The Great Plotnik

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Strange Bay

The water is azure from shore to shore, green mangrove on one side 1000 feet to green mangrove on the other side, with one white sailboat in the middle. Except for us, 
this enormous bay is empty.  Above us, on the hill, an observatory, but not a celestial observatory. It's the abandoned U.S. naval gunnery observatory, which the navy used to guide the fire of naval ships onto the island, when they used the Eastern half of Vieques for target practice.

America's planes and ships bombed Vieques for better than a hundred years, from the time when we acquired Puerto Rico from Spain after the Spanish American War well into the 21st Century. Teddy Roosevelt started it and Barack Obama stopped it. The eastern half of the island is still off limits by land, so we would not be allowed to take the dinghy to shore and get off. AVISO signs are everywhere: Do Not Enter.

But the bay is pristine -- except for us being completely alone. Also, the water is warm but very salty, and it's also murky. Even with a snorkel mask we can't see the bottom, and there don't appear to be any fish swimming around. We see pelicans skimming and diving, so they must be able to find fish for dinner but we have yet to see even a mosquito, and except for the pelicans, no birds.

The moon is full and before it rises there are a million stars shining. Occasionally we'll see a con trail from a jetliner 35,000 feet up. There's a blinking red light off in the distance which I believe is coming from the top of a cell phone tower back the direction we came, down near the town of Esperanza.

It's great to be in a non-rocking anchorage where it will be easy to sleep, but it's kinda weird out here. Tomorrow morning we'll untie and head for another bay up the coast from where the plan is to sail to Culebra on Tuesday. 

On the internet we see lots of announcements about Vieques having by far the highest cancer rate in the country. I think it's time to set sail.

Oh, hear that? Wind! Noisy, flag-flapping mast-creaking wind. I can hear our swimming trunks and towels flipping on the rails where we have clothespinned them to dry. That's the only sound. No tree frogs, no animals in the mangrove, nothing but flapping laundry, which is the sound of one boat sitting in an empty bay.


At 7:10 AM, Blogger mary ann said...

we are loving your posts and envying you both! Keep writing, so beautiful


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