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s/v Skylark
It's Always An Adventure
Green Shutters
Elizabeth
02/08/2013, USVI Saint Thomas Charlotte Amalie

We left this afternoon for Caneel Bay in St. John. The morning was spent taking the dinghy here, there and everywhere to fill our propane tank, attend an appointment with Customs to enroll in their supposedly easy automatic check-in system (I am quickly losing faith in all things "easy" or "automatic") and getting the boat ready for a sail. Within 15 minutes after raising the mainsail just outside of the anchorage, we remembered a teeny tiny detail which one would think we would never have forgotten in the first place. When sailing from St. John to St. Thomas with the kids, Ed discovered a rip in one of the mainsail's seams. Did we think to repair it that whole time we sat in Charlotte Amalie Harbour? No, like I said, we didn't even remember it needed tending to. We were distracted with company and then Ed didn't review his calendar before we left. Our plan was to meet friends in Culebra which is in the Spanish Virgins, leaving either tomorrow or the next day. Instead, we agreed to meet other friends, Ellen and Rob on s/v Miclo III in Caneel before heading over to Culebra. Now I'm not sure what we'll do with the weather window we have and the sail needing our attention. We'll sew it ourselves and hopefully it will hold in strong winds, but it requires a full day of sewing. I know I'm repeating myself here, but it's always something...

02/12/2013 | Terri
What a beautiful picture. So happy you have this camera that brings us all so much joy.
Another View From The Top
Elizabeth
02/06/2013, USVI Saint Thomas Charlotte Amalie

A view of St. Thomas harbour. Ed and I chartered out of here on our very first bareboat sailing trip, which for you non-sailors means we were the captain and crew on a chartered boat. The name of the boat was Footloose, a 31' Pearson from Avery's Boatyard. No steering wheel, only a tiller. And no refrigeration, just an icebox. No hot water either, but what did we care? It was all we could afford at the time and we had a wonderful trip. We returned a couple of years later for our honeymoon and got a more upscale boat from Sunsail Charters out of the BVI, a Beneteau 33' which also had tiller steering. Those were the days without GPS or electronic navigational systems. One night we had to hustle to our next anchorage because we were out after dusk, which was a big no-no with the charter companies. In order to navigate our way there, we used saltine crackers to measure the miles on the chart. We still laugh about that.

View from the Top
Elizabeth
02/06/2013, USVI Saint Thomas Charlotte Amalie

On top of the stairs, close to "Blackbeard's Castle", we captured this view of the harbour where Skylark is at anchor. Lots of cruise ships coming and going, which is sort of interesting. And sea planes landing, taking off and landing again. Lots of chatter on the VHF radio and several of our friends close by. It's actually a very nice place.

Pirate Woman
Elizabeth
02/06/2013, USVI Saint Thomas Charlotte Amalie

I can't help feeling uneasy about the glorification of all things pirates here on St. Thomas and elsewhere in the Virgins. With the real pirates in Somalia who have made it perilous for cruisers to sail around the world going the traditional routes via the Indian Ocean and close to East Africa, I don't find these things very entertaining or funny. I feel the same way when I hear jokes about violence in general--I just can't find the humor or entertainment value in it. This statue was startling, with her angry expression and bare breast exposed. But even without the Somalia pirates, I don't care much for the whole pirate thing. While the kids poked around at a touristy type pirate shop a few days ago, I browsed through the paraphenalia and was sad to see a storybook written for young children about the pirate's "exciting" escapades, such as killing the townspeople, pillaging, burning, stealing, abandoning their own crew on deserted islands, and making captains of captive ships walk the planks tied and blindfolded. What kind of parents want to give their children these nightmares? Isn't the boogyman enough? Ok, so I really loved Peter Pan and come to think of it, Captain Hook was one of my favorite characters. And no, I don't think I ever had nightmares about him. But wasn't he kind of lovable? He was, wasn't he? Ed says pirates were mostly just persecuted mariners who had to survive and then they were hired by others to do the dirty work. But haven't we come a long way from that kind of pirate? Maybe I need to lighten up. Still, don't you think this is sort of a chilling statue? What's to like about this gal?

Steps
Elizabeth
02/06/2013, USVI Saint Thomas Charlotte Amalie

Steps leading up to Blackbeard's Castle, which turned out to be a watch tower built by the Danish troops. When I asked the guard about it, he seemed surprised I would even ask if it was connected in any way to a pirate since "pirates didn't build towers". Yes, I know, I said, which is precisely why I was asking! Why would a pirate build such a structure? And why does the sign say, "Blackbeard's Castle"? He didn't know. I figured I didn't care all that much anyway and we continued on our way. Another guard who was sweeping the steps wanted us to stop taking photos if we weren't paying for the tour, even though the tour was at the top of the hill and there were hotels all along these steps, encouraging tourists to drop by for a drink, meal or look-see. Mostly the guard wanted to make certain we didn't take a photo of him (we weren't going to) and go on sweeping in peace. We continued on our way.

Same Hummingbird
Elizabeth
02/06/2013, USVI Saint Thomas Charlotte Amalie

I would love to have taken better close up shots of this beauty, but I'm not quick enough with the settings on the camera. I will say, however, that I'm very pleased with the camera in general and look forward to learning more about it when I have time to play a little more with the settings. Since the kids left, we've been back to the grind with projects, provisioning, cleaning, sorting, and correspondence. We were able to find some very fast Internet here in Charlotte Amalie and that's been helpful as we had business to address, like taxes, ordering dog food, and other such things-to-do-while-living-in-paradise tasks.

Hummingbird
Elizabeth
02/06/2013, USVI Saint Thomas Charlotte Amalie

After a couple of days when Luna was not given a "proper" walk, Ed and I had mercy on her and took her exploring this morning. We naturally enjoyed the time as much as she did. Although we found only a fraction of the discarded chicken bones Luna found, we did come across this gorgeous hummingbird with a florescent green head.

Dinner Out In Charlotte Amalie
Elizabeth (photo by David s/v Persephone)
02/04/2013, USVI Saint Thomas Charlotte Amalie

We had one dinner out the entire time the kids were visiting. We invited David on s/v Persephone to join us and had a fine time. Lots of fun.

02/05/2013 | Jan
All look so great! Sounds like you had a great time. Weather cooperated this time?!

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