Thursday, February 15, 2007

Tuesday 13th February

Culebrita Island
Puerto Rico

18 20.0 N
65 14.0 W

It was very pleasant to wake up to a quiet anchorage – only 7 sail boats in sight and then we spotted the first turtle poke its head up out of the water and then duck down again. The waters around Culebrita are apparently well known for the hawksbill turtles, they breed in the area and if you are there at the right time of year you can see the babies making their way down to the water for the first time, unfortunately we weren’t there during breeding season but we did get to see quite a few of the large graceful creatures swimming around the boats moored in the harbour. The turtles didn’t come close enough for us to take any photos but at least we got to see them. One of the other boats in the harbour told us that there were also pilot whales just outside the area but we didn’t see them. We decided to don our snorkeling gear and investigate the reef that marks the entrance to the harbour. It was a short swim out to the reef then we snorkeled all around it. It was disappointing to find that most of the reef looked to be quite dead, there were a few pretty fish around but in very limited numbers. Swimming to the outer side of the reef we found that there was a bit more life on that side, hopefully the reef on that side is re growing. Lorie had a new toy – an underwater camera case for her digital camera and was keen to try it out so she snapped away at anything and everything, unfortunately the water was a bit murky and not many of her pictures turned out well but at least she got to practice with it. We swam back to the boat for lunch and a short rest – that swimming in the current was very tiring, then it was back into the dink and off to a place that Dale and Lorie wanted to show us. We had to clamber over the boulders on the beach which were sometimes slippery and wobbly and we made our way around a couple of points until we arrived at “the baths” a couple of natural large rock pools which are fed by the sea. One of them was about 10 feet deep, big enough to swim in and had a ledge around it which you could sit on. There were hundreds of very tiny sergeant major fish in these pools – it was obviously their breeding nursery. As the tide was coming in we decided not to linger there too long as we didn’t want to get caught in the waves, so we scrambled back over the rocks and made our way back to the boat. Cocktail hour turned out to be a gathering on a 44ft Manta catamaran, there were 8 of us there and Gerry and I were the odd ones out – everyone else was retired US military personnel. It made a very interesting evening chatting with these people who had been cruising for quite a few years, we have taken some of their comments to heart and will make use of the knowledge and experiences that they shared with us. As we intended to depart in the morning we made it a relatively early night



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