Last year, on our way south, we were totally planning to stop in the Spanish Virgin Islands en route from Puerto Rico to the USVI. But, sailing conditions were perfect that day (holy cow, that was almost a year ago!) and we were having so much fun (setting a new record for speed upwind!), we decided not to stop and sailed right on by. We vowed to return and stay awhile, next time we found ourselves in this part of the world.
Of course, every sailor we’ve met since will not shut up about how much they love Culebra/Culebrita and how crazy we were for skipping this group of islands. We’ve been pining for them since.
This week, we’re back! Hello, Spanish Virgins – which are technically part of Puerto Rico – we are pleased to report that these islands live up to the hype. Our first stop was Culebrita, a tiny, uninhabited (unless you count wild goats) spit where we spent a couple of perfect days playing with our friends Pete and Mary.
Unfortunately, the anchorage is very prone to discomfort in north swell, and after two sleepless nights, we cried uncle and went over to Culebra for some shuteye. But, we returned later that week when the swell subsided a bit – that’s how much we love it here.
Simply put, Culebrita is fab. There’s something for everyone – a nice hike to a creepy, dilapidated lighthouse with stunning, panoramic views, bubbly pools, snorkeling and lobstering, three picture-perfect beaches, and gin clear water. If not for the damn swell, we’d stay here forever!
Pro tip #1: when the wind is not too strong and/or shifty, a swell bridle can alleviate discomfort from rolling. This was the first time we used one on a mooring (see photo below) – but it worked just as well as it has for us at anchor.
Pro tip #2: have your cake and eat it too – if you can’t stand the roll, hop over to beautiful Bahía de Almodóvar just before sundown, grab a mooring behind the reef, and sleep soundly.