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D McNeil
12-16-2000, 12:02 PM
My family is planning a visit to Puerto Rico in February, '01 and I would like to learn about any tradtional boatbuilders on the Island who I could visit. Last year we were in Belize and I was introduced to local boat builder Simeon Young who has been building wooden fishing and cargo vessels on Caye Caulker for more than 60 years. Any information about wooden boat builders in Puerto Rico would be appreciated.

Fernando
01-03-2001, 10:26 PM
I used to live there while a partner in a diving resort/school operation. Go to the east coast town of Fajardo and look at some of the native fishing sail boats on the fishing village of Las Croabas, and talk to the fishermen (who will also take you sailing if you want). They build them right there and are very sturdy and seaworthy working sail boats (we used to take about six to ten divers with full scuba gear on each boat). They even have an annual local regatta for the native boats, and all are brightly and proudly painted. While in Fajardo, see if you can take the time to catch the ferry to the island of Culebra, which is exactly midpoint between Fajardo and St Thomas (US Virgin Islands). It used to cost around $6.00 and was about an hour sail (in good weather). In Culebra there used to live a boat builder who constructed one of the finest wooden fishing skiffs I ever saw and sailed on, and I knew many a wealthy sport fisherman who could buy any boat they wanted, yet instead went there and ordered a boat from this man. I don't remember his name, but while on the ferry, ask to speak to Captain Rogelio Escobar (my captain from our diving boat, who now pilots the ferry) and he'll tell you. If he's on the ferry that day, he lives in Culebra, just ask anybody you see. Say hello from Fernando Lopez of Exotico Divers.
Enjoy your stay ! Don't miss Culebra island.