Friday, April 08, 2011

Charter Yacht THREE MOONS: Sailing the Spanish Virgin Islands

Today we have guest bloggers: Randy & Shelly owner-operators of the charter yacht THREE MOONS, one of our favorites!

Sailing the Spanish Virgin Islands... So Close, Yet So Far Back in Time!

Just six nautical miles to the east of Puerto Rico lies another world, the Spanish Virgin Islands, which some consider the most beautiful cruising grounds in the Caribbean. Made up of the islands of Culebra and Vieques and their surrounding islets and cays, this area is bedecked with white sand beaches, sapphire gin-colored water, hills to climb and reefs to explore.

Although the Spanish Virgins lie just 6 miles from Puerto Rico and 15-20 miles from the U.S. Virgin Islands, they are far less crowded. Even though they're part of the United States, they have none of the commercialism of the U.S. Virgin Islands, nor the crowds of charter boats that fight for moorings in the British Virgin Islands. For those who are looking for a boating vacation where gunk-holing is the order of the day and star-gazing de rigueur for the night, the Spanish Virgin Islands are perfect. Old hands describe them as "the BVIs 35 years ago." Why are these islands still so pristine and unspoiled? Blame it on the Marines -- and the U.S. Navy -- they owned the islands for private operations until the mid-1970's. It’s an easy flight to either San Juan Puerto Rico or St. Thomas, USVI, then on to the Spanish Virgin Islands!

If you are happy away from the crowds and beach bars (seriously, there aren't many of either!) you can easily spend a week in one or two anchorages and be perfectly happy. Depending on the weather, you have many excellent anchorages to choose from. Please note that this sailing area is best during our charter months of May and June. The waters and anchorages can be very rough during the winter months. Although there are many variations on this theme, here's a suggested itinerary for one week departing from Fajardo, a town in the southern part of Puerto Rico.

  • FIRST DAY: Fly to San Juan, Puerto Rico early in the morning and take a 45 minute taxi ride to Fajardo, where you'll board Three Moons. We'll take off across Vieques Sound for Isla Palominos. If you are fishing enthusiast, bring your favorite rod and have your lines out; Vieques Sound is full of bonito, tuna and dolphin. Once we drop the hook, we’ll barbecue the fish you caught (or the steaks you didn't), and enjoy a snorkel around the northern reef of the area. Later in the evening, see how many constellations you can identify in the night sky.
  • DAY 1: Our sail today is toward the island of Vieques. Hidden on the coast is one of the most spectacular Bioluminescent Bays in the world. The mysterious blue-green light is created by micro-organisms which thrive in an environment uniquely suited to their needs. A trip into the bay on a balmy night is a magical experience. Fish flash by in dark water, and a swim is like floating through fairy stardust! Quiet honestly, it was one of our favorite experiences we’ve ever had in the islands!
  • DAY 2: Sail east to Cayo Luis Pena, just off the island of Culebra, and anchor in the bay on its northwest side. Pretend you're on "Survivor" and dive for lobsters under the coral overhangs -- Puerto Rico's lobster hunting season is year-round. If you're not yet ready to stop for the night, we'll take Three Moons a bit further east into Encenada Honda, Culebra, and anchor just off the town dock.
  • DAY 3: Explore Culebra, which isn't very difficult to do. Because the U.S. government has one of its most diverse National Wildlife Refuges on Culebra, land developers haven't made much of a toehold there, either. There are three roads, each of them leading to a beach, and 2,000 people on the 11-square-mile island. Most people live in Dewey, the town all the locals call "Culebra," and everyone is friendly, laid-back and unaffected. Stop in for an introductory beer at the Dinghy Dock and meet the local expats. Take an early morning hike across the island to Playa Flamenco, one of the most spectacular beaches anywhere in the Caribbean, and see how many of the 85 kinds of birds that nest on Culebra you can identify. At night, treat yourself to dinner at Mamacitas (it's an ABSOLUTE "must do"!) on the narrow canal between Dewey and Ensenada Honda. The food is inexpensive, fresh and great!
  • DAY 4: We can anchor in either Dakity Harbor or Bahia de Almadovar just to the east and spend the rest of the day snorkeling and swimming. You're very likely to spot some turtles paddling about. By this time you should be well into "island time." Revel in it. Watch the sunset and the lights of St. Thomas as they come on 15 miles to the east, and congratulate yourself for being a whole world away from civilization.
  • DAY 5: If there isn't a northern swell running, we can sail up to tiny Culebrita and anchor off its northern shore, a 400-foot crescent of that ubiquitous white sand that's everywhere in the Spanish Virgins.
  • DAYS 6 & 7: The last two full days will vary depending on where your pick-up and drop-off points are located. Either way, you know us and you know for a fact that we'll have a great time!

Thanks, guys!
Charter Yacht Three Moons
Crewed Caribbean Yacht Charters & Sailing Vacations in the Virgin Islands

Charter Yacht Three Moons is an owner-operated, 72-foot Irwin ketch with a crew of three. Three Moons is fully air conditioned and has four double cabins with ensuite heads/showers. There's also the possibility of swapping out one of the double cabins for the forward cabin with twin upper/lower bunks, if that is better suited for the make up of your group.

Lots of activities, relaxation, fun, excellent food & hospitality.  Three Moons is definitely one of our favorite charter yachts in the Virgin Islands fleet.

Contact Paradise Connections Yacht Charters to book THREE MOONS
View Three Moons' online brochure #1 and online brochure #2
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