May 16-20, 2010... Vieques, Puerto Rico

We left Salinas intending to stay overnight in the Bahia de Jobos and then departing for Vieques.  But once at Jobos, we decided to press on and anchor in Puerto Patillas -- one of the last possible anchorages on the south coast of Puerto Rico.  The weather was squally, but we got to Puerto Patillas just fine after being welcomed back to the ocean by dolphins.
The next day we set out early from Puerto Patillas for Vieques.  The trip was not extraordinarily long, but it was a slog.  We went through or avoided at least 4 squalls and the winds blasted through the 25 knot mark.  Beating to windward is such a joy!  It wasn't comfortable, but when we finally got to Vieques, we were so happy.  In fact, Patti remarked on our getting there without breaking anything.  Jinx!!  We were a mile from the anchorage outside Esperanza when the mainsail outhaul car broke free of the track and ball bearings started raining down on Anhinga.  We managed to pull in the sail with no problems -- but now we had a fixit issue.  That wasn't our only casualty -- our coffeemaker also gave up the ghost -- a real tragedy.  Sigh. 
Vieques is a beautiful place.  Very hilly, very green.  Sun Bay has a gorgeous beach and is nicely maintained.  There are also horses roaming free along the roads and pasturing wherever they please.  At least a dozen wander through the Sun Bay grounds.  To explore the island we walked from the beach to Esperanza -- a cute little town with a malecon and lots of restaurants.  From there we hitchhiked to the other side of the island to Isabel Segundo (or Isabel II), the capital.  We hitched several times crossing the island and were picked up quickly every time.  The people of Vieques couldn't be nicer.  Isabel II is very different from Esperanza; a real town, not just a place catering to tourists.  Again, beautiful buildings and a view of the sea to the north.  We re-provisioned at the supermarket there and bought another coffee pot.  (thank goodness!)    
We also walked to Mosquito Bay and swam out to experience the bioluminescence.  Unlike La Parguera's biobay, this one is very heavily advertised and lots of tours go there.  So, we were a little out of place swimming out for the experience when there were kayak tours with 40 people and an electric pontoon boat hauling 30 people out to the bay.  We would have come in by dinghy from the ocean had the waves not been up over 6 feet -- but thems the breaks.  Back at Sun Bay, it was also fun to snorkel off the boat.  We jumped in once and saw a brown spotted eagle ray right below us.  Definitely a highlight.  Galen braved the swells to kayak the bay criss-crossing it a few times.  Finally, our last night the waves diminished enough for us to go out to sea in the dinghy and round the bend to get into Esperanza.  We ate (too much) at a fabulous restaurant called El Quenepo after dancing on the malecon near Belly Buttons where the music of Stevie Ray Vaughn got us moving.  Next, Culebra.
16 May:  Puerto Patillas:  +17° 58' 38.76", -65° 59' 5.22"
17 May:  Sun Bay, Esperanza, Vieques:  +18° 5' 26.46", -65° 27' 22.98"


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