40th Honeymoon Cruise
British and US Virgin Islands
We departed Nanny Cay on New Years Eve, and sailed most of the way to North Sound, Virgin Gorda. The wind was on the nose, so we ended up motoring the last couple of miles. We dropped our anchor off Prickly Pear Island and enjoyed ourselves there for a couple of days, then for a change of scenery, moved Lady over near Saba Rock, and had one very enjoyable evening celebrating not just our anniversary, but also that of Eileen and Mark from Wavelength, and Tom and Kirsten L'Orient also joined us. After another couple of days we moved again to Drake's Anchorage off Moskito Island, where Lynne and Paul from Beaudacious, another C470, joined us. Leverick Bay Resort provided us with a good spot to do laundry and they also had a store there where we could purchase some additional provisions.
We moved on to Christmas Cove, Saint James Island, where we lassoed a mooring buoy, the only one vacant, obviously because the tether was missing. The moorings seemed to be free, so one can't complain.
Both boats then moved on to Great Bay, where we went ashore to visit Larry and Wendy Cohen, owners of Comfortably Numb, another C470 (presently in Chesapeake Bay). Larry and Wendy made us most welcome in their beautiful beach-side home, Casa Bougainvilla.
The following day they were kind enough to lend us their car, so that we could all go provisioning. Cost-U-Less, Home Depot, Radio Shack, Chandlers, Pueblo super-market were all pleased to take our money.
On Thursday (Jan 12), we picked up Larry and Wendy from the shore, and they joined Lady for the voyage down the coast to Water Island, where we anchored at Honeymoon Beach, and went to pick up other friends of the Cohens who were in port on a cruise ship. We had a fun lunch and afternoon together, and a peaceful night at anchor.
Friday we started early for the voyage to Saint Croix. The wind was quite strong, and south of east, so we sailed close-hauled most of the way, arriving at the Gallows Bay anchorage of Christiansted at about 1430. We had a lovely dinner together ashore at the Golden Rail restaurant at the St. Croix Marina.
Saturday we rented a car and the six of us used the suggested tour in our cruising guide, visiting the St. Croix Yacht Club, where the members were preparing for a rummage sale, past the 82-foot dish antenna that is part of a world-wide Very Long Baseline Array of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory and out to Point Udall, the easternmost point of the US, where we inspected the Millennium Monument.
We stopped at the St. George Village Botanical Garden, and wandered around the ruins of an old sugar mill admiring the plants, trees and flowers. Lunch was at the Turtles Deli in Frederiksted. We passed through the tropical moist forest that is part of the western end of the island, and admired the golf course at Carambola. It looked like there were quite a few derelict boats in the Salt River part of St. Croix. It was a great tour, and Charlie did a super job driving on the left side of the road. (American cars, in America, driving on the wrong side, go figure!).
Dinner that night found us all at Angry Nates, watching a professional football game that Paul and Lynne were particularly pleased that the San Francisco team won.
Paul and Lynne's guests arrived, and we had fun meeting them, while we entertained Richard Larkum, grandson of Tulsa friends Mary Ann and Bob Swain. Richard is a sailor and professional carpenter, living on St Croix with his wife, Jen and it was great fun to get to know a "local".
The wind had turned to more north of east, and the anchorage was getting quite bouncy, so we decided to save snorkeling off Buck Island for another visit, and headed back to St. Thomas for a more sheltered anchorage, which we found back at Christmas Cove, Saint James Island.
More good snorkeling at Waterlemon Cay in Leinster Bay, then on around to the south of Saint John to Little Lameshure Bay for a couple of nights. The moorings are all provided by the National Park Service, who prohibit anchoring (and nudity) in the National Park. The $15 per night fee is less than half what we had to pay for a mooring in the BVIs, and for Seniors (that's us), the price is reduced by half.
For Charlie's 65th birthday, we met up again with Beaudacious and Plane to Sea. We all took moorings at Caneel Bay, and went in to Woody's in Cruz Bay for Happy Hour ($1 beers, $1 well drinks), then on to Rhumb Lines for dinner. Larry and Wendy took the ferry from St Thomas to join us, so it was a lovely celebration. We parted company with them after that. Beaudacious and Plane to Sea were headed to Francis Bay, and Lady headed to Crown Bay Marina for one night for boat washing, fuel, water, provisions, marine supplies and laundry.
We planned on leaving on Monday, but after the engine was warmed up and all instruments turned on, the electronic chart plotter was on, but not working properly. Charlie had got it quite wet in his enthusiastic washing of the cockpit. Herman, a RayMarine specialist came out to the boat and suggested that we leave it on overnight to try to dry it out, and also researched upgrading the software for the unit. By Tuesday noon everything was working OK so after got a pedicure, we departed Crown Bay, motoring around the corner to Lindberg Bay. We spent the night there, as we wanted to find out if this is a good place to pick up visitors arriving by air. We think that we can beach the dinghy, with an easy walk to the airport.
Our plans for the next month are to head to Culebra for a couple of weeks, and then make a passage to St Martin for another fortnight, perhaps stopping back at St John's south shore for an overnight on the way.