Thursday, April 10, 2008

March 2008, Heading to St. Thomas & St. John

March 2008, Heading to St. Thomas

We worked in the boat all day. Randy almost completed the re-wiring of the freezer to
12volt. He also changed the 10 micron fuel filter at the fuel tank. Before we knew it, it
was time to take Kathy and Kerry’s dinghy to the ferry dock. Of course we felt we
deserved to stop for Happy Hour at the Dinghy Dock Bar and Grill. We enjoyed getting
caught up on Kathy and Kerry’s day.

Sun. Mar. 2nd.

Rand says the weather has turned bad again for this next week, so I guess we’re here in
Culebra for a few more days. We picked up our laundry from “Tommy’s”; then met
Kathy and Kerry for lunch. We also took a load of books into the book exchange.

Tues. March 4th

Now Randy has had to replace the fresh water pressure tank. We luckily had purchased a
back up tank before we left Ft.Lauderdale.
Mon. Mar. 10th

1330hrs.Good bye Ensenada Honda, Culebra. By 1400hrs we are on a mooring at Dakkity for one night. Out in the sound we can see the beginning of a water spout.

Tues. Mar. 11th
We have spoken to Kathy and Kerry and have decided due to the N.E. swell we will go to
Almadovar before heading to St. Thomas. (originally our plan was to Culebrita) At Almadovar we went for a dinghy ride, explored the bay and saw 7 pelicans.

Back at the boat Randy wanted to scrub the hull. By the time I got ready for a swim Rand was back out of the water. It’s a NO GO he says as four three to four foot shark have made their home under our keel.. The more Randy scrubbed the more agitated the shark got.

Instead I made carrot cake, coffee and listened to music, which of course reminds us of Sean and Carlie’s visit. Thanks again Sean.


Wed. March 12th

0700hrs and there is just a small swell leaving Almadovar.

By 1300hrs we are in the
harbour at Charlotte Amalie and what a busy place it is.

We have cruise ships, charter
boats, huge yachts, and dinghies…..dinghies that are constantly running back and forth
in the harbour. This causes constant large swells. We are in 16.1 ft. of water. Kathy called customs and immigration and was advised we did not need to check in.Of coarse this information is the complete opposite of what we read in our cruising guide.

We are really enjoying this city. When we look at this city from the bay it is a mass of red roofs. The shopping is a lot of fun, and we love getting caught up on emails. We had received a number of emails with concerns re: the weather. Shortly after we had left Ensenada Honda and were safely tucked in at Charlotte Amalie---Puerto Rico was hit with 13 meter waves and Flamenco Beach where we had so much fun body surfing with Sean and Carlie just two weeks ago had twenty foot waves every 14 seconds. Yes, this is why we have to be patient and wait for good weather windows .This may not make for exciting reading, but our priority is being safe.
Happy Hour with Kathy and Kerry. Drinks are two for one and H'ordeurves are $3.00 off. Excellent value.

Meeting at the Green House for Happy Hour is quickly added to our routine as we meet with our new friends Peter and Lynda who also are from Canada.

Tues. March 18th

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ASH We hope you have a wonderful day…We sure miss you and love you very much.

We’ve had a fun busy week. If the swells weren’t so uncomfortable we’d probably stay
longer. We rented a car with Kathy and Kerry for two days. This way we not only got to
see the rest of the island, but we managed to find the Home Depot and a Cost U Less . Cost U Less is similar to Costco so we did some provisioning. What is interesting about Charlotte Amalie is that it closes down very early. By 5 pm the shops are closed. Of course by this time all the cruise ship customers are back on the ships.It has been recommended that we not be in town after dark. We lock the dinghy when we go to shore and also when we pull it up on the transom at night.

Great view.

On Friday’s there were no cruise ships so again the retail stores are closed. Being in retailing for many years I find this quite mind boggling.

Kathy and Kerry.

We also found on Sunday’s the sight-seeing/tourist attractions were closed. Doing the suggested walking tour we climbed the 99 steps (actually 103 steps); our first stop was to be the 1854 HUS, then on to a Rum distillery

and finally at the top was Blackbeards Hill/ Castle…all closed.

We actually did manage to get inside Blackbeard’s Castle as the front door was open and then after quickly taking a few pictures we were told it was in fact closed and usually only opened Mon. to Sat until 1pm daily. Tourism????

What a great surprise. We ran into Donna and Barry (Sea Star) and they joined us for a Happy Hour at the Green House. We said we had new friends Sandy and Ray joining us too and sure enough when they met they knew each other from Trinadad. What a small world.

Another beautiful sunset in St. Thomas.

Wed. March 26th

The weather is going to co-operate to-day so we’re off to St. John. As we’re pulling up anchor S/V Tortuga which is directly in front of us has had to start their motor just to
be on the safe side. (We think our anchor is right underneath them). We definitely were
snagged on something. We’ve got six foot rolling seas and are motor sailing at 4knots.

We actually had to wait to leave the harbour as a cruise ship was entering. ----She is bigger than us.!!
By 0900hrs we’ve got seas breaking over the bow; the seas are not only high but sloppy. The wind is on our nose. What’s new??

By 1050hrs we are on a mooring in Great Lameshure Bay which is on the southern coast
of St. John. We are in the Virgin Islands National Park and only 200 feet from the rocky shore. Two thirds of St. John is park land. To help preserve the park all boats are to only
use the mooring balls. (At $15 a night this is a bargain.) This is to protect the sea floor as over the years anchors and anchor chain has done a lot of damage to the seagrass beds.
There are three other boats in the bay, along with us and Bellagio. We are allowed two conch a day but they have to be 9 inches. We do find many that are nine inches but decided to wait. It just doesn't feel right taking anything from the park lands.

Thurs. March 27th

We have met another nice couple Susan and Rich along with their friend Brooks off S/V
Puff a Beneteau 461. As we continue to meet other owners of Beneteau’s Kathy
comments, “What’s going on? Is there a Beneteau Cult?” We had to laugh.. Susan and
Rich have been sailing these waters these past three years so they shared their favorite
stops with us.
We continue to really enjoy snorkeling and hiking each day. We’ve seen the endangered hawksbill turtles, rays, conch, and lots of fishes.—puffer fish, trunk fish, needle fish, queen angel fish to name a few and lots of long spined sea urchins, brain coral, sea fans, corals and sponges. Randy has done a great job scrubbing the hull and prop.

Fri. March 28th.

Taking the garbage to shore Rand saw a mongoose. We continue to see turtles around the boat. To-day we went on a 2 hr. hike along the roadway and then up the 354 foot hill and down the other side towards Cabit Horn Pt. (which is part of the Bordeux Mountain Range).
This trek definitely proved we are not in great physical shape. The incline was very
steep.(reminds us of the Malahat).

We did make a stop at the VIES—Virgin Island Environment Resource Center where we learnt about the TEKTITE.

TEKTITE is where four aquanauts spent 60 days underwater, doing research.

Sunday March 30th.

We’ve decided to go to Coral Bay for a change of pace. The ride is not pleasant with the swells breaking over the bow sending water down the decks and into the cockpit. The anchorage is very straight forward. We have less wind but this is definitely not as pretty. The bay is full of boats, many that look like they have been here a long time; a really long time. There are many empty mooring balls, however we have read they are all private, making it difficult to anchor as we don’t know if boats will arrive later in the evening making it necessary for us to move. Also the anchorage is really rolly. Even going ashore was a disappointment. We went for a long walk as the guide book mentioned there were a number of historic buildings. We couldn’t find them. Plus who wants to pay over $9.00 for a container of yogurt? Not us. We did have lunch at the infamous “Skinny Legs Bar & Grill.” I think the guys were hoping for French fries with their hamburgers not potato chips. In general the shop keepers were very friendly.

Monday, March 31st.

The rollyness of the harbour has sent us back West to Salt Pond Bay. The weather is deteriorating again so we figure we need better protection, plus we may as well be able to swim.
Another storm is upon us!!!!


Kate and Brian said...

I'm going to try this again. It wouldn't let me leave a comment so I'll see if this works before I write a lot.

Kate and Brian said...

The scenery is spectacular with all the shades of blues and greens. We think of you often and then smile knowing that so many people dream, but never step outside of themselves and actually create the reality. You are so far away from this culture of need and greed, where we spend too much of our energy in chores that never give back.
We can see you still sailing around these wonderful warm places 10 years from now because you have probably achieved a freedom that many of us will die not knowing. The freedom to stay or go, do or not do, and the simplicity that comes from not having the space to hoard the things we can't possibly use in this lifetime. You travel as the wind blows and the whole ocean belongs to you. We are so thrilled that you had the courage to get it right and create a reality filled with wonder, sun, sand, swimming, excitement, adventure, meeting new friends all the time, and the magic that is the unknown.
Thanks for taking the time to share this with us all. On a Friday night after a week of working with 120 teenagers every day, I too can dream as I peruse your pictures and read your stories. It sure the hell beats television.
Be well. We miss you.
Hugs, Kate and Brian

Anonymous said...

Hi guys -
Great to meet you, even though it was your last day in St. Martin. Hopefully we will meet again on our travels. Love your blog and great photos.
Jane and Russell from s/v ta-b