Thursday, January 31, 2008


Happy Birthday Kim on January 27th. How old are you? How old is the superbowl? That's the answer!

Happy Birthday to Enee - the namesake of Enee Marie. Our Enee will soon get a new paint job on her bottom. We assume that the real Enee is not in need of such.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Bad Sailing

Spanish Town, BVI to St. Maarten (the Dutch spelling).

This is the story of the 80 mile crossing to St. Maarten that Capt. Scott turned into a 128 mile odyssey. Yeah, you can do that. Well, I can do that.

It all started with the promise of true north east winds. Maybe even from as north as 070 or 060. This could be great for a run to St. Maarten which bears 115 degrees from north sound of Virgin Gorda. We check out of Spanish Town which is in the middle of the west coast of Virgin Gorda and get under way around noon. Plenty of time to get around the top of Virgin Gorda and begin a night sail to St. Maarten. Right?

Well, getting around the top here turned out to be a little more difficult than expected. We went more north than planned to get around the top of Necker Island instead of under but that’s ok to head a little north as the winds are going to turn to the north (right?) so this just means we’ll take even more advantage of them. Once clear of all shoals we checked our two close hauled courses: 25 degrees and 145 degrees. Don’t be shocked. Our boat tacks 120 degrees if we are lucky! Well, do the math. If we sail 25 degrees that is at right angles to our rumb line which means we are essentially going nowhere so that’s not good. The other course, 145, is pretty far south of the line but what the hell at least I’m sailing. We get on that tack and stay there accepting the east we are getting and we need a little south anyway.

A beautiful night. Stars aplenty and the moon came up like a big orange egg in the east. Sue suggests that we maybe put on the engine and get east. Naw! It’s a F---- sailboat. Who cares when we get there?

But you do have to get there.

As the night wore on we demonstrated some of the worst behaviors of sailors ever. I got a little sick. We both had too much crap in the cockpit and started tripping over it in the dark. Someone at the helm (Sue) got us backwinded and forced a tack. . . but only TWICE.(Sailor Sue: It’s hard to see in the dark! Although there’s no excuse.) We shook out the reef in the main. We put it back in. In the middle of all this we had an encounter with a catamaran.

It was past dusk into dark. We had been watching her running lights for some time and figured we’d get close. We could see through the binocs that she was bare poles and under engine only power. We’re sailing and clearly have the right of way. When you have the right of way I feel it is important to stay on course for fear you get into the sidewalk dance where two people can’t quite figure out how to pass each other when walking opposing directions down a sidewalk. Of course for this to work both boats have to know the rules of the road and they have to be watching. As we got even closer I tried to hail them on the radio. Nothing. Then the air horn and an emergency tack from us. As we spun out of their path we saw people coming to the helm from down below looking around to see what was going on. We think they were all down below, on the auto helm and not even keeping a watch. This is way out at sea with no other boats around. You never know. Catamarans are just a step above power boats! (Except for our friends on Puddle Jumper.)

We marshaled on. I figured the wind was from about 80 degrees so I would sail through it so that St. Maarten would bear maybe 70 degrees so that we could use both tacks to get us there. The trouble with that was that by the time I got to the point where that might have worked around day break we were 30 miles south west of the island. Yeah, I had basically sailed past our goal. This is maybe excusable on a boat without an engine which this is not one of! Now the gps shows our eta to be around midnight. Our 16 hour trip is turning into days!

We now try a number of things including checking the charts to see what the hell island we ARE heading for and maybe we just go there! St. Somewhere? No. Now it’s motor and main. Motor and full sail. Motor reefed main and reefed jib. Motor, full main no jib. We’re both exhausted and beat up from bouncing around the cockpit all night and cranking on the winches. St. Maarten now bears 65 degrees. I still can’t sail there! I hate me. I hate my boat. I hate republicans. I hate my 3rd grade teacher. The depth of my hate for the world, the sea and sailing in general has no limit. And, good old Mismo the cat sits on the top stair of the companionway and screams at us to come out which we are not going to let happen at night on the rolling sea.

So come morning we are now 32 miles from St. Maarten. Let’s see, around 5 pm we had 75 miles to go. Now it is 7 in the morning and we have 32 to go. Just about anything I do with the boat we go 3-4 knots and not in the direction we want to go I say, let’s set full sail, crank up the engine until it smokes and sail due north to get due west of the island. Maybe we can motor/main in from the west then. (I’m still living in a world where the wind is going to go to the north east as promised, the good guy always wins in the end (and gets the girl), and good deeds don’t go unpunished) At this point I go to sleep in the v-berth and Sue takes us north. From there we proceed to motor/main to the island. With luck we might get in before dark which is our goal.

Look really closely at the horizon and you'll see St. Maarten - 26.2 miles away; a marathon that will take us 6 hours to reach the finish line; same as some marathon walkers; basically we were walking to St. Maarten.

Of course you can’t sail 90 degrees because that is dead up wind. North-east my ASS! We bear off and sail 100-110 degrees to get the speed and do manage to tack and get there by about 1700 and anchor down. We’re exhausted. The cockpit looks like a fraternity party happened there with spilled coffee, candy, and brownies. We hoist our Q flag (yellow flag meaning you’ve not yet cleared in.) We have a rum, some cheese and go to bed. Before turning in I check the trip meter on the gps. 128 miles and 30 hours sailed. 80 miles accomplished.

Maybe we could have done better.

I still say stubbornness is a GOOD trait!

Finally safely anchored at Simpson Bay, St. Maarten Scott and Mismo play footsee or is that fingersee or pawsee.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

On to St. Maartin!. . . maybe

Another morning of bashing about in confused seas to make the 6 miles from Road Town to Cooper Island. This should be the last up wind trip for a bit. We picked up a mooring ball and set to work on painting the white topsides (Scott) and a hunk of teak (Sue). Hot work out in the sun but the Deliverance boat came by! The deliverance boat is one of our fondest memories of chartering here 8 years ago. It is a power boat with everything you need inside - ice, beer, snacks, charcoal, pastries, etc. So we rewarded ourselves for our labors with a couple of Red Stripes and a bag of ice. Since we are just taking off again in the morning we decided to not re-launch the dingy but we’re sure that this was the place where we spent new year’s eve in 2000. We took a swim to cool off and then made olives/pasta and pea salad for dinner. A nice night. Full Moon too!

Yea! We get to sail north instead of east! Another short hop to the north end of Beef Island where lies Trellis Bay and Marina Cay. Trellis bay has fun looking beach stuff so we decide to take a mooring ball there. Very crowded with boats but we found a ball easy enough. The best news of the day is from our weather god, Chirs Parker. This weekend the winds are finally going to moderate and even back a little to come out of the north east or even north-northeast. This gives us a beautiful window for a night sail to St. Maartin. We’re thinking of leaving Friday at sunset to arrive at St. Maartin the next morning. It’s about 80 miles from Virgin Gorda to St. Maartin. We could spend more time in BVI but we hate to pass up such a nice window. Besides, daughter Leah is arriving in St. Maartin on Feb 25. Never know when you're going to get pinned down for 2-3 weeks with high trades this time of year. If it turns out as Chris says this will be a perfect reach all the way to St. Maartin - set ‘em and forget ‘em! We’ll see. Next post could be from St. Maartin! Wheee!

Mismo photo of the day. She's sleeping in our bag of clean laundry. Good place to be when the boat is heeled.

Finally, here's a couple of links to some truly excellent photography by none other than Leah Welty-Rieger. The sample on the left is called Old Hands/New iPod. Enjoy. Link 1 Link 2

Monday, January 21, 2008

Anchoring Antics/Leaving Jost Van Dyke

Jost Van Dyke is a very popular stop for the chartering crowd. It’s a nice big anchorage but fairly deep in the middle. There’s room for many boats but then more keep coming! It’s an amazing thing to watch. We had made a little run over to White Bay thinking about getting a mooring ball there but got aced out of the last ball. . . twice! Rats! Back to Jost where we on purpose anchored pretty far out against the eastern shore in about 4 meters (about 2.2 fathoms) of water. Then the fun starts. We just sat on our boat and watched the endless parade of 40+ foot Moorings catamarans come to try and anchor. Here’s the basic charterer’s anchoring drill.

1. Drive straight into the middle of the obviously crowded anchorage at at least 5 knots.

2. Have crew members hold there hands up in random positions to demonstrate to the helmsmen that there arms still work and have not been severed by the anchor chain. . . yet.

3. Assume the boats around you are anchored in Jello-O and will remain stationary for you.

4. Drop your hook and let out about 15 feet of chain (standard 1:1 ratio) to put you right between two other boats with about 10 feet to spare on either side.

5. After swinging near one or the other of the boats next to you and/or dragging to the one behind you, haul up your anchor and go back to step 2.

I’m not kidding we watched one cat do this at least 10 times. They arrived in plenty of daylight and in total darkness they were still at it. The whole time we were watching there was PLENTY of room out behind us. I think there is a clustering mentality that tells people that if you are not with the other boats you’re doing something wrong! Well, things were fine out by us. I say out by us but I’m talking maybe 200 yards (182 meters) farther from shore! What a hoot. I don’t mean to make fun and I’m not. I just think it is a funny phenomena.

The next day we got away early to head south around Tortola to Norman Island. Norman Island begins a chain of islands running to the north east. These islands along with the big island of Tortola to the north form the Sir Francis Drake Channel which is not a cable thing but it should be. In order from south-west to north east you have Norman, Peter, Salt, Cooper, and Ginger (NO! Maryanne!). These lead to Virgin Gorda the big island to the east of Tortola.

It was windy but we had a very nice reach to the south to enter the channel between Tortola and St John. Once around the corner the wind was right on the nose (of course) and howling! I think the narrows there funnel the wind. The nature of the sea was good news/bad news. Good news - looks like the heavy current here was with us. Bad news - that put the current against the wind and makes for steep chop. So, although this was only to be a run of about 12 miles we found ourselves out there beating hard to windward under reefed main and motor for about 5 hours. Nothing real violent just annoying howl of the wind and busy at the helm for the whole time.

We made the bight in Norman Island which is brimming with mooring balls. They’re not free but this harbor is very deep and anchoring would be a real challenge. We picked up our mooring ball and sat back and just waited for the man to come collect the money. Naps happened. Dinner happened. The man never came. We saw him go to several boats around us be he kept skipping over us. Cool! Knowing that if we stayed another day we’d have to pay we didn’t even launch the dingy but decided to just make a short hop the next day to mooring ball free bay. The wind howled all night.

Up at 0530 for the off shore report and to make the coffee. That’s as close as I come to a routine. We were ready to go in no time since we had hardly been there and got off before 0700. We were in no mood for a long beat today so just went around the corner of Norman to Benures Bay (or do you say Benares Bay?). There were only 3 boats in there! Yeah! We managed to anchor without waking anyone (I think) and what a beautiful spot. High rocky hills surrounding clear crazy blue water. I checked on the anchor and could see it clearly in about 10 meters of water (thats 1000 centimeters!).

We had more coffee and made breakfast during which the three boats left! See ya! Oh, how great it is to be the only boat in a beautiful anchorage like this. We launched the dingy and loaded up our snorking gear and set off. We’ve learned that you snork where the pelicans are diving. Boy, did that work here! Lots of fish and coral and beautiful water to snork in. We checked out two different spots along the shore and both were filled with fish. It’s not yet noon.

In the afternoon we were joined by two catamarans but they don’t seem to have the clustering gene like the boats from Jost had. Tomorrow, maybe we’ll stay. Maybe we’ll go somewhere. The winds are supposed to be heavy well into next week so short hops are for us and we’re in a good place to be doing that.

Time out for a picture of Mismo crawling up my 'Kool-aide'!

We stayed. This is a really pretty anchorage with great snorking. We have nothing but time so we decide to stay another day. I used part of this day to paint another hunk of the white in the cockpit. It’s looking good! A lot of this is technique. Not too much paint and you have to really flow it out with a foam brush. I’m using West Marine Topsider paint. It’s got a high gloss and dries very hard. I also need to paint the non-skid areas and am open to suggestions as to how to do this. Same kind of paint? Add sand? How to prepare this bumpy surface for painting?

Yesterday a big old Irwin came in. Probably about 50 feet. Obviously a charter with a man and wife owner and 4 customers. They anchored pretty far from us and that’s nice. Then, later in the day they moved their anchor to be right by us. Why? The problem here in this bay is that we don’t really feel the east wind. The winds are swirly and so is the water. The result is that boats here tend to just bob around on their anchor. We end up about on top of our anchor no matter how we set it. OK. But now we have two boats doing the random bob right next to each other and sure enough we started moving together. Worse yet, the captain took the customers for a ride to somewhere in their dingy leaving only the wife behind. Usually in this kind of situation my position is, "Hey, you moved on top of me so YOU do something". Now she is alone on a 50’ monster. Now we are about 10 feet apart and our engine is on. She asks me if I want her to haul in 50’ of chain. There’s a lot of things I want her to do right now and this is actually on this list so I say, “Go ahead”. Well, that was useless because like me she is sitting on top of her anchor. Never mind. . . we’ll move. I’m hot as it is a pretty big deal for us to haul anchor as the windlass barely works (remember the 7 magnets?) and I have to haul chain mostly by hand which I begin to do. As I’m grunting and straining she comes over in her dingy and ties on to us and starts babbling about how they used to cruise and would we want a bottle of wine and blah, blah, blah. I turned from my labors and said, "HEY!, We’re a little busy right now”! She took the hint, left the wine and beat it. We had to drop and haul anchor twice to get it to set again FAR from the Irwin. My next boat will have torpedo launchers and I’ll be stalking 'Sandcastle'!

It rained off and on the rest of the day and then it poured with lightning all night. We did sneak in on more snorking trip and it was spectacular. We think the shoreline of this entire bay, probably a mile or more, is all great snorking. We saw the usual suspects of fish and lots of our favorites - Ranbow Parrot fish. They are amazingly colorful.

Maybe we won’t get away tomorrow! Holy CRAP! I’m almost out of books too!

After an long night of rain and lightning we awoke to Enee slowly drifting to shore. That ain't right. Although we had more or less resigned ourselves to another day to avoid a really crappy sail this bobbing about is getting really old. We haul (actually I do the hauling) anchor and plan to just go about 3 miles to Peter Island and anchor there. Sue had a peach cobbler working in the oven and on the way the fire went out. Our SECOND propane tank is dry! A quick mental inventory tells us that without propane we can eat olives, crackers, peanuts, raw potatoes, and canned peas (we refuse to eat the cat. . . so far). So, Sue got on the radio and found a marina in Tortola that could provide propane. We head there. This too is only a few miles but whoop what a nice driving rain and wind. We dock at the Village Cay Marina in Road Town. Very nice. This little stop not only allows us to fix the propane problem but to get a few things at the grocery store. It was actually hard for us to remember the last time we hit a marina. Back in Ponce PR we did a couple of awful days. One thing interesting about marinas is all the pretty boats. We may have the smallest boat here!

Tomorrow off to Cooper Island!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

To the BVIs!

Coral Bay, St. John to Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands

Sunday - January 13, 2008 Happy Birthday Sarah Hender!
Coral Bay, St. John

Sunday afternoon we found playoff football at the Skinny Legs bar and grill. Sorry Peyton Manning and the Colts. We left with 2 minutes to go after San Diego scored a go ahead touchdown. Gut wrenching.

We dingied over to Half Moon for sundowners and fun conversation with Joe, Becky, Becky’s sister Janey, and Bob Tis - author of ‘Down Island’ - a novel that takes place in the Caribbean. Bob lives in Coral Bay and gave us the inside scoops about the goings on here. Earlier in the day we noticed a big ship unloading these large tub containers. An unusual sight. Bob informed us that the tall ship, Tall Cloud, sails to Trinidad to buy these fiberglass cisterns and returns to St. John to sell them. The cisterns hold 2,500 or 5,000 gallons and people on the island buy them for their water supply. Tall Cloud began as a work boat on the Great Lakes of all places!

Bob also told us about the history of St. John. When the slaves were freed all the white people left the island. The freed slaves stayed. Not a bad place to be. Plus no white people with their bad dancing. When the US bought the island from the Danes in 1917 for $25 million (a nice condo in New York now!) Not much happend until the 1950’s when son of Rockefeller (Bugsy) bought most of the island and donated it back to the us government and had it all declared a national park. He also helped the natives build their economy. Consequently most of the businesses are owned by natives. This is unusual in the Virgin islands.

After a few rounds of pina coladas (thanks guys) we headed back to Enee to play with the Mismo for awhile before retiring. She was all wound up and ready to rumble. We kept her below though. This anchorage is rolly and for sure she would fall off when it’s dark and hard to find her.

We decided to stay one more day here before heading to BVI. We’ve only seen half of the town and a lay-over day after being on the move the past 5 sounds good to me.

Monday, January 14, 2008
Coral Bay, St. John

A nice layover day in Coral Bay. Lunch at the Caribbean Blue joint and walk about town. Found a few things at the little grocery store and time for a cold Presidente at Skinny Legs. As we walked about town we came to a baseball field. The 'ground crew' was busy at work. See photo.

Actually found a TINY marine store. Notice it’s really a semi trailer! Pretty well stocked though and we bought some supplies for our various painting projects.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Being There Again

I may have written a post similar to this at some point. I think I have. The idea that we are reaching deeper and deeper into the true ‘down island’ part of this adventure. I had this feeling when we crossed under the Mackinaw bridge, when we sailed in to New York harbor, when we reached Key West, when we anchored first time in the Bahamas, and now anchored off of Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands. Reaching (really!) this island capped about a full week of great sailing days starting back in Culebra. We’ve hardly run the engine (no refrigeration - no problemo!) and Enee’s bottom must be getting cleaner and cleaner as we peaked at 8 knots yesterday on our way to Jost.
Sailing from St. John to Jost Van Dyke means sailing around one island to another for a few hours. You really can see where you're going that easily.
Sailor Sue likes it when the seas are flat though you can still sail fast.

Check in was simple, fast and friendly. While taking care of this paper work I asked the young lady immigration agent where you go for vacation if you live here? She said, “Why would I go anywhere”? Why indeed. There are about 3 or 4 establishments on the water here including the somewhat famous Foxy’s. We had a couple of beers at Corsairs and just looked out at our boat. There is something different about being here. I feel time running at an even slower rate. I feel a certain pride for arriving here in my own boat all the way from Chicago. We chartered here about 10 years ago. To return like this makes it extra special.

Jost Van Dyke is about 3 miles north of the big island of Tortola. This harbor sits on the south side of the island and is well protected. Looking south from here you can see lots of comings and goings of a variety of boats. Yesterday I counted 21 sailboats on the move in my field of view. I like lonely little anchorages but I also like a busy harbor just to watch all the pretty boats come and go. There are actually 180 residents on the island. Some farmers and some people working the bars and restaurants.
The photos remind us of a 70' Great Lakes racing boat that apparently is now a cruising boat in the BVI. Nice.

There are large charter fleets in BVI including Moorings, Footloose, and Sun Sail and it seems they all make a stop here. You can really tell a charter boat from a cruising boat. The charter boats have clean decks and no extra gear anywhere. Your typical cruising boat has jerry cans strapped to the rail, various lines hanging here and there and some dings and scrapes from who remembers when.

A couple of days here then. We will probably take the dingy down to White Bay just to the west of here where there are some other outposts and good snorking. From there maybe to Cane Garden Bay and then around to the other side of Tortola to the string of islands - Norman, Peter, Salt, Cooper, Ginger leading one up to Virgin Gorda. We hope to end up near Bitter End on Virgin Gorda where we will wait for a good weather window to make the 80 mile run to St. Maartin. It is there that we will find a boat yard and get the bottom painted. In the meantime we try to keep up with the teak on our boat and I am slowly re-painting all the white topsides. There’s a lot but if I just do a hunk at a time it will all get done in a year or so. It’s a little difficult to paint at sea. Wind tends to blow unwanted things into the paint job and kitty leaves little paw prints if we don’t tie her down. Still, it looks better than it did. Shiny!

This post brought to you from Cosairs with bartender Lisa and her crew.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Good bye Culebra --- Hello St. Thomas and St. John

Wednesday, January 9, 2008 -- Happy Birthday Mike Hender. Are you 60 yet?

This date also happens to be the 2nd Wednesday of the month and so the visiting vet from Fajardo was in town. We (being Scott, Sue, and Mismo the wondercat in her new pet carrier cage) took the dingy about a mile down to the DNR (division of natural resources) dock. Once there we walked up the hill to the makeshift vet facility that is part of Fish and Wildlife - go figure. We heard there can be a long line so we planned to get there just as they opened at 8:00 a.m. As it turned out it took us a while to find the place since there are no signs anywhere. Luckily there was no line either.

There were 2 vets on call - both very friendly and Mismo was well taken care of. She got the first series of her shots and her ears are getting better. The vet said to use the medicine Leah sent us twice a week, not every day. This should work fine even though she’s not the recommended 12 weeks old. He estimates her to be 8-10 weeks old and after standing on the scale with her we found out she weighs 2 pounds!

We got Mismo’s health certificate and back in the dingy to the mother ship to get ready to sail. Yeah. Sue went ashore to get 10 more gallons of water and other necessaries - bread, butter, eggs. Scott stayed onboard to ready the boat. He also planned to scrape a bit more of the hull but when we saw a sucker fish sucking on the side of our boat at the water line (this was a good thing) we also saw a huge fish - maybe barracuda - below hovering (this was a bad thing). So we planned instead to scrape once we arrived at our new anchorage. We weighed anchor around noon and headed out to Culebrita (18 19 . 00 N 65 14 . 00 W) - a small island just east of Culebra. Just as we were heading out we saw a dolphin swimming off Bellagio’s bow. First time we saw so much wildlife in this harbor.

Culebrita would be a short 7 mile sail but enough to feel like we were on the move once again. So nice to feel the water move under the keel and with the sails full. Well mostly full. It got a little flukey when passing between two hills. We noticed a few mooring balls on the south side of Culebrita and thought these could be an option if we didn’t like the swells in the northern anchorage.

We maneuvered our way between the shoals and into the anchorage. Only one boat at anchor here - a huge power boat that left mid-afternoon. We took a mooring ball and decided that the swell coming in wasn’t too bad so planned to stay the night. The mooring was close to shore so we snorkeled our way to the beach then walked to a rocky area to snorkel some more. Breakers there were kind of wild and we could barely get out fins on sitting in the shallow. The waves kept pushing us back to shore. Finally we were able to snorkel out but the waves stirred up the sand and visibility was bad, plus the waves crashing on the rocks wasn’t a place we wanted to hang out anyway.

So after getting sand EVERYWHERE we walked the beach back to the boat and snorkeled on home. Scott saw a ray but I missed him. Back on board we saw many turtles - or was it the same turtle many times. Too bad he wasn’t around when we were in the water. Turtles are a lot like dolphins. As soon as you get your camera they disappear.

It was a nice evening after we rinsed off with our on deck shower bag. Sand was everywhere. And since there was nobody around it was a thorough rinsing. We had a shot of rum and watched the sun set. Scott made pressure cooker stew and we watched an episode of ’24’. The rollers were rocking us a bit but it was tolerable.

At 1:00 a.m. the wind died and the waves were hitting us directly abeam. Rock and roll. Scott rigged a bridle but with no wind it couldn’t have an effect. Had we thought of it earlier we would have put a stern anchor out. Oh well, it’s only one night. One night with little sleep. But the stars were spectacular and the sound of the surf soothing. Who needs sleep?!?

Thursday, January 10, 2008
Culebrita to St. Thomas

Okay. The next time one of us says it won’t be so bad at a rolly anchorage, don’t listen. Though beautiful we couldn’t wait to get out of there. St. Thomas here we come.

We left around 7:30 and were able to sail most of the 15 miles to the next island. Sweet. We found a mooring ball at Druif (Honeymoon) Bay (18 19 . 00 N 64 57 . 5 W) on Water Island just south of Charlotte Amalie - the big town/harbor in St. Thomas. It was about 10:30. Sue made eggs and hash, and after brunch we both took a long nap. This anchorage was much calmer. Although much busier. Just to the north moored at Little Krum Bay was the world reknown cruise ship Queen Mary 2. The size of a floating island. The West Gregerie Channel just off our bay had tugs, ferries, and dingyies of all kinds cruising on by. Wonder if the Queen comes out this way too?

Enee in the middle-back of photo at Honeymoon Beach

But wait.....what’s that on shore.....that little trailer thing....look!....someone just got a Heineken! Time to launch the dingy. It’s cervaza time. As we dingy ashore we notice this pirate ship looking sail boat moored nearby. What are all those people doing swimming not in the swim area? What is this a trialthelon? No. Just swimming back to the pirate ship. Now that is a Head Boat!

As we get ashore we discover that this little beach bar is a boat trailer with a plywood hut instead of a boat on it. In other words - a bar. We sat under the Martha Stewart designed canopy which covered the trailer hitch that had a counter built off the hut. In other words - the sitting part of the bar. We each had a beer and looked at Enee at anchor among the other boats - all sailboats or catamarans.

Two locals were already at the Martha Stewart bar. One guy lives on his catamaran in the bay and works for the Tropical shipping company. The other guy is a tug captain. They both had interesting stories. The tug captain said his favorite tug is the Commodore - a riveted classic built in 1919 changed to diesel engine in 1956. It holds 60,000 gallons of fuel although the day tanks only hold 7,000. The engines take up the rest of the space. Huge. We mentioned seeing he Queen Mary 2 in the harbor. They said that ship is the biggest cruise liner in the world although it has fewer cabins for passengers than most. The cabins however are large and luxurious. We decided we would take a cruise across the Atlantic on the Queen Mary 2 if invited.

After just one more - a few times we headed back to the boat to watch the sun set and give Mismo some topsides time. Then what did we hear but the Queen Mary 2 announcing she was leaving port. Surely she wouldn’t come through this channel. It’s too small. Ahhhhh...apparently not. We almost had to back up our boat to get her in the picture. Impressive.

Scott made tuna casserole in the pressure cooker and shortly after dinner it was time to read in bed. The channel traffic calmed way down once the sun went down although a few dingyies still made their way to the trailer bar on the beach.

Friday, January 11, 2008
Honeymoon Bay to Christmas Cove (18 18 . 5 N 65 50 . 0 W)

So, where to today? Sounds like the weather will stay good through the weekend so why not a short hop (8 miles) to Christmas Cove. We heard about this anchorage from our sailing friends Joe and Becky on Half Moon so we didn’t want to miss it.

We headed out about 7:30 planning to arrive in time for brunch again. We raised the main then released the mooring and were off. Light wind - as in none - at first. Once around the southern point of Water Island the breeze picked up to about 10-12 knots (guessing). If we headed directly to Christmas Cove (96 degrees) the winds would be right in our face. Instead we sailed a course that gave us about 3.5 to 4 knots (130 degrees). I mean we were only going 8 miles. Why hurry? We tacked a few times to reach the anchorage. It was around 11:00 a.m. when we put the hook down. Time for ham and cheese omelet. Scott outdid himself.

As we’re eating we notice that Enee is facing a direction different from every other boat. And our lat/long is changing. Must be dragging. Surely there’s time to finish the omelet. Dragging means dragging not speeding. Even Sue got most of her omelet down before starting the engine while Scott pulled up the anchor - literally. The windless is acting up again. Must be missing it’s one magnet.

We moved to the northern anchorage area and found some good sand to stick in. Scott dove to check and for sure we’re in this time. He also scraped the hull a bit while he was in the water.

We planned to snorkel here as much advertised by Joe and Becky. The rain however changed that plan. We did capture some fresh water in our tanks and a 5 gallon bucket full from our bimini. Good water for clothes washing. There was another 5 gallons in the dingy that we drained into a bucket. A little dirty but fresh and good for something. One thing about this anchorage - it is rolly when the fast ferry boats and power yachts come by. Our fresh 5 gallons was sitting too high in the cockpit and tumbled over giving the deck a good rinsing. Oh well. Washing will happen another day.

Mismo 'catching' rain.

It finally stopped raining and the sun peeked out. We heard a dingy motor and a dad with his 2 kids stops by to say that our boat was at the end of a rainbow and where’s the pot of gold? We already spent it - sorry.

Tomorrow we plan to sail to an anchorage on the south end of St. John.

Saturday, January 12, 2008
Christmas Cove, St. Thomas to Little Lamshore Bay, St. John

Another day. Another island. What a life.

We’re really getting into these morning sails. It’s a great way to start the day. Again, only an 8 mile run but we’re determined to sail it. Also again we see several boats on motor apparently making a bee-line to their destination. It’s true that at this hour (weighed anchor at 7:30 a.m. again) there is no wind. Even as we round the point from our anchorage the breeze is very light. That’s okay. The main is already up as we raised her at anchor. Let’s see what we can do with the jenny out as well.

Hmmmm. A slow boat to china. Going only 2 knots and heading more south that east. The tell tales are limp.

But wait for it. The wind will come. We can see it on the water out there. Mismo - want to see the cat paws? The sails start to fill and we reach 4.1 knots with a much better heading. Now the tell tales are flying and the sails are full.

We tacked a few times then headed into the anchorage at Little Lamshore. Gorgeous! And the snorkeling was fantastic.

Sunday, January 13, 2008
Lamshore Bay to Coral Bay, St. John

Another morning - another good sail. We even put a reef in the main today since the winds built up. We even sailed over 6 knots since our bottom is constantly moving. Nice.
As we entered the anchorage a dingy came by to greet us. It’s Bob the author we met in Luperon. He lives here. How nice. Once anchored and settled in - after eating brunch and a little nap - Bob stopped over with a few cold Presidente’s to share. How really nice. Half Moon is also here and we’ll all get together for sundowners later today.

Not sure if we’ll stay another day here or move on to BVI tomorrow. Time will tell.