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Something Other Than Natural Disasters: What We Did Before the Hurricanes.

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Sunset by the Pool at The Yacht Club.

Once we completed our move south and east from the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos through the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, we actually had a few weeks to enjoy some time in Palmas del Mar at The Yacht Club before we began worrying about hurricanes.

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A nature trail near the Catholic Church

The Yacht Club is (and will be again) a fabulous marina with excellent amenities and plenty of beauty, all within a gated community that includes two golf courses, tennis courts and tons of homes and townhouses. There are even two churches on site!

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So many fabulous tropical plants!

And if that isn’t enough of a draw, the Spanish Virgin Islands are a quick sail away.  I have included a few pictures to give you an idea of how beautiful this part of Puerto Rico was before Hurricane Maria.  I share these pictures because I am confident that the industrious people of PR will rebuild and soon Palmas will be whole again.  It is a beautiful place, the marina staff are some of the most wonderful people you will ever meet and The Yacht Club is a very fun place to stay!

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Heading toward the exit at The Yacht Club

We joined Shelly and Greg of  s/v Semper Fi for a quick trip to the Spanish Virgin Islands of Culebra and Culebrita.  An unusual wind direction allowed us to sail to Culebra where we both anchored, then dinghied to town for an afternoon stroll and lunch at Zaco’s Tacos.

While strolling about, Captain made had an unusual encounter.

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Not an everyday meeting!

This friendly pig meanders the street of Culebra and was very interested in being friends with Cappy, but Captain was less than thrilled with the idea.  The pig followed Captain from one side of the street to the other and really wanted to be friends, but once the pig got too close, Cap would go ballistic.  I guess Captain likes her pigs cooked and not following her.

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The U.S. Post Office on Culetra

I have not been able to find any information about the history of this post office, but I thought it looked very interesting.  It looks pretty old, but it might have been built to look that way.  The internet did not provide any information and I failed to ask while I was there.  But I thought it was cool enough to include even without the history.

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Moored behind a reef on the east side of Culebra.

We spend the first night on a mooring ball behind a reef on the east side of Culebra, which allowed us to have a fabulous breeze and view.

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The western side of Culebrita.

The next day we motored a quick 45 minutes over to the undeveloped island of Culebrita.  As usual, a crowd of motor boats gathered during the day and the beach and shallow waters were a hotspot of families and friends hanging out and enjoying the water and sunshine.

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Same beach is empty by days end.

But by later afternoon, the place clears out and we were one of only two boats that stayed the night.

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The old lighthouse with the new beacon in the background.

A quick hike through the scrubby brush took us to the Culebrita Light House. This was the oldest operating lighthouse in the Caribbean until 1975 when the U.S. closed it and replaced the old lighthouse with a modern, solar beacon with no charm and little maintenance.

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The detail inside the lighthouse was still obvious.

The lighthouse was built in 1882 by the Spanish mainly to demonstrate ownership of the island, but 12 years later the island became property of the U.S. after the Spanish American War.

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Until the 1930s, the lighthouse had full time, residential keepers.  It was used by the U.S. Navy as an observation post until 1975, when the installation of the the solar powered light deemed the old house obsolete.

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A view near the lighthouse.

We were only able to stay a couple of days before we headed back to Palmas del Mar to prepare to leave the boat for three weeks.  August had arrived and it was time to head back to the States for annual doctor visits as well as visits with family and friends.

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Sunset at The Yacht Club from the bow of LIB.

Oh, our travel plans included a quick trip to China! Fortunately, our oldest son travelled with us as he is fluent in Mandarin.  We realized just how much we relied on him the one time he wasn’t with us and we had to communicate with a cab driver! China was fun and eventful! More about that adventure in another post.

Thanks for stopping by! We always enjoy hearing your thoughts about our travels or any suggestions on places we really need to visit!

Our First Official Visitor….

Let It Be, as a live aboard boat, had her first guest this week. Frank’s mom, Jackie, arrived on Tuesday, Oct.20th. I am so fortunate to have a Mom-in-law whom I respect, admire and love. Jackie is game for anything we suggest and is always willing to lend a helping hand.

We spent the first two days in the dock finishing a few projects (surprise!) and taking care of some necessities, like provisions.

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Frank and Jackie at the helm on the way to Culebra

Thursday afternoon we motored out, as what little wind there was went directly on our nose! We headed for Culebra, a U.S. Territory and one of the Spanish Virgin Islands.

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Approaching Culebra

We looked at a couple of coves but, with a north swell, the coves suggested to us had a bit too much movement.  We found a beautiful spot in Bahia Lynda, a little bay with a nice reef out front to break incoming waves.  We had rain every day while Jackie was here, but we still managed to have an excellent visit.

DSC00460The sun peeked out of the rain clouds just before it turned in for the night. 

Perhaps this post should be titled “Things mom’s do” but the things Jackie does are unusual. For instance, how many octogenarians do you know who carry ear plugs in their purse? Sure enough, Jackie was going to help Frank as he cut some starboard for the forepeak project and when he offered to get her some earplugs, Jackie said, “Oh, just a minute. Let me get mine from my purse.”  Impressive, right?!

Do you know any 80 somethings who carry earplugs???

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Even in the rain, Jackie is there with a helping hand and her own earplugs.

Still no wind, so we motored along the north side of Culebra and toured the beaches from the comfort of LIB.  A solitary dolphin came to play and swam along our bow in welcome. He left before I could get a pic.

We stopped at Cayo Norte where we had to beach completely to ourselves.  Captain, Frank and I swam to shore and spent an hour playing on the beach and letting Cap expend a bit of energy.

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Our own private beach for the afternoon.

Next stop was one of the prettiest I have seen – Tortuga Beach on Culebrita. Music and laughter from day charters and motor boats sharing the bay entertained us as we had lunch. We spotted several turtles and even a pair of Remora fish. The remora fish actually nibbled at Frank’s toes when he was sitting on the back of the boat. Thankfully these remora were not accompanying any sharks – that we saw.

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Image by In The Blue (www.intheblue.co.uk)

The two remoras we saw were about three feet long, so big ones!

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Tortuga Beach, Culebrita

By nightfall, all the other boats had departed and we had this lovely beach to ourselves.  We had a slight problem with the hot water heater and Frank was working in the port engine compartment when the rain arrived. In true motherly fashion, Jackie wanted Frank to be nice and dry while he worked. So she stood guard against the rain.

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Jackie gets soaked while keeping Frank dry.

We returned to Puerto Rico yesterday as Jackie had a flight out today. We are so thankful that Frank’s mom is willing to travel and visit us and we thank God that she has the health to do so! Safe travels, Jackie. We miss you already!!!

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Another view of Tortuga Beach

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