We said “see ya later” to Salinas and headed for the Spanish Virgin Islands early last Friday morning after an expectedly less-than-festiveThanksgiving. Instead of gobbling up turkey and all the tasty trimmings we’re accustomed to, we spent the holiday scratching off one massive list of departure to-do’s so we could take advantage of the awesome weather window that was forecasted the following two days. From topping off our water tanks to tackling hair cuts for both Oliver and Jer, and everything in between, it was one helluva long, chore-filled Thanksgiving to say the least.
We did, however, participate in the notorious “Black Friday,” albeit in a slightly different fashion than most. ;))
We awoke at the crack of dawn like many do the Friday after Thanksgiving, but not for the purpose of scoring super deep discounts on holiday gifts. Instead, we set out on a very dark, moonless nighttime passage, where we spent several hours in the early morning dodging crab pots, dragging ass (excuse the French) due to a dirty boat bottom, and diverting our intended destination of Culebra and instead heading for Vieques.
^^seriously such gorgeous weather on the sail to the Spanish Virgin Islands. I mean, hello, I’m in leggings and a long-sleeve.^^
The weather was perfect as expected, but with no moon in sight, we spent the first few hours of our passage from Salinas to the Spanish Virgins in the dark. This would have been totally fine if it hadn’t been for the loaded mine field of crab pots that littered the coast a few miles into our sail.
Jereme caught wind of the first crab pot we came upon just in time to steer clear of the trap’s polypropylene rope that was floating along the surface. After that first run in, he quickly awoke me from my cozy corner in the cockpit to keep an eye out for any additional traps. I jumped into lookout mode and grabbed our handy spotlight to scope out the waters ahead. Unfortunately, our first crab pot encounter would not be our last, as the pots began to multiply and we continuously noticed more traps up ahead.
One literally appeared out of nowhere and, of course, directly next to our boat as I flashed it with the handheld light and shouted to Jer to switch the engine into neutral. We were nearly about to motor over it, but instead of getting another pot caught around our prop like we sorta did that one time (which was so NOT fun by the way), we simply floated on by in neutral no worse for the wear. Phew! Disaster averted.
With several more hours until daylight, Jer made the executive decision to head out into much deeper waters so as to avoid what would likely be a crop of crab pots up ahead. We hooked a 90 degree turn and headed straight out to sea until we cleared 1,000 feet and then turned back east and continued on towards Vieques.
^^see that weirdo hook in our track. that’s where we called it quits on the crab traps.^^
^^so happy to see that sun rise over the ocean early Friday morning!^^
^^we even managed to rig the little point and shoot camera for a family photo.^^
But those darn crab traps weren’t the only thorn in our side on our trip from Salinas to the Spanish Virgins. Shortly into our motor-sail, we noticed our usual speed was a little on the slow side. Like really slow. When we should be averaging about 5 knots, we were doing more like 3ish. By the looks of our anchor chain and bridle when we weighed anchor in Salinas, our two-week stay probably hadn’t done much to help in the cleanliness department. We figured our bottom was surely the dirty culprit holding us back. Especially after we experienced the same thing the morning we had our boat cleaned in Puerto Real.
After dragging some serious you-know-what, we made yet another executive decision to forgo our originally intended destination of Culebra and simply try and make it to Vieques in a reasonable amount of time. This way, we could take advantage of the clear, shallow waters off the coast of Green Beach, Vieques and clean our hull before heading on to Culebra the next day. Our passage to Vieques should’ve taken about eight and a half hours. Instead, it took us nearly 13. Awesome. But we made it. Safely. And that’s all that matters, right? ;)) And as an added bonus, we got to see a tiny piece of beautiful Vieques that we didn’t expect to see at all!!!
Oh, and I almost forgot…we hooked a TUNA while en route!!! And while simultaneously on skype with Jer’s parents. Lol. Our very first tunie! Sadly, it came unhooked just as we were lifting it up into the cockpit. I think Jer and I had a collective heart attack when we lost it. We were both very much ready for some fresh tuna. :(((
^^gotta love American cell service and sailboat skype sessions while still in PR!^^
^^the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico from a distance.^^
^^by the looks of this pretty palm-lined beach, I’d say we made a good choice with our detour.^^
^^and it was just as gorgeous as expected!^^
^^there’s our friend Texas Larry’s Endeavour 32. He made the trip from Salinas too!^^
We were thrilled when we pulled up to a pristine white sand beach on the west side of Vieques. We dropped anchor and quickly jumped in the water for a swim…and, ugh, more boat chores thanks to that dirty hull. Do the boat chores ever end? Don’t answer that.
Turns out, our prop was in fact covered in cauliflower chunks of barnacle disgustingness. It’s a miracle our boat moved at all. But after an hour or two of heavy duty scrubbing, she was as good as new! :))
^^scrub-a-dub-dub, we don’t want any barnacles on that tub. PS – that’s not an awesomely high-waisted swimsuit Jer’s wearing. It’s a weight belt courtesy of our friends from way back in the Bahamas…Dos Jalepenos.^^
^^it’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it. ps – those two photos are basically the “after”…I didn’t get a chance to snap any before Jer got to work.^^
^^ready for a dive into that crystal clear water for a swim.^^
^^and some paddle-boarding.^^
We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening enjoying a gorgeous sunset, beautiful weather, and even a delicious dinner of pasta and homemade meatballs.
^^seriously spectacular sunset!^^
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