Spanish and USVI’s


Friday, April 18
Good Friday

After spending 4 lovely days at Palmas Del Mar with Victoria and Nick, Phil’s daughter and husband, we left a Thursday for Culebra, an island in the Spanish Virgin Islands. We had to leave a day early due coming high winds so said goodbye leaving at 11am. Good thing we did leave early as the promised winds did arrive on Friday, April 11. We stayed on the boat all day then went in to the Cinema Culebra (www.cineculebra.com) to watch the 2nd Hunger Games Movie. Boy what a deal that place is! $3/person plus $1 for a bag of popcorn. Phil liked it and I was so so about it because of it’s dark theme. But hey! We got off the boat! Saturday, April 12 we dinghied over and did laundry which wasn’t a huge job as we had some washed and folded for us at Walmart in Humacoa, PR as there aren’t any laundromats there.

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20140418-190015.jpg The above photos show the laundromat in an apartment complex and taking them back to the dinghy.

Sunday, April 13 Phil dived to clean the water line and found that the bottom was covered with barnacles! We (meaning Phil) last dived when we were Samana, DR about 5 weeks ago (March 11) and it was fine. Maybe they started growing when we were Palmas Del Mar, PR as the Pelicans were diving every day for fish in the marina. Must be rich water to have all the birds that we saw there! Phil had put 3 coats of Trinidad SR bottom paint before we left and up to now it worked well. The plan is for Phil to get the barnacles off at our next anchorage with clearer water.

Monday, April 14 after listening to Chris Parker, we made a quick decision that we had to leave immediately for St. Thomas 28nm away, which is upwind from where we were. They were predicted to be in the low teens for today and tomorrow, and we wanted to get to a good anchorage, defined as one that wasn’t too rolly. We need to start heading east! Our speedo that tells how fast the boat is moving and also tells us how far we’ve gone is not working AGAIN. Also without it working, we get the wind as apparent wind instead of the true wind we are use to using. We left at 815am and arrived in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, USVI by 115pm. Not bad. While we were there we dinghied over to SV Little Wing and chatted for a little while. We buddy boated with them when we had left Georgetown, Bahamas on our trip to the Turks and Caicos.

Tuesday, April 15 we went to the Pueblo Grocery store a short dinghy ride and walk from Yacht Haven Marina. Then left for St. Johns Island where we planned to stay for the higher winds predicted to increase Wednesday night into Thursday. We raised anchor at 930am and started sailing at 1055am in 10-12 kt winds. Our friends were in Maho Bay which looked very protected and hopefully non rolly so it sounded good to us. We again sailed upwind, but with the wind angle about 40 degrees, we were actually able to sail.

So we have been here at Maho Bay without internet until we moved over to Francis Bay this morning after Phil talked to SV Sailicious and found out that on this side of the mooring field there is free WiFi using a booster. Our friends were here just for the night and I have been in a funk because we haven’t been meeting people and socializing since we entered Puerto Rico. I am a people person and don’t do well when not being around people.

We have been reading, knitting, taking a couple walks on the beach. I had also come down with a nasty painful boil on my lower abd which is improving now, thankfully, without me having to see a doctor.

Wednesday, April 16 we walked the Francis Bay Trail, which is a raised wooden path.

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20140418-195221.jpg we were surprised when we saw a deer in the woods not too far from the road to the beach and it didn’t run away, so I was able to get some good photos.
Phil did work on getting barnacles off but still has more to get off behind the keel, the middle of the bottom, and the keel he still needs to get. Getting the rest of this is really hard being so far under water snorkeling. We’re going to try to find a diver to do the rest.

Thursday, April 17 was Rachel’s 26th birthday. Happy Birthday! On the boat was not fun as it rained on and off most of the day. Finally when I couldn’t take the boredom any longer, Phil and I went for a walk on the beach. Even with all the rain, there were still plenty of people on the beach and snorkeling.

Today, Friday April 18 I have felt a little better. We moved to get internet, I heard from Canadian friend from Sv Dover Mists. Since the rain was gone, we decided to go for a walk to sugar plantation ruins. At the beach we met a couple from upstate New York here in vacation with their 14 yo son. He helped us pull our dinghy up on the sand and then we started chatting. We had a very nice chat then started walking to the ruins which are interesting as the following photos show. A along the way we met Ed on the boat moored in front of us and had a nice chat with him too. It was a good walk and not too strenuous. Along the way we saw kite boarders in the bay and a beautiful view looking to the BVI’s. Surprisingly, there we a lot of boat out sailing with reefed main sails if going upwind and small headsails only when sailing downwind. We also saw another deer when we got close to Francis Bay.

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This is a termite mound. They are all over in the mangroves and woods.

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They cut coral for the corner stones. They lasted a long time.

20140418-201638.jpg The path down the hill from the plantation.

We also received an email today from Jeff and Janet from Truant III, talked for 30 min on the SSB and agreed to meet up at Jost Van Dyke Island probably on Sunday. All has helped to lift my mood. Yeah!!

Tomorrow we are going to Soper’s Hole on Tortola, BVI about 3 nm away to check into the BVI’s and take a taxi to Digicel to get SIM cards to hopefully get more reliable cell internet. They are the Caribbean cell phone provider and I’m hoping once we have their service, we’ll be able to use it most places down the island chain. The wind is still to be in the low 20’s gusting to the upper 20’s, but the waves are not high from all the islands around keeping the fetch down and it’s close. I’m hoping the the store will be open even if it is Easter Weekend and then we’ll either pay for a mooring ball or if we have enough time sail the 4nm to Jost Van Dyke. Phil really wants to go to Focys (pronounced foxies) as he tells me it’s Cptn Dave’s favorite place to go.

Unfortunately we can’t stay long in the BVI’s as the next weather window looks to be Wednesday or Thursday to cross the Anaganda passage, about 74 nm from Virgin Gorda to St. Martin and the last of the upwind passages (I hope). We have decided to get to Trinidad mid June to have the boat put on the hard while we fly home for 4 months to return mid October to start our way back. We need to take advantage of every good weather window, especially for the longer passages to make it down with time to spare.

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