Getting Back Into the Swing Of Things

Slowly things are coming together for us after the excitement of Dorian passing through. We’ve had some very hot days with no wind and lots of biting bugs just to remind us that it is still summer in the tropics!

As far as projects go we found that we had some rot at the base of our binnacle. For my non-sailing friends our binnacle is a waist high round base in the middle of the cockpit where our steering wheel and compass are attached. As you imagine it is an important working part of the boat. Brian had at first thought that it was just rotten a bit and a small part of it had to be repaired but upon inspection the entire base has to be replaced. Now this is not just a part that you go off to the store and buy so Brian had to work his creativity and fabricate a new one.

Brian checking out the underside to see how the binnacle is attached.

Rotten base

Removing the rotten base from the Binnacle.

Binnacle standing back upright now that Brian has removed all of the rotten wood from it’s base. Waiting for new base to be fabricated.

 

He took 4 pieces of of 3/8 marine grade plywood, cut, shaped and and epoxied them together to make a new strong base. He is still working on it and now has to figure out how to mount it properly under the binnacle with the helm and cable going through.

Cutting the plywood for the binnacle

Using the water jug as a weight to compress the pieces together

Now time to shape the base

Shaping

Cutting a round hole for the cables to go through

Final coat of fiberglass then more sanding

Complete

Ready to be installed

 

Another unexpected project came up as well…our dinghy engine. The valve cover rusted through and it was leaking oil like crazy. So much that we were not able to go short distances without refilling it or causing it to overheat and shut down. So back to rowing for us while we waited for engine parts.

Back to old school and having to row our dinghy while we wait for engine parts!

 

On a happy note we have a new oven on board….a solar oven and it is so cool! In all of the years that we have been on the boat we have never had an oven. We’ve only had it for a few days but I have to say that it is amazing! My bread making skills are not quite as amazing but I can work on that. So far we’ve made a couple of breakfasts of potatoes and eggs, bread (that did not rise that great but tasted OK), eggplant Parmesan (was awesome), a spanish rice and black bean bake (was great) and we also made some apple and rum bread pudding (this was really good. We used what was left over from the first loaf of bread). So far we are really liking the oven. It is awesome to cook without heating the boat up. We’ll have more pics and info with our next post.

Trucking our solar oven down the sidewalk from the post office.

Solar Oven coming home…down the dock it’s getting loaded up…look at those big muscles my man has!

Solar Oven coming home, nice dock too…Moon is in the background in the harbor.

One of the locals watching us as we go by

Opening the box with the Solar Oven…it was like Christmas!

Solar Oven right out of box

First meal cooked in solar oven. It was eggs, onions, left over pan fried squash, topped with cheese in one pan and potatoes and onions in the other.

Our first meal cooked in our solar oven. Potatoes and eggs for breakfast. (Toast was made o my stove top) I agree that it could look prettier but it tasted good!

First loaf of solar oven bread

 

As always we try to have some fun in where we can and before our engine went out we were able to go Carlos Rosario Beach on the NW side of Culebra where we had an amazing day snorkeling in the crystal blue sea. This is one of our favorite places to snorkel in Culebra as you can see it is beautiful!

Some of the corals off of Carlos Rosario Beach

Brian exploring Carlos Rosario

Pretty purple coral fan

Lots of blue tangs!

Dinghy ride back from Carlos Rosario

Hector The Protector protecting Culebra

 

We spent a few days in the main harbor of town waiting on the dinghy engine parts that thankfully did arrive…yea! Now we are back at Dakity Reef where Brian is going to work on the engine, the binnacle and anything else that inevitably will pop up that needs to be worked on. Always something on a boat!

Sunset at Dakity

Sunset at Dakity looking towards Vieques, PR

 

Until next time, take care all….

 

Jennifer and Brian

SV/Moon

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Lots To Share!

Wow…so much has happened since we last posted. We made our last stops to see family before we left the main land US, spent two awesome nights in Old San Juan, PR and went through a Cat 1 on the boat in Culebra, PR!

I guess we will start our story with our family and end up near the eye of a hurricane. If you read our last post you saw that we were in the Space Coast watching rockets shoot off into the sky. From there we hopped back on the road bound for Ft. Myers and Cape Coral to see more of our family.

It was a nice ride. We took the back roads off of the beaten track to see some new ground. Its always neat driving through small towns that we’ve never seen before. Before we knew it we were at our destination.

Yummy Eggplant Parm!

Someone’s showing off trying to get a girl!

Aleesa and Ryan entertaining Marley…all smiles!

 

We always love visiting with family! One night we enjoyed a great dinner at one of our favorite places for yummy eggplant parmesan and for another our brother-in-law Emerson had one of his famous BBQ’s for Brian. Mostly though we just hung out enjoying everyones company. It was so nice to see my dad, my little brother and his family. Visiting with all of Brian’s family is always fun too. Brian’s mom has the prettiest flowers in her back yard! I can’t believe how big our niece Aleesa has gotten and little Marley too! The time really flew while we were there and sadly before we knew it, it was time to leave. It seems like the times that we spend together are never long enough!

Next stop for us was the airport where we would fly over the deep blue sea to San Juan, Puerto Rico.

I love the old blue cobblestone bricks of Old San Juan!

Today’s edition of “Where’s Waldo”…can you spot the pink flamingo in this picture?

Can you see it now?

The rooftop of our hotel had big bathtubs for the guests to enjoy!

 

We love Old San Juan! I know you’ve probably heard this before, but we do! There is so much to do and see here. We got lucky and there were not any cruise ships in port so the city was not crowded.

I found this old horseshoe on the beach and wanted to take it home. I was out-voted because it was heavy and rusty. Who knows how long the sea has held this treasure? Anyhow, I thought it was pretty cool.

 

 

We ate at one of our favorite spots and explored the beach looking for sea glass and chaney. It was nice to finally relax after being on the move for the past three weeks. After catching up on our R&R it was time for us to get back to Moon. We headed to the ferry dock for our ride to Culebra. We got lucky and the ferry was running on schedule. This is not always the case with it being public transportation. Sometimes it does not run at all even when it is scheduled. So far so good!

We finally arrived on the beautiful island of Culebra. We reserved a room for the first night so that we could find a ride to Moon anchored way out in the mangroves and give ourselves a day to get things together. When we leave her alone for months at a time we have to clear out cobwebs and such before we can move back aboard. Sometimes I wonder if the critters think that we have let them a new home cause we find all kinds of them setting up camp!

 

 

All was good aboard when got back however there another issue brewing….a storm in the Caribbean Sea…Dorian! By now everyone has heard of Dorian. But she was just getting started here when we got back. Our second day on board we weathered her out as she became a Cat 1 Hurricane right on top of us! I know that most of you think that a Cat 1 is no big deal, sure when you are in a house that is true. Try being on a sailboat…you are much more exposed and it is a bigger deal!

Dorian as she approaches us.

 

 

We had been keeping our eye on the weather knowing that it was coming our way. It looked like it was going to be a tropical storm and pass way to the south of us. The locals did not seem that worried so that was a good sign, right? When we woke up the second day on Moon we saw that lots of boats had migrated to the mangroves to tie off for safety. Hmm, time to check the weather again. The storm had moved more NE and strengthened more than forecasted and now we were looking at a direct hit. OK, time to batten down the hatches! We got lucky it was going to come during the day so at least in my opinion it would seem less scary. As the day went on the winds strengthened and the rain really came down. We were in a great spot and Brian did an excellent job with our bottom gear. If you read back through past post http://sailingonmoon.com/?p=4452 you can see what he put down before we left for the season and that is what we sat on for Dorian. We kept watch on deck as the storm passed. The wind came from the WNW and this was a bit of a surprise to everyone. Mostly storms pass here ESE. The boats anchored around us bounced up and down. At times the wind and rain was blowing so hard that we couldn’t see anything. Thankfully the storm only lasted a few hours then just some squalls here and there. We got lucky and Dorian moved on.

Hauling up the anchor gear that has been down for the last 4 months.

Brian running the halyards, main and jib sheets back up the mast.

Brian cleaning the bottom of Moon

 

 

Seems that all of the boats in Culebra were safe. We saw one boat by us break free and run into a couple of others but I don’t think that there was any damage. We later found out that one person left their sailboat on the unprotected side of the island exposed to the open sea. His boat broke free and washed up on the beach. He was lucky though because his boat washed up right where there was barge with a crane on it and he was able to work with the barge captain to get his boat off…what luck!

Moon sitting pretty at Dakity Reef

Our neighbors at Dakity Reef.

Pretty brain coral

We see this ray just about every time we snorkel around the boat.

 

 

Well, things are getting back to the norm here. We are moored off of Dakity Reef at one of our favorite spots. We are working on normal maintenance which seems never ending. Don’t feel sorry for us though because when the day ends we jump into the crystal clear pool surrounding our boat with happy little fishes swimming all around us.

Wow…that was a lot! Take care for now all.

Jennifer and Brian

SV/Moon

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And the Rockets Red Glare – The Space Coast

Mission accomplished! We got to see a couple of rocket launches from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station while we were visiting Brian’s dad. We were able to view them from Charlie’s front yard. The first launch was the Falcon 9 rocket. It launched the Amos 17 communications satellite an advanced communications satellite owned by Spacecom, an Israeli company. It was pretty cool! The launch was in the early evening and it was cloudy but we still got to see it as it shot off towards space.

 

 

 

 

The second launch was even more spectacular! The rocket launched at 6:13 AM and the sky was still dark and clear. The viewing was amazing! It was a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket delivering a highly advanced communications satellite into space for the U.S. Air Force. Perched atop the rocket was the Air Force’s fifth Advanced Extremely High Frequency spacecraft, a secure military communications satellite that will provide jam-proof communications — including real-time video — between U.S. national leadership and deployed military forces. Pretty cool stuff shooting into the sky above us!

 

 

View from the front yard of Brian’s Dads house of the Atlas V rocket carrying the AEHF-5 military satellite for the U.S. Air Force being launched.

 

 

Brian’s dad had just gotten a pontoon boat that needed a bit of fixing up so Brian of course was happy to help out. Brian was in his natural element working on a pontoon boat just like at home. We had fun taking it for test rides!

 

 

 

Of course we had to take a test ride on the Banana River after Brian got the engine running smoothly!

We even saw dolphins!

 

 

Then of course we had to check out the beach. It was the same and a lot different than the beaches of PCB. The sand was much darker and hard packed. It was a pretty calm day so we did not see the waves that this coast is know for. Brian of course had to take another adventure on his bike and rode 36 miles down the beach from Melborne to Cocoa Beach and then ending up in Meritt Island at Brian’s dads house. It was a wonder that he did not crash with all the girls running around in their tiny surf bikinis!

 

 

 

Such a pretty path to the beach!

In the sky you can see one of the planes from Patrick Air Force Base.

 

 

All in all we had nice visit with Charlie, Diana and of course my new walking buddy Freddy. Diana is a great cook and we always enjoy the delicious food that she makes for us! Sadly again it was time for us to leave. Well, I guess that they would let us move in with them but that might be asking too much, lol! Next stop and story for us will be in Ft. Myers and Cape Coral, FL where it will be our last stop before heading to Puerto Rico and back to our Moon.

Until next time…

 

Jennifer and Brian S/V Moon

 

 

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And So Another Journey Begins

Another summer has passed by in a blur of tourists, sea creatures and the general ramblings of our everyday life of working at the AAS marina. This year was shorter than most, we were only home for around 120 days. Our favorite part of course was hanging out with our roomie, our daughter Rachel. This year when we came home to PCB we left Moon anchored out in the water. The plan is to get back to her before the heart of hurricane season. So far we are on track for doing just that.

Our second favorite “roomie” Iris

First order of business though as always we drive down to visit family that we will not get to see while we are out sailing. Unless of course they take the leap and come see us in some island along the way, hint, hint!

And so our holiday begins….First stop Floral City, FL. Blink for too long and you will miss this beautiful town but, we love it here! It is so beautiful in this area of Florida. Huge oak trees line the streets almost enveloping the roads and make a amazing scenic drive through. The town is located in the middle of the Withlacoochee State Trail, a linear state park that follows an old railroad line. It is currently the longest paved trail in Florida at 46 miles. Every time that we’ve visited here Brian has had his bike with him and he has now ridden the whole trail plus some….I should say plus a lot more. This time while we were here he biked 70 miles in just two separate days!

There are lots of springs in this area too so we set off to explore. First stop was Rainbow Springs. The spring is the fourth-largest in Florida, and the say that it produces over 490 million gallons of water daily. It is an easy park to get to and it only costs $2.00 to get in so as you can guess it was really, really busy! It was a hot Saturday in August and it was the place to be! It was still amazing and as we plunged into the crystal clear water it really took our breath away…as in burr! (72 degrees year round). It felt great!

The park also had three man-made waterfalls and walking paths that were beautiful. After Brian, Ron and I left the park we drove to a trail head where we dropped Brian off for part of his 70 mile biking adventure.

Next day we set off to explore some other springs trying to find one that was less crowded but learned that most had to be accessed by canoe or kayak so we passed it up this time.

With a heavy heart we said our goodbyes until next time and we are off again. Next stop is the Space Coast where we hope to see a launch sometime this afternoon. We will do our best to take pics of the speck in the sky for you.

Take care for now we can’t wait to share our new adventures with you!

Jennifer and Brian S/V Moon

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It’s That Time Again!

Hello again. We’ve been busy bees as most of our friends and family already know. We had our final days in Culebra and have put Moon away for the summer season.

 

Combing towns beach in Culebra one more time while waiting for the ferry to arrive.

Last view of “Hector the Protector” as we board the ferry and leave Culebra, PR

Bye, Bye beautiful Culebra

 

It’s always a bit sad leaving Moon behind and checking into the real world…the one of work and responsibility. But it is a necessity and so we are back in our home town of PCB. We soaked in as much of the beauty in Culebra as we could before we left. Of course we had to spend a day beach-combing our “glass” beach and visiting the tide pools close to Dakity Reef where we were moored. We can never get enough of the amazing water and views there!

 

Coconut palm sprouting

Alien skull we came across on the beach. Just lying there among the coral!

Relaxing at the tide pool

 

This summer season we are storing Moon differently than the last three years. In the past we had stored Moon in Saint Kitts at Saint Kitts Marine Works, but this year Moon will spend her summer in a mangrove bay in Culebra, PR. I know some of you are probably thinking that we are crazy just leaving her anchored in the water but it is a safe and protected spot. In fact it is just outside of where the cruisers bring their boats if a hurricane approaches the area. We’ve left her in Culebra before and then it was in the main harbor so we are confident this time that she is in a secure place until we come back. Either way it is always strange just leaving her anchored out.

 

Heading into the bay where we are going to anchor Moon for the season. Just have to get past all these boats and tuck in close to the mangroves.

Moon’s summer home will be just past that white ball, tucked in all by herself.

 

Brian of course set us up for success and Moon should not be going anywhere. Check out our anchor system that he put in place….

Three anchors: Our 45lb Rocna anchor, (which by the way is the normal anchor that we use and trust so much that we call it “The Sleeper” meaning that we put it down, set it and no worries), then we also set our two FX 37 Fortress anchors. The method was two anchors in front of the boat leading to a center point with a swivel and then back to another Fortress anchored in the opposite direction just in case of wind change. Two forward facing and one rear facing. In tropical storms or hurricanes the wind completely changes direction, so that is what the third anchor is for, just in case. All of our ground tackle is tied together with US rated shackles, chain and swivels. Then we have the anchor rode tied to 6 different cleats just in case of any chaffing or if a cleat was to become loose or let go. Some would say that it is a bit of overkill but we call it insurance at least as much as we can. We plan on finding her (Moon) right where we left her!

 

 

The spot that we choose was also important. We tucked into a small hole in the shallows with three sides surrounded by mangroves. This is about the best that we could do without tucking into the mangroves themselves. It would be inconsiderate and not permitted for us to go all of the way into the mangroves unless there is actually a storm approaching. They are a protected area. All this being said we are just a few hours away by plane should a storm approach while we are away. That is also another reason that we choose Culebra this year, location, location, location! Moon also has her own phone on board and we can text her anytime and she will give us her GPS location and there is a grid set that if she should go out of it she will text us so that’s another thing that we have to make us feel better that she is doing OK on her own. Of course we have friends watching her too just to make sure that she is staying afloat. So pretty sure that she is set up for success while we are away.

 

Moon stripped down for the season. Windsock will be the last thing to come down.

Brian climbs the mast to see how we look in the spot that we picked out.

Saying good bye as we leave Moon in her cove…

 

 

On our way back to PCB we spent a night in Old San Juan. Love this place so full of history and things to do! We even found a beach with sea glass and chaney!

 

Beach Old San Juan where we found sea glass

Just happened that my shirt matched the umbrellas on Fortaleza Street in Old San Juan!

 

Anyhow we are back to the grind in PCB. I can’t say that I have the worst job, I still get to be on the water and you could sort of say that my co-workers are dolphins. I also have to work with tourists though too so it is a fair trade off…lol! We will try to post here and there through out the summer with what is going on but it will be sporadic, not much down time but that is what we are here for….to work our butts off so that we can enjoy our time on Moon. Till next time take care all…

 

Our last sunset before we leave Moon for the season

 

Jennifer and Brian

SV/Moon

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Tide Pools, Palm Fronds and Octopus, Oh My!

As promised we’ve been busy having fun and we took lots of pictures to share with you. We’re not going to write much this round, we will just let the pictures speak for themselves. I mean lets face it, most of us just scroll through the pics anyways! We hiked to our secret tide pool on the south side of Culebra and we remembered our camera this time!

 

Bringing the dinghy into the beautiful cove that we walk to the tide pool from.

From here we climb up to make our way to the tide pool.

Scrambling over, up, down and around to get to the tide pool.

Almost there…just have to get to the jagged rocks at the end.

Last big boulder to climb over and we have made it to our secret tide pool!

Our secret tide pool.

Mister crab hanging out at the tide pool.

Had to watch out for the sea urchins in the tide pool!

 

 

On the way back to the dinghy Brian cut a palm frond to make a hat. It’s been a while…we were in Jamaica in 2011 where our friend Lance taught Brian how to weave a hat, but after a bit of rum the skills came right back!

 

 

Brian looks like an island native carrying that palm branch. It’s hard to find just the right one that is easy to get to. I see the look of success on his face!

I’m sure that we were a sight carrying this back on our dinghy…the branch was bigger than we were!

Brian’s finished product! Looks awesome too! I still need to cut off the tails as the final touch. I want it to be completely dried out before I do that though just in case of shrinkage.

 

 

Next we found a new snorkel spot also on the south side of the island but not near the tide pools. Normally it is too rough to snorkel here but we had a few calm days and we were really glad that we checked it out. We even saw an octopus!

 

 

I see you looking at me, looking at you!

This guy was so patient, like he was showing off. When we came by to take his picture I could have sworn that he posed for us! I think that he is a trunk fish.

Must be fish under that ledge…

Wonder if the octopus was thinking of having lobster for lunch before we arrived…

Octopus on the move….soooo cool!

 

 

A friend of ours recently bought a “new to him” boat and we took the ferry again to the main land PR to check it out. The guys had a great day going over the boat and I had fun hanging out at the marina. I even saw a manatee, but the dang thing was so fast I could not get a picture to share with you. You know that manatees are known for being speedsters  🙂 !!

 

 

We spot a beautiful double rainbow as we take the ferry to mainland Puerto Rico.

Our friend Chris just bought a new to him boat. Brian and I went over to Fajardo, PR for the day to hem him get things settled.

Not our friends boat but saw this going out the pass…this has to be one proud Italian! I think that this is the biggest home flag that we have ever seen on a of sailboat this size!

 

 

We put together a couple of art projects that we had been planning for a while that we think turned out really nice. Lots ideas in the works so we will see what else we can come up with.

 

 

Some artwork that we made of treasures that we found while beach combing. It is made of old pottery that I found on the beach in St.Kitts and a long dried out coral sea fan. It is mounted on the wall in my galley. I love it!

A night light that Brian made with a naturally hollowed out piece of coral that he found.

Even better at night!

 

 

As you can see we have been having a great time. Weather has changed quite a bit for us today. It is howling out right now and supposed to get even windier into tonight and tomorrow. Gusts to 30 knots! Lucky us we are once again tucked in behind our favorite spot at Dakity Reef. With all of this wind the waves are really big here behind the reef….like 5 or 6 inches! LOL!

 

 

“Hector el Protector” before Hurricane Maria.


In 2014 Thomas Dambo, a Danish artist traveled to the Culebra in Puerto Rico with friends from Denmark, to make a project for local street art festival. With the support of the locals, from broken pallets, they created a troll sitting on the rocks of the shore with a huge rock in his hand, protecting the island and its people from bad energies. They named the troll “Hector el Protector”. In 2017 Hurricane Maria hit Culebra with a huge force, and destroyed a lot of the island’s housing and infrastructure and “Hector el Protector” disappeared into the ocean. After the hurricane settled, and electricity was back on the island a broad variety of people started writing the artist to tell him what “Hector el Protector” had meant to them. They wrote how they missed the sculpture, and that it had become a strong symbol to their community, and they wish to have him return. A couple of people even said that they believed that the sculpture was actually protecting the island spiritually, and was the reason that Culebra had zero casualties during the hurricane. Hector is being rebuilt and you can help…you can read more about Hector the Protector and his artists here…. https://www.gofundme.com/help-resurrect-hector-el-protector

Hector el Protector, A work in progress.

 

Brian is still working on boat projects and Moon is still getting some of the attention that she needs. Other than that we are just hanging out and enjoying it while we can. We’ve already started talking about when we will have to return to work and we know that it will be here before too long. Until then we are going to keep our feet wet and enjoy our time playing tourist!

 

 

This bench really rocks!

Enjoying my Valentines Day gift…a new hammock!

Enjoying the view while I swing in my new hammock.

 

Take care until next time,

Jennifer and Brian
SV/Moon

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More Fun In the Sun

Hi there. We are here again to share some of what has been going on here in Culebra, PR the island of sun and fun.

 

Ensenada Honda Harbor, the main anchorage in Culebra. If you zoom waaaay in you can us all the way to the left hand side and closest to the trees.

Cloud front moving across the Ensenada Harbor.

Double trouble! Two waterspouts spotted along the hills behind us.

 

As always we have been exploring and I think that before long we will have walked the entire coast line of Culebra. We’ve got a ways to go still, but we are off to a good start! Typically we find a nice place that we can pull our dinghy up to on the beach and then we walk until either our feet give out or we come across boulders that we can no longer scale or climb over, (usually the latter of the two turns us around). One of the reasons that we like to walk the coastline is to scavenge the beach for treasures. Most of this time is spent looking down where we are putting our feet so that we don’t lose our footing that I’m sure that we are missing out on some good stuff that is probably right under our noses! That’s OK though because we are still finding some cool stuff and have even started some projects that we will share with you on our next posting.

 

 

Our dinghy getting some rays resting on the beach.

Bones…all of the dead coral that has washed ashore….lots of it on the beaches here after the hurricanes.

Beach / Shoreline on South West of Culebra.

Fish net washed up on beach…a pretty common sight.

More line washed up on beach.

 

 

One of our latest adventures brought us to Carlos Rosario Beach. Just when I thought that we could not find a beach better than the last we come across another treasure here in Culebra. This beach is at the most NW tip of the island. We took our dinghy over from the main harbor where Moon was anchored (Ensenada Harbor). Here we pulled up on Tamarindo Beach and walked across a small path to the other side. Because Carlos Rosario Beach faces north it normally has a bit of wave action but on this day it was about flat calm as it could get. With our snorkel gear in hand we jumped in to check out the reef. All we can say is WOW! Here was the most amazing reef that we’ve seen as of yet.

 

 

Carlos Rosario Beach on Culebra’s North West tip.

Captain Hook’s Nemesis…Captain Claw!

Quack, quack…beach sponge.

 

 

To get to the reef you swim from the beach through a flat sandy patch and then the water comes alive with life. The reef is a bit of a deeper swim but well worth it! It was so beautiful! I got a few pics before my go pro went dead. This seems to be a recurring event with the damn thing so not sure what we need to do to get it to stay charged longer. Brian said maybe a software upgrade. Anyhow I was able to take a few pictures to share with you before the battery died. We even saw a medium size nurse shark. What a great day that was!

 

 

Nurse shark hiding/sleeping in the coral.

Love these little blue guys!

Lots of life here!

 

 

It is also common here for the locals to take the ferry to the main land (Puerto Rico) to stock up on supplies at walmart and the econo grocery store where it is much cheaper than shopping in Culebra. So now that we are pretty much locals we seem to have started to do this too. The ferry pulls into Ceiba at the formal Naval station, Roosevelt Roads. Brian’s dad Charlie who was on a Navy ship once visited this station. If you want to read more about Roosevelt Roads here’s some interesting info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roosevelt_Roads_Naval_Station

 

 

Leaving on the ferry from Culebra at 7:00 am heading to the main island (Puerto Rico) to …. go to walmart! How exciting is that!

Approaching Roosevelt Roads as we arrive on the ferry from Culebra.

Looking towards Roosevelt Roads from the ferry.

Approaching Roosevelt Roads in Main Land Puerto Rico.

 

 

We move Moon every few days or so from behind the reef at Dakity to the main harbor to get groceries and ice and such. Still the same most days, working in the mornings and playing in the afternoon. Unfortunately we do not get to see the sunset on the water like we are used to back in our home in PCB. Here it usually sets behind the hills that we are by, but the sunrise is another story and we have a great view of it when we wake up early enough. It is an amazing way to start the day!

 

 

Sun setting behind the clouds looking towards the main island of Puerto Rico.

Watching the sun set with a few friends and a pup.

From where we anchor we can’t see the sunset 🙁 , but when we get up early the sunrises are spectacular!

Looking towards the boats moored in Dakity at sunrise.

When we pulled up to this mooring ball the eye was completely worn through so Brian spliced a new one.

 

 

Just when I think that we’ve run out of things to share we come across another gem here on the island. We were out yesterday exploring and I thought that we would not see anything different or new to share so I did not bring my camera. Man, was I wrong. We came across the most beautiful tide pool that was hidden away. It is every bit as beautiful as the pools in Culebrita and reminded us of the tide pools that we hiked to in St.Barth. It’s so off the beaten path that I’d bet that most of the locals here don’t even know that it exists! Remember that I said that we hike everywhere…well this time it lead us to a private utopia! We plan on going back soon so we’ll bring the camera next time to share with you, but….promise that you don’t tell anyone where it is 🙂

 

 

Take care for now all until our next adventure….

Jennifer and Brian on SV/Moon

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Island Time

OK sure we are already on an island, but that does not mean that we can’t go and visit another. Looks like we’ve decided to stay in Culebra for this season. We’re getting lots of things done on Moon that we’ve not necessary neglected in the past, but put off because we were always on the move. Plans now are to stay here and explore Culebra and its nearby smaller islands. So it’s kind of a sad and good thing. We won’t get to explore any new and exotic lands this round, but we will get to sort of plant our feet for a while and get to really know Culebra better. With that being said we decided to sail to the nearby island of Culebrita for the day.

 

 

As we approach Culebrita. Lighthouse is perched on the highest point to the right hand side.

Path on Culebrita that leads from one side of the island to the other.

Our first view of the beach as come off of the path.

 

This small island is just east of Culebra. Measuring about one mile in length, the uninhabited island of Culebrita is part of the Culebra National Wildlife Refuge. The Island is also home to a lighthouse called Faro Culebrita. Built in 1886, it was one of the oldest operating lighthouses in the Caribbean when it was shut down by the US Navy in 1975. Currently it is in ruins, but it looks like it is in the process of getting some much needed repairs. We saw a work crew there clearing out what seemed to be a rather large roadway up to the lighthouse. I remember it being a beautiful brick structure the last time we were here. Brian, Rachel and I climbed up a rickety makeshift ladder to access the top. The views were amazing!

 

 

On top of what is boasted as the oldest lighthouse in the Caribbean…on Culebrita.

Culebrita Lighthouse was the oldest operating lighthouse in the Caribbean until 1975 when the US Navy and Coast Guard closed it replacing it with a solar powered light beacon.

Yup, these are the stairs that you use to go up into the lighthouse! The Culebrita Lighthouse was built in 1886. In 1975, the Navy and Coast Guard closed the facility. Since then, the lighthouse has sustained heavy damage from hurricanes and vandalism.

 

 

Since we’ve been here before we decided to skip visiting the lighthouse this time and went to the beach on the north side of the island and visited the beautiful tide pools. We anchored the boat on the south west side of the island and walked the path to the main beach. By anchoring where we did it cut out in total about three miles of travel, which in a boat is a lot! It was nice to walk anyways since we spend so much time on the boat. We enjoyed looking at the trees and hearing all of the little creatures run for shelter as they heard us coming down the path. When we finally reached the other side of the island the views were incredible! The water here is amazing, so blue and crystal clear! The sand is powdery white and soooo soft! This day was perfect, little to no waves making it a great day for swimming.

 

 

Amazing beach at Culebrita!

Scrambling through the big rocks to the tide pool.

Almost to the tide pool.

 

 

Last time we were at the tide pools the waves were much bigger making it lots of fun when they came crashing over the rocks. This time we had a couple of waves come over but it was mostly calm making it a nice spot to just chill out. When we walked back to the beach we were glad that we had made it to the island early. Now the harbor was full of boats, locals and tourists alike all enjoying this slice of heaven. We were surprised that we had the pools to ourselves the whole time. What a fun day!

 

 

Floating in Heaven!

Finally a wave!

 

 

We paddled our kayaks back out to where Moon was anchored and set sail back to where we like to be snugged in behind Dakity Reef. We like it here behind the reef. Nice protected spot, not too much going on and a beach close enough that we can dinghy to for swimming and snorkeling and of course we can just jump off of the boat and swim in the water. It is crystal clear here too. Oh by the way, the lunar eclipse, super moon that I was so excited to see was awesome! I did not get any photos though unless you want to see some blurred bright thing in the dark sky. Hey, at least I tried 🙂 . We sat on the deck and watched it disappear, and as it got dark the stars came out, and it was so beautiful! Hope that you got to enjoy it too. I have a bit of photo envy, I saw the pictures that some of you posted on FB!

 

 

Full moon rising on the night of the lunar eclipse.

 

 

OK, enough for now. Hope all of you are staying warm. News shows it a being a bit nippy out there! If it makes you feel any better we’ve had a few cold nights here too…low 70’s can feel pretty cold on a boat especially when you’ve been snorkeling all day! Lol!

Take care all!

 

 

Jennifer and Brian
SV/Moon

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Snorkeling Tamarindo Beach, Isla de Culebra, Puerto Rico

Last we left off we planned to go snorkeling at Melones Beach and were hoping to run in to the resident nurse shark. However, when we motored over to the other side of the island to pick up a mooring ball it was so calm that we decided to go just a bit further to the north to one of my favorite snorkel spots on Culebra, Tamarindo Beach.

 

 

Lots of fan corals.

 

 

Tamarindo is a shallow snorkel spot where the reef runs right along the shoreline. Easy to get to either from the beach or by boat. We picked up a mooring ball and jumped into the crystal clear water. The fish were smaller than the other reefs that we’ve been to lately but there were so many more to see and enjoy! The damage to the corals from last years hurricanes was still obvious but the fish did not seem to notice as they happily swam in their paradise. The sun was in an out of the clouds as we snorkeled along taking it all in.

 

 

 

The reef here consists mostly of soft coral and many colorful sea fans but the further that you snorkel along the shoreline heading southward you start to see more coral heads full of life that seemed to go on forever! Did I say that I love this spot? I snorkeled until I could not stand it anymore. Even though we are on an island in the tropics the water is still chilly this time of year. My teeth were chattering and I was frozen by the time I finally decided to get out. Yea, I know your feeling pity for us… We did not see any sea turtles this time although this is a popular spot to swim with them. It was still a great day!

 

 

 

 

Now just to prove that it is not all fun and games here I have to include a few pictures of Brian working on projects around the boat. Typically we work on a project or two and then take the afternoon off to have some fun. Brian has become a master at sanding and fiberglassing in what seems like an instant.

 

 

 

 

Hope all is good in your parts of the world and that everyone is managing to stay warm…we hear that it is a bit cold out there! We are really excited the Super Moon Lunar eclipse is tomorrow night. We’ve anchored out at Dakity Reef a particularly dark spot and hope that we get a good viewing. We were in Culebra a few years ago, I think 2013 for a full moon lunar eclipse and it was awesome! Take care for now and stay tuned for more fun in the sun from the Nelsons.

 

 

Jennifer and Brian SV/Moon

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Punta Soldado Beach, Culebra, Puerto Rico

In between our chores we still find time to have some fun. When we’ve had enough of the rat race of being anchored in Culebra’s main anchorage (Ensenada Honda) we then we head out and grab a mooring ball behind Dakity Reef that runs along the entrance to the harbor. Dakity is a very protected and mostly quiet spot (unless it is the weekends when locals come over from mainland PR to have some fun) and without any ambient light it is a great place to star gaze! It’s also a pretty close dinghy ride to Punta Soldado Beach.

 

 

Boardwalk to Punta Soldado Beach.

Down the boardwalk and looking to the left hand side.

Down the boardwalk and looking to your right hand side.

Shady spot with a beer watching a pretty girl snorkel, who could ask for anything more?

 

Punta Soldado Beach is a bit out of the way for most. It is on a peninsula on the island’s southwestern most corner and because it’s out of the way it is usually not crowded. We had the beach to ourselves most of the day.

 

 

View of the water from our shade spot. Brian is there just to the left of the sun reflecting on the water.

Brian captures me wondering on the beach looking for treasures.

The water was sooo clear!

 

The snorkeling here is OK, I bet was great before last years hurricanes. Hurricanes Irma and Maria, both Category 4 storms, caused extensive damage to the reefs around Puerto Rico when they made landfall in September 2018 and its obvious that the corals and reefs are still recovering.

 

 

One of the coral nurseries where researchers grow young corals to restore damaged reef areas.

Another coral nursery where researchers are growing young corals to restore damaged reef areas.

Perfectly camouflaged flounder.

Whats under that ledge?

 

 

The storms snapped hundreds of thousands of corals from reefs around the island. Assessment teams found structural damage to individual coral and the reefs as well as heavy sediment accumulation, which can prevent corals from getting enough sunlight. One quarter of all ocean species such as red snapper, lobster and octopus depend on coral reefs for food and shelter. Coral also contains natural chemical compounds, and also serve as treatment for different diseases including cancer. And perhaps most relevant to us humans, coral reefs can minimize wave energy up to 97 percent, reducing destruction from floodwaters to mainland. Obviously corals and reefs are very important to us!

 

 

Beautiful life amongst the coral rubble.

Some pretty colors.

 

We enjoyed our beach day now back to some chores for us. Brian has a repair that he is working on under the window in the nav station that had some rot because of a small leak and then back to the never ending list of other things to do. There is a small beach just across the pass from us and we hope to anchor their and do some snorkeling soon. We also plan on heading back to Melones Beach on the west coast of Culebra in a few days too to do some snorkeling. Maybe we will get lucky and see the resident shark that hangs out there….no worries though it’s just a nurse shark so we should survive. We’ll take more pics to share as we go. Take care for now.

 

Jennifer and Brian SV/Moon

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