A GREAT visit...!
23 December 2011
A great visit..
Sorry for the delay in posting, but we were caught up in a great visit with dear friends... We had an exceptional week, visiting St. John and brand new anchorages for all of us. We left Crown Bay on Sunday, Dec 18th and headed up to Leinster Bay, Water Lemon Key on the North end of St. John. From here you can see Joost Van Dyke, Tortola and all the smaller out islands on that end. Waterlemon is a lovely little place, with nice snorkeling, however the Christmas Winds are up, and the outer edge of the key was a little rough. They have mooring balls here, and most everywhere, since the bulk of the island is a National Park for a mere $15 a night. The pay stations are located on a small float, located in the bay, so the Backseaters kayaked over and took care of the necessary. We stayed in Leinster two days, the second day we went to shore and took a fabulous hike up and into the park, across a ridge and far enough to see Coral Bay on the south side. Along the way we were able to see some ruins, one a terrific archway left from some building, another the foundation of a huge mansion on the hilltop, called Windy point. We would never have found the mansion, or known what it was without the help of a family of hikers who gave us some tips as we met them on the path. They were regular St. John vacationers, and were happy to give us a few tips along the way. We originally planned to hike all the way to Coral Bay, as the path said 2 miles or so... well, it may have been 2 miles...but they were island miles which meant up, down, up, up, down, etc and by the time we got to the crest and headed down...down looked like a LOOOOONG way, and the fact of climbing back UP it on the return trip daunted most of us (I think the vote was 3 to one!) so we turned and headed back. We took another short, flat path around to see the ruins of the Annandale Sugar Mill Plantation which is a wonderfully well preserved and partially restored site.
Tuesday, Dec 20th we headed over to Maho Bay, and took a can there...a pretty site, but with the winds picking up the snorkeling was a little cloudy and hard to see. In the afternoon, the Park Ranger stopped by to advise that the wind forecasts were looking grim, and the seas forecasted in the bay were to be 10-15 feet. As you can imagine, this was disconcerting to us, however his recommendation that we move to the south side of the island came a little late in the day for us. Dilemma....the Backseaters are out snorkeling...there are still a few cans available in the more protected portion of the bay, but boats are headed in to snatch them...stay or go, stay or go...well - we go, find a better (we hope) can for the night, then jump in the dingy to go search for our intrepid dive team who we hope are still walking the beach and none the wiser to our move.... However, that was not to be...unbeknownst to us they saw us move the boat as they were swimming back and so continued to swim halfway across the bay to catch up with us. After hauling them in the dingy we head back to the boat where we fortunately can laugh about the crazy events of the day...
Wednesday, Dec 21 - we had a bumpy, but fine night, and as we look at our original mooring we would have been fine overnight. Hmm - nothing like a warning from a Park Ranger to make you rethink your decisions. However, all was well, and we got a great story out it too. And even though now the Backseaters will not leave the boat without either Jim or I, they are still talking about next time, so our friendship is intact! Today we headed over to St. James Island, and a small bay called Christmas Cove. The snorkeling here was great, and we saw stingrays and sea turtles, porcupine fish, squid and several other very interesting and uncommon sea critters. The water was clear and except in one area, had a very limited current, so the snorkeling was quite enjoyable here. Late in the afternoon, we discovered another secret about Christmas Cove...It is where Santa keeps his reindeer! One wandered down to the rocky beach late in the day to say hello to the boaters, and watch the sunset with us.
Thursday afternoon, we headed back into Charlotte Amalie Waterfront to anchor for the night as Friday was departure day for our friends. The winds are STILL blowing, so the bay is a little rocky with that and boat traffic, as usual but we decide to go to town for dinner. Since the Backseaters were familiar with our old (smaller, and very wet) dingy I made a point of telling them that with our new (bigger and much improved) dingy we don't get wet going to shore.... Ummmm, usually! With the chop in the harbor we hadn't even let loose from the mother ship when we were taking some spray....oops! Well, it still wasn't as bad as it would have been! We tied up to our friends on Ocean Jedi, and Frank and Denise joined us for supper. We stopped at the Fat Turtle at Yacht Haven and had a drink and ordered dinner when Pop! the whole island went dark! After a few moments some lights popped on in certain locations as back up generators kicked in, but not many and the only light that now illuminates the restaurant comes from a few flashlights that the servers have and the cruise ship still in port... After 25 minutes, we determined that our dinner was not going to happen here, so we went back to OJ where Denise had a crock pot going with one of her charter suppers which she generously shared with us. Delicious!
Friday Dec 23rd...Sad day! Departure day and we see the Backseaters off to the Taxi at the Ferry dock. A few hours later we head to shore again to meet up with Bob & Keri, and their family who arrived this morning on one of the cruise ships. We ended up having a late lunch with them then headed back to the boat where we waved them off and out of the harbor!