03/12/2009, Leeward Islands
We have been in St Barths for a week now and just signed up for another week. We left the BVI after going back and forth about the weather. We had decided to scrap our trip and wait for another weather window to cross the Annegada Channel. Its about 80 miles and the channel can be very rough at times. Kind of like crossing the Gulf Stream because are always right into the wind and waves which can build very quickly.
Suddenly I said to Linda, let's go and if it's too rough we can turn back to the BVI. AS you can see we went all the way across in only 6 to 8 foot waves in about 21 hours. It wasn't a bad ride but slow because the wind was too strong and we had to make some long tacks away from the wind to get here.
St. Barts is our favorite place and we are happy to relax here. We are anchored right off Shell Beach which I think is the place Linda wants to be buried. The shells are piled a foot thick on the beach and you can find Linda searching through them for hours. She looks like a kid in a sand box. The boat is getting too heavy from all the shells.
Life is expensive here if you want to eat out every day. I guess that is the same in all the islands. Living on the anchor and eating on the boat is the way to go. We are eating a lot of baguettes (90 cents each). The grocery has fresh bread every day and the prices there aren't too bad except for fresh produce. Meat is very reasonable as is the wine.
There is not one place on this island to get an air tank filled for diving. You are not allowed to dive with out a local dive master with you. I wanted to use mine to clean the bottom of the boat and remove a rope from an engine but they won't fill it. I hope they will in St. Martin.
The water here is so perfectly clear and blue. The water temp is a little bit chilly but we are still enjoying it. 78 degrees. The days are very warm and the wind is always blowing. Not bad for winter.
02/07/2009, St Thomas
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Thanks. By the way it's 82 degrees, sunny and breezy today.
01/20/2009, St. Thomas USVI
St Thomas, USVI
Well, we finally made it to the Virgin Islands. It took us two months through the thorny path. About 4 years ago I was talking with a friend we had met here in St. Thomas who said he would rather ship his boat then take the trip we just made. He said that you pay more to fix your boat after getting here then its worth. I understand why.
Now that I've done all my whining then let me say I'm glad we are here and I'm glad I got to see the sights along the way. The Bahamas was not what I had expected. Beautiful water but the land is not much to look at. The weather was so whipped up the whole time we were there that we didn't have much interest in being in the water. Seemed like every other day a new cold front was rolling off the east coast. I'm sure anyone who is up north and reading this has little sympathy because the temps were about 78 every day but very windy and rough seas.
I really liked the Dominican Republic. It's such a mountainous country and the views are beautiful. We spent 3 weeks waiting for the weather to change in Luperon on the North shore pretty far west and not too far from the Haiti border. The people we met and dealt with there were so nice. Even through they speak very little English and I speak about twenty words of Spanish we got along just fine. Luperon is a true third world town in a third world country. The people live in tiny homes lined up and down the streets. They spend most of the time out doors socializing and doing the daily chores. The unemployment rate there has got to be huge. The harbor we stayed in was beautiful but at the same time the water was filthy. You couldn't swim or make water, so a daily routine was to go and carry bottled water from shore. The city water was not drinkable so we bought 5 gallons at a time and hauled then to the boat.
There is public transportation there in several forms. Taxi, Bus and Moto Concho. The buses are small cars that they pack 6 into and you purchase a seat and when it's full you move on. There are tons of Moto Conchos (motor cycles) all over the place and you just hop on one and negotiate a price and away you go. Oh, don't forget to tell the Moto Concho driver to go slow. There roads are bumpy and they pot holes are like swimming pools.
We finally got a weather window and went the 320 miles non stop to Ponce Puerto Rico. We had the best weather yet for our trip. We spent New Years Eve in the Mona Passage and could see the fire works all along the Dominican shore which was about 30 miles away. Ponce was a huge step up from Luperon. All the shopping you could get. It was a great place to re-provision. In Luperon we had to taxi about 1 ½ hours to get to a grocery store with anything in it. Back in the states. I loved it and wanted to get out of it at the same time. Puerto Rico is like walking down the streets of Miami. Because we had to find a part for our generator we rented a care and with 3 other cruising friends we traveled 1 /2 to San Juan and further around the island. We stopped in Old San Juan for lunch. What a neat old city. Then on the way home we took the mountainous trip. The mountains in the interior are stunning. We wound our way through the roads with tons of huge bamboo hanging over the roads. The bamboo stalks were like nothing I had ever seen. Easily some of them were 6 to 8 inches in diameter.
After Ponce we hopped along the coast in the early morning winds. It was still very rough but manageable. We stayed a night along an old fishing village and then a night in a brand new mega yacht center in Puerto Del Mar. Wow from the rough to the high class. What differences you see when you travel. We left Puerto Del Mar and sailed to Viequez for an over night stop. The first harbor we pulled into the military contacted us and told us to get out immediately. Viequez was used by the navy for years for bombing practice and now they are working on removing the unexploded bombs. That is why we were told to leave so we moved about 3 miles to Ensenada Honda. A large anchorage out in the middle of now where and we were the only boat there.
The next morning we headed out for a 6 hour sail that was rough as hell but we made it and here we are. Now it's time to relax, get some stuff fixed and just slow down. We will be in the US and British Virgins until the end of Feb.
Make sure you look at the photo galleries because Linda has been doing a good job of updating them. Don't forget to write.......