Trip to the USVI's
14 December 2015
As you may know cruisers plans are always written in the sand at low tide. We decided not to go to Colombia this year but instead head north back up to St. Thomas,USVI. This was going to be a three day trip and approx. 430 nautical miles and we had a weather window coming up on Thursday, November 26th to leave Bonaire. Monday, we stocked up with food. Tuesday, we prepared all the meals for the trip. Wednesday, we had a farewell dinner with Dolce Vita, Ocean Rainbow and Changes at the local burger joint. First thing Thursday morning, Michael and Chris from Changes went to Customs to check out of the country. Changes was also heading in the same direction so we would buddy boat with them. At 9am we let go of the mooring and said good bye to Bonaire.
According to the forecast and single reef in the main would be all that was needed. We put the main up and started to motor sail around the top of Bonaire. Not two hours out and a seam just above the second reef in the main completely split apart....now what. There is no sail repair in Bonaire and the closest place to get it repaired would have been Curacao. As luck would have it, we were still able to put a triple reef in the main. Decision made and we went with the triple reef which would likely mean a lot of motor sailing but it was doable and we had plenty of fuel on board. Once around the top of Bonaire we headed north for the virgin islands. The seas were very confused and it was like being in a washing machine. It was very hard to move around in the boat but other then that we were now on our way. The first night was a full moon and it was beautiful.. By sunrise the second day, the seas had come down and bit. It was time to try and catch some dinner. It was a rather boring uneventful day. The moon did not come out until very late on the second night and we started seeing squalls on the radar off in the distance. I just got up to take over for my watch at around 1 o'clock in the morning and something didn't sound right. Well, the next minute the auto pilot turned off and then the instruments started turning on and off. Now what....hand steer and wait for morning to try and figure it out. By morning, all the instruments were working again. This is always a little unnerving as you know something is not right and how long with they continue to work. It was not a lack of battery power, so we probably have a grounding problem. The third day was a rainy one....on and off all day long. By evening, the squalls and lightening started again. It continued most of the night. The only good thing about the night was that the instruments were still operating. We could now see the lights of St. Thomas in a distance....land hooh about ten miles to go. Just as we were entering the channel to Charolette Amalie the auto pilot and instruments starting acting up again. No problem, we will deal with that once we get anchored and settled in. We were able to anchor in the shallow water in the same area we stayed the last time we were here. So after 72 hours of not so much fun, we were safely and anchored and ready to sleep. Just the end of another spirited sail.