BIEQUES   ( Taino Indian for small island )



Blunt’s American Coast Pilot, June 1863

Bieques is eighteen miles long from E. to W., and from two to four miles broad.  A ridge of small hills runs nearly its whole length along the middle of the island.  The E. end of the island bears S. 3/4  E. about eight miles from Soldier Point, Culebra; and Arenas Point, the N.W. extreme, bears S.E. 1/4 S. five and a half miles from the Western point of Bahia Honda, the nearest part of Puerto Rico.  Between Bieques and Culebra the sounding are regular, and the depth from twelve to sixteen fathoms.  The E. end of the island is low, bold, and steep to, and on the S. side the edge of soundings runs along at the distance of about one mile and a half.

DANES BAY  The S. side of Bieques, for the most part, is cut into by little sandy bays, and is free of danger.  Danes Bay, the first of any consequence, is situated about two miles from the E. end.  It is a little more than half a mile wide, about the same depth, and carries from three to four fathoms over sandy bottom.  Nearly abreast the bay, about a fourth of a mile from the points, are two small islets, which may be passed on either side.

SOUND or SETTLEMENT BAY, the Westernmost of these indentations, is about five miles to the Eastward of Vaca Point; it is about a mile in extent from N.W. to S.E. and is defended by a small fort.  In front of it are two small islets, called Soldier and Water cays; the latter, which is the outermost, lies nearly a mile to the Westward of the S.E. point of the bay, and about half a mile from the shore.  On the W. side, within a fourth of a mile of it, there is anchorage in from four to five fathoms.

ARENA BANK  from Vaca Point to Arenas Point the W. side of Bieques trends about N.W. by N. three miles.  The edge of soundings is here about four miles distant, and the shore is bold and steep to as far as the S. end of the sandy beach which forms the N.W. extremity of the island.  Here a spit of sand runs off to a point N.W. by N., three miles from Arenas Point, upon which are several spots of only ten feet water; those at its extremity are covered with dark weeds, and not being sufficiently discolored, are very dangerous.

To avoid the N. end of this spit, do not open Cape Mala Pascua of Naranjo Point at Puerto Rico, and when El Yunque of Anvil Peak is shut in with the hill on the Western headland of Bahia Honda N.W. by W. a vessel will be to the Eastward of it.

ANCHORAGE  There is good anchorage under the W. side of Bieques in five fathoms, with Arena Point E.N.E., and the S.W. point of the island about S.E.  Toward the S.W. point the bottom is rocky and soundings irregular.

WATER  A small rivulet disembogues at the S. end of the beach which forms the N.W. extremity of Bieques, but near the shore it is brackish; a small supply of good water, however, may be obtained by carrying breakers a short distance about the outlet, but is is attended with much labor.

PORT MULA  From Arenas Point the Northern shore of Bieques trends E. by N. 1/2 N. eight miles, when it bends abruptly to the Northward for about half a mile, forming a small bay called Port Mula.  At the mouth of a little stream on the S. side of the bay is the village of Isabella IIl, and about a mile inland from it is a hill called Mount Soldat.  There is anchorage here for coasters in three fathoms, with the point of the bay E.N.E. about two cables’ length distant, and in moderate weather large vessels may anchor outside in five fathoms with the point S.E. distant about half a mile.

MULA SHOALS  The approach to Mula Bay, however, is obstructed by three small dangerous shoals, nearly awash, lying about a mile and a half from the shore.  Caballo Blanco, the Easternmost shoal, likes N.W. 1/2 W. nearly a mile and a half from the point of the bay; the Corona, the next, lies W.S.W. a mile and a half from the Cabello Blanco, and N.W. by W. 1/2 W. from the point, with from five to seven fathoms between; and the Mosquito, the Easternmost, lies about half a mile W.S.W. of the Corona, and W. 1/2 N. three miles from the point of the bay.  About half a mile to the Westward of this latter shoal there is a small patch of sixteen feet of water, and a similar one from the point of the bay.

CAUTION  A vessel beating up outside these shoals should not bring Arenas Point of the Westward of S.W.by W.; Cape Mala Pascua to the Westward of E.1/S. when approaching the Caballo Blanco.

CABELLO COLORADO POINT   The Northen extremity of Bieques, is rocky and steep to, and bears E1/2 N. nearly three miles from the point of Port Mula.  Thence to Diavolo Point the shore trends E. 3/4 S. about four miles; about midway, close to the land, there is a little rock called Rouge (red); to the Westward of this rock the shore is foul, next to the Eastward it is bold and clear.

PELICAN HARBOR  From Diavolo Point to the E. end of Bieques the shore is irregular.  E., a mile from the point, about about a fourth of a mile from the shore is Pelican Cay, whence a broken reef runs parallel with the shore for a mile and a half; through it are several small cuts of twelve feet water, leading into snug anchorage for coasters.