29 March, 2017
Well………Change of plans. We opted out of Great Harbour, and decided to head over to Sandy Spit, off the east end of Jost Van Dyke. The surge was really rolling in, so we moved a little west, to Machioneel Bay. The cruising guides told us that the anchoring was difficult due to the rocky bottom, but we looked for a sandy spot and buried the hook on the first try. Score! Our next bright idea was to take the “soccer Mom” chairs to Sandy Spit with a few sips and watch the sunset. Great concept. Execution? Not so much. The waves were wrapping around the spit, creating quite a surf. I got the Admiral, chairs, and sips on to the beach, then tried to anchor the dinghy. No way. After some dinghyslammin’, and wavescrashin’ (over the side of the dinghy-nearly swamping it), the saltwater-infused drinks, Admiral, and chairs were safely on “White Star” and back to sea. Back at the Girl, we exchanged our salty vodka tonics with fresh ones and did a quick recon over to Little Harbour, JVD to make sure that “Sydney’s Peace and Love” restaurant was still in bidness. Check. We’d be heading there next week when our son, Jeremy, and his family were with us. Next morning, it was off to Great Harbour on Jost Van Dyke, to check the status of “Foxy’s” bar. Check. See ya in a week or so. Next day, we were off to Soper’s Hole to get our despacho for clearing out of the B.V.I.’s. Customs and Immigration was a zoo. The 6’x 8’ room was packed with charter boat crews looking to clear their day charter passengers in…..lots of twenty-somethings making snarky comments about the process while the officers are sitting right there. The head lady whispered “Next,” then pointed to Suzanne (who might’ve been last in line). We were outta there (mooring, launch dinghy, retrieve dinghy, drop mooring) in less than an hour. It pays to respect authoritay. From Soper’s Hole, it was off to Cruz Bay, in the USVI, to do the Customs and Immigration Cha Cha there. Always a treat (I’ll leave it at that). It did, however, allow us to visit “Woody’s” our favorite hamburger (and fries) bar in Cruz. Is this becoming a theme? Hmmmh….. The fresh produce was excellent at the grocery store, so we stocked up before returning to the Girl.
From the 15th through the 19th, we spent our time on a mooring in Francis Bay, on St. John in the USVI. Besides beaching and snorkeling, we got together with “Vision Quest” and “Eagles Wings” (see St. Martin) for a lively game of dominoes. The 19th and 20th, we moved around the corner to Leinster Bay, where we visited the ruins of Annaberg sugar mill and the Murphy house. In a fit of stupidity, we hiked over the top of the island to Coral Bay, only around two-and-a-half miles, but up and down and up and down on trails covered with loose rock. We got to “Skinny Legs,” our hiking for hamburgers destination, and our “Map my Walk” app said we had burned 256 calories. We scoffed. Half pound hamburgers, chips (no fryer), and about a half dozen Cokes each and we still felt calorie-depleted. We explored the little enclave of Coral Bay and gave more than a second thought about finding a cab for a ride home. Neither of us said “Uncle,” so it was back over the top. On the way home, we saw a hand-painted sign that said “Google Maps is wrong. This is not a road to Leinster or Maho Bay. This is a foot trail”. HeHee.
Thought it might be fun to circumnavigate St. John’s, so on the 21rst, we headed around the east end to Hurricane Hole on the south side, just adjacent to Coral Bay. We took a “day ball” in Otter Cove there, and explored the bays by dinghy. Of course, we ended up in Coral Bay, where we offloaded trash and hit the Dolphin Market for fresh produce. We looked for a bar that we had visited some thirty-five years ago, meeting Suzanne’s doppelganger. Long story, but we were sitting at a bar there, and a guy at the other end kept staring at us. Finally, he came over and said something like “Suzanne, who’s this?” We thought that he was going to hit us up for a drink or something. The Admiral says “I don’t know you.” He looks at her like she’s out of her mind. Okay, so we talk a little bit more, with us wondering what his angle is. He tells us that there’s a girl in town named Suzanne, that looks just like my Suzanne. Right. He goes back to his bar stool. Within the half hour, he’s back at our end of the bar with a girl in tow. Holy Crap! The two could’ve been twins. Even the Admiral said that it was like looking in a mirror. Okay, that’s the story. Present day-couldn’t find the place. We did find “Skinny Legs” again for an encore. If you like burgers, highly recommended. I wanted to stay on the ball, but the boss said it was for day use only for a reason. We motored over to Hansen Bay, and anchored in front of a little resort there.
On the 22nd, we continued west and took a ball in Great Lameshur Bay, former home of the Tektite underwater habitat/research lab. I won’t bore you with the details, but in the late 60’s, the Tektite habitat was built by General Electric. Besides marine biology, the research conducted there included the use of rebreathing SCUBA devices, psychological effects of living in close quarters in a hostile environment for extended periods (NASA was all about this), and the new technique of saturation diving (where humans stayed underwater for extended periods, negating the need for multiple decompressions). Google it if you’re interested-cool stuff, especially for my marine scientist spouse. There were some good hiking trails, so we took the opportunity to get off the boat and do some walking. We stayed in the bay for a couple of days, until the surge drove us out on the 24th. While we were there, we met Zim and Kim, aboard their 54’ Jeanneau, “Someday,” as they readied their vessel for the “Around the World Rally” starting in May. We shared drinks and stories a couple nights. I’m sure that they’ll have a lot more after they complete their circumnavigation in a few years.
Back on the north side of St. John’s, the waves were kinder, and we spent a few nights snorkeling and hiking around various bays. On the Admiral’s birthday, we got gussied up and dined at ZoZo’s at the old sugar mill in Caneel Bay Resort.
Off to Charlotte Amalie, on St. Thomas to get the Girl cleaned up in readiness for our son, Jeremy, and his family’s arrival. Having not stayed in a marina for 6 weeks or so, we needed to fully charge and equalize boat batteries, do a thorough housecleaning, laundry, reprovision our fresh produce, and restock with duty-free alcohol. We checked into the IGY Marina there, dwarfed by the many 150’+ boats in residence. Not an economical stay at $4/ft., plus electricity, plus water, plus trash removal etc., but very convenient for the reception of guests flying in. Being near the cruise ship port, all the amenities were nearby too. We also discovered National Marine, a boat chandlery specializing in servicing the megayachts, but more than happy to order a part for little old us to fix our recalcitrant head. The price that they quoted was only a bit more than we would have paid for the part in the States (including shipping). Well, Jeremy, Jodi, and Mikaela are arriving on the 30th, so we’ll catch up with you