This is a beautiful little island in the Spanish Virgin Island group. The Spanish Virgins are a group of islands between Puerto Rico and the American Virgin Islands that are administratively part of Puerto Rico. Like in most parts of Puerto Rico we have visited people are as likely to address you in English as in Spanish—here maybe even more likely in English.
This island is one of the oldest wildlife sanctuaries in the western hemisphere. I’d guess less than 15% of the island is developed in any way. It has a population of around 2000. It was also one of the islands used for many years by the US Navy as a live-fire bombing range. There are posters around town reminding you to not pick up anything unusual you might see on the ground.
Culebra is home to Flamingo Beach. Rated, by those people whose business it is to do such things, as one of the top three beaches in the world. So far in our time here on the island we have seen exactly one flamingo.
The main (actually the only) town on the island is Dewy. Named after the presidential candidate who famously lost to Truman in 1948. The town was relocated by the US Navy to put it “closer to the water.” Actually, to get it out of the way of the bombs they wanted to drop. The local story is that there were two fishing boats on the island who needed access to the ocean, so the Navy built a lift bridge over the canal so they would not have to take the long way round. The bridge hasn’t worked for years.
The town is well and truly on “Island Time.” Just up from the dinghy dock, there is a small grocery store that seemed to be closed more than it was open, but with no posted hours. Today we were in the bakery, and Karen asked what the deal was with the grocer’s hours. The answer was, “She opens when she feels like it. She lives across the street. When we see her head toward the store, we rush over to buy what we need.”
A hike on the wild side the other day showed us all kinds of interesting things. A Green Mango hummingbird sitting on its nest. Karen is really good at spotting these things, then it is my job to get a photo.
A few puddles left over from a heavy rain the other day attracted large numbers of insects, including some strikingly colored dragonflies. Butterflies and brightly color spiders were also everywhere.
Like on many of the arid Caribbean islands, a spices of cotton grows wild here. Birds love using the fibers to build their nests. The problem is the nest which would be quite cryptic if built of other materials, stand out dramatically when made of the snow white cotton fibers.
We have now received our hard copy of the Harmonie’s official documentation for the coming year. So if the weather gods cooperate we will be heading off to St Thomas in the American Virgin Islands tomorrow.