Quarantine Day 14

We are still in Culebra, Puerto Rico. We just found out that our quarantine was extended until April 12th and got a little stricter on the rules. The new rules begin on March 31 and run through April 12, the curfew will be broadened from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. and all grocery stores will be shut on Sundays. In addition, there will be restrictions on what days of the week cars can circulate, depending on their license plate. All beaches, public parks and all nonessential businesses continue to be closed and we are ordered to stay home or in our case on the boat. I know that we are in paradise but it is no fun being here and not being able to enjoy it! We are lucky we have plenty of food and fuel, of course we have our solar oven too and as long as we have sun we can cook to our hearts content. Hopefully this will all be over soon!

I guess there could be worse places to have to quarantine! Stay safe everyone!

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Cayo Luis Peña, Puerto Rico…March Fun 2020

Hello all. It seems that the whole world has changed since we last posted. As of now we are still in Culebra, Puerto Rico, quarantined on Moon. Not a bad place to be we suppose. It has been rainy and windy this week. It is however still as beautiful here as usual. We are pretty sure that we have all of the necessities we need. For us it is just like provisioning for a long passage so it was not hard to plan and supply. We’ve been lucky the stores have been pretty well stocked. No toilet paper shortages here 🙂 Our island as all of Puerto Rico is under restrictions and nightly curfew. Like lots of other beach towns we can’t go to the beach either! Seems that most people are adhering to the new rules. We are anchored on the edge of town, at dakity reef. There are a few other boats out here with us. A couple of regulars and a couple of new boats. Everyone has to hunker down and wait it out because it seems most ports are closed to new arrivals. Some of the nearby islands have even made cruisers leave their ports! Listening to the news it seems that more cities around the states are moving to implement these same restrictions too, so soon we will all be as some say “In the same boat”.

Taken from the deck of Moon looking down…the calm before the storm and the water is flat and clear!
Mr. Ray and his fish clan seen from the topside of Moon.
Sea slug
Storm approaching us, Dakity Reef, Culebra
Or friend John caught a fish!
We went to get on the dinghy at the dock and saw this guy cooling off.

As most of you know I recently had a birthday. We were looking to find something new that we had not done before so, we sailed Moon to a nearby island for some fun. Little did we know at the time that this would be our last adventure for a while.

Approaching Soldado (Soldier’s Point), Culebra on our way to Cayo Luis Peña.
Soldado Beach, Culebra
Approaching beautiful Cayo Luis Peña.

We decided to sail over to Cayo Luis Peña for the day. Luis Peña is a small, uninhabited island off the west coast of Culebra under the protection of the U.S. fish & Wildlife. It is only accessible by boat. The few people that come here usually come to snorkel and enjoy the small beaches. We had heard from a friend that there was a old road that we could hike to the top with amazing views and some old ruins from when the military had control of the island. We thought that this would be something cool to check out. We left dakity reef and because it was such a short distance we decided to motor sail over to the island. We picked up one of the two mooring balls in the harbor when we arrived, kayaked to shore and set off to find the trail. I have to admit that at first I was not really enthusiastic about the idea of a hike in the middle of the day. It was hot and I really thought that we were going to snorkel and enjoy the waters and then hike later in the afternoon or early the next morning. The anchorage was a bit rolly that day though so we decided to go ahead and hike up and then spend the night somewhere else.

Old boat ramp on the windward beach on the west side of Cayo Luis Peña. Culebra is in the background.

We’ve been to Luis Peña before but only to enjoy the beaches and snorkel. The small beach on the north side of the island has an amazing underwater elk-horn coral forest. This time however we wanted to find the trail that we had heard about and make our way to the top. We started by walking across the skinny peninsula from where we were moored to the opposite beach where we could see Culebra just across the channel. From there we started to look for the trail we heard was just over a small hill that would lead us to the old road. We hunted around and found what looked like a trail and gave it a try. It was less of a trail and more a goat-cleared path. There are wild goats on the island. Luck would have it and we found the old military road that would take us to the top.

After a scrambling up a embankment we find the clearing to the old road that will lead us to the top.
Tree roots taking over the old road.

It was a pretty easy hike, mostly shaded and the grade was an easy one. For the most part we could see and follow the old military road. On some parts trees and mother nature had completely taken over. We carefully pushed through thorned bushes and cactus. Lots of pretty flowers and mushrooms along the path to admire along the way and we even came across a snake catching some of the suns rays.

LOTS of thorns and cacti along the trail!
Huge mushroom on the trail!
Pretty views along the trail as we hike to the top.
On top of Cayo Luis Peña, far off in the distance you can see St. Croix!

Once we reached the top we were rewarded with the largest gun turret/helicopter pad that we have ever seen. It is crazy if you think of the military action that has happened on this island. Cayo Luis Peña was one of the areas that the Marine Corps used during the various training exercises from the 1920s through the late 1940s for munitions firing. Marine units stationed on Culebra fired artillery onto the northern areas. They also used the entire area for aerial bombing and gunnery practice. One historical document indicated that the Marines had also dropped napalm onto Luis Pena. Additionally the island is located in the immediate vicinity of the Northwest Peninsula that served as the main military bombardment and impact area. We had to be careful as we explored because unexploded ordnance items have still been found on the island to this day! As we explored the grounds and ruins left behind it was amazing to think that all of it’s history was not all that long ago.

We finally reach the top and this is what we see first. Abandoned gun turret/ helicopter landing.
Exploring the military ruins on top of Cayo Luis Peña.
More pipes going underground on the left and a steel container of some sort below.

After taking in all off the views and wonders we made our way back down the path and paddled back to Moon. We dropped the mooring ball and headed to melones beach just off of Culebra to spend the night in a more comfortable anchorage. As we were motoring away from Luis Peña our engine started overheating and shut down…oh no! Quickly Brian hoisted our jib and main sail and we sailed into the winds towards melones where were planned on anchoring. Thankfully after a few tacks we made it in just as the sun was setting. The next day Brian discovered that the boats impeller, part of the water pump for the engine had lost several veins and it had to be replaced. Luckily we had a spare and Brian was able to make the repairs at anchor. I’ve said it before and I will say it again…My Hero!

Someone left their mark on Cayo Luis Peña. Any military folks out there know what this might stand for? This was about when the military presence left the island.
Defense Mapping Survey Marker.

Brian says that he thinks that Cayo Luis Peña is haunted because every time that we visit there or near there something happens. Once we were anchored on the north side on a beautiful, sunny peaceful day and a big storm came out of nowhere and reigned havoc on us causing us to have to leave abruptly and break one of our almost indestructible 8 ft oars and other times we have sailed around the island the winds would either come on full blast out of nowhere or die down to a complete calm. And now with our water pump going bad as we were leaving the harbor….just saying something is not right there and you can’t convince Brian otherwise!

Flamenco Beach, Culebra
Patty and Brian are waiting in line at Tienda #6, it is the all around favorite for food at flamenco beach!
Cheers!
Sweet kitty at Flamenco Beach, Culebra. Melted our heart and wished that we could have taken her home. Had to settle to sharing our fish instead.

We were also fortunate enough to visit beautiful flamenco beach with our friends Patty and Les for a day of fun in the sun before all of this mess going on. Not only was it a birthday celebration for me it was one for Patty as well. Pisces Girls Rule!

Brian meanwhile has also been working a some sewing projects.

More sewing projects for Brian. I did not get any before pics but here is the final product after he replaced the Eisenglass for a boats side panel.
Side panel being fitted after being sewn.
More chores for Brian. Up the mast to install a new secret weapon on Moon.

Well, like we said in the beginning of this post seems as if everything has changed now. It’s hard to believe that we have to hunker down where we are. There is so much to explore here and it is hard to sit still. I know that we are blessed though. At least we are in a beautiful spot. As of now we can jump off of the boat and swim in the sea that surrounds us, see the sun rise and enjoy the sea life swimming around our floating home. Guess we can’t complain too much. Take care all for now, stay safe and by all means…wash your hands after reading this post, who knows where it has been!!

Moon anchored by Hector the Protector in Culebra.

Jennifer and Brian

SV/Moon

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Progress Of Our Quarantine

Hello all. Just wanted to let you know that Brian and I have decided in the light of everything that is going on to quarantine ourselves on our boat for two weeks. This should be sufficient time for most of the yuckies to make its way though this area.

It’s been a week so far and we thought that we would share with you our progress…

Our quarantine site at Dakity Reef

Day One – Brian installs new y-valve for water maker. I surf fb for latest news. We drink a six pack of beer, eat a small meal and are mindful of the amount of tp we use.

Day Two – Brian fiber glasses and paints bottom of dinghy. I surf fb for latest panic news. We drink three six packs of beer, have a good sized dinner, eat all of our potato chips and are not as cautious of the amount of tp we use.

Day Three – Brian completes some small repairs around the boat. I surf fb again for the latest numbers and for what is selling off of the shelf. We use around a half of a roll of tp and start to eat all of our other snack supplies including drinking a whole case of beer.

Day Four – I am still surfing fb for the real news. After scrolling for hours we come to the conclusion that if the end of the world is coming we should no longer ration our tp supplies and should drink the rest of our beer and start on our supply of rum!

Day Five – We wake up in a cloudy haze. I no longer consult fb. We do however decide once again that if the world is ending we should finish our rum and pantry rations. After all in these apocalyptic times we wouldn’t want to have someone board the boat and take them from us!

Day Six – We roll over in the morning wondering what truck came through the bunk and ran us over. We stumble to the galley only to find that our supplies are somehow running low. I once again consult fb for the latest news, after all it is the most reliable. It shows zombies in the streets and mothers stealing milk out of the mouths of babes. We breath a sigh of relief, all is normal!

Day Seven – We come to the realization that our two weeks worth or rations barely made it 6 days for some reason. We decide that we have to brave the world and make a trip to town. We gear up in our masks, gloves and bodysuits and off we go…wish us luck and stay tuned for updates… 🙂

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Culebra, Puerto Rico… February Fun 2020

Hi there. Been awhile since we’ve made a post. We could make the excuse that we have been snowed or iced in and unable to leave the boat, but you all know that is not true! Yes, it has been beautiful here and we have been taking advantage of all of it!

We’ve been spending time with our Culebra friends, having beach cook outs the old fashioned way …. find wood, dig a hole and start a fire and also spending some time on the water.

Chris and Ricky manning the fire on the beach. Cooking us some yummy chili, even had vegetarian chili for a couple of us!
Sancho hoping to get some leftovers.
Beach fun
And then … Capt Dave threw a party for the gang…thanks David, we had a blast!

We were invited on our friend Chris’s boat Dottie II for a day sail. Dottie II is a ex-racing boat, a Pearson 33 and she sails like a dream. It’s been a while since we have sailed on a mono-hull, (a boat with only one hull for my non-sailing friends, we have three!). It was awesome, so different than sailing on Moon. Chris was at the helm and Brian and Ricky were grinding away at the wenches getting all the speed that they could out of her. Of course as soon as we saw any other boat underway it was a race to see who could sail the fastest! Wind was around 12-15 knots making for some decent speeds. I had to remember to secure my beverage when underway so that it would not spill when we were healed over! We stopped for a bit in nearby Almodover Bay and picked up a mooring ball where Ricky jumped in and speared some fish for dinner including a lion fish! We had a blast, thanks Chris for an awesome day aboard Dottie II!

Chris at the helm of Dottie II.
No boat hook, no problem…just use your spear gun!
Knobby hills behind Almodover Bay.
Beautiful bay to anchor in!
Ricky speared a lion fish!

The next day it was our turn to take out the gang. In all we ended up with eight of us on Moon. The winds though were light, about 5-10 knots. Disappointing because we wanted to show off what Moon could do. Brian did not want to turn the motor on, he wanted to sail! We were doing OK, and we would have gotten there eventually, but I had to encourage him to motor sail so that we would go faster than 3 knots…that’s really slow for a sail boat, especially us!

Left to right. Capt David, Bob and Brian.
Everyone chilling…this seemed to be the spot to hang.
Brian says: “It’s over there!”
Captain Kathy at the helm.
Oh No!!! Not Captain Dave at the helm too!!
Love the knobby hills in Almodover Bay!
Not much wind so we raised the spinnaker on the way back. Thanks Kathy for taking the pics for us!

We again picked up a mooring ball in Almodover Bay and enjoyed the crystal clear waters. The gang was determined to find a conch that was big enough to keep. The bay was full of them but they were all too small. It was fun, a few would swim and collect conchs…is this one big enough? How about this one? How ‘bout now? Unfortunately for us, but fortunately for the conchs we did not find any keepers. Don’t feel bad for our crew though we had quite a lunch spread on board and hopefully no one left hungry! Another amazing day on the water! Great time and crew!

Most of the crew…thanks Bob for taking the pics!

Brian is off today looking at a sewing project on a boat. Word has gotten out of his skills and he has lots lined up to do from sewing shade sails, sun covers for rolling jibs, bimini tops, trampolines and even engine repairs! As always no matter where we go he is a wanted man, in a good way though, LOL!

Moon back home moored at Dakity Reef…time to take a break!

OK, enough for now. Take care all and stay warm we are sending lots of sunshine your way and spring will be here before you know it!

Jennifer and Brian

SV/Moon

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Culebra, Puerto Rico…January 2020

And so another year begins. We are back to doing what we usually do on our island in paradise. We had so much fun when Rachel and Drew were here that now everything seems so boring. It was too fun playing tourist!

Brian sewing the sun guard on Chris’s sail.
Raising the sail to check out the work.
Folding sail up for delivery.

Brian has been working on a sewing project for our friend Chris. He is sewing a sun guard for Chris’s rolling furling head sail. Now he’s just waiting on some material to arrive so that he can finish it up. The word is out on the island that Brian can sew sails and canvas and there is now no shortage of work waiting for him. Lucky guy, huh?

On my way to my beach spot.
I spotted a manatee coming up for air!
Water is so clear that you can see the starfish on the bottom.

We are in the process of upgrading to lithium iron phosphate batteries and Brian has been busy learning all about them and installing them on the boat. So far so good and hopefully we will post about that project here soon.

I can’t kayak right to the beach where I look for sea glass because the sea is too rough. I have to park on the backside of the rocks and walk to get there.
That’s all dead coral that has washed ashore. Not much fun to walk on because it is uneven and loose. It’s normal for the area though and can be found all around the islands beaches here.
This rather large mooring ball was washed ashore and it looks like ti was perfectly perched up on these rocks!
This stretch is where we find the sea glass.

I’ve just been doing regular household chores as usual and baking things up in the solar oven. Nothing new, beans and rice with cornbread for dinner tonight. All baked with the sun. Sometimes I kayak to a nearby beach where I can find sea glass. It’s the beach by the tide pools that we have shared with you before so you might recognize some of the pictures. It’s kinda my happy spot. Been working on some sea glass creations. Now I just need to find a glue gun, then we can share them with you.

The rocks and formations here are so cool. I need to learn more about geology!
It amazes me what beauty can grow in this harsh salty environment!

As you can see lots of exciting stuff going on here, right! Anyhow, hope all of you are doing good and this new year will bring all of us new adventures…you never know what lies ahead!

Take care for now,

Jennifer and Brian

SV/Moon

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Puerto Rico, Christmas on Moon 2019

Final Christmas Post, Puerto Rico, Christmas on Moon, 2019

Hello again. Finally here is our last post of all of the Christmas fun that we had. I tell you what it was quite a chore to go through all of the pics that we took! Again I want to thank Rachel and Drew for taking the majority of them. It is always cool to see the world through someone else’s eyes and this is a perfect way to do so. There were so many good pics that I had a hard time leaving some out. I don’t think that you will notice though because we have lots to share! So I better get started….

Last we posted we were in Culebra. Next stop for us was mainland Puerto Rico. There are few ways to leave the island. You can either take the ferry, a private boat or small plane. We had planned on taking the ferry but Rachel was looking on-line and saw that the ferry was sold out! Brian and I had thought that we planned out this trip to a tee, made all of our reservations ahead of time so that everything would go smoothly. This moved us to plan B. We had to buy plane tickets to fly to the mainland.

Smallest plane that I have ever been in. Here is the cockpit right in front of us!
Bye, bye Culebra…On the left hand side where the boats are is Dakity Reef where we usually keep Moon.
Culebra, opposite of Dakity Reef, Mosquito Bay.
Approaching mainland Puerto Rico.
Flying over part of the abandoned housing, Roosevelt Roads. Roosevelt Roads Naval Station is a former United States Navy base in the town of Ceiba, Puerto Rico. Looks like the houses are completely grown over with foliage!
We’ve arrived!

After our 15 minute flight we arrived in Puerto Rico. We stayed in Fajardo on the northeast coast for our first couple of days. We picked Fajardo for a couple of reasons, for one we thought that the malecon (waterfront) would be a hopping place for New Years Eve and the location is a good jumping off point to visit the nearby waterfalls.

Sunset Fajardo

Turns out this was not where the party was. We had fireworks at midnight, but all of the nearby restaurants were closed and nothing was going on at the malecon. Once again we had to make our own party…don’t worry or feel bad for us though, we were becoming pros at that!

In El Yunque National Forest, at an elevation of 1, 476 feet above sea level, La Coca Falls is a spectacular waterfall! The waters of La Coca Falls drop 85 feet onto a huge rock formation at the bottom of the falls.
Also in El Yunque, Juan Diego Falls, Puerto Rico

The next day we visited the El Yunque Rain Forest. It is such a amazing and magical place! As we drove around the mountains like a race car hugging the hair pin turns my fingers turned white as I gripped the door handle to keep my balance. We stopped at the Coco and Juan Diego Falls. It was raining. Imagine that raining in a rain forest! The paths were slippery but we were determined to enjoy the waterfalls views. As we were leaving we came across a dog that had appeared to had been left behind. Strangely, the last time that we were here there was a cat in this very same place wondering from car to car in the same way. I was heart broken but there was something strange about this. There were lots of people around but no one was paying attention to the dog not even the park rangers. This is where it gets weird. Drew was on-line researching El Yunque. Seems that many believe that the fabled shape shifting chupacabra, lives in Puerto Rico’s El Yunque National Forest! Could this wondering dog be the mythical chupacabra, we were not about to find out. We diverted our eyes and skedaddled out of there lucky to be alive to tell the story!

Brian found this out of the way waterfall for us. Charco El Hippie falls. It was a long drive but worth it…beautiful!

Next was an adventure that was new for all of us. We booked a cabin at Hacienda El Jibarito in San Sebastián. San Sebastián is on the northwest side of Puerto Rico where the geography is completely different than we had seen before on the island. From here we were able to drive to Rincon beach famous for surfing when the waves are big and also visit Gozalandia waterfalls that were busy but amazing!

The Double Waterfalls of Gozalandia, both an Upper and Lower Waterfall! This topped as our favorite fall on this trip!
Upper fall Gozalandia, heard that there was one more on top of this but it is a more difficult climb. It was very wet and slippery so we skipped that one…next time though we will give it a go!
Drew right before he jumped off!

One night for us in San Sebastián and then it was off to Old San Juan for us. Along the drive there we stopped at Tunel de Guajataca. A former train tunnel for sugarcane transport.

Old train depot.
Loved this graffiti. It tells a story about Hurricanes Irma and Maria and the strength of the people.
Guajataca Tunnel – Isabela, Puerto Rico. The Guajataca Tunnel is a historical monument today and was a railroad tunnel that was built in 1911 that connected the towns. The tunnel was built inside the canyon that was forged by the Guajataca River Canyon, and was a significant part of the national railway system that connected the towns during the 1900’s.
Light at end of the Guajataca Tunnel (or is it a train?)
Cave that was inside of the tunnel…supposedly you can go down in it but we did not have a flashlight and it smelt like a devils lair!

We also made a stop at Playa Puerto Hermina. Supposedly, this is where the remains of the pirate Roberto Cofresi’s hideout is. He was a pirate that was from Puerto Rico.

Playa Puerto Hermina

You can read more about the pirate Roberto Cofresi here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roberto_Cofres%C3%AD_in_popular_culture

Finally, after site seeing along the way we arrived in Old San Juan. If we hadn’t said it before, we love Old San Juan…wait, who am I kidding of course we have said that before!

Looking for sea glass and chaney.
Chaney
Beach Old San Juan where we found sea glass

We had fun exploring all that we could of old town. We toured the big fort, Castillo San Felipe del Morro, or El Morro for short. We walked up and down so many streets in awe of the amazing architecture and blue cobble stone roads. Rachel had fun petting as many cats as she could. Sadly so many strays. I shared my favorite beach to find chaney and sea glass on and Rachel and Drew went home with some treasures.

The National Park Service flies three flags over the forts of Old San Juan. The Burgundy Cross, the flag of the commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the US flag. The Burgundy Cross was the Spanish military flag that flew here during most of the Spanish colonial period.
Castillo de San Felipe del Morro (“El Morro”). Off to the right is the San Juan Cemetery.
Lighthouse of the Castillo San Felipe del Morro

We had a blast, but our time had come to say good bye before we knew it. What amazing adventures that we all shared while Rachel and Drew were here! Hope that you have enjoyed them too! We had such a great time and it was awesome to look through all of these pictures and share our fun with you.

Take care all.

Jennifer and Brian, Crew Rachel and Drew

SV/Moon

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Spanish Virgin Islands, Christmas On Moon Continued, 2019

Culebra and Culebrita Puerto Rico (Also known as the Spanish Virgin Islands)

Mention the Virgin Islands, and most people think of the U.S. Virgin or British Virgin Islands. Yet, just 17 miles east of the Puerto Rican mainland, 12 miles west of St. Thomas, lays the Spanish Virgin Islands. The Spanish Virgin Islands have always been a well-kept secret, even back in the days of Bluebeard and other famous pirates who used the islands for hide-outs.

The fact that the Marines and U.S. Navy used the islands for bombing practice until 1975 (Culebra) and 2003 (Vieques) also kept land developers, commercialism, and an abundance of sailing charters away.

They also happen to be our favorite islands. So naturally we wanted to share their beauty with Rachel and Drew.

Moon is anchored right there!

First stop sailing west from St. Thomas brings us to Isla Culebrita (little Culebra, little snake). Culebrita is a small island about a mile long and uninhabited. We were lucky to get one of the four mooring balls in Tortuga Beach known for all of the turtles that live there. First Brian, Rachel and Drew hiked up to the lighthouse. It was built by the Spanish Crown in 1882 – 1886. It’s in a crumbling state and has been for sometime. I have heard that they are plans for restoring it at some point. It has a colorful history and you can read more about it here:

https://www.islaculebra.com/puerto-rico/Culebrita-lighthouse.html

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 1882 – 1886. In 1975, the Navy and Coast Guard closed the facility. Since then, the lighthouse has sustained heavy damage from hurricanes and vandalism.

Next day we hiked over to the tide pools which because of the northerly swells did not disappoint. Climbing through and over the large weathered brown landscape always feels like we are walking on the moon. Finally arriving at the pools we jumped in and waited for the waves to come crashing in, turning it into a natural jacuzzi. What a amazing way to spend Christmas Day!

Walking to the tide pools.

Next for us was to sail just a bit more west to the big island of Culebra, (Snake Island).

Here is some of the islands history:

https://www.islaculebra.com/puerto-rico/Culebra-history.html

When we say “big island” you can take that however you want. The island is about 7 miles by 4 miles. It has rolling hills, amazing beaches and incredible snorkeling. The main town is called Dewey and it’s where most of the residents of the island live. We anchored Moon in the town’s main and very protected harbor Ensenada Honda and set off to explore. Brian and I have seen most of the island and Rachel has spent some time here too, but for Drew it was all new experiences ahead. We rented a golf cart and don’t tell, but we took it to all of the places that we were not supposed to. There were times that we wondered if we would make it back up the steep hills that we went down, but we did! It was also Drew’s Birthday so that caused for a celebration! We had a fabulous dinner at the Dinghy dock and wondered around town in search of some fun. Culebra being what it is, a bit sleepy we did not find a party but instead created our own.

Of course no visit to Culebra would be complete without a visit to the world famous Flamenco Beach. Flamenco beach is a 1½ mile long crescent white sand beach on the north side that is absolutely breathtaking. Trees dot the shore line so there is always some place that you can lay a towel, hang out in the shade and enjoy the scenery.

Flamenco Beach is one of the few beaches in the world consistently ranked and included on the “Best World Beaches” lists.
Rachel always makes new friends when we go to Flamenco Beach!

When the military was here Flamenco Beach was used for training exercises in 1939 as a lead up to the American actions in the Second World War. The Navy’s testing and exercises on the island did not sit well with the small population of residents, and in the early 1970s, protests began to try and get the military to leave the island. It only took about four years of outcry, but the Navy finally got the hint and evacuated the island, ceasing all testing. However, when the Navy bolted, they left behind a number of their tanks and other pieces of gear. While much of it was cleaned up, the huge tanks could not be moved and were simply left to rot. While the salty sea winds worked on the metal, causing it to rust and crumble, the locals got to work on decorating them, covering the abandoned hulks in layers of ever changing graffiti.

Today the tanks remain and have become a unique feature of the otherwise pristine beach. New pieces of graffiti are continually added atop the old, giving the old war machines an almost cheerful new life. Of course this makes for a great photo op!

We had a blast visiting Culebra and Culebrita but there was still more for us to explore…I know can you believe it, more to share! That’s it for now until I go though even more photos. Take care all.

Jennifer and Brian and Crew Rachel and Drew

SV/Moon

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The BVI’s Continued….Christmas On Moon 2019

The BVI’s Continued….

As you could tell from our last post we were having a blast in the BVI’s! Next stop for us after we left the Baths in Virgin Gorda was the Norman Island Caves.

Just off the east end of St. John is Norman Island (named for a pirate). It is said that the island was the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel “Treasure Island”. Norman Island has a documented history of pirate booty being hidden and found! Many still actively hunt out treasure on Norman Island, acting on the rumors that Spanish Galleon Nuestra señora de Guadalupe left silver dollars behind. In fact a silver chest was discovered as recently as 1910. Pretty cool, huh? The treasure for us was to snorkel around this amazing site with all of the beauty that it had to offer. Not as good as doubloons but we would need a lot more time to work that angle! If you want to read a little about the islands history check these pages out:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Island

https://www.bareboatsbvi.com/other-islands/the-caves.php

The Caves are always a favorite of ours to snorkel. The only way to get here is by boat. The same as the Baths, the national parks provide day use moorings. We decided to arrive early in hopes to get a ball that was close to the caves. It’s a bit daunting because the balls seem so close to the rock walls but there is plenty of room. We got lucky, tied up and jumped in. It was a bit scary at first because you can’t see the bottom, but just like Dory…if you just keep swimming, just keep swimming it shallows out and the snorkeling is awesome! The main attraction of course is to snorkel in and around the caves. We did not bring flashlights but if we had we could have explored the darkness further, maybe we will remember next time and get serious about finding some treasure! After we had a great snorkel we all hopped back on the boat and sailed for our next adventure. Jost Van Dyke Island, BVI.

Named for an early Dutch settler and former pirate, Jost Van Dyke is just four miles by three and with fewer than 300 inhabitants. It has been home to Arawak Indians, Caribs, Dutch, Africans and the British. We were visiting for the history? No, not this time. We were visiting to go to the famous Foxy’s Bar in Great Bay and to Soggy Dollar Bar in White Bay. Party time! Well, ended up that we had to make our own party while we were there. Not much going on, I guess to early in the season. Or, I could also say that maybe we just ended too early. As we were laying our heads down for the night it sounded like the party was just starting. It was a combination of tech music and bingo numbers being shouted. We all laughed and were sorry that we missed out on that fun!

Sunset Great Bay, Jost Van Dyke, BVI

We did get to become part of Foxy’s atmosphere though by hanging one of Moon’s shirts high up on one of their rafters and the food was really good!

We made a stop at White Bay Beach the next day to check out the Soggy Dollar Bar. Yup, a bar that is named after wet money! There’s no dock, so the usual way in is to swim. Of course, your dollars get wet – hence the name: Soggy Dollar Bar! Brian and I sat this one out and stayed on the boat. Rachel and Drew paddled the kayaks to shore to check it out. They claim to be the birthplace of the rum-soaked painkiller cocktail. I think that we had enough rum soaking by this point but Rachel and Drew did try some painkiller flavored ice cream that they said was awesome.

This bay is absolutely beautiful! I have to admit and it’s probably obvious that sometimes I alter my pictures to make them look better, but not in White Bay…completely unfiltered! This Bay stands on it’s own and no filters are necessary, the water is actually that bright blue!

We hung out for a bit and as the bay started to get crowded we hauled our anchor and headed towards St. Thomas for the night. Even though Rachel and Drew still had a lots of vacation days ahead, we had lots more that we wanted to explore! We planned on heading towards Culebrita, Puerto Rico and Culebra, Puerto Rico (Also known as the Spanish Virgin Islands) the next day for more adventures.

Wow, shared lots there and if you would believe it we still have more coming…See you as soon as I can get through more photos…take care all!

Jennifer and Brian and Crew Rachel and Drew

SV/Moon

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British Virgin Islands, Christmas On Moon, 2019

OK, So I thought that I could post this in three parts but it looks like we have too many good photos to share! How many parts will we have, who knows? I’m just gonna to keep going until we can’t go no more 🙂

We will start with our first stop,

BVI, Soper’s Hole.

Our first stop in the BVI’s was Soper’s Hole. Because we left the US territory and now were in British territory this required us to make a stop to visit the local authorities and fill out all of the necessary paperwork to allow us to visit. We’ve become accustom to all of this with our travels but this was Drew’s first time. We tied off of one of the mooring balls in the harbor and the guys rowed ashore to the customs office. No big deal and after a bit of going from door to door and $125.00 the guys had us cleared in.

Tortola, BVI in the distance. I love these pointy peaks!
Enjoying the view as we head into Sopers Hole, BVI.

Compared to the last time that we were here were not many cruising boats in the harbor. It seemed that the other boats that were coming in to clear in would go to the customs office and head right back out on their journeys. We decided to stay the night because it was late afternoon and it’s a great protected anchorage. After we settled in we decided to head across the harbor to eat at the famous Pussers Landing restaurant. We later found out that it had just reopened the week before we arrived after being destroyed by hurricanes Irma and Maria almost 2 years ago. Limited menu but lunch was great! Later that evening someone came around and collected for the mooring ball…$30.00. For some reason we thought that it was $50.00 so that was a nice surprise.

Tall ship in the distance as the sunsets in Sopers Hole, BVI

After a great nights sleep we headed to Spanish Town, Virgin Gorda. This is the island that the beautiful and world famous Baths are on.

The Baths National Park, Virgin Gorda

We’re sure that you have heard of the Baths at Virgin Gorda, BVI. It’s a maze of natural giant boulders that you walk, crawl, climb, and even wade through. It is a big vacation destination and has been visited by millions. Fortunately for us the millions were not there on the day that we visited and we just about had it to ourselves.

There was a lot of sea swell coming in that day and it was a workout to get to shore. Normally the snorkeling is great here too but the seas were too rough for us to snorkel this time around.

You can either access the park by land or water. If you come by land you walk down a neat worn path from the parking area past boulders and beautiful scenery to get to the main attraction. If you come by boat you choose a mooring ball and take your dinghy to the dinghy line and swim ashore. No dinghies are allowed on the beaches here. Rachel and Drew took the kayaks ashore which we think is allowed. Brian and I took the dinghy to the dinghy line tied to it and swam ashore.

There are a few ladders scattered throughout the caves where the rocks become too high to climb to help you explore. At the end of the breathtaking trail we reached the beach at Devil’s Bay for more amazing scenery.

Before the wave pushed in….
And after the wave came through!

How were the baths formed? Glad that you asked!

The Baths were formed by granite that eroded into piles of boulders on the beach. Granite forms from the slow cooling of magma at depth nowhere close to surface. The granite only appears at the surface after geologic ages have eroded away all the overburden covering it. Once exposed, erosion continued to isolate the granite into large boulders and round their surfaces. The boulders formed natural tide pools, tunnels, arches, and scenic grottoes that are right on the shoreline. The largest boulders are an astounding 40 feet, isn’t that awesome! Mother nature creates the most wonderful things!

As interesting as the geology behind The Baths is, it is really even more impressive to see and explore them in awe of their beauty. One of the first amazing formations you come across as you enter the baths is known as “The Cathedral”. This is probably the most photographed part of the baths. Two enormous boulders barely touch to make a gorgeous triangle shaped cave with the water rushing in and out with the tide. They say that depending on the time of day with the light coming through the rocks that the chamber changes its mood.

“The Cathedral”

What a wonderful, amazing and magical day!

Stay tuned to find out what was in store for us next….

Jennifer and Brian and Crew Rachel and Drew

SV/Moon

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US Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico! Christmas On Moon 2019

As promised it’s time to share with you all of the fun that we had this Christmas and New Years.

Santa comes to Brewers Bay!

As I was going through all of the pictures I realized that we have lot to share! Thank you Rachel and Drew for taking and sharing most of what I will be posting. It was nice to step away from the camera and really enjoy the places that we’ve been. Instead of jamming all of the fun that we have had together in one post I’m going to make three separate posts. One for each territory. Hope you all enjoy!

With that being said we start our adventures in St. Thomas USVI.

Brian and I saw a deer swimming across Brewers Bay!
No one on the beach even noticed him swimming by!

Last we left you were anchored in one of our happy spots…Brewers Bay, St. Thomas, heaven on earth! It was the perfect place to wait for Rachel and Drew to arrive. Just so happens that we were out and about on the day that their plane touched down with our friend Bob doing some last minute shopping and laundry. Bob was happy to run us by the airport to pick them up. Thanks again Bob!!

Rachel and Drew’s plan landing in St. Thomas. They have arrived!

We all headed to Brewers Bay to settle down for the night and make our plans for the next few weeks. Yup, they got to have an extended vacation of around three weeks with us. We had lots planned out and had hoped to see as much as we could.

Brewers Bay. Can you see the big rocks and cave near the top of the hill? Last time we were here Brian and Rachel climbed way up there and apparently I was going this time too!

We started out the next morning hiking up to the cave above the bay. High in the hills above Brewers Bay is a cave that can be seen from both the bay and beach. Last time Rachel visited she and Brian made the climb and I stayed on the boat, but this time they were not letting me out of it.

I came across some fun history on the cave. Check it out with the link below:

http://valeriesims.com/mystery-cave-explored-john-brewers-bay-1929

This is where we start our hike…across the street from the Estate Brewers Bay, located near the University and Brewers Bay. It is the ruins of a sugar factory, later adapted as a residence, and of an animal-powered mill. Shhh.. don’t tell anyone but you can find some old pottery along the beach by it too!

The path starts across the main road from the ruins of the old Brewers Bay Sugar Factory. It is a rocky gut and a bit of a steep climb up. It is marked with spray paint to keep you going in the right direction. I would not say that it is a difficult hike, but it is definitely a workout!

As we were climbing up I was sure that my heart was going to beat out of my chest! We passed a couple of girls hiking their way back down, “You have lots more to go until you reach the top” one of them cheerfully said. Well, great I thought. I had figured that we were getting pretty close. I wondered if I would make it to the top, but I carried on. Even though I was a bit behind everyone else I was determined.

Well, we all made it and once we reached the top the views were amazing and we even had a bit of rain to cool us off.

Time to take some pics!

If you look way down in the bay on the left side you just might be able to spot Moon anchored.

We thought that the rain was great until it activated the bees in the trees leaving both Rachel and Brian with stings. We did not even realize that there were bees until we started looking and they were all over the place! Seems that they build their hives on the tips of the trees branches . We had never seen that before and avoided them as much as we could on the way down. The rain also made for an interesting decent. We did a bit of slip and sliding in the fresh mud. Rachel found a cool vine to swing on and could not help but to play Jane and swing around a bit!

When we finally reached the bottom we were rewarded with the amazing bay to swim and cool off in. Satisfied with our adventure we got ourselves together and hit the food trucks for some beer and grub. Great first day!

Sunset Brewers Bay, St. Thomas

Next day we were off to the big city of Charlotte Amalie. Charlotte Amalie is the capitol and the largest city of the USVI. The harbor is very busy full of cruise ships, mega yachts, tour boats, ferry boats and even sea planes!

Sunrise in Charlotte Amalie Harbor.

We went ashore walked the streets admiring all of the architecture, history and shopping that it had to offer. Fun place to visit but we had so much more to see. Next stop for us will be the BVI’s. Hold on to your seats and we will get more of our story posted soon.

This yacht was leaving the harbor the same time as we were…we gave him plenty of berth!
Passing by some of the ruins on Hassel Island as we leave Charlotte Amalie Harbor.

For now take care all,

Jennifer and Brian with Crew Rachel and Drew

SV/Moon

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