Thursday, March 29, 2012

Hanging around St. Thomas

Jackson, Jen and Luke left us last week and we have been hanging around, enjoying the island and doing small chores.   We are currently at Water Island 'cause there is a great wifi signal.  We go ashore, do our boat chores, and listen on the radio to the passenger ferry, "Rabbit," as they leave Crowne Bay Marina.  
Rabbit says, "Permission to leave the marina with 5 passengers on board."  Crowne Bay says, "Roger, Rabbit."  It never gets old.
We’d had a problem with our roller furler and we were able to find a rigger to put it right.  If you need rigging, we would highly recommend Skip the Rigger at Compass Point Marina.  He probably has another last name – but we don’t know it. 
Brad will be here on Saturday so we are just lounging around, making sure we are seaworthy for his 2 weeks with us.  We don’t know much about St. Croix – except in Captain Ron they went to an island near there.  Remember that part?
St. Croix is about 40 miles so that will give Brad a chance to do a nice crossing.  Our tentative plan is to give him a day or two to set his clock to island time and then head to St. Croix.  After a day or two exploring there we will likely come back to St. John and then clear into the BVI.  (It’s a mile from the closest point of St. John to Tortola.)  Then, like with Jen’s family, we will hit the highlights, Soper’s Hole,  Norman Island, the Baths and the Bitter End on Virgin Gorda, Foxies on Jost van Dyke, Cane Garden Bay and whatever else looks interesting. 
We have made arrangements to put the boat to bed for the hurricane season in Puerto Rico at Palmas del Mar.  Again, Glen’s fluency in Spanish has been invaluable as our communications with the marina have progressed.  After Brad leaves, we will make our way west  (might actually get a chance to use our sails!) for a couple of weeks before hauling sv Blue Pearl.
Pirates attacking a cruise ship

Long Bay, Charlotte Amalie

A modest cruiser
We have provisioned with rum - but will have to do that again because Glen keeps over-sampling.  Pussers is $11 per bottle in the BVI.  Woooo hoooo!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

As soon as we sail onto Cane Garden Bay

We can’t figure out the darn wind.  It is supposed to be calm in the early morning and stronger later in the day.  And sometimes it is.  But sometimes it’s not.  When you are trying to schedule your movements around the naps of a 2 year old it gets challenging. 
We left St. John for Sopers Hole in the BVI.   It was only 5 miles but we bounced and bumped our way as usual, AGAINST THE WIND.  We chartered from Sopers in ’95 so it was cool to be there again.  We checked in and Glen tried to invoke a smile from the immigrations and customs people with limited success.  C and I people from all countries seem to have had similar training in being “challenging.”  Anyway, $12.63 later and we were admitted for our short tour.  We bought several bottles of Pussers Rum for Glen and an ice cream sandwich for Jack and then went to the Jolly Roger’s for burgers for dinner.  A perfect day.
Next day we tried again to outsmart the wind and sailed east to Virgin Gorda and the Baths.  Bounced and bumped and eventually motor-sailed-tacked to the Baths. After circling the day-mooring balls for a few minutes we scooped one and set off for the beach and the Baths.  Can’t describe the Baths.  Google them to get a sense.  We played on the beach, traversed the caves and then played on the beach some more.  We had planned to stay at the nearby marina to get more info about the place.  We might leave the Blue Pearl there this summer for the hurricane season and it seems like a good place.
Wow!  Caves!

The Baths
Swimming with Momma and Daddy

After a quick reconoiter, we sailed the 2 miles to Trellis Bay for the evening.  We had a beer at “Da Loose Mongoose” to get the wifi password and headed back to the boat – only to find we couldn’t crack the wifi.  How did they spell the password?  Anyway, no wifi.  Dang!
Cane Garden Bay
People and Places and Callwoods Rum

Still running after 400 years

Art shot
We stayed at Cane Garden Bay for a couple of days – enjoying the beach and the Callwoods Rum.  Check out the lyrics to Jimmy Buffett’s “Manana.”  Jackson is loving his swimming and Glen is loving his rum.

We took off for Sandy Cay, Jost van Dyke.  It is about an acre island – the picture perfect island typical of the Caribbean.  Played in the sand, frolicked in the water, harvested coconuts and then headed to Jost van Dyke to be ready to clear Customs Monday morning.  
Closs family


Swimming off the boat!
Glen went ashore to case out Customs, found them open and was able to clear us out.  He checked out Foxies – the crazy island bar – but it is more suited to people without busy little two-year-olds.  We spent the night at Little Jost – met a couple from North Vancouver who are impressed with the BVIs but no so much their charter boat.  Headed  back to the USVI, clearing in at St. John and then to Water Island off Charlotte Amalie. 
The Closses leave us on Tuesday morning.  We will dinghy them to shore at Lindberg Bay and walk  them to the airport.  After 48 hours of sleep we will be missing them desperately!


Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Ice cream sandwich and a donut for lunch!
Wow!  Great times in the Virgin Islands!  We stayed overnight at Honeymoon Bay on Water Island – right beside Charlotte Amalie.  Jack was crazy in the water – running in until he was over his head and then floating on his back.
Pelican friend at the Dinghy Dock Bar

In the morning we headed 1.2 miles over to Lindbergh Bay so Jen, Pam and Jackson could walk to the airport to get Luke.  Glen stayed on the boat to do important tasks and not drink rum.

In less than an hour – and  much less than 4 ounces – Luke was on the boat and we were heading back to Honeymoon Bay.  Great place for all of us – but especially Jack.  We think it was a good start to Luke’s vacation.

So the parrot said... "OK, I give up.  Where did you put the boat?
We are into new cruising guides now – not territory we’ve read much about.  We stopped at Christmas Cove on St. James Island after cruising through past the big cruise ships in Charlotte Amalie.  Great snorkeling, according to Jen and Luke.  We took Jack to the beach to review throwing rocks.  He did pretty well, although he almost nailed his own foot a couple of times.

Back floating
Left Xmas for a morning in Cruz Bay.  Found two new kinds of rum to buy.   Then onto Francis Bay.  More beach, more rock throwing, back floating and running into the waves.  Jack did stuff, too.
Holy Crap, Gran.  You should see all the food under your bed!

Captain Papa - I think we've got the right-of-way

More to starboard, Papa

Nav aids
I think Yan Diesel needs oil

King of the castle

Now who's captain?

Super snorkler
We are in Francis Bay on St. John planning a brief tour of the BVI and then a quick trip back to St. Thomas to ship the Closs family off for their return trip home to Vancouver.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Jen and Jack!

We had an awesome cruise with the Inmans – but all good things come to an end.
We docked at Puerto del Rey in Fajardo after a brisk sail up from Ferro Bay on Vieques.  We went to Ferro to see the bio-luminescence – which was pretty spectacular.  But no more so than some of the same up in the Pacific Northwest.  Some times at night when we flushed on Miss Pearl the head would light up like the lights were on. 
Anyway, we had a great sail and we rewarded ourselves by turning on the AC when we hooked up our yellow dock line (power cord) at Puerto del Ray.
Next day we said our goodbyes to the Inmans after a fabulous lunch in San Juan – they are off on a supplementary adventure to explore the island.  They are the perfect guests... except that they won't let you pay your fair share.  So I guess that makes them the perfect guests!!!
Pam's Salad Nicoise at Miros in San Juan
We left the airport and promptly got lost.  We drove in ever expanding circles until we found a Costco and bought a GPS.  Woooo hooooo!  After paying $500 ransom, we left with the new GPS, two cases of wine and fresh fruit and vegetables for our visit with Jen and Jackson.
Back to the boat – with directions from GPS Jill – to stow our treasures and rest up.  We’ll need the rest – Jackson doesn’t stop.  
Got them at 10:30 pm (6:30 their time) and Jack played shy for 2 minutes.  Got into the car and sped back to the boat.  Now Jack was NOT shy and wouldn't stop chatting.  Told us his travel stories all the way back to Fajardo.  Had a nice bedtime and then a great sleep. 
Gran's my favorite!  Ice cream sandwich and new net!

Alright, let's get this show on the road.
Spent a day letting them get their hours organized and then headed out on Thursday for Isla Palamino.  Had a blustery sail but only for 5 miles.  Then an evening on a mooring ball and off for an early start on Friday for Culebra. 
The weather didn’t cooperate and our pregnant Jen had a relapse of morning sickness.  Ugly and bumpy – but we were into Bahai Tamarindo before noon.
Great beach toys

Master of my domain

Body surfing

Waiting for big waves


Helping Gran make dinner
Nuggets and a brewskie at El Batey - that's livin'
We are back in Culebra, snorkeling, playing on the beach, playing on the boat - just hanging out in the Spanish Virgin Islands.  We've seen many of the boats we got to know in Luperon while we all waited for weather - Southern Cross IV, Falcon's Nest, Seabbatical 1, Fawkes, N'er Do Well - and have heard others on the radio.

It is very windy now and will be for the next few days.  Saturday looks like a good day to head east - Maybe to Saint Thomas?!