Saturday, April 13, 2013
Busy, Busy the past few days with all the necessary boat chores that we can do BEFORE we haul out. Friday Morning the riggers showed up with two Big packages containing our new Roller Furling for our Jib. The old unit was beyond repair, and replacement pieces actually cost more than a brand new unit, the decision was an easy one. It took two riggers 5 hours to finish the job. First, they removed the existing Jib, and forestay (the wire that hooks it to the mast), and layed it on the dock. Then they discovered that they could not simply replace the unit, rather they had to reconfigure the forestay to accept the new unit. Once that was finally done, (with two trip back to the shop) they could build the new unit over the forestay, then haul the whole thing back up and reattach it to the mast, re-tension it, secure all the pieces, and put the sail on it, and roll the sucker up. The final job...take the old one apart, and haul off all the pieces. They did a GREAT job. And Jim and I were up this morning at 6 while the wind was down unfurling and furling the sail a few times, just to test it out.
We actually haven't done this for about 3 weeks, because we have had workers on and off, so finally todays the day. We had all these, what looked like Rust spots, scattered all over the deck that did not seem to come off...but the majic cleaner FSR did the trick. All we had to do was wipe it on every surface of the boat....wait 30 minutes, then scrub it off...Course, this mean a lot of hands and knees work...but hey - it got clean. Then we waxed the decks, cleaned off the bimini and windows and once dry, rolled up the side panels. We look and feel very exposed now, but everything is clean and dry and stowed.
Tonight, we are headed over to Heidi's Honeymoon beach on Water Island for a special Crab and Steak dinner with Carrie & Carl. This is our last hurrah, before we leave tomorrow to head for the BVI's and they leave next week for the US...
To all at home...we'll be seeing you soon!
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Well, we are still at the docks in Crown Bay, but it's been a crazy busy 10 days...
Things we did;
Met with a rigger to diagnose our Jib issue...eeww...it's icky. Both top and bottom units are blown, so it's a full replacement, which should be done by Friday the 12th.
Laundry - such fun to have clean towels again.
Had Herman stop by to reinstall our Wind Display...bad news...still not working, so he did some trouble shooting...more to come on that project.
Dinner with Carrie and Carl from LaCreole/Firefly - super fun new friends.
Hung out with OJ over at YHG and celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary...you crazy honeymooners!
Visited with Wind Shepherd a few times, and ate burgers at Shipwrecks
Had Herman up the mast to replace the Wind Mast head unit...SUCCESS...we have wind direction AND speed, again...Perfection...Yippee! Captain will no longer need to stick his head out the window to check wind direction.
And made about a million phone calls to change, adjust and redo plans for our haul-out. The long and short of it is this. Do to news from home we are going to haul Regenero on Tortola on Monday, April 15th... and fly home on April 18th. This is a big departure from our plans to haul in Grenada a month from now, but necessary based on several factors. We took the ferry over to Tortola yesterday to finalize arrangements, which was quite the trip. On paper there are about 6 ferries leaving between 8:00 and 8:45 to Tortola, they even have schedules on the various boards. In reality, there is only one ferry leaving, at 8:30......The Fast ferry to Tortola, which arrived ½ hour early, but left ½ hour late...why? Who knows, just the way it is. Then it looses an engine just outside of the harbor and so the Fast Ferry becomes the Slow Boat, and we arrive roughly an hour and a half late to Tortola. A taxi to the boatyard where we get things organized, then when we get back to the ferry dock at 12:30 we purchase tickets on the 2:30 ferry and plan to have a little lunch...however, a tour boat is leaving RIGHT NOW, back to Charlotte Amalie, and they whisk us onto the boat in minutes...by 1:30, we are back on St. Thomas...Somehow it all works out..I don't know how, it just does!
So here we are stripping sails, running messenger lines, replacing the head hatch that has been broken for two months, scrubbing and waxing the boat, vacuum-bagging pillows, linens and clothes, hauling out the suitcases, changing flights, and hotels, and in general tickin' things off the list so we are ready on Monday. Whew...it's gonna be a whirlwind...but like I said, somehow, it'll all work out.
Saturday, March 30th
What a GREAT time! We are back on the docks in Crown Bay...recovering from an a most excellent week., but I am getting a little ahead of myself, now aren't I?
The Backseater's, Plus 1 arrived in the afternoon last Sunday, and after two trips to the airport, one to collect them, and one to collect a rogue phone that attempted to escape on the jetway, we were free to relax and enjoy the balmy evening. We jammed ourselves into the rental car (which was supposed to be a mini-van!) and drove to the south end of the island for a fabulous seafood dinner at Mim's Bistro, right off the beach. A great start to the week.
Monday Morning, we were off the docks at 7am, and bumping our way east to Sopers Hole, and BVI check-in. As it is the holiday week the place is packed, and so we take a private mooring, and while Jim stands by on the boat, KTM and I head to shore for check-in. Holy Cow...the office is PACKED! But the officials are ready for the crowd, and within the hour, we are cleared and on the way to the Bight!...Turns out KTM is a better dingy driver that I am...and was nominated as dingy captain for the trip. Kind of embarrassing as I (should) do this almost every day!
We decide to take a can at Privateer Bay, and swim over to the Caves. Just as we are arriving the pesky problem with the throttle reasserts itself, and Jim manages to bring us to the mooring perfectly with only one engine, as the port throttle completely disengages. That's the beautiful thing about a catamaran, a second engine to keep us in good shape!
Its only 1pm, so we eat...then time to visit the fishes. We snorkel over to the caves, and enjoy them with minimal crowds. Then KTM & I head over and around Treasure Point. Our usual assortment of fishy characters are out, in addition to a turtle we see on our way back to the boat. This bodes well for the rest of the trip!
OJ and their guests are inside The Bight, and they stop by to say hello, and we all introduce everyone, then later Frank brings over some leftover Wookie Juice for us to savor...Ooooohh! Charles and Leslie are also here with guests, and Charles stops by to say hello as well. Gotta Love this cruising lifestyle!
Tuesday, we are up and out early, and over to the Indians. We have breakfast while we wait for the sun to get a little higher, then it's off to explore. This is an amazing place and we are able to see our pair of Black Durgon, in addition to a pair of Trigger fish, and an eel hiding under a rock that you had to free dive to see. Then an octopus in about 6 feet of water! He was trying to hide from us four big fishes over top of him, and when we wouldn't leave, he scurried along the coral, changing color as he moved to jet black and back again, before hiding under a coral outcropping. VERY COOL! There were lots of thimble Jellyfish here and on our way back to the boat, Megan catches one in her hands for a pretty great photo op!
Then it's up the mainsail, and off the mooring for a sail up the channel to the North Sound. This was a magnificent sail! Once we cleared the Indians, we set the course, trimmed the main, and hauled out the Jib....and had one long, magnificent tack all the way up, with KTM at the helm all the way. The winds were perfect, as were the sea and sky. As we generally have to tack our way up into stiff east winds, this was a huge treat for us. The BVI Yacht Shots photographer was out and about today, and he took some photos, including his signature stop, 20 feet in front of the bow, for a closeup of the foredeck crew...I thought for sure this time, we would hit him, but just in time, he moves off waving and wishing us well. Very fun.
But of course, all good things come to an end, and as we prepare to furl the Jib up near the entrance to the north sound we discover the Jib furler completely jammed. After a few minutes of tugging, then hard pulling, problem solving, planning to completely drop the jib, than a judicious application of PB Blaster to lubricate the furling drum, Cris and I were finally able to furl it up. Whew! Ok, now we have two more mechanical issues to address...um, soon! Our Windex display is still out for repair, so we are feeling the wind the old fashioned way, on our ears. Now the throttle, and the furling system...ahh, the glamorous life of cruising! However, we did just have the most amazing sail!
The girls decided to snorkel here while the guys took a swim. We saw lots of Starfish, a small lobster, and several barracuda, of the smaller variety before maneuvering our way back to the boat, using the moored boats for protection as there is now lot's of boat traffic coming in. Then it's clean up and head to the Michael Beans Show on the beach. Megan has been practicing her conch blowing...KTM too, but, well...guess it takes skills...and Megan was our boat representative for the contest. She made a good showing...but was edged out by another. However, later that evening, there was lots of Conch communications going on boat to boat to boat!
Off to The Baths!
We rented a car and 8:30am it arrived in the parking lot, and we are off to The Baths. After a quick stop at the rental office (the Nicest in the Caribbean!) in Spanish town to fill out the paperwork, we were off, and arrived by 9am at the Top of the Baths, then off to hike it! It is always a wonder to explore this place, and even more so with adventurous types. We clambered up and around into places I had never seen before. The only unfortunate thing was there was a photo shoot going on in Cathedral cave, so we couldn't get any photos in there...oh well, something for next time! We spend several hours here, in Devils Bay, and the Boulders, beyond relaxing, soaking up the sun and solitude. We also ran into Frank and his guests here, and they seemed to be having the best time, just like us.
We hiked back thru the Baths on our way out, and it was heavily backed up with people going both ways. Most people understood the concept of you ten go then us ten go...but others thought they were the only ones there...and couldn't quite understand the whole taking turns part. Megan jumped right up and escorted her party thru...stopping traffic as necessary. Nice to be travelling with a professional!
We stopped at Top of the Baths for a drink and a fresh water swim, then drove all the way back to Leverick Bay to pick up Jim at the boat. Turns out while we were playing he was working and managed to fix the throttle problem. Hurray Captain Jim, now only two issues left....for now! After picking up Jim we headed up to Hog Heaven, overlooking the North Sound, for lunch...and discovered a view that was absolutely INCREDIBLE. The whole North sound laid out before you, with Anegeda visible in the distance...absolutely stunning. After soaking up the view it was back in the car and down the hill and some photo ops. Driving here is on the left, like many of the islands, and I am now very comfortable with it, my passengers...not so much. At one point, an oncoming vehicle zip around a corner in front of us with plenty of room Caribbean style, but very close to everyone else, and the gasps nearly sucked the doors in. We cleared each other with feet to spare..... When we finally dropped the car and returned, unscathed, to the boat there were multiple sighs of relief, and I think even some libations to sooth away the stress.
Thursday, with the winds very light, under 6 knots, we hoist the main and motor sail down the channel to Norman Island. It's hot today, and what little wind there is is dead behind us. When we arrive at Norman Island everyone is ready to get in the water...so down comes the Kayak, and on goes the snorkel gear, and we're off. While KTM & Cris snorkel off, Megan and I elect to Kayak all the way around the Bight. The Puerto Rican Armada is here, and so we are also dodging rafted sport fisher boats all around the bay. Then back to the boat, and on with the snorkel gear. We have amazing luck, and 50 feet from the boat Megan spots a nurse shark swimming right infront of us. WOW! We head out to see if the octopus is there, and swim with the Turtles on the way. We can't find the octopus, but instead discover a lion fish hiding in the coral, and another Shark sleeping under the same coral head. Double wow...what a day! on our way back we spot three squid swimming near the reef...many, many fish, and one short tailed stingray later, it was back to the boat for us. Meanwhile, KTM & Cris had a brilliant swim with the turtles, and several stingrays, all the way along to Treasure Point and back, then hopped in the kayak for a buzz around the bay. Whew....This is why we LOVE Norman Island, and could stay here forever!
Friday....heading back today to Crown Bay, but first...the Backseaters plus one head off for one last swim, and find the turtles and rays as accommodating as ever. Then, the main is up, and we are off the mooring, on our way back to St. Thomas. When we checked into the BVI's this time, we were able to check out at the same time, so we headed along the south side of St John for a change. Since we do not trust the jib, we motor sail along under Main alone, until the storm brewing over St. John sucks what little wind there is out of the air, and we douse the main in preparation for getting wet! While the wind doesn't quite return, the storm also doesn't make it quite this far and we manage to stay dry this time. Shortly we are back on the docks at crown bay, and headed to Customs. As we discovered in the past few weeks, we can file a float plan with our SVRS numbers even when arriving with guests. We still need to go to customs, but they simply look up the float plan under our boat name, and take the passports for our guests. 10 minutes later, clearance is complete, and we are good to go, with no paperwork needed from us. Finally, we have this customs thing down!
After wandering the shops of Charlotte Amalie, we clean up and head out to dinner at the Island View Guest house. It is a B & B right up the hill from Crown Bay, with an incredible view of the bay and south islands. However it is UP the hill, and around a steep turn....I'm very glad to have Yogi driving.
So here it is Saturday, and The Backseaters plus one are packing up and heading back to town. A sad day for us...but we KNOW they'll be back!
But I promise to post our excellent week with the Backseaters...shortly..In the meantime...here is a picture of one of the locals I think you'll enjoy...
Friday, March 22, 2013
Yesterday was a great day! OJ got back to Christmas Cove about 10am, and so we jumped back aboard and helped them finish a few projects, and then hauled the sewing machine over so Denise could make a deck bag for soap and lotion with some of the material she bought. It looks GREAT!
It was Haircut time for us, and when we were all done with chores Jim dropped us off near the point by current cut to go visit the fishes. This is a nice snorkel spot with beautiful ledges. There was at least one wreck here and there was debris visible in many places. With a little super glue, Denise observed, we could build ourselves a boat! Frank dove down to peek under a sheet of metal, and quickly snatched his hand back when he saw the lion fish that had taken up residence underneath. It swam out, and extended all its fins, then when Denise and Frank dove down for a closer look it turned toward them, and made itself look even bigger. This guy wasn't intimidated by us AT ALL. There was also a good size puffer down there, just hanging with the lion fish...an unlikely pair. We had dinner aboard OJ, marinated grilled steak and grilled potatoes - Yum!
Christmas Cove is exceptionally crowded as the Rolex Regatta is going of starting tomorrow, and we are about 1.5 miles from the St. Thomas Yacht Club, who hosts the regatta. There are boats anchored all over, and rafted together. In several cases, a smaller, sleek race boat is rafted to a larger cruising or charter boat, which acts as the mother ship. There were even 4 boats rafted up that were anchored and had and additional stern line tied to the shore. The boats just kept coming and coming. All pretty exciting, however we are glad to be heading out tomorrow, before things get really crazy.
Today, it is back to work. We headed out early and were on the docks in Crown Bay by 9:15 and our cleaning and organizing begins. But just because we can, late this afternoon we shower up and hop the safari bus over to Yacht Haven Grande where we meet Frank and Denise for $5.00 tacos...after all, all work and no play, would be ...well, Work. Backseaters .... We're getting ready for you!
Wednesday, Mar 20th, 2013
After a few last minute stops Tuesday morning, we were off to Culebra, where we picked up a mooring at Malone's beach. There is a wonderful reef here, with lots of soft corals and so Denise and I went to visit our friends for a while. The only problem was the water was a little chilly....
This morning it was up and out early, and headed back to St. Thomas. We put up the sails and enjoyed sailing pretty close to the wind as we beat into the easterly breeze...we sailed about70 percent the way, and it was near 1pm when we were heading into Christmas Cove, and rejoining Regenero, who was waiting patiently for us! Unfortunately, just as we are approaching the mooring an engine alarm goes off and we discover gallons of water pouring into the port engine. While Frank and Jim bail water, Denise shuts down the engine and she maneuvers the boat on one engine and puts me right on top of the mooring ball...Way to go at the helm girl! After a quick trouble shoot, and the bilge pumps working, Frank Isolates the problem and with two phone calls they have a hoist arranged for the boat and a mechanic on the way...however, it is 2 hours away. So they quickly get us and our many, many purchases in the dingy and run back to Regenero, and off they go to get OJ repaired.
We worried about them, until we heard from them near 3:30pm telling us that fabulous Frank, ID'd and Fixed the problem while underway, and they were having the mechanic check it out...They'll be back tomorrow....Good thing, 'cause we forgot to get our passports back!