The first time I saw the little island of Culebrita I was in love. Historic architecture in the abandoned lighthouse, some of the best beaches in the world, all sorts of wildlife, I was in paradise. Unfortunately this time of year if the north swells come the anchorage gets uncomfortable and even dangerous. After a few days in paradise the north swell came in and we had to leave, a few more days past and the weather calmed down enough to return. The small bay in Culebrita is a sea turtle breeding ground and I mean to tell you there are a plethora of them swimming and diving about. Unfortunately they have quite the case of camera shyness and it was very tough to get a good picture. In addition to the turtles, there are wild goats, hermit crabs the size of your fist, giant forest rats, bee’s and bumble bee’s of all sorts, and many species of birds including a most lovely dark green hummingbird.
There was one small issue, the second day we were back in Culebrita boats started to fill the harbor, over 70 in all. Turns out it was a major Puerto Rican holiday and hordes of pleasure boaters had headed over from the main island, some rich folk even swung by in their helicopter! I will say this however, despite the volume of people and some of the music, everyone was very respectful of the area. When they all left at the end of a long holiday weekend, there was nary a trace that they had been there, pretty impressive.
We stayed on for a few more days until the northern swell once again returned and drove us out. Probably a good thing as we had run out of meat a couple days prior and the wild goats were starting to look pretty darn tasty. As it was, no legal sized Queen Conch was safe in the harbor, so delicious…
Built in the late 1800’s by the Spanish just prior to America’s taking control of the area, the lighthouse on Culebrita is an amazing piece of architecture. I was struck with the beauty of the structure and saddened at the state of disrepair it has fallen into. I doubt it will be standing for many more years, very unfortunate indeed.
You know that perhaps you have been at sea a little too long when you start finding amusement in costuming hermit crabs. This poor fellow apparently didn’t like the color of the yellow parasol I provided him. After he snapped the stem in half with his over-sized pincher he belligerently attacked me with great gusto.