We're enjoying the pristine views and natural settings here in St. John. We're in National Park territory, and got a Lifetime Park Pass and trail map when we checked in. Mooring fees are 1/2 price for us! ($13.00, they've gone up double since last year!)
And another fun surprise: our friend Richard on the sv SeaLevel came into the anchorage. We haven't seen Richard for years, since we cruised Tulum, Mexico in 2003. He's doing AirBnB charters aboard his Durbeck 46' monohull, based in St. Thomas. It will be fun to reconnect with him.
Pic: Michael and Sonja; it was a long dinghy ride to Gunn Creek to check into the BVI's. Calm (downwind) on the way there; a bit wet for the ride back (to windward).
It's been a few weeks between postings, mainly because of slow or non-existsnt internet. To summarize, we left Trois Islet when the weather settled down and had a good run to Portsmouth, Dominica. We anchored for the night and departed at 0545 for Deshaies, Guadeloupe, anchoring at 1500 hours. Another early start put us on pace for an easy overnight run to St Maarten. Winds were, for the most part, 10-15 knots on the aft quarter. The sky was clear, the stars were bright in a moonless sky, and we reduced sail to slow down in order to arrive St Maarten at sunrise. Great stuff. We went through the Simpson Bay Bridge at 0930 and anchored in the Lagoon in 7' water. Since the island is divided by the Dutch and French sides, we cleared in with the Dutch Officials, and will clear out with them before moving about a mile to anchor on the French side, St Martin. It's a bit confusing for the newcomer, but everything soon falls in place. The entire island us duty-free, and cruisers flock here to outfit their boats and provision. We were on a different mission of sorts, and I arranged a quick haulout at Bobby's Mega Yard so I could reset the pitch of the MaxProp propeller. That went smoothly enough, and I took that opportunity to change a SW ball valve that I hadn't changed out in Trinidad. A few hours later we were back in the water; all's good. We've met up with Bas and Agnes of sv Ti Sento, as well as Jo and Greg of sv Serenade and Lee and Sharon of sv Allegro. We've also met new friends; Mike and Nancy of sv Chasseur and Henry and Catherine of sv Mowzer. Unfortunately, our 15 year old Aquapro dinghy finally gave up; there was just not a lot of integrity left in the hypalon, whose life span is typically 10 years. Our new ride is a 9'6" Highfield aluminium RIB. At the price of a used small automobile, at least it was tax and duty free...