Before heading north, we had a few things to take care of-- like getting to a reasonable jumping off point to minimize our consecutive time underway, making sure the weather would be good for travel, and stocking up on food. First we wanted to spend a few days anchored off St. John in the USVI, enjoying the National Park and beaches there. The kids had a great time exploring a different beach each day.
So after a few days enjoying the beauty of St. John, USVI, we headed over to St. Thomas for the weekend. On Saturday we hit the mega store, Cost U Less, and on Sunday we were able to attend church on the island. In order to survive for 10-14 days in the Bahamas it was essential to stock up on ALL things we would need. That meant when the fresh fruits and veggies run out, I needed to have canned or frozen produce on hand to fill in. The Bahamas has very little in the way of produce or even stores. And what you can find there is not usually in good condition and it is very expensive. Luckily we found plenty in St. Thomas and by the time we headed to Puerto Rico we were well stocked to survive until we would arrive in Florida.
So Sunday after church we headed underway to the south side of Vieques, Puerto Rico. This was a bit out of the way for us, but we didn’t want to leave the area without another visit to Musquito Bay to see the Bioluminesence at night. We had a great time stopping here the year before, and were hoping for the same experience. Luckily I had done my research and had learned that the heavy spring rains often wash out the high concentration of bioluminesence in the bay. Sunday night, the moon was not going to rise until late at night, so just after dark we tendered over to the bay from our anchorage. As it got darker and darker, we were finally able to see the glow in the water. It wasn’t as amazing as the year before due to the low levels in the bay, but it was still a magical experience, watching the kids swim in the light glowing water filled with fairy dust.
That night we rolled in the swell in our anchorage. It was not fun, but by morning we were ready to leave Vieques behind and head to the San Juan harbor. The morning was a bit rolly with waves, but by the afternoon we had turned west and the waves were all following and a much nicer ride. We reached the San Juan Harbor in the afternoon. We either misplaced our US boat decal, or never received one, so David headed over to the port Customs office to get a new one, and met Officer Carlos. We had spoken with him multiple times on the phone and via email the year. He was so helpful in getting all of us registered with the US local boaters program which allows us to call into customs rather than going into an office to clear into US waters. It is a great convenience, but the website is not easy to understand to register or file float plans. Carlos was a huge help to us! David enjoyed meeting him and telling him how much we have appreciated his help. He remembered our family as well, of course how many Blood family’s are boating in Puerto Rico, with 6 kids on board their boat. We tend to be a little memorable.
The harbor anchorage was wonderfully calm, dead calm. We could have been on land. It was great. Since we were on “US soil” we took the kids ashore to the nearby sizzler for dinner. Old San Juan is just beautiful, and it was neat to see it from the water this time. After a very restful night, we arose with the sun double checked the weather again, and set off for the long 2 days to the Turks and Caicos.
One of my favorite sunsets, Maho Bay Anchorage, St. John, USVI