April 25th to April 27th Tortola to Puerto Rico

April 25th Sadly Tony and Janet’s last morning. We took them in the duck into one of the docks and it was about a 3 minute walk to the terminal. You could not get an easier airport drop off. We said our farewells and headed back to Southern Star. We pulled anchor straight away and headed out. We were planning to go to Sopers Hole, on the Western end of Tortola, but Robbie checked it out and it looked easier to go into Great Harbour on Jost Van Dyke and clear out there.

What a smart idea that was, we arrived at 1.00pm and in under half an hour we picked up a mooring, launched the duck, went into customs, completed the clear out which cost $5 for the boat and we were back on Southern Star with the engine started within 30 minutes!

We completed the 30 odd miles in good time, trawling lures most of the way with the only highlight or should I say disappointment, was catching a big ugly Barracuda, just look at those teeth!

We arrived into Culebra at 6.40pm, thank goodness it was still light and we made our way through the reef which was buoyed, and into the anchorage area. There are moorings there and there were two free but they were right up behind the reef and when we got to a depth of 1.9 metres, we stopped, our draft is 1.8! We made our way to the back of the moored boats and dropped our anchor in 5 metres of water.

There was not a breath of wind, it was so calm you would not have known you were on a boat. We had the best night’s sleep.


26 April Our first mission of the day was to go and clear in. We took the duck in and finally found a very rickety dock that we could leave the duck and make the 15 minute walk to the airport to clear in. It’s a very basic town and there were a number of car rental places, all hiring either jeeps or golf buggies. As we got nearer to the airport 2 people offered us rides, both from the same car rental place. How nice was that!

We found the customs office, the door was locked and you had to knock to enter. They push a button and the door opens. Then, the reprimand began! He was not happy that we had arrived last night and did not come and clear in, or phone them. We apologised and explained it was late when we arrived and we did not think they would be open. You should have rung he said and we would have told you what to do. He was not at all happy with us and was very stern. We had to complete 2 forms and after about half an hour, and a $19 fee for the cruising permit he completed our check in. 

He was very helpful towards the end and explained what we have to do when entering Puerto Rico. Culebra is part of the USA and so is Puerto Rico, but it is split up into 4 areas. Fajardo is included in Culebra area, so we do not have to clear into Fajardo when we arrive. We will need to clear out when we leave.

We walked back to the duck and went for a tour, under the lift bridge, through a swampy type canal through to the other side of the island. There wasn’t much to see, apart from a very cool sculpture throwing a stone, so we went back and tied up the duck at the dinghy dock restaurant and walked into town. It is very small and basic, we found a nice fruit and vege market and got lovely raspberries, bananas and a pineapple.

We went back to Southern Star and had a coffee and some fruit. We were both really tired, from walking in the heat and had a Nana nap! We woke up to the sound of Kristie and Brad calling us on Facebook, and chatted with them for over an hour. They are loving their USA tour and have hired a car and are going into the mountains for a few days. They are very excited to be flying to join us on the 4th May in Turks and Caicos Islands.

We mucked around doing boat jobs and then it was time for me to cut Robbie’s hair again! I was very excited to do this, especially after my lessons from Marie in Antigua! Hmmmm, Robbie not so excited!! We set up in a deck chair in the cockpit and away I went. All was going well and next minute a couple in a very nice fibreglass centre consul came by and said Hi. It was Peter and Fay from the Nordhavn 68 Fotini III. We chatted for a few minutes and they asked us over for a drink.

I finished up the haircut, not so bad! Probably not as good as the Antigua job with Marie’s supervision, but close enough. We had quick showers and made our way over to Fotini.

 Wow, another beautiful Nordhavn. Oh the space and luxurious interior, well luxurious everything really. Fay had done some beautiful nibbles and we enjoyed a few drinks and lots of chat.

 Peter, Fay and their captain James were interested to hear about our travels and the adventures we have had so far. They are just beginning to spend more time cruising soon as Peter will soon retire. As we were leaving the Tarpon were about their underwater lights and Peter was trying very hard to catch one with a live bait (one he had prepared earlier!) We said goodnight, exchanged cards and promised to keep in touch. Again, we have met some wonderful people and hopefully they will visit us in Australia some time.

 April 27th We departed Culebra just after 8am for the 20 mile passage to Fajardo, Puerto Rico. It was uneventful, we didnt see any other boats and we arrived into the marina – Puerto Del Rey Marina, around mid day. Its a huge marina but very professional. We had a quick sandwhich and then started to walk to complete the check in. Half way there one of the marina guys picked us up in a golf buggy and took us and our rubbish to the office.
It took a while to complete the check in process and they required a lot of paperwork from us which we havent had to do for a long time. Once we were sorted I went to the Thrifty Car rental office located just in the carpark and booked a rental car for tomorrow for 2 days, $51 per day. Robbie went and had a look in the chandlery.
We caught another golf buggy back to Southern Star and then the boat exterior cleaning process began. We didnt finish until around 6.15pm and we are both exhausted. 
Fillet steak and stir fry veges for dinner and I think we will be in bed before too long!

 

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