1-19 St Thomas

We've finally been able to move! After 15 days, the winds have abated (actually, they're almost light and variable) so we slipped our buoy lines and have motored over to Charlotte Amalie, Long Bay in St Thomas. 'Big City?' time. There, we'll do a laundry, and I have some engine work I want to do. We'll also do a bit of exploring; more to come.

1-18 Great art and Seeing an old friend

This morning we joined Ken and Lori for the short walk to Drunk Bay. The rocky beach art/sculptures/totems/cairns, are made with rocks, shells and sea flotsam. Very interesting and creative; the windward side of the island beautiful.
We had been trying to get together with a friend of ours since we got to St John. Between the weather and Doug's work schedule, that didn't happen until today. As Doug mentioned in his FB picture,we had met many years ago in French Polynesia, then didn't see each other until South Africa years later. Typical cruiser's life. It was great to catch up. Doug's home port for the last 17 years has been St John, with extended periods away during his solo circumnavigation. Lunch was a cheeseburger at Skinny Legs, and we swapped stories over a few beers. It was great seeing Doug, who is now, I might add, a dirt dweller. His former boat, Fellow Traveler, has sold, and Doug is now rehabbing a small house he bought on island.

1-17 Ram Head and Coral Bay

The hike of Ram Head Trail was a great morning workout. The views were great and give a good perspective of the windward side toward the BVI's. The cactus are interesting and plentiful. For our afternoon fun we joined Ken & Lori and took the bus from Salt Pond Bay to Coral Bay. There, we enjoyed a very nice lunch at the Aqua Bistro, then returned by bus back. It's great to see some more of the St John area; not overcrowded and built up.

1-12 Island tour

It was time to do a bit of provisioning as we've been here in Great Lameshur Bay for over a week. There's been a trough nearby, and winds and sea conditions have been far from optimal for moving around. Our neighbors, Ken & Lori of sv Reality Check, suggested a ferry ride to St Thomas, followed by a lot of local bus rides to stop, pick up stuff, and see the sights. We picked them up by dinghy at 0830 and Lori had arranged a taxi to pick us up here at Great Lameshur and take us to the ferry dock in Cruz Bay. The ride over to St Thomas only takes a few minutes, and Ken was a great tour guide as we went from one end of St. Thomas to another. After a lunch stop for Mexican food at Gringo's, we continued our bus ride/tour, finally ending up on the 5:00 ferry back to St John. We walked to the Starfish Market for provisions, and took a taxi back to here, arriving back aboard at 1930 hours. It was a long day, but a wonderful way to experience St Thomas and St John, with special thanks to Ken & Lori for being such great company!

1-7 Conch-o-mania

Sue, Lee and Sharon snorkeled just off our boats in 20-25' of water hunting for conch. You're allowed to take 2 conch per person per day, so we were optimistic. I was in Allegro's inflatable kayak (support crew...) and followed nearby. Lee did all the work, harvesting 8 conch in record time. We then took them to the beach for cleaning. This morning, we hiked to the Tektite Museum and VIERO camp, a first rate stop that explained and exhibited the Tektite underwater lab facility. After, we arranged our conch fest for late afternoon. Sharon made conch fritters and Sue the conch salad, topped off by peach crisp with Easiyo yogurt for dessert. We hadn't eaten our own harvested conch since the Bahamas; was that really about 20 years ago?!
Photo credit to Sharon of picture of Michael

1-5 Snorkeling the Tektite and hiking to the petroglyphs

the morning we dinghied around the point to one of the two red mooring balls close to where the Tektite lab was located. Richard (sv Sea Level) showed us around. This was a NASA funded underwater scientific lab built in 1969-70 and focused on decompression as well as the effects of isolation and working in close environments, the first time these had been extensively studied. Only a few porcelin tiles remain to mark the area. The fish were plentiful and and the reef, for the most part, was healthy. In the afternoon, along with Steve and Maria (sv Aspen) and Lee (sv Allegro) we hiked the Lameshur Bay Trail, and a few miles of the Petroglyph Trail found us at a dried up waterfall surrounded by large boulders and petroglyphs of indeterminate age. Steve related that the current thinking is that these particular petroglyphs had not been scientifically studied, but are thought to be from around 1000 BC. They were remarkably well preserved and we hope they'll remain for future generations to enjoy. We arrived back to the boat at 1630, and a jump in the water was so refreshing.

1-4 Great Lameshur Bay

Yep, we made it. We were determined to get here, so went around the north and east sides of the island to arrive in this beautiful place. And...we sailed it, tacking across the Drake channel in beautiful conditions and enjoying the day. There's no anchoring here, so taking a mooring ball is mandatory. This is the first time we've dropped the boat hook attempting to grab the mooring line; trying to hold onto the line of the buoy as the current swings the boat isn't always that easy. But, that's the reason for the extendable boat hook - it floats. After retrieving it, the second try went smoothly and we actually looked like we knew what we were doing. There are lots of buoys but few boats here today. The snorkeling was good and the water crystal clear.

1-2 Francis Bay

It was around the corner and back to Francis Bay this morning. There are many good hike here,but saving our energy, we took a short walk around the Francis Bay trail and said hi to a few other cruisers we had met previously.

1-1 Scott Bay

We don't always do things the hard way; just some of the time. We left Christmas Cove and decided to go to Great Lameshur Bay. Sounded OK; it's not that long a run. After an hour of motor-sailing into 20 knots of wind and 4-6' waves, we looked at each other and wondered what the hell were we doing?? Getting beat up on New Year's day - wonderful... We were 3 miles away from the bay when we turned around and hightailed it the other way. Much better. We took a mooring at Scott Bay (contiguous with Caneel Bay) and relaxed.
This beach has a resort which does not welcome dinghy's, or the cruisers business. There are designated spots along these north bays where dinghy's are allowed.

1-1-17. Happy New Year!

Swinging gently at anchor, once again we realize how truely blessed we are to continue cruising in such beautiful places. We send our love to all our family and friends aboard and ashore. We hope 2017 brings contentment, realized dreams and good health to all, and may we all continue to appreciate each other's support and encouragement. And, as to life's many challenges we will, no doubt, encounter in 2017, may we all "hang in there!"