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.