Around the world with S/V Zephyr

The adventures of Bill & Tracy as they fulfill their lifes dream of sailing the world. We've dreamed of this for years and now is the time while the health is still good and there is money in the kitty to make it come true.

12 February 2017 | Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, USVI
11 February 2017 | Back in Charlotte Amalie
11 February 2017 | Back in Charlotte Amalie
11 February 2017 | Back in Charlotte Amalie
11 February 2017 | Back in Charlotte Amalie
11 February 2017 | Back in Charlotte Amalie
31 January 2017 | Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, USVI
28 January 2017 | Hansen Bay, St. John, US Virgin Islands
28 January 2017 | Hansen Bay, St. John, US Virgin Islands
26 January 2017 | Little Lamshur Bay
25 January 2017 | Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, USVI
24 January 2017 | Lindberg Bay, US Virgin Islands
21 January 2017 | Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, USVI
19 January 2017 | Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, USVI
19 January 2017 | Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, USVI
17 January 2017 | Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, USVI
16 January 2017 | Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, USVI
14 January 2017 | Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, USVI
14 January 2017 | Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, USVI
14 January 2017 | Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, USVI

Getting ready for company

12 February 2017 | Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, USVI
Bill/ calm at anchor
If you've caught up with my rash of "updating" posts, you know we are now back in Charlotte Amalie(N18 20.224:W064 55.727) safely back on anchor. We're in the perfect spot. As we entered the harbor, we motored around looking for where we wanted to drop the hook this time. I think it's the fifth time we've been here since the first week of January. We got lucky and found a nice large circle amongst all the boats here. It's not as busy this time as it was the last time we came and went but to find a space that we can plunk in the middle with no moored nor anchored boats any where near is just great.
Once we were in and settled, we launched Puff and took off for Yacht Haven Grande, one of the most expensive marinas we've ever seen. Our boat would be well over $200 a night if we could even get in. It caters to the "big" super yachts, not what we are. We would stand out like a sore thumb. We needed to get rid of what was left of our old mainsail.
When we bought the new one, we stowed the old one in a bag on the stern planning on cutting it into a shape where we could make a nice sun cover for the stern. We've been using the Home Depot/Walmart silver tarps for years and after a while the aluminum/plastic breaks down and leaved lots of little shiny bit all over the place. Using a nice part of our old sail should make a much better cover. After slicing and dicing the old sail, we put what we didn't need back in the bag and took it to shore to go into the dumpster and stowed what we did need. Nice having a much cleaner deck on the stern.
With that big errand done, we headed to Wendy's for a nice treat. Been a while since we'd eaten there. Once finished, we hiked up to K Mart to get our AT&T phone reactivated. Its plan expired the day we left St. Thomas and we needed to get it up and running. Internet in the British Virgin Islands is horribly slow since apparently our phones(Samsung), all of 18 months old, can't handle the "4G" speeds now available. I would have thought it should have lasted longer but if it did, we wouldn't need to buy new phones every so often and that would affect their business so it's better for them to make our phones obsolete often so we will be forces to buy new ones. What a scam!! Anyone know any way around it, I'd love to hear it. We've tried everything with no luck. It will connect but moves at the speed of a 256 dial up modem.
While at K Mart, we picked up a bunch more provisions(food)we could carry. K Mart carries lots of food but nothing fresh so we were loaded with cans and packages. We stopped at "Pueblo" super market and picked up some of the fresh stuff we needed--fruits and veggies-- and then hiked back to the wharf and back to Zephyr and unloaded and stowed what we brought back. Now we have plans to hit the bigger stores like "PriceSmart", a Costco wanna be that actually carries some Costco products as well as some other stores along the way. We'll be taking one of the "Safari" trucks to get there at just $2.00 each and then plan on taking a cab back to the wharf with all the stuff we bought. No way will we get it back with a "Safari" truck that basically an flat bed truck with bench seating in the back. The generator is running on the stern getting our batteries charged before we go. We'll probably have to run it again when we get back as there isn't enough time right now for a full charge. More later when we get back.

Today, we again hopped into Puff and headed for shore to make the trip to the Tutu Park Mall as well as Walgreens and PriceSmart. OK, it's Sunday where normally shopping centers would be bustling with people shopping to their hearts content. Not here in the US Virgin Islands. It was darn near deserted. Most of the stores didn't even open till after 1100!! and that was to next to no customers. We found a place that can replace the screen on our old MacBook so it will be going in shortly. We walked down the the local auto parts store and picked up some Stabil to put in our gasoline so it will last longer. We carry about 25 gallons when all the jerry cans are full and it tacks a while to use it up in our generator and outboard. With Stabil, it should last longer(so they claim). Over to McDonalds for lunch as it was close to noon and then on to Walgreens. Tracy needed a few things(ear plugs as she claims I snore). The old plugs she has been using since she claims I snore were wearing out but I can't really believe she needs them as I know I don't snore. Never have heard it myself so I know it's not true.
Down to PriceSmart where before we did any shopping, we checked to see how much the taxis wanted to take us back to the marina where Puff was. A total of maybe three miles. Cost?--$30US for the trip. If we took one of the "Safari" trucks(how we got out there) it's only $2.00 per person. Four dollars versus thirty. Not a hard decision to make. OK, we couldn't buy as much since we would be carrying it but the $26 difference would destroy what ever we had saved coming to PriceSmart. We opted for the "Safari" truck and just bought less. We can make another trip on Monday morning so no big deal.
Once we finished out shopping, we jumped in the first "Safari" truck and were back at the marina with Puff in about 15 minutes. Back to Zephyr ten minutes later and unloading and stowing our new provisions. One problem once we got back to Zephyr. A big catamaran had pulled in while we were gone and ruined our nice safe place where we had dropped our anchor by dropping his and dropping back so he was about 50 feet from us. Once Puff was back on board, I had a short conversation over the water with the catamaran owner and he didn't seem concerned about being so close. Tracy is and we will probably be moving a bit on Monday morning as the wind has shifted and while he may have been a safe distance away when he dropped his anchor, with the lack of wind, he's a lot closer. I asked him how much chain he had out--"about 90 feet" was his anchor. Ours--about 110 feet out. I told him that and he still didn't seem to care so my conversation ended with me telling him "I hoped we don't swing around and hit you when the wind stops". As the sun went down, they climbed into their dingy and with another couple from another boat headed for shore. I guess he wasn't going to move. If he is staying another day, I'll be asking him to move in the morning. Cruiser protocol dictates that the last person in must move if the closest person he's anchor to feels unsafe where he is. We'll see how he responds tomorrow.

Getting caught up #5

11 February 2017 | Back in Charlotte Amalie
Bill/still windy
I've attached a picture of Money Bay from far above it as we crested the hill during our hike.

It's now Friday and we've been busy. Thursday, we took Puff to shore and hiked up the hill to see Money Bay on the south side of Norman Island. When we were here back in 2005, we'd gone there our first night and dropped out anchor there. Not the smartest move as the seas and winds were against us and it was a miserable night. Now, 12 years later, we are a good bit more knowledgable about where to go and where not to go.

It was a nice hike going zigzag up the side of the hill so it wasn't a hard climb with the occasional view down the the small bay or across Drakes Channel toward Tortola. A nice sunny day and not too hot so it was fun. Looking down into Money Bay, we could see where we had gone years ago and we're glad we got out of it with no problems. Darn lucky!!!
Today, Friday, we make plans on getting out of Benure Bay and head for Soper's Hole on the west end of Tortola and get checked out of BVI. We got our son's schedule for his stay and need to get back to the US Virgin Islands to get prepare for his arrival. We need to lay in more provisions before he comes so we will be stocked and can take off to see the islands once he's here and not wait till then to do it.
We took off for Soper's Hole about 0830 ready to finally sail down wind. Hey, guess what? Mother Nature said it's just not going to happen and there was just about no wind. We had to motor all the way. Only about 8 miles so no big deal but we had looked forward to finally getting some sail time in as all we've been doing is motoring into the winds go get where we were and now that we could go back, there was no wind!! RATS!
We got to Soper's Hole about 1015 and got Puff launched and into Custom's and Immigration. An easy check out procedure but they were a bit mystified that we were checking our five days early and hadn't used any of the National Parks permit while there. We know we will be returning once our son arrives.
Soper's Hole is a Tracy Nightmare. All the boats are on moorings and quite close to each other. Tracy's idea of a nice place to anchor is with a good 100 feet between each of the boats. Yesterday as we sat at anchor in Benure Bay, a small 35 foot boat came in and after dropping their anchor pretty much dropped back and ended up very close to being on top of our anchor. As we pulled up our anchor this morning, the people on the other boat refused to pull forward on their anchor so we ended up coming about 8 feet fro them before we could brake our anchor free. What a bunch of pig headed idiots.
Any way, once we checked out of Soper's Hole, we too off for Maho Bay again on the north shore of St' John where we had been severa weeks ago during our circumnavigation of the island. We'll send tonight here and be in Charolotte Amalie in the morning so we can start provisioning(and repairing).

Getting caught up #4

11 February 2017 | Back in Charlotte Amalie
Bill/still windy
Here's the next installment.

Well, we move back to Benure Bay after leaving White Bay. There were storm warnings of winds going into the 20+ knot range and out of the southeast and Benure's Bay was a good place to wait it out. Places to hike to and a nice reef for exploring. As the event should only last a day or two, we should be off by Thursday heading east again, into the oncoming surf and winds. Today crossing was boisterous with winds in the 25 knot range and surf hitting two meters so we were getting thrown around quite a bit. As we neared the entrance to Benure, we tried to pull in the genoa but there was so much wind, it refused not matter how much I tried. In the end, we sailed into the bay where the winds were better and I could pull in the sail. Entering on the west side gave us plenty of room before we came anywhere near the already anchored boats. With the sail in, I went forward and got the anchor all ready for dropping and we plunked it just a bit south of where we were previously anchored. There were eleven boats in the anchorage. By lunch, we were down to six and are now back up to ten. Some came and went in the same day. Arriving in the morning, swimming and hiking and taking off later in the afternoon. It's always fun to watch boat come and go and judge their performance at entering the bay and deciding where to drop their anchor and how much scope they let out once it's down. We're in about 35 feet and I've let out close to 150 feet of chain. About a four to one scope. We're dug in well and no problems.
Late in the afternoon, the french nudists that were with us in White Bay joined us, again stripping off their clothes and going for a swim. At least they were the farthest boat from the rest of us in the bay. No clue where the six nudist men went after they left White Bay. Heck, I don't even know the name of their boat
So we are here for at least another day waiting out the winds before heading farther east. When we came in to BVI, we signed up for seven days of being allowed into their National Parks. It's a $50 per week charge to use there parks and you can only stay two hours on one of their mooring before you have to leave and NO staying over night, period! You have to find another place to stop for the night. Not like in the US Virgin Islands where you can spend the night($13 per night).
Tomorrow, off for some hiking and snorkeling if the winds will let us.
It's now Wednesday evening and we had some fun in the afternoon. Not all boaters are smart people as we found out today. As we sat in Zephyrs cockpit, we like to watch other boaters come and go, sometimes grading them on their performance. Today, we finally found a boater that scored an "F". Into the anchorage comes this very nice medium size power boat. Not anywhere near "yacht" status but a nice sized boat for running between the islands. It was a boat set for taking tourists on a run to the islands for some fun. As they came in, we saw eight people sitting in the stern ready to have some fun and two crew members, one at the wheel and one at the bow to drop the anchor. The forward crew person(young woman) untied the anchor where it was tied to the bow and let it drop with the "captain" at the wheel pushing the button to let the chain out. Out it went, yard after yard as the boat drifted back. The forward crewman headed back to the cockpit to talk to the captain when suddenly, the end of the chain comes out of the bow and sinks to the bottom. The boat no longer had an anchor or chain!!! The forward crewman came back forward and looked over the bow and suddenly realized it was gone. She walked back to the captain and told him. He walked forward and also looked over the bow shaking his head. With no anchor, they had little choice other than to leave Benures Bay as there are no mooring buoys to grab. Around the corner he went into Soldiers Bay where they are buoys. Tracy and I looked at each other in disbelief as to what we had seen. With him gone, we discussed what we should do. In the end, we both put on our swimsuits, grabbed our fins and mask and got ready to go find an anchor. I took along one of our fenders and some ΒΌ inch line. I'd need to dive down and attach the line to the chain if we stood any chance of getting it back. As we swam over, Isabelle, another cruiser off a Swiss boat joined us. They had dropped the anchor just off the stern of her boat before dropping back. I found the chain with no problem even though it was in about 15-20 feet of water. The water is quite clear so that was no problem. I dove down with the end of the line and snaked it through the chain. Stupid me, I did it in the middle of the chain, not at the end. We'd pay for that later. Now that we had the fender-buoy attached, we saw the captain coming toward us from the next anchorage. He arrived in a dinghy that badly needed some air. It was a good bit deflated. We explained to him that we had his chain already attached to the buoy and all we needed to do was pull it up into his dinghy. Here's where I screwed it up. Instead of just pulling from one end, we had to pull up double the amount as I'd tied it in the middle making it twice as heavy. Between all of us, we finally got the middle into the boat and then worked our way down the the bitter end of the chain and then back toward the anchor. It took three of us to get it into the small dinghy. The captain in the boat, and two of us in the water pulling on the repeated counts of three. One, two, three pull, over and over.
As we got nearer to the anchor, we hung on as the captain slowly motored closer to shore and shallower water. I held on the the dinghy with one hand and the chain with another trying to keep the sharp point of the anchor from digging in to the sand. Once close to shore, we did the same heave ho we had done before finally getting the 88 pound anchor into the very over loaded dinghy. The captain thanked us promising us a case of beer should we ever meet up again(little chance of that) and then he took off for the next bay and his customers never to be seen again.
Since we had spent a good bit of time with Isabelle, she invited us over to her boat(a single hander)for drinks and would pick us up about 1700 as her dinghy was already in the water. We spent the next three hours swapping stories about what we have all been doing like we were long lost friends finally getting together. A great way to pass an evening after a fun filled afternoon.
Here's a picture of Maho Bay on the north side of St. John, USVI

Getting caught up #3

11 February 2017 | Back in Charlotte Amalie
Bill/still windy
Here's number 3. More still coming.

We're now in White Bay on the south side of Peter Island after spending two days at Benures Bay on Norman Island.
We left Road Town after not getting the phone/internet fixed. Our Samsung phone, barely 18 months old won't play nicely with their system and only get us a bare internet connection and only if you have your face screwed into a very ugly look. Not really wanting to spend another $100 on another phone that probably won't work the next place we go to, we get what we can on the phone but nothing will connect on the computer, so it will be a while till I can get back on line.

We pulled up our wonderful Rocna anchor about 1100 Saturday(February 4th) morning and took off across Drakes Channel for Benures Bay, about 5 miles away. A short trip by normal standards. We've talked to so other "cruisers" as we meet new friends and many of them have never done an over night. Never been at sea during the darkness of the night enjoying the beautiful star filled night sky. How sad!!

We dropped anchor in Benures Bay(N18 19.339:W064 36.364) along with some other boats. As the afternoon progressed, some left and others came and we ended up with 10 boats in our nice anchorage, some close and others clear across the bay. It's not a big bay but can easily accommodate lots more boats than what we had in that night. Yesterday, I jumped in the water to swim out and inspect our anchor. It was, as I expected nicely dug in. It looked like it had landed, fallen over and then dug in with in the length of the anchor. We were going no where. Other boats came in and dropped their hooks with one big catamaran being tethered to shore by it's stern. No clue why but they were at at over 80 feet long, they can do that. Lines were strung from both sides of their stern. He dropped his lines and left late Saturday night.
We launched Puff after lunch and took off for the west side of the bay to do some snorkeling. The guide books say it's supposed to be quite nice and they were right. Beautiful fan coral of all colors, some with sea shells attached for decoration as they waved in the waters current. Tube worms with their feathery plumage were also in abundance. Not a lot of coral but what was there was gorgeous. What surprised us was the temperature of the water. It was cold!! Not cool, but bone chilling cold when we jumped in. Not the kind of water you can stay still in. Keep moving and stay near the surface where it's warmer.
We headed back after a while and watched more boats come in and try setting their anchors, some successful and some not so much. One boat, after dropping it's anchor, drifted back and ended up right over where another boat had dropped theirs. The forward boat ended up having to pull in come chain so the stern boat could even get to their anchor.
We pulled up our early this morning and set off for Whites Bay on Peter Island, about 3 miles away. As expected, the winds were such that we had to motor the entire way which was fine as it helped charge the batteries. Where we were going, is right where one of the richest resorts in the islands is located and is closed to the public. You can still go ashore but you are limited to where the water hits high tide and no further ashore. Wealth has it's privileges!
We motored in and dropped the hook with two other boats(both of which have since left) at N18 20.908:W064 34.505.
As our batteries still needed charging and there were no guests ashore in the cabanas, I started up our Yamaha generator to top them off before a guest shows up. No reason the intrude on their pleasure. I can't guess what they pay to spend a night there but it's way out of our ball park(way way out!).
So here we sit, about to launch Puff and take off after lunch to see what is along the shore line. Hope it's as good as yesterday. I'll let you know.

It's now the evening of the 6th and we had a nice afternoon snorkeling off the north shore of White Bay. Lots of fan coral and other corals dotted the sides of rocks along the coastline. After getting in the water from Puff, we found sand dollars in the sand below us and collected 5 big ones and one smaller one. By the time we got back to Zephyr, we'd lost one. I set them on the deck beside the companionway and Snowshoe walked right over them and shattered four of the five we had left. Big feet can do some damage when they hit fragile shells. .

As the afternoon passed, the last boat left but more showed up. A French boat showed up with a nudist couple parading all over the boat and taking long afternoon swims. More boats showed up and just before the sun went down, a 40 foot monohull showed up with six nude men on board. As they rounded up right beside us, one of the men ran out on deck and started getting the anchor ready. That's when we realized that the crew was naked. A short time later he rushed forward again and dropped the hook. Now we've been sailing for about 7 years on Zephyr and never, no never have we run into so many nude people in one day, let alone six on one boat!!! Nudes to the left of me and nudes to the right of me. When Tracy went on deck to put out her swimsuit to dry, all the men next door went below decks coming back up when she went back below. They had their dinghy attached to the stern but not sure where they might go in their current state of undress. As we are moving on tomorrow, I guess(and hope) we never find out!!

Getting caught up #2

11 February 2017 | Back in Charlotte Amalie
Bill/still windy
Here's part two of getting caught up. Being with out internet makes it hard to make post and the Internet on BVI is no only expensive($79 for 1.5 gigs!!!

We've now moved over to the British Virgin Islands. Anchored on the east end of Jost Van Dyke at N 18 26.840: W 064 43.494. As we traveled around St. John, we met several couples while at anchor and were invited to join a bunch of cruisers at Fox'y Taboo, a restaurant in our anchorage. It's a group called the "Salty Dogs" that's a loose grouping of cruisers from all over the area. We both doubt that many will be cruisers that have the miles under their keels like we do but we are always looking to make new friends.
To catch up, we finished our circumnavigation of St. John on Monday when we pulled back into Charlotte Amalie making sure to get in early so we could run our errands and maybe get out at a reasonable time and be on our way. Instead, we got stuck there for the rest of the day as the windlass at the bow that pulls up the anchor decided to stop working!! If it isn't one thing, it's another!! We motored in and dropped our hook where we thought we would be good but the winds shifted enough that we might get to close to a neighbor boat so we started pulling up the anchor when the windlass just stopped and no matter how I pushed on the switch, it wasn't going to work. So I let our a bit more chain and then as Tracy cleaned out the forward locker, I started gathering tools and parts. Now here is where being a proper parts pack rat comes into play. Way back in Singapore, I bought a replacement foot switch for the windlass and we've carted it around for the last three years or so. Now, finally it looked like we would need it and I had it!!!! Sometimes, paranoia about something breaking and having the parts to fix it is a good thing. Amazingly, I knew exactly where it was.
With the locker cleaned I shinnied down into the forward locker and in a small door into the actual anchor locker with all our chain and the guts of the windlass. I did some checking and it looked like the switch was bad. I made some calls and checked on the internet for Maxwell Windlass and found they had a service center right on St. Thomas. I called and talked to Jay and he gave me a few suggestions on how to check the wires and the switch. Down into the locker again feeling every bit my age with my muscles protesting violently(not to mention my joints) about getting used and shoved into such a small place. At least I did get smart and wore really old and already filthy clothes as I knew it was going to be really dirty in there with all the sand and mud we bring up when the anchor comes up.
I took off the positive wire that went to the switch and tapped it to the positive pole on the motor for the windlass and it worked just fine so it had to be either bad wires to a bad switch, Out came the old switch and I attached the wires to the new one(while still in the locker instead of already installed in the deck) and it worked just fine so it had to be the switch. We got some nice gooy caulk and installed the new switch and attached the wires and NOTHING!!! That left just the wires so we took them our and sanded them down and reinstalled them and we were up and running!! About four hours late but we had use of the windlass. Up came the hook and we moved to a better place and dropped it. Once secure, we launched Puff and headed for the dinghy dock.
We needed to stop at the post office to pick up a replacement part Defender was sending to us. We'd checked the internet and it was ready for pick up. Plus we needed a few more provisions. It didn't take long and we were done and on our way back to Zephyr in the late afternoon making it too late to pull up the anchor and take off. As we returned to Zephyr, a big catamaran pulled in and dropped their anchor and dropped back and ended up just about where our anchor was. Not a good thing as we had planned on taking off at 0800 for the British Virgins. I motored over to the catamaran and let them know what was going to happen early the next morning. They thanked me and I retired to Zephyr. Not surprising, at 0800 as we were getting ready to leave, we found that the wonderful people on the catamaran had taken off for shore in their dinghy not giving a damn about where their boat was in relation to our anchor. OK ,fine, if we get to close, well we'll take care of that should it happen. In the end, as we pulled up the anchor, we missed them but about 15 feet, got the hook up and took off throwing nasty looks at their deserted boat.
We motored east along the coast of St. Thomas and then headed north east along St. John, all the while not having the winds in a position where we could sail. Sure glad we got the engine fixed. As we cleared the US Virgins, the wind shifted enough we could roll out the genoa and finally shut off the engine. Well, that lasted about 10 minutes before the winds shifted again and in came the genoa and on when the motor. It's about 16 miles from Charlotte Amalie to Jost van Dyke so not a big trip but it sure would have been nice to actually sail.
We pulled into "Great Harbor" just before lunch and went in to get checked into our next country. I think that's 33 so far since we left. We got checked in and paid our fees for being in the islands($74) and headed out to have a nice lunch before taking off for the east end of Jost Van Dyke where the party is supposed to be on Thursday making sure to get in two days early so we could get an anchoring spot and that's where we are now waiting for the friends we made while on St. John that invited us to the party to show up.
We have no internet or phone yet as it's only available on Tortola and that a couple of day from now so by the time you get this post, we will have moved on again. We told Customs and Immigration we would be in BVI for two weeks. Guess we will see.

It's now Friday and we are now in Road Town on the south side of Tortola surrounded by big cruise ships and lots and lots of charter boats waiting the people to take them out.
The big get together with Salty Dogs never happened or it it did, it wasn't where we had been led to believe. We'd asked at the restaurant in the harbor and they had no clue what we were talking about. I'd radioed to Roxy, the folks that had invited us and there was no response. We had no internet or phone so we couldn't call or email so we had sat at anchor for three days getting nothing done waiting for festivities that never occurred. We pulled up our anchor and took off this morning for Tortola, just not sure where and we ended up at Road Town. I just got back from buying our internet and data cards so the phone is now up and running again. We can get our emails and download stuff so we will be pretty much caught up on all the internet we need right now. The bad thing is that it's so slow over here in BVI. Can't even download pictures as it just can't handle them. Lightening fast--don't thinks. It will be better back in the US Virgin Islands in a bit over a week from now. Our visa expires then plus we have more parts to order.
Road Town is jammed but we are spending the night and taking off tomorrow for one of the other islands. Probably Peter Island. I'll let you know

Getting caught up #1

11 February 2017 | Back in Charlotte Amalie
Bill/ partly cloudy and some breeze
We've been without good internet for quite a while. Pretty much since we entered BVI. Now lets start getting caught up.

We've now moved over to the British Virgin Islands. Anchored on the east end of Jost Van Dyke at N 18 26.840: W 064 43.494. As we traveled around St. John, we met several couples while at anchor and were invited to join a bunch of cruisers at Fox'y Taboo, a restaurant in our anchorage. It's a group called the "Salty Dogs" that's a loose grouping of cruisers from all over the area. We both doubt that many will be cruisers that have the miles under their keels like we do but we are always looking to make new friends.
To catch up, we finished our circumnavigation of St. John on Monday when we pulled back into Charlotte Amalie making sure to get in early so we could run our errands and maybe get out at a reasonable time and be on our way. Instead, we got stuck there for the rest of the day as the windlass at the bow that pulls up the anchor decided to stop working!! If it isn't one thing, it's another!! We motored in and dropped our hook where we thought we would be good but the winds shifted enough that we might get to close to a neighbor boat so we started pulling up the anchor when the windlass just stopped and no matter how I pushed on the switch, it wasn't going to work. So I let our a bit more chain and then as Tracy cleaned out the forward locker, I started gathering tools and parts. Now here is where being a proper parts pack rat comes into play. Way back in Singapore, I bought a replacement foot switch for the windlass and we've carted it around for the last three years or so. Now, finally it looked like we would need it and I had it!!!! Sometimes, paranoia about something breaking and having the parts to fix it is a good thing. Amazingly, I knew exactly where it was.
With the locker cleaned I shinnied down into the forward locker and in a small door into the actual anchor locker with all our chain and the guts of the windlass. I did some checking and it looked like the switch was bad. I made some calls and checked on the internet for Maxwell Windlass and found they had a service center right on St. Thomas. I called and talked to Jay and he gave me a few suggestions on how to check the wires and the switch. Down into the locker again feeling every bit my age with my muscles protesting violently(not to mention my joints) about getting used and shoved into such a small place. At least I did get smart and wore really old and already filthy clothes as I knew it was going to be really dirty in there with all the sand and mud we bring up when the anchor comes up.
I took off the positive wire that went to the switch and tapped it to the positive pole on the motor for the windlass and it worked just fine so it had to be either bad wires to a bad switch, Out came the old switch and I attached the wires to the new one(while still in the locker instead of already installed in the deck) and it worked just fine so it had to be the switch. We got some nice gooy caulk and installed the new switch and attached the wires and NOTHING!!! That left just the wires so we took them our and sanded them down and reinstalled them and we were up and running!! About four hours late but we had use of the windlass. Up came the hook and we moved to a better place and dropped it. Once secure, we launched Puff and headed for the dinghy dock.
We needed to stop at the post office to pick up a replacement part Defender was sending to us. We'd checked the internet and it was ready for pick up. Plus we needed a few more provisions. It didn't take long and we were done and on our way back to Zephyr in the late afternoon making it too late to pull up the anchor and take off. As we returned to Zephyr, a big catamaran pulled in and dropped their anchor and dropped back and ended up just about where our anchor was. Not a good thing as we had planned on taking off at 0800 for the British Virgins. I motored over to the catamaran and let them know what was going to happen early the next morning. They thanked me and I retired to Zephyr. Not surprising, at 0800 as we were getting ready to leave, we found that the wonderful people on the catamaran had taken off for shore in their dinghy not giving a damn about where their boat was in relation to our anchor. OK ,fine, if we get to close, well we'll take care of that should it happen. In the end, as we pulled up the anchor, we missed them but about 15 feet, got the hook up and took off throwing nasty looks at their deserted boat.
We motored east along the coast of St. Thomas and then headed north east along St. John, all the while not having the winds in a position where we could sail. Sure glad we got the engine fixed. As we cleared the US Virgins, the wind shifted enough we could roll out the genoa and finally shut off the engine. Well, that lasted about 10 minutes before the winds shifted again and in came the genoa and on when the motor. It's about 16 miles from Charlotte Amalie to Jost van Dyke so not a big trip but it sure would have been nice to actually sail.
We pulled into "Great Harbor" just before lunch and went in to get checked into our next country. I think that's 33 so far since we left. We got checked in and paid our fees for being in the islands($74) and headed out to have a nice lunch before taking off for the east end of Jost Van Dyke where the party is supposed to be on Thursday making sure to get in two days early so we could get an anchoring spot and that's where we are now waiting for the friends we made while on St. John that invited us to the party to show up.
We have no internet or phone yet as it's only available on Tortola and that a couple of day from now so by the time you get this post, we will have moved on again. We told Customs and Immigration we would be in BVI for two weeks. Guess we will see.

It's now Friday and we are now in Road Town on the south side of Tortola surrounded by big cruise ships and lots and lots of charter boats waiting the people to take them out.
The big get together with Salty Dogs never happened or it it did, it wasn't where we had been led to believe. We'd asked at the restaurant in the harbor and they had no clue what we were talking about. I'd radioed to Roxy, the folks that had invited us and there was no response. We had no internet or phone so we couldn't call or email so we had sat at anchor for three days getting nothing done waiting for festivities that never occurred. We pulled up our anchor and took off this morning for Tortola, just not sure where and we ended up at Road Town. I just got back from buying our internet and data cards so the phone is now up and running again. We can get our emails and download stuff so we will be pretty much caught up on all the internet we need right now. The bad thing is that it's so slow over here in BVI. Can't even download pictures as it just can't handle them. Lightening fast--don't thinks. It will be better back in the US Virgin Islands in a bit over a week from now. Our visa expires then plus we have more parts to order.
Road Town is jammed but we are spending the night and taking off tomorrow for one of the other islands. Probably Peter Island. I'll let you know.
I've attached a picture of Tracy paying our National Park fees after spending a night at Hansen Bay on the south side of St. John. At $13 a night, it can add up fast and that's half price since we are "senior" citizens.
Vessel Name: Zephyr
Vessel Make/Model: Shin Fa 458
Hailing Port: Denver, Colorado
Crew: Bill & Tracy Hudson
About: We've been sailing since the early 80's on lakes in New Mexico and Colorado and finally took the plunge and bought Zephyr.
Extra: We moved on board in April of 2008 and have been working and sailing her ever since. Up to Alaska and down to Mexico and across the Pacific to Fiji. We're now in the Caribbean in Grenada after making the crossing from South Africa 7 months ago.
Home Page: http::/www.sailblogs.com/member/svzephyr
Zephyr's Photos - Huahine and beyond.
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Added 25 July 2011
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