May 6-9, 2011... Bahia de la Chiva, Vieques

Friday morning we left Culebra for our sail south to Vieques. We started with 10-12 knots of wind, but that soon diminished to almost nothing. In fact, apparent winds of 00 for most of the way. Only when we jibed for the turn to the west around the south coast of Vieques did we have any appreciable wind, and boy, was Anhinga happy! We were gliding. So we sailed to Bahia de la Chiva, anchoring just inside Punta Conejo. I guess because we had so much time to look around while we were sailing, we saw a HUGE turtle just north of Vieques. Always good to see a turtle.

The beaches at Chiva are outstanding. Gorgeous white sand fronting on light blue water, backed by palm trees. How can you miss? Since we were there over the weekend we expected armies of land and boat people to descend, but surprisingly that didn't happen. Saturday -- 3 other boats; Sunday -- just one other. A few of the shelters on the beach housed big (10-20 people) gatherings, but other than that, just a handful of people. And this is a beach at least 1 1/2 miles long. So we had it almost to ourselves.

We put up the awning for the first time since November -- summer is back and the sun is starting to feel a bit brutal in the afternoons. The awning saves our skin and keeps the boat cool too. Off the boat, we kayaked and snorkeled. Biggest surprise was the extent of the reef both on Punta Conejo and west of Isla Chiva, the island in the center of the bay. Best sightings were the squid and pufferfish, and some of the very round brain corals lined up like cannonballs.

Speaking of ordnance... As Vieques was used for years by the US Navy as a bombing range, there is still work being done to clear the island and its waters of unexploded ordnance. Warning signs everywhere attest to this fact. Our welcome to Vieques on Friday afternoon was a tremendous explosion that must have been demolition of some of the collected munitions. We did see a couple of mysterious items. One, a metal cylinder that had washed up on the beach, and another strange truncated conical thing that was on the reef at Punta Conejo. Anyone out there have any ideas?

Bahia de la Chiva, Vieques: 18d06.547' N 65d22.775'W

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