Our passage on February 8th from Isla Margarita in Venezuela to St. Thomas in the US Virgins took a total of 74 hours and 475 miles across the Caribbean Sea. The first day and a half at sea was not what we had expected nor was the weather predicted to be bad. It started off ok, with 5 foot seas and the wind about 90 degrees off. It was a nice beam reach and we were cruising along at 7 knots. But as we sailed further north, we headed into a dense cloud bank that had no hope of blue sky anywhere. The cloud bank did not contain any rain or squalls but it did contain a whole lot of wind. For about 9 hours we had winds 18 to 23 knots. That doesn't seem like much but the wind whipped up the seas to a good 8 feet and some were probably closer to 10. The waves were also very close together making for a very uncomfortable ride. The boat handled the conditions well, but we could not use the autopilot due to the steep waves and the stress it was putting on the motor. Shane manually steered the boat for the majority of the time riding the waves as best he could to make the ride less lumpy. By late in the day things were beginning to settle down. We could see some breaks in the clouds and we were crossing our fingers that when nightfall came it would stay quiet and no more wind or squalls would pop up. Well, we got lucky and the remainder of the trip was unbelievably calm! We lost most of the wind and the seas died down to a nice little 4-foot swell. The stars came out and most of the clouds moved off to the west. It is amazing how much a little extra wind can make a passage miserable. Anyway, now it was so calm we had to turn the motor on to make some tracks. It was such a good passage the remainder of the way, we did boat projects underway! We pulled into Charlotte Amalie Harbor in St. Thomas 3 days later around noon.
Family Onboard In The British Virgin Islands
For the next 3 weeks we played in the US and British Virgin Islands. The scuba diving was excellent and we dove the Wreck of the Rhone and the Invisibles among other locations. We spent 3 days with sailing friends Larry and Diane from Connecticut who were taking a land vacation on Jost Van Dyke. We took them out for a day sail and spent a lot of time catching up. We also had a blast with Sara's sister Susie and husband Brian who came on a two week charter vacation in the BVI. We met up with them several different times in different anchorages, sailed out to Anegada together and snorkeled off Cow Wreck Beach and also dined out in Cane Garden Bay, Saba Rock and had lobster at the Anegada Reef Hotel.
Sailing In The BVI
Now, we are happy to report that we are in St. Martin in the Leeward Islands. We made the 80 mile overnight passage from Virgin Gorda in the BVI this past Monday evening with about 9 other boats. The passage was a smooth one with a nice, easy long 5 foot swell and 13 knots of wind. It was an absolute perfect passage! But the weather since we arrived has turned for the worse and it has been very rainy, windy and cold (73 degrees) for the past 3 days. We will be here in St. Martin for about a week and then head to the island of Anquilla where we have tickets to see Jimmy Buffet in concert out on the dunes.
Cold & Rainy In St. Maarten