By Jim – (Oregon)
Has anyone been snorkeling in Culebra and Vieques, Puerto Rico since the 2017 hurricanes? I’m wondering about the condition of the reef? I’m headed there in March 2019 and wondering if there are some areas that were less impacted than others.
Thanks for your comments.
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Tom Adams – Feb 7, 2019 – Vieques in January 2019
There are more than 19 numbered pull-offs at La Chiva, the lee side of any point (small or large) or accessible island should be worth exploring. We just found the nice #2 spot by checking out the lee side of a point.
La Chiva #2 was the best site we tried. That road goes to Punta Galindez. But this was before the point on the right there is a sandy beach. We went right around a little point. The visibility was good. Saw coral and sponges (best of the trip), a striped variety of barracuda, eagle ray, parrotfish, other fish. We were swimming toward La Chiva #1 only tens of yards from it.
La Chiva #1 (also called Pirate’s Cove) is probably still very good but we did not go in the water there due to the rocky entrance (my wife has a bad leg). It could be accessed from La Chiva #2 with a little swimming with probably good snorkeling the whole way. Last trip I saw a young turtle and a lionfish and my wife saw an eagle ray.
We stayed in Esperanza and snorkeled along the malecon (rock wall) and piers. There was good snorkeling under the old and new piers. I saw a lionfish along the malecon. There is some good structure west of the malecon, but it seemed murkier there (maybe due to the hurricane, not sure) this trip.
There is an island off a point at La Chiva #19 and the snorkeling was good on the lee side. We parked and entered at La Chiva #18.
Secret Beach (Pata Pieta) is the most beautiful beach. The snorkeling seemed murkier than before, but good to explore where you can get close to structure on the right side or near the point on the left.
Mosquito Pier is interesting, provides shore snorkeling way out in the sea. It is a navy-built structure where they built a long road in the sea to a big pier. We did not snorkel the pier but it is probably clear water. There are steps with a railing for divers and snorkelers on the lee side of the sea road about halfway between the boat ramp and the pier. We snorkeled from the boat ramp but too murky there this trip and we did not swim from there all the way to the pier.
They had not re-opened the road to Green Beach (Punta Arenas). Not sure when they will get that done.
A trip we like is to rent a kayak at Fun Brothers in Esperanza Beach and go out to the lee side of the island in the bay. But we did not get around to that this trip.
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