|The Yacht Club at Palmas del Mar|
We are home after having spent 9 days in Puerto Rico visiting Timothy, who is managing the marina at the Palmas del Mar Yacht Club. This is a new Marina Management marina and Tim is working 2 weeks in Puerto Rico and 2 weeks in Boca Raton. We scheduled our southern vacation this year to be in Puerto Rico when Tim was there. We arrived the weekend of their first annual Marlin Fishing Tournament and he was extremely busy with preparations and set-up. We only saw him occasionally from Thursday until Monday and it gave us a chance to travel around the eastern end of Puerto Rico. On Saturday we went to the Rain Forest- El Yunque National Forest.
|Rain Forest from top of Torre Yokahu Tower|
|Cascada La Mina|
Saturday night and Sunday we partied at the marina. We saw the fish weigh-in, sampled local cooking and then on Sunday night watched the trophy presentations. Lots of people and lots of kids,a real family gathering. It was great to hear so many compliments about Tim's good work at developing the marina. On Monday we had planned to go to Culebra, but the ferry wasn't running because of the high winds and big seas, so Ellen and I took off for a ride down the spine of the island through the mountains to Albonito. We had a nice drive over up and down thru lots of twisty, turny, narrow roads. Had to back up once to let a fuel truck get by and we certainly saw the back roads of Puerto Rico. One of the problems we encountered was that everything was closed. Mondays and Tuesdays are maintenance/no work days. Restaurants, beaches, lighthouses, lookout towers, all closed. The Punta Tuna Lighthouse, a USCG maintained lighthouse was closed to the public. I found that one hard to understand but the gate was locked and we couldn't get in. Tuesday we had the beaches at Punta Sandiego all to ourselves.
|A visit from "Wilson"|
|Ellen body surfing at Flamenco Beach|
Sad to say but we were only able to spend about an hour here before we headed back to town, to turn in the jeep and catch the ferry back to Fajardo. If Tim is still at the marina in Palmas del Mar next year, we would plan to spend 3 days on Culebra. Definitely a place to visit again.
Thursday we had a rest day and Tim took us out for dinner at a favorite restaurant of his in Juncos. On Friday, the three of us headed back to Fajardo to catch the ferry to Vieques, the other large Spanish Virgin Island. For years this island was a US Navy Bombing range and today, half of it is still off limits because of unexploded bombs. That section is a National Wildlife Refuge. Where Culebra has a population of about 2,000, Vieques's population is over 10,000 with most of the inhabitants living in Isabel. It doesn't seem to be as well organized for tourists as Culebra is, and we were unable to rent a jeep for the day. So we grabbed a taxi and headed to Sun Bay beach, where we thought we were going to be able to snorkel. We found although it is a beautiful beach there was not a reef and so we walked around the point to Esperanza, the other town, on Vieques.
|Esperanza's Main Street|