FIRST SAIL TRIP OUTSIDE MY COMFORT ZONE
No, I did not visit the Southern Hemisphere and witnessed the Southern Cross while sailing the Cool Change... but it felt like it.
I did cross my mental and physical boundary of Icacos and Palominos Keys and ventured almost 20 miles east from Fajardo to Culebra Island with three close friends. Being a newbie at sailing and still decided to give it my all to motorless sailing, what was programmed to be a 3 hour sail turned out to be a 6 hour into the wind sailing. I managed to get there and the experience was magical.
Sailing into Culebra, Puerto Rico
In one of my many tacks I ventured close to one of the "Piragüas" when all of a sudden a yellow butterfly danced in and out of the boat effortlessly for about 5 minutes. I suddenly realized it was going to be a great trip. A great start and preparation for a magical Full Moon night. The day was spectacular and the entrance to the Luis Peña Canal exhilarating. I must confess that the last 6 miles I did turned on the engine to help us get there faster. My three crew members were either sleeping or overdosed with Dramamine. Like in all boats, I suppose, the first trip into the open seas bring some issues that need special attention. This time was the holding tank. Yes, the one I installed and created a masterpiece of plastic hoses. It kind of overflowed a little thru one small unused vent hole. Now, who wants to hear about shit!... literally.
Arriving into Culebra and admiring the rock formations and keys with a Full Moon
The entrance between Cayo Lobo and Cayo Mono was fantastic. Cayo Lobo has that medieval feeling to it. Amazing. Keys, Islands and rock formations take a new meaning when approaching by sea. I've seen both from the air in my numerous landings in Culebra overflying Flamenco Beach, but the experience of land growing out of water and taking a new form as you get closer fascinates me. We made it to Punta Melones and docked at the only mooring left (there were only two). Facing east, we prepared ourselves to watch a magnificent moon that would rise in a matter of a couple of hours. Not only did we manage to watch the sunset at stern, but the view from the bow was out of this planet. Literally. We were mesmerized watching the full moon coming out behind the small hill in front of us. We sat on the deck listening to "Southern Cross" by Crosby, Stills and Nash and of course "Cool Change" by Little River Band. "Southern Cross" became the anthem and "Cool Change" the theme song.
We had an early rise and motored to Culebrita Island’ North Bay, just east of Culebra. We anchored and tested the waters. Perfection at its best. The day even more stunning than the day before. To make things better, I had the chance, another first, to swim with a beautiful three-fin-tortoise and follow her as she ate from the seabed and swam peacefully between boats and human life around her.
Dining at Susie's at Culebra
We left Culebrita and headed to Ensenada Honda and moored at Dakiti. We had dinner reservations at Susie's. (You can read my review on Yelp). We finished up after a great dinner and headed back guided by the full moon and a hand spot light just in case.
The next morning we left right after sunrise and a strong tailwind got us to Palomino in 3 hours, definitely an improvement from two days before. It was an unforgettable trip!
Looking back to this weekend sail trip, I can honestly say that it gave me confidence, I gained sailing and boating experience and little by little, prepared me to venture out farther into the Eastern Caribbean. Confidence as only experience can give you. Never say never, and never say I can't. You can. Give it a try!
I created this new photo gallery just for this trip. Enjoy! (Photo Gallery)