Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Boys Trip! Turks to USVI's.

It was time for Brad to have a guys trip, so his friends David and Buddy joined him and Bish for the next adventure south.

The boys landed in Turks & Caicos and Brad checked the latest weather from our weather routing service that we subscribe to. They stated that it would be better to leave immediately than to leave the next day as planned. Therefore, the guys had a quick lunch and headed to the marina to checkout with immigration and departed the Turks & Caicos at sundown. They had a 420 mile trip to Puerto Rico ahead of them. The first 20 hours were rough seas where no one slept well. 
They passed a waterspout which was approx 7 miles away. A waterspout is similar to a tornado, but with water going up into the air. It's something to steer well clear of as you never want to encounter one!
It's hard to see the waterspout in this photo, but it's faint on the horizon. 
They arrived in San Juan Puerto Rico at 9am...40 hours later. 
Below is the imposing El Morro Fort that you see upon entering the harbor. There was a smaller fort on the opposite side of the harbor entrance...and as they passed by, 6 cannon shots went off! Bam.  We don't know if they were firing to celebrate their arrival or "at" them, but they arrived safely into their marina and cleared customs and immigration 2 hours later. 
The boys hopped a taxi into Old San Juan & went to the fort to visit all of the historical sights. 
Buddy, David & Brad in front of El Morro Fort showing off their fearless fashion sense. 
Looking out through a 400 year old sentry gunslit at young kids learning to sail. The Ying and Yang of history. 
General info on the fort. The fort was the dominant part of San Juan life until early 1900's.

Here's Brad modeling the view!
And the ever intriguing fort tunnel.
More pix of the fort showing the Spanish cannon location. The fort faces the sea to protect San Juan harbor from the British, Dutch, French and rogue pirates whom all attempted to invade San Juan at any point and time from 1530 onwards. The Spanish surrendered San Juan, and therefore Puerto Rico during the Spanish American war of 1898 due to the US naval bombardment of this fort from Teddy Roosevelts Great White Fleet.  

A charming street sign in San Juan...
And elevator adventures... 
This is a trolley they took throughout old town San Juan. You can see the other passengers waving at them as they left...They hated to see them go!
They left San Juan the next morning and had 7-10 foot seas for 35 miles before being able to turn 90 degrees and head straight down swell for another 25 miles to Vieuqes Island. They picked up a mooring in the town of Esperanza on the south side of the island, and took the dingy into town to check out the action. There wasn't too much to see, but there were friendly people and they found a friendly bar to have lunch at.
And they were well behaved...
Here's the main drag in town...a bustling metropolis. 
Sunset in Esperanza, Vieques. 
The boys took a bioluminescent bay tour that night. One of the top 3 bio bays in the world! Each paddle stroke would light up with plankton effervescence...and when a fish or stingray would swim by it looked liked a shooting star in the water.  

Getting out of the kayak required them to walki through thick sloppy mud. The guide poured water over their feet on this grate before they hopped in the van. 
Can anyone figure out the meaning of this boat name?  Especially given the slogan written in smaller font on the bottom. What in the world?  A special prize to whomever can explain twisted person you!
Leaving Vieques in the morning. 
Buddy caught a whopper! Thank goodness he had the fish fighting belt on for that one. 
That day they had a 20 mile trip to Culebra island, Peurto Rico where they dropped anchor in Ensenada Honda Bay. They popped the dingy in the water and headed out for a cruise to check out the sights. 

Before you knew it, Buddy found a rope swing on Culebra Island that he claimed as his own.
Water scene from their anchorage. 
Wooden "Greeter" statue on the breakwater near the ferry terminal, Culebra. 
The inoperable lift bridge on Culebra. They used this canal to get from the bay where they were anchored out to the ocean for a nice dinghy cruise exploring the West Coast. 
Tarpon fish off the dock of the Dinghy Dock restaurant. About 50 pounders. 
This dock that they used, left a lot to be desired! It might have had some "structural" issues. 
Then these crazies rented a golf cart and drove most of the island. 
They drove out to über popular Flamenco Beach. Here is Buddy getting in some body surfing there. 
This is a tank that's been on Flamenco Beach for decades, leftover from US military exercises. Apparently, our military litters?
This is Ensenada Honda bay on Culebra Island where they anchored out at the far end of the bay. 
A local cemetery in town. 
INCOGNITO happy at anchor. 
This kid is jumping off the roof of a bar into the canal that went under the bridge. 
Sequence of three photos of a jump on the rope swing. 

You gotta love "island time"!! 

Oh- my fave tricksters!

Around the corner comes Steve Jobs boat named Venus...out cruising around the neighborhood on this little rowboat. Ha!
That boat was cruising for action...
The next morning the boys left Cuelbra island in Puerto Rico. They had fun cruising past the US Virgin Islands over to Jost Van Dyke Island, in the BVIs. And yes, the guys went to the Soggy Dollar Bar and Foxys... Which are both legendary. 

Here's Great Harbor, Jost Van Dyke where the guys anchored that night. They met the owner of this boat and his fam who were from Newport Beach. He is a member of the Balboa Yacht Club and keeps this boat in the Caribbean. 

Buddy is about to launch into his rendition of Swan Lake. 

David performs his famous flying dutchman move...

Nothing better than a beer break...

Here's Buddy trying to surf using the paddle board. What a champ!

Junior (AKA David) thought it would be better to just tow him out via dingy to the surf break so he could get his game on...

The boys spent that night at anchor in Norman Island and enjoyed some fun times at Pirates and the Willy T. 
The Willy T is a boat that is actually a popular bar during the day where many boats dock alongside to join in the fun. Jumping off the top is a right of passage and one that was often done by daring women to jump naked with those fearless few donning a Willy T-shirt as their trophy. 
It's not done that way any longer however. Might have been a lawsuit in there somewhere. 
They then cruised to St Thomas, US Virgin Islands in the morning which was only a 20 mile run. 
These maps might give you a good idea of where everything is located. 

Scenes of Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas on their entry

They have 3 cruise ships as "neighbors" here in St. Thomas.. Lots to look at, but they'll take a charming marina anyday over these behemoths!

Now this pic says it all. With David as the lone single guy, maybe he's trying to tell us that he's planning on a proposal to his girlfriend soon?! Then, he can officially be dropped off at husband day care. Ha!
What's this bus? Oh- it's the one dollar...gonna make you holler TAXI!
The USVI's is the only place in America where they drive on the wrong side of the road. 
Here the boys are inside the communal dollar taxi on their way into town. Love their efficiency!
And their day could not be complete without a "distinctive" dinner at the local parking lot wonder...The Smoking Chicken!
Buddy & David flew home and Brad had to head out in search of a spot to get some boat covers washed. This locale reminded me of his abs....
Brad and Bish spent the rest of the day working on the boat preparing to leave at 6:30 the next morning...back to the British Virgin Islands where I'd be joining them in Tortola on Thanksgiving day.