Author: Vicki moore (---.dhcp.jcsn.tn.charter.com)
Date: 08-17-08 16:01
DH and I flew AA from Memphis to DFW and then on to SJU. No problems with the flight and it was right on time. We arrived at 3:10. I grabbed our carryons and rushed to catch a publico to IG to catch AF 4:30 flight. Daughter flew out on Friday night on US Air to Orlando and spent the night. She caught AA flight into SJU and arrived at 2:15. Since our flight arrived so late and knowing how long it might take to get the luggage, I had arranged for Henry to pick up my DH and DD and take them to Fajardo to catch the 7P ferry and take the heavier bags with them. Henry was going to purchase the tickets. However, just a few days before we were to leave, Henry called to say that he was unable to purchase tickets as they were sold out. So I made reservations on the 4:45 VAL for the two of them. They arrived at IG about 45 minutes after me. I had to pay 60 cents a pound overage on my 2 carryons and then they had to do the same on VAL. I will not tell you how much we spent on luggage!!! My AF flight was very scenic. I had never flown out of IG and we flew along the coast of PR. I was able to see Playa Azul in Loquillo, where we spent 2 weeks in 2006. I got some really good pics from the plane. Shortly after my flight arrived, my DD and DH arrived. I walked across the street to Jerry's Jeeps to get our Suzuki Vitara 4 WD. Jerry is quite the character. We were totally lost attempting to get to Casa del Sol. We finally located the bridge and the Island Woman cart and knew our way from there. We had lunch at El Eden, which was wonderful. My DH loved his lemon tart!! We bought our groceries at Milka, which was very crowded. Their selection was good and we got everything we needed. The road up to Casa Del Sol, was steep and bumpy, but no worse than we have traveled many times in the Arkansas Ozarks. I can't say enought about Casa Del Sol. It is in a great state of repair and was spotless. We had everything we needed for the beach. The views were to die for. We had ocean views our of three sides of the house. Out of the living and dining area we had Ensanada Honda, as we did in DD and our bedrooms. Out the back and while I was cooking at the stove, I had a view of the Carribean. From the side windows in the living area and in DD bedroom were views of Dekity. We unpacked and unloaded our groceries and fell into bed that night exhausted. Sunday we went to Soldado (I know you are not supposed to drive on unpaved roads>however the road to our house was worse than the road to Soldado). We just looked around trying to get our bearings. We also drove to Melones, Flamenco and Zoni. I kept no journal while there, so can not give a day to day of account of our adventures, etc. Rodney and I went diving with Walter from Culebra Dive Shop. It was the 2 of us, a fellow from SJ and Walter. I am accustomed to having someone on the boat while we were in the water and was shocked when Walter stripped down (and I do mean stripped ALL the way down) and got into his wetsuit and went in with us. Our first dive was at the Arch. My DH, somehow, lost his fin while he was on the tag line waiting for everyone to get into the water. He had to hang onto Walter the whole dive. I am accustomed to using soft weights in my integrated BC, but had to use large curved 5 lb weights in my front pockets. The velcro would not fasten all the way. About 3/4 way through the dive, I began to have trouble staying down and Walter had to hang onto me too!! I did not realize I had lost a weight, but after getting back on the boat, Walter had found the weight and brought it up. It was then I discovered that I had actually lost both of the 5 lb wts. We saw a turtle, stingray, octopus, anemonaes, tangs, butterfly fish, box fish, squirrel fish, damsels, wrasses, barracudas. The visibility was wonderful and the fish very colorful. We also saw all types of corals, both SPS, LPS, softies, fans, brains, etc. Most all looked very healthy. Our second dive at at Tamarindo Pico and was wonderful. It was a very fishy place. We had a wonderful dive. Walter had gone back and gotten me soft weights before the second dive and Rodney had a full set of fins. I was trying our my first UW digital camera and have lots to learn and need to practice lots more. Walter was very patient with me as I stopped to make pictures. While I am diving, I will go ahead and report on our dives with Tazz Hamrick on Thursday. We were the only 2 divers and dove the Horseshoe and the Wall ( Carlos Rosario and Luis Pena') . They were both wonderful dives in very clear water. I made lots of pictures. Coral Banded Cleaner shrimps, lobsters, the usual colorful reef fish, etc. They were fantastic dives and no lost weights or fins!! We snorkeled while Tazz prepared our lunch. I asked Tazz if the boat had ever gotten away while he had divers out. He said yes one time it was about 400 yards away and he swam to it and went and picked up his divers. We had wonderful dives with both outfits. Walter is very informative and Tazz lots of fun.
We went beaching or diving most mornings and back to the house for lunch and afternoon siestas on the decks. I still can just feel how relaxed I was lying on the hammock off the living area that overlooked Ensanada Honda. The breezes were amazing since we were up so high. I would lay there and read and fall asleep. We would do more exploring or go our to dinner most afternoons.
Beaches: Although the farthest, our favorite was Zoni. Flamenco was beautiful and a little crowded when we went. We ate pastiellos at the kioskos there They were tasty. Melones was actually the closest to where we were staying an it was our "default" beach. While we were diving our daughter went there and sunned, read and swam. The snorkeling was great there, as well. Soldado was nice. DD and DH snorkeled there. We were thinking of doing a shore dive there, but were warned by Tazz there could be some wicked currents, so we chickened out. The view of Dakity from the road going to Soldado was wonderful. Our last day, we went to Tamarindo late in the afternoon. There were lots of chickens there, jumping up on my beach chair while I snorkeled. The snorkeling was amazing. I watched a large needle fish chasing tiny minnows right at the surface.
I mentioned El Eden. We also ate at Susie's and it was wonderful and the presentation was impressive. However, our daughter, who just lost 70 lbs on WW and does not like seafood, could find nothing on the menu. So DH and I ate and then went with her to Mamicitas. She found wonderful veggie lasagna and husband and I had dessert there. We went to the bakery in town and got goodies a couple of times. We had dinner at Dingy Dock. The setting was nice and we were at a table right on the water. However, the service and the food left much to be desired. It took us 2+ hours from the time we were seated (We got there when they opened and were the second seated) to when we finished. It was 45 minutes before they took our order. We got a few groceries at the grocery in town, right on the corner (the name escapes me).
OPEN SOME DAYS
I was finally able to meet the infamous MJ, keeper of the bridge, near the end of our trip. It was great to put a face to a name on the forum.
We loved Culebra and will certainly return. I am a diabetic and ran really low blood sugars (for me) while I was there. This has never happened before. I ran out of strips for my BS machine while there. I really did not feel well the whole trip, but forced myself to keep going. My only regret was this I did not get to meet Mary Ann with Coralations. We will be back in 2010 and hopefully I can meet her then.
Club Seabourne has loud music on the weekends and we could hear it at our house, which was uphill from them. We shopped a little in town and got our son a Dingy Dock T Shirt. MJ has some wonderful things on her cart, as well, however unable to find anything for our son there. He wanted a T Shirt from a bar!! I bought T Shirts for my husband and myself in another shop. Our first night at the house, I want out to the jeep to get something and there was a snake on the bottom step of the deck. I got my husband to shoo it away with a broom. I was a little paranoid after that when using the outdoor showers, which were inhabited by lots of land crabs. Our house had extensive decks. DH and myself and DD bedrooms also had decks off them with hammocks. We had a view of several smaller islands off the back deck of the house and I got some wonderful sunset pictures there. The house had a washer and dryer. We had no problems whatsoever with our jeep. There were speed traps out by the airport near the school. Jerry said they had collected $3000 in speeding fines that weekend. I had stopped by the airport early in the week and spoke the folks at AF about our flight to Vieques on the 26th. I was told to get to the airport by 10 and they would put us on the 11 flight to Fajardo and would just stop in Vieques and drop us off, enroute. We returned our jeep to Jerry, after first dropping our luggage off across the street at the airport. However, AF acted like they did not know what I was talking about. I spent almost an hours at the desk and finally was able to get on the 11 o'clock flight. Instead of the 60 cents that they were going to charge for the luggage, they agreed to keep it at 40 cents, as was posted at the AF desk.
Hope I have not rambled too much and if I think of anything else I might have forgotten, I will add it to the post. Our trip will be continued on the Vieques forum.