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In March 2004, the website revision of 720 megs, 56 megs in HTML, became too much for our upgraded four-year-old laptop to handle.  Even the internet café in mainland Puerto La Cruz did not have sufficiently powerful computers.  It appeared that upload to the net would have to wait until our return to the U.S.

But, Bob persevered.  When we got to Porlamar, Margarita, he approached Juan Carlos, owner of Arena Internet, a gamer's café on the island.  The café's computers couldn't handle the job, but Juan Carlos brought his personal computer from home to upload the web site.  We acknowledged Juan Carlos's help in the previous March 2004 update but did not have his picture at that time.  Here is the smiling face of Juan Carlos.  Thanks again for your help!

We do miss the friendly helpful people of
Venezuela.

We left Margarita for a three-day passage to St. Croix.  On the last night of our passage, we were joined by a fatigued hitchhiker who landed on the radar and rode there until daylight.  Even though he left some bird deposits on the dinghy below, we didn't have the heart to chase him off. 

We spent several days in St. Croix where Lori and Bob on the sailing yacht Pride took us for drinks to Green Cay Marina where they kept their boat.  During drinks, people began to gravitate toward a man at the bar.  Turned out he was the famous Lou.  Lou was one of the HAM net controllers for the Caribbean Weather Net on which the famous George gives weather reports each morning and afternoon.  Lou began his HAM life in the late 1930's.  He was very gracious to us non-HAMs who listened each morning but weren't allowed to talk except in case of dire emergency. 

CULEBRA, PUERTO RICO

Leaving St. Croix, we sailed to Culebra, one of the Spanish Virgin Islands, located 17 miles northeast of Puerto Rico and 12 miles west of St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. 

Culebra was first colonized in 1880 by the Spanish.  The US acquired the island in 1898 after the Spanish-American War. In 1901, the US used it as a firing range and relocated residents to an area which has become the only "town" Dewey, named after a US Navy Admiral.

One morning, we thought we heard bagpipes in the anchorage.  Unsure whether we were hallucinating or not, we got into the dinghy and headed toward the unusual sounds.  We found a relatively small sail boat where  we could see someone playing bagpipes in his cockpit.  We listened for a few minutes, then asked if we could take his picture.  We were obviously interrupting his practice, so we drifted off. 

Later that day, we decided to ask some people over for happy hour.  Bob invited the bagpipe player and another single-hander.  The bagpipe player was Les, another of the  HAM net controllers.  Les had been a HAM for a long time.  As a boy scout at camp, he had had a single tube rig, antenna high in the pine trees, on which he first heard news of the bombing of Hiroshima.  Les worked as a physicist at Los Alamos before retiring to cruise.  He has traveled extensively though the Caribbean but now primarily sails the Virgins and Puerto Rico.

Les described the various part of the bagpipes.  The tube he blows through is the blow pipe.  Air pressure must be constantly maintained and goes into the bag and through three pipes called the drones.  The notes are created  by a flute tube called a chanter.  All the drones and the chanter have reeds.  Unlike other instruments such as a clarinet, blowing into the blowpipe must be constant, unrelated to the notes being played on the chanter. 

One never knows who or what experience might be encountered cruising.

Culebra is part of Puerto Rico.  Its name is Spanish for snake, suggesting its shape, 7 miles long and 3 miles wide.  The principal harbor is Ensenada Honda which has a very narrow entrance and wide bay.

One day Bob was cruising around the anchorage in the dinghy and saw a small red sailboat about to go up on the rocks.  He tied a line to the boat and towed it back to Viking Rose where he secured it.  We went ashore and spent the afternoon trying to locate the owner.  It's a small island and word eventually got to the owner who came and claimed it.

To the left is a poster showing how Culebra may someday look.  The white cruise ship is docked on the side of the island facing Puerto Rico.  In the upper right corner is Ensenada Honda where we anchored.  Note the tiny opening into the anchorage which offers protection from the hurricanes.  The brown to the right shows the bridge that may some day be built to connect the two sides of the island.   Below is how the old bridge looked in 2004.

A quaint canal allows only small boats to go between Ensenada Honda and the ferry dock.  Restaurants and small posadas (hotels)  line the canal.

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