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.


Anonymous said...

Great to read your posting. Missed reading about your adventures. If you go to BVI make sure to really get out and see. You can wade with the dolphins in the tourist attraction. It is loads of fun. There is alot to see if you get out and roam about. Beautiful.
Mismo is as beautfiful as ever. You all take care. Please keep us updated. I am now an official fan of Mismo and the adventures of his MOM & DAD!


Anonymous said...

I am sure (for sure we had to and did) you have to check back into the USVI's from PR/Culebra you say nothing about that?

Also i cant believe you sailed past (never stopping at)all the lovely anchorages on the north side of St John Sadly i am reading this in 2010 so cant encourage you to visit a few anchorages.