13 April 2013 | Buck Island, St Croix, USVI, 17’47.17N 64’37.68W – Magens Bay, St Thomas, USVI, 18’21.90N 64’55.41W via Christmas Cove, St Thomas, USVI
The UK used to be obsessed with its trade deficit. This is the difference between its exports and its imports. Every economy needs to monitor this and track what is coming in and going out. In St Croix they seem to have thrived on importing oil and the wealth that it bought and Ruffian loved this as we had deserted anchorages, amazing swimming and found interesting friendly locals. The second biggest island in the USVI’s, St Johns seems to thrive on importing tourists with their pockets filled with US dollars with predictable results.
We left our deserted desert island in St Croix, after giving Teague Bay in St Croix a flyby and deciding that it wasn’t tenable, and headed off to St Thomas to a set of islands that were not described in any of our pilot books. We specifically headed to these islands thinking that if they weren’t described then no one and most importantly no charterers, would be there. How wrong were we?
When we arrived, to our surprise, we spied a couple of local ‘party boats’ tied up to balls in the bay. No problem we thought, they’ll go home soon and leave us to it. Within moments they were joined by many, many more, all disgorging their cargo of pasty white noisy cruise ship tourists into the water. This couldn’t be any more different from our haven of Buck Island on St Croix if it tried and we simply couldn’t deal with sights we were seeing without resorting to either the sick bowl or a shotgun.
Thankfully, that night, we found ourselves, after a short beat, at Christmas Cove and just like Christmas its delights were saved for the morning, but lasted all day. We swum with Barracuda’s, or more accurately they swum with us and Fiona even managed to swin next to some rays as they gracefully powered around Ruffian. This was once again the VI’s that we’d read about and hoped to find.
After flying by the capital of St Thomas to use painfully expensive supermarkets with their bizarre pricing structures, where beer is only $10 a case, fillet steak is only $3, but a carton of UHT milk is $5, we set off in search of places that were only mentioned in passing in our pilot books. We knew we’d be in for a bit of upwind work, the first for a while, what we didn’t bargain for however was the additional challenge that was in store for us.
As we were sailing over big waves and Ruffian was behaving like a bucking bronco, Fiona popped her head into the cockpit and said, ‘It smells of poo and pee down here’. Now, if Iain had been downstairs at this point there would have been no surprise that there was a funny smell, but that was not the case. What Fiona could smell wasn’t like poo and pee, it was poo and pee. We had a choker valve toilet malfunction and now Fiona, with her cast iron stomach, set to sorting it out. She frantically mopped up the stinking water whilst both dealing with a bucking boat and navigating Iain past rocks and reefs and into a massive bay with only 2 other boats in sight and miles of perfect sand. This just goes to show how great girls are at multitasking.
Before we could enjoy the perfect bay we had to get to the bottom (sorry for the pun) of the toilet issue. Just like when Iain had to clean the inside of the holding tank Fiona made herself scarce and left Iain to set about taking the heads to bits. Suffice to say, inside the pumps Iain found a couple of years worth of ‘deposits’ that where making the toilet leak. After much gagging, scraping and chipping away, the heads were back into full working order and ready once again, like the bank of England, to take deposits.
With the imports and exports of St Croix and St Thomas examined we’ll be moving on and getting to the bottom of the economics of St John. This entire island was a gift to the USA by The Rockerfella’s and is now one massive marine park.
After many unsuccessful attempts at getting his bread to rise, Iain uses Fiona’s trick with his yeast. It didn’t work! We think we’ve managed to kill the yeast.
Ampie working his magic with his new regulator. Well done Ampie.
Whoa. The shock of crowds. That’s all a bit different from St Croix. Time to hightail it out of The Capella Isles and find somewhere else.
The joys of keeping everything working. Time to service the winches and the windlass.
And chaos ensues downstairs.
That’s more like it. Azure water and great snorkelling.
Development opportunity on the island off Charlotte Amalie.
Tree tastic. We can now identify many indigenous trees including the Puerto Rico Royal Palm.
The stunning natural Magens bay.
With viewpoint and everything.
Massive anchoring area and a tiny swimming one. That’s the right way round.