Tuesday, April 20, 2010

St. John, St. Thomas, USVI and Culebra

After Sean and Courtney left I did a lot of laundry. In fact this was my second day at the Simpson Bay Marina doing laundry and both times it took all day. There are drop off laundries around but only one do it yourself location. It had two washers working and ONE dryer. The laundry opened at 8:30 and by that time a number of people were already lined up - with several loads of laundry each. The first time I went the power was off on the entire island and didn't go back on till 12 Noon. I needed clean sheets for our visitors so I just hunkered down and waited (and waited and waited...). The only consolation was a really nice woman from Australia who waited with me. The second time I brought my computer and caught up on email and blog entries.
We had been going over to the Turtle Pier for our internet service. There isn't any internet service available in the lagoon or out in the bay that you can sign up for online. This place has an unusual collection of parrots. They are beautiful but can make quite a racket. There are several photos here. Scott had his sewing machine out (he's the one who does the sewing as you can see from the photo here) to make a cover for our steering pedestal.
We had much more fun over on the French side one morning walking around Marigot and eating amazing croissants and drinking french coffee. Mmmm.... But soon the weather report looked great and we were off for an overnight passage to St. John, USVI. It was a text book trip; nice reach off the beam and 2-3 foot waves.
We had some really good friends waiting for us there, Hilary and Tony on "Miss Charlotte". We've had wonderful times with them in the past in Bonaire, Curacao and the Aves and we've missed them recently.
My mind was a bit on trying to schedule doctor visits and then coming medical procedures so I'm horrified now to discover I took almost no pictures during our time with them. Just one shot remains of the two of them waving good-bye from the stern of their beautiful Halbery Rassey so I've aslo included a photo from a year ago in Bonaire of them with Scott above left.
We had in fact, as always, a super time being with them. We had dinner on each other's boats and on shore at the Wahoo Bay Campground. We played a lot of great bridge, changing partners around. We spent one night anchored outside Cruz Bay and then moved to a much nicer mooring in St. Francis Bay. Hilary, Scott and I went diving twice and snorkeling once, all out at a small island off St. Francis Bay. Unfortunately for me the first time I wasn't able to submerge! My new wet suit Scott gave me for my birthday was much more buoyant than my last one. We didn't have extra weights with us, so I just waited in the dinghy. The second time all was well and it was a really beautiful dive, through and around some great rocks with nice coral and fish. The visability was great.
We also had a chance to visit our old friends Bill and Suzanne Osborn who have lived on St. John for many years and also have a home on Cape Cod. They invited us to their home for dinner and we stayed the night. Their good friends Laurie, Alex and daughter Maya joined us and it was an amazingly delicious meal. That's left to right Alex, Maya, Scott, Suzanne, Bill and Laurie. The other shot shows the view from their pool. It was my 65th birthday and a lovely celebration! It was really nice the next morning to sit and talk with them over a leisurely pancake breakfast.
Scott and I then sailed over to St. Thomas were we spent several days while I had some medical procedures (a separate blog entry) and it was a surprisingly comfortable anchorage in Charlotte Amalie off the Yacht Haven Marina. Every type of shopping is available here and there is public transportation by small vans. After everything was complete we filled up with diesel and water at the Yacht Haven and took off for Culebra on April 24.
Unexpectedly we found two boats we knew. We saw "Toujours" as we arrived and went over to their boat for drinks and then the next morning heard "Kayana" on the SSB with Chris Parker. Paul and Lynn (the last photo above) raced over in their dinghy and we were able to visit for awhile that morning. Paul is working on his American citizenship so they are staying in U.S. territory for the necessary time period.
On our first afternoon Scott and I dinghied ashore and tried to see Customs and Immigration to check out but they had closed up early. The next morning they came in late. Luckily Scott got a telephone number to call and so didn't go there until they arrived. So if you are in Culebra don't expect the officials to be there during office hours. Call first!
We finally pulled our anchor up after lunch and headed off for the long passage ahead. We had a good weather window and were hoping to go straight to the Bahamas - four nights off shore. More on what happened in the next blog entry!

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