Vieques, Puerto Rico

Mosquito Bay

With just a few days left before the arrival of Travis’ mother, sister, and brother-in-law in St Thomas, USVIs, we make our way to our final stop in Puerto Rico, the island of Vieques. Although this island is covered in beautiful hiking trails and beaches, its greatest claim to fame resides in the small inlet known as Mosquito Bay. Murky and muddy during the day, when the sun sleeps the water here shows its true colors as the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world.

Not one to miss the opportunity to see such a natural wonder, we leave Bueller anchored just outside Mosquito Bay at nightfall and begin to paddle through the darkness with nothing but the splash of our dipping paddles breaking the silence. As we get deeper into the inlet, it becomes clear that the faint shimmer of our small wake is not reflected starlight but from the water itself.

Soon the glow is more than a chance flicker, and we are seeing tornadoes of blue-green light fall off of our oars as the algae reacts to our presence. At the same time, we begin to notice that we’re not the only visitors of the bay on this clear night. With each stroke of a paddle we surprise 50 or so small fish that have come here to feed as a part of the thriving ecosystem that the algae encourages. Each of their quick movements leaves a glowing streak making it look like a lightning storm is quietly raging beneath our feet.

Now near the center of the bay, we talk amongst ourselves before committing to jumping in and we leap directly into the heart of the lightshow. It is hard to describe the feeling of swimming in such an outright display of nature’s liveliness. Preferring breast stroke as it gives you the best view of your glow, we splash around and giggle like kids before eventually settling into the calm of the quiet night.

After some time we reluctantly beach ourselves back into our dinghy and begin our paddle home. We struggle to describe the feeling of wonder even to each other and we debate whether the color was blue-green or green-yellow. The dispute is never resolved as our cameras returned with nothing but black frames, leaving us with only the vivid memories as proof of our visit.

Kiteboarding in Bahia de la Chiva

Before saying goodbye to Vieques we decided to pop into a small bay called Bahia de la Chiva (Goat’s Bay) just a few miles east of us. Our daytime hours in Puerto Rico thus far had largely been spent hiding from the wind and waves, working on critical boat projects, or searching for the fabled “outboard for sale” and it had been ages since we had simply relaxed on a beach.

A crazy man once said “all work and no play makes Bueller a dull boy” and we resolved to remedy this as we dropped anchor in the turquoise waters of the bay. Beers, snorkeling, coconuts, and kiteboarding filled our day before we finally raised anchor and set sail for the infamous cruising grounds of the US and British Virgin Islands.