Day 177, Year 6 Headed to Puerto Rico
Date: Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Weather: Sunny with NO WIND (2-3 knots)
Latitude: 18 05.671 N
Longitude: 063 56.426 W
Miles to Go: 88
Location: Overnight Passage from St. Martin to Vieques, Puerto Rico
Windbird is gliding along on a silky sea with a clear blue sky above. It is another gorgeous day, but unfortunately, we are motoring, not sailing. It is calm and beautiful and because of that we have gotten a lot of work done today. Mark spent his morning child-proofing Windbird. He put up the netting between the top life line and the toe rail to prevent little ones from accidentally falling overboard. We are not planning to spend much time on the boat next week, but we would like to bring Ziggy, Jonah, and Sam out to see Windbird and maybe go for a short sail. Then when the week is over, Heather, Jed, Sam, and Jonah will move onboard for a couple of days. Our week in the beach house ends on Sunday morning and Justin, Jo, and Ziggy will be head back to San Juan to fly out on Monday. Heather and gang have a couple of days before their flight home so we will sail to mainland Puerto Rico with them and will need that netting up then for sure. Mark got the netting up back as far as the gates on each side, but then had to stop as the stainless from there back had not been cleaned. So I spent a couple of hours cleaning the stainless. Mark then applied a coat of Penetrol, an Australian product, which helps to delay the return of the rust. Tomorrow morning he will put up the remainder of the netting.
Tonight we leave the remaining islands of the Lesser Antilles behind us and sail into the Greater Antilles which includes the islands of Cuba, Jamaica,, Hispaniola (the Dominican Republic and Haiti), and Puerto Rico, including the Spanish Virgins. Puerto Rico is the smallest and the most easterly of the Greater Antilles. We have been in the Lesser Antilles since our arrival in Grenada. The Windwards (Grenada to Martinique) and the Leewards (Dominica to the Virgin Islands) make up the Lesser Antilles. I read in our cruising guide that the term Antilles comes from Antilia. Antilia was an island that Old World Europeans believed existed in the mid-Atlantic. This island was never found but the term was applied to the islands of the Caribbean.
Just a few minutes ago I got my first glimpse of the Virgins. I’m probably looking at Virgin Gorda in the British Virgins or maybe it is St. John in the US Virgins. Whichever, it is far in the distance but high enough to be seen. Behind us I can no longer see St. Martin, but Saba is high enough to still be seen. Around noon tomorrow we should arrive in the Spanish Virgins. Culebra and Vieques are the Spanish Virgin Islands, but they are also a part of Puerto Rico. The US Virgins (St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas) lie between the British Virgins and the Spanish Virgins and we will pass under all of the British and US Virgins tonight except St. Croix which is further south.
In between our spurts of work today, we are both reading as much as we can about Vieques. The day before yesterday we downloaded the Vieques and Culebra chapter from the Puerto Rico Lonely Planet, so we are reading that along with the cruising guide to Puerto Rico that we brought in Grenada. We are so anxious to see our children, but we are also getting very excited about exploring Vieques. It sounds wonderful.