07/05/2012, Peter Island, BVI's
The most important thing that I have learned on this voyage is patience. Things do not happen as fast as they do in Florida.
The places we have been are beautiful. The people that we have met have been very helpful. Cruisers will go out of their way to help other cruisers. We have been rescued more than once in situations that could have been dangerous if we had not gotten help.
We have had all kinds of dingy problems and other cruisers have helped us get Windy to shore. Sea Us, Olivia and Ryan spent 3 days giving us rides to shore when the prop broke on dingy motor.
I have been cooking! Surprise surprise! For breakfast we have potatoes and scrambled eggs or French toast or oatmeal. When I try to make pancakes there is a lot of swearing coming from the galley.
For lunches I make grilled cheese, peanut butter or tuna sandwiches. If we are going to shore we usually have lunch where we are getting internet.
For dinners we have been having pasta or rice or Mac and Cheese with canned ham, tuna, or chicken. Or we might have soup. We bought several Annies Mac and Cheese before we left and we are running low. Although the stores have regular Mac and Cheese, I only found Annies one place and it was $6.50. I just could not pay that.
I have muffin mix and I have been burning the bottoms and the tops are fine. I told Gary that people pay extra for muffin tops. Since Carol Meeds was the only one ever to use the oven, I am still learning. We are looking for a new temperature gauge because I am not sure we are getting an accurate reading. Yesterday, I was able to make banana muffins without burning them.
Groceries are much more expensive because I no longer get things two for one at Publix.
Because we are having problems with the wind generator, we do not have refrigeration. We sometimes can get ice to keep things cold. When we are motoring and if we have ice to cool down the refrige we can run it while we are motoring.
There are lots more packages of rice a roni and pasta type packages in the stores than I expected. I am happy because I am not that good at making these from scratch.
I lost 10 pounds when I got on the boat. We are definitely eating less. I am not getting as much exercise.
When we were in Calebra, Spanish Virgin Islands , we found a great place to snorkel. The fish were colorful and plentiful.
There are times when I am scared. Thankfully those are usually temporary situations.
We are now at Peter Island in the British Virgin Islands. We have seen several big turtles around the boats.
Windy still will not use the boat as her bathroom. We are in the British Virgin Islands and she is not allowed off the boat. We even had Bo her boyfriend from Sea Us go on the trampoline and she still would not go. There are times when it is dangerous conditions to get to shore so we are still working on it.
The picture was taken from shore as we took shelter from a sudden squall that swept through.
07/04/2012, British Virgin Islands
After getting some supplies & food - fruits & veggies and eggs, we hauled anchor and headed out of Road Town Harbor. Our destination was Peter Island, about 4 miles across the Drake Passage from Tortola. We came into a nice little bay that SeaUs had told us about - called Deadman's Bay. There is a large hotel building on one hill that has wifi that beams out over the bay (& the beach where there are tiki huts & lounge chairs). We had wind with us, so we unfurled the jib and sailed across once we were clear of the harbor.
The water is crystal clear and there are some quite large turtles that hang out in the bay. While the hills do block some of the wind there is still a good breeze coming through the boat, so it's very comfortable sitting here. The water is nice enough that it's comfortable for swimming & snorkeling. Immediately next to Peter Island is Dead Chest Island. Supposedly, Blackbeard marooned 15 of his crew on the island with nothing but their sea chests & a b ottle of rum - hence the rhyme, "Fifteen men on a dead man's chest, yo ho ho and a bottle of rum."
It's a bit windy & wavey today as a tropical wave is moving through. We hope to take the dinghy over to Dead Chest Island tomorrow for some snorkeling. That's the island in the picture, taken from Inspiration
07/03/2012, 18 25.028'N:64 36.97'W
We left St John for Tortola, BVIs (British Virgin Islands) and got in to Road Town 4 hours later. We cleared in on Monday, only to find it it was a holiday. So we paid almost twice what we were expecting. Still, it was only $36 so much better than most elsewhere. We reconnected with Ryan & Olivia from SeaUs - it turns out Ryan had some type of intestinal infection & not appendicitis. He did stay in the hospital for 2 days, hooked up to an IV & getting antibiotics and he's doing fine now. We're heading to Peter Island this afternoon where we may be able to get wifi from the boat (so I can post some pictures).
The big problem with the BVIs is that they don't like dogs. So I need to smuggle Windy to shore.
The picture is of the houses on one of the hills surrounding Road Town Harbor in Tortola.
06/30/2012, 18 20.57'N:64 42.84'W
We left the American Yacht Harbor marina this morning bound for St John, which is only 4 miles away. Except that we headed towards the very east end of St John, making it a 14 mile journey. The last quarter we were even able to shut down engines & sail.
It was nice being in a marina, but it gets expensive fast. With stores and a multitude of restaurants / bars in the immediate area, it's easy to spend money. We took a "dollar taxi" about 5 miles to a supermarket to do some basic provisioning. This is a truck with a flatbed that has seats & a metal roof over open sides. You stand at the curb & point down (at the street) as one approaches & the driver stops. Yell when you want to get off & then pay $1. But as they only go 1-way (in a big loop around the island), we got a cab for the trip back. If we had more time, it would be fun to hop on & just do the whole loop.
However, we had a forecast for good wind for moving on Saturday with Sunday being not as good and Monday/Tuesday worse. We also got a message that Ryan (from SeaUs) was in the hospital in Tortola (British VIs) with a possible appendicitis. One problem is that he & Olivia have a BIG dog and she can't easily leave the dog by himself on the boat. So we decided to head for Tortola as fast as possible to help out however we can.
But right now we're in Coral Harbor (in Coral Bay) at the east end of St John. St John is largely a national park and is a beautiful island. St Thomas has buildings everywhere - even where you wouldn't think they could put a building. St John has hillsides and (small) mountains without a trace of a building. The harbor/bay we're in is between 1/2 & 3/4 mile wide and about a mile long. And filled with boats, so we ended up motoring between boats & mooring balls until we found someplace open to drop anchor. However, it's a nice, comfortable anchorage and most the boats around us seem to be vacant.
The cruising guide talked about a place here called 'Skinny Legs' as did our friend Paul. We found it just off the dinghy dock & it's a bar right out of the 60's-70's. Back on the boat, there was a bar on the bay near us that had a live band. So we had good, live rock & roll being played until midnight.
It's now quiet, there's a nice breeze blowing making it comfortably cool & bug-free. Looking at the surrounding hills, there is a scattering of house lights and lights illuminating a roads running around the bay and over the closet hill. Somewhere a dark barks as small waves splash against the hull & gently rock the boat. There's a sense of peacefulness in places like this on the water that just can't be experienced on land.
Tomorrow we head for Road Town, Tortola and search for SeaUs. As there are a multitude of sailboat charter companies there, I'll also look for a used kayak to replace ours.
The picture is of the SE point of St John that we rounded to head north along the east coast to Coral Bay.
06/28/2012, St Thomas / Water Island
We left Culebra early morning & headed for St Thomas, US Virgin Islands. It took us about 4 hours to cross the 10 miles between islands and then get close to Charlotte Amalie. Except that we picked up a mooring just off Water Island immedialy south of Charlotte Amalie. We had 12-14 kt (15+ mph) winds directly against us the whole way. That's probably going to be the norm as we continue east unfortunately, as we head directly into the Trase Winds.
St Thomas is a beautiful island - all (small) mountainous and so unlike the Bahamas. The hillsides are covered with houses and at night it looks like a thousand little lights scattered over the hills. One of the nicest things about being here is the clear water. Culebra was reasonably clear - especially at the reef. But here, you can see the bottom in 20' of water, which I haven't been able to do since the Bahamas. Puerto Rico is a beautiful island, but the water is green and cloudy/muddy for the most part. The Dominioan Republic was the same as well. Where I could see reefs under the water in the Bahamas, they were hidden in Puerto Rico by the lack of visibility.
We did find some cruisers on the beach at Water Island & got some good info on stores, marinas, etc. We'll head for a marina tomorrow to do some laundry & provisioning and get fuel as well. Then it's off to St Johns and then the BVIs (British VIs). Unfortunately the BVIs are extremely dog unfriendly. And since Windy demands to go ashore or hold it, we may need to smuggle her in on a deserted beach once or twice a day.
Water Island is so named because the early explorers found fresh drinking water on the island. It's the 4th largest island in the US VIs as well (after St Thomas, St Johns & St Croix).
St Thomas was originally held/settled by the Dutch, so there's a lot of 19th century architecture that was built by them. You can definitely see it in many of the Charlotte Amalie buildings too - even to a classic Dutch windmill on the hillside.
The photo is of a plant I found on Culebra with gorgeous white flower petals & bright yellow flower. They had these huge caterpillars (4" long and as big around as my index finger!)
06/24/2012, 18.36'N 65 15.37'W
We got to Vieques, Spanish Virgin Islands Thursday afternoon after a 12 hour motor & sail. We came into Esperanza (on the south coast) and picked up a mooring in a delightful bay. Around the corner was another biolumenescent bay that we wanted to see, but by bightfall we were both really tired so decided to wait a day. The next morning, the kayak was gone! I went looking for it & upon talking with some other cruisers at the town dock, was told that it wasn't unusual for someone to swim out to a boat & steal anything that was in the water! Welcome to paradise. ): That experience so turned us off to the area that we left for Culebra (the smaller of the 2 main Spanish VI islands). We're anchored in a nice bay, went out today & speared 2 fish for (partial) dinner, and have just relaxed for the past 2 days putting that bad experience behind us.
The picture is of Inspiration in the bay at Culebra
Tomorrow, probably, we're heading for the US Virgin Islands (St Thomas).