great trip, desolate ancorages, really cool!

Some pics and videos here! The pics start in BVI, then go on to SVI's!
saildoggie/virgins 08 - Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
 

·
Aspiring Boat Bum
Joined
·
296 Posts
Since St Thomas in the USVI and Culebra & Vieques (PR) are both part of the US is customs clearance required? I sort of thought it would be like sailing from Key West to Miami.

But maybe things are different down there. Years back flying from San Juan to Miami I had to clear customs in San Juan to board the plane. Was coming back from a delivery and among other things I checked a life raft in a fiber glass cannister. Had a lot of fun with the customs officer and that one. He never did figure out how to look inside without inflating the thing.
 

·
Don Radcliffe
Joined
·
398 Posts
If you have the customs user decal and US crew, you can check in by phone in Culebra. St Thomas is a duty free island, so you need to deal with customs when you arrive in PR, but not on the way back.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,297 Posts
Culebra

Had such a good time in Culebra we never made it to Vieques.

If your cell phone doesn't work you can also check in w/ customs at the airport in Culebra. As mentioned above, PR and VI are in different customs areas and you are required to check in when you arrive.

Culebra is a laid back place, very different from the USVI. The photo below gives you an idea of how the place works.



Dewey -- We found it easier to anchor on the west side of Dewey (Culebra's main town) rather than in Bahia Honda. The ferries come in on this side and create some wash, but you have good places to leave the dinghy on the main quay and a much nicer dinghy ride. If you anchor in Bahia Honda and the trades are up you have a wet ride back to your boat. On the Dewey side there is room for 6-8 boats to anchor, but stay to the left as you face the town. The ferries come in and turn around on the right side of the harbor and they don't like yachts in their way. The holding is generally good in sand w/ grass, but do check the set of your anchor with mask/snorkel. As you can see in the photo below it's fairly calm on this side of the island, even on a windy day.



Culebrita -- Definitely worth a visit, but be careful with your pilotage onthe way in and out. the photo below is looking NNE. Check your charts carefully, but my recollection is that you parallel the reef break on the left of the photo. The reef on the right isn't breaking in this photo, but you can see the outlines of it as light colored water above the masts of the two sailboats in the center. This place is good in settled weather but stay away if a northerly swell is running or the wind is up or is forecast to be strong. A walk to the abandoned lighthouse affords a good view and don't miss the 'jacuzzi' which is on the eastern side of the bay. Turtles nest on this beach off the sterns of the boats. There can be some swell here, the boat on the far left is in the best position -- behind the small reef. When we were there there were moorings in the bay, but I'd check them carefully as they looked a bit dodgey when we were there.



Have fun. We stayed a month. Don't miss Flamengo Beach and it's fun to rent motorbikes for a day or more. There are several rental places at the airport.

Finally, this is a good place to change crew. The ferry to Fajardo on the main island is so fast and inexpensive it makes no sense to take your boat there. Fajardo is easily reached from the San Juan airport and the air taxi ride to Culebra is not that much more than the taxi to Fajardo.

As for the trip back to the VI, it's only 20 miles or so. Pick a day when the trades are down a bit and enjoy the sail to weather.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
87 Posts
Culebra is the best...

For a really good night sleep the best anchorage is definitely inside Ensenada Honda, on the west side of Cayo Pirata.
 

·
Glad I found Sailnet
Joined
·
3,842 Posts
Yes. Misleading title. Great thread though.
 

·
Aquaholic
Joined
·
1,139 Posts
boo hissssssss
 

·
Telstar 28
Joined
·
1,000 Posts
You guys are going to the wrong parts of Spain. :)



hahahaha!

I can confirm: I am from Barcelona and I go to Spain quite often and Giu's comment is true!!!
 

·
.
Joined
·
1,000 Posts
SD...your taste in women...matches your taste in boats.....

What the hell is THAT???

I don't know if I should be scared of the eyes or the teeth...

too much gelcoat
 

·
leave blank
Joined
·
128 Posts
I do the Spanish Virgins often, my boat is just across from there in Puerto Rico.

Culebra: You can anchor in Ensenada Honda but it is just as easy to go around to the West side where there are four mooring balls close in near the ferry dock, these are usually empty of other boats plus you avoid the narrow entrance to the bay. I have found all the mooring balls in Culebra and Vieques to be free of charge. Be mindful of the Grampas area off the SouthEast side of the island, it is quite shallow and extends quite far off shore. Don't miss Flamingo bay, and the Key Lime Pie at Mamacita's is a diabetic nirvana

Vieques: The bio bay tour in Mesquito Bay near Esperanza on the South side of Vieques is a real treat but avoid the full moon nights. There are several mooring balls in Sun Bay along the windward side that provide great nights or you can anchor in Sun or the two bays in front of Esperanza.

The windward end of Vieques always has rough waterexpect 8 -10 foot waves, going back, I would advise going back around the West end of Vieques and head for Culebra. Then take the inside passage around to the Cubelitra exit and tack for Sail Rock. Then tack for Water Island just off Charlotte Amalie. You avoid the Grampas shallow water by this route.

Be mindful of the long bar that extends out from the West end of Vieques towards Puerto Rico. It extends out many miles. If you follow it in on the Western side, there are some nice mooring balls on a very nice beach area that rarely gets traffic.
 

·
leave blank
Joined
·
128 Posts
I wouldn't call it a great hurricane hole. There are 20 - 50 boats in around the main bay (Ensenada Honda) at any given time but at least you have civilization for land based creature comforts near by and the bay is almost completely surrounded by land. My picks for hurricane holes in that general vicinity would be Jobos Mangroves near Salinas, Puerto Rico, Ensenada Honda on Vieques, Magens Bay on St. Thomas, Ensenada Honda on Culebra, and Ensenada Honda on Puerto Rico. Culebra ranks lowest on the list.

If you are talking about a place to hang out for the summer months, Culebra is quite a neat place for cruisers but if you mean a place to head to just a couple of days in front of the coming storm I'd consider other destinations. There was one death on Culebra last October when Omar came by. Some guy suffered a heart attack while putting up storm shutters and dropped dead, it was the only fatality on that island last year associated with storms in the region.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,070 Posts
Spanish Virgins???

I doubt they still exist..still who wants to date Spanish girls anyway....

Yukkkkk
Giu, You are a married man. You wife would fillet you like a fish if she found or suspected you are dating a Spanish Girl....:eek:
 

·
Telstar 28
Joined
·
1,000 Posts
Boasun—

I doubt there'd be much left to find...she'd feed him to the fishies...

Giu, You are a married man. You wife would fillet you like a fish if she found or suspected you are dating a Spanish Girl....:eek:
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
Top