Saturday, June 27, 2015

BVIs to Statia to St. Kitts

     We didn’t stay long enough in the British Virgin Islands to even create a blog post.  The wind turned favorable for a trip over to the other islands so we took it.  We skipped St. Martin and aimed toward St. Kitts in hopes to gain a better point of sail.  Unfortunately it was tough for our boat to sail so we motor-sailed through the night.  We took a lot of water over the bow and the wave action caused some sea sickness (even with my medication).  The sailing was uncomfortable for all so we decided to cut our trip by about 4 hours and picked up a mooring in St. Eustatia.  The harbor had quite a roll to it so we spent another hour putting out a stern anchor to bring the bow into waves.  This worked but we decided not to stay and headed to St. Kitts the next morning.  

     In St. Kitts we stayed in the marina in Basseterre to check in and recover from our crazy trip over.  The price was more than reasonable.  Father’s Day was quiet in town and not much open.  The next day a cruise ship came into port and it was like a different city with everything open and people everywhere.  We did a lot of walking through town and spent time buying produce from local vendors.  We noticed a lot of Bob Marley merchandise.  Pretty much the only image on any person living or dead on any article of clothing was Bob Marley.  

     We had to make another trip to the dentist and found a great one a short walk from the marina.  The filling cost us $100 E.C. here (approximately $37.00 U.S.).  Wow!

A cruise ship came into port each day while we were staying at the marina so the town of Basseterre stayed busy from sun up to sun down.  We decided to travel by bus to the other side of the island.  The buses are really minivans that are painted cool colors with artistic spray painted names above the bumpers.  There were some very unusual bus names like Hulk, The Equalizer, Sas, Scooby Doo, etc. It was like a roller coaster ride.  Lots of fast ups and downs with a few stops.  When we arrived in Dieppe Bay there wasn’t much going on.  A few houses had people and kids in front of them and the beach was brownish black sand with a lot of seaweed.  

     We found a small trailer, Linda’s Snack Shack where we had cheeseburgers all around.  We walked down the road to catch a bus to the other side of the island.  We stood on the side of the road and waved our hands and they picked us up.  What an adventure!

     Next stop Nevis.

Monday, June 15, 2015

U.S. Virgin Islands

First place we went was St. Thomas where we anchored in the harbor of Charlotte Amalie.  There weren’t any cruise ships in port so the place was slow and not a lot going on.  We took a  safari bus up the big hill to the library ($1 each!) but the library was closed so we walked around the mall and Kmart.  

Back at the boat we decided we had seen enough of Charlotte Amalie and headed toward Christmas Cove on the East end of the island.  In the cove we found a boat called Pizza Pi π.  Of course we had to try the pizza and found it rivals the pizza in NY and NJ.  Yummy!

Christmas cove has free moorings so we stayed for a few days to snorkel.  The coral is mostly dead but we did see some interesting fish.  The kids got to snorkel with a turtle for a while and were amazed at how long the turtle held it’s breath.  There we a lot of spiny sea urchins that made it difficult to get to shore except for a small patch of sand big enough to land the dinghy.  

Next stop was the next island over, St. John, where we anchored in Cruz Bay just in time to pick up the mail.  The computer just needed a new wire to connect the hard drive to the computer, Yay!  It is working again.  The dinghy motor is up and working again plus a little high pitched whine when we are cruising at low speed.  Just a little reminder for me each time we cruise around in it to watch out for coral heads.  We didn’t stay long in Cruz Bay because the spot to anchor is not big and for short term use only.  We came back the next day by dinghy to spend a full day at their library. The library system in the USVI is surprisingly big with a lot of books for the kids to read.  

We spent the next few days visiting the anchorages of St. John and the National Park.  We hiked to the petroglyphs, old school house, and the Annaberg Sugar Mill.  We attempted to snorkel the underwater trail at Trunk Bay but were inundated by small jelly fish.  Ugh!!  The coral looked like it was starting to grow back and become colorful but very slowly.  We found less jelly fish around the island near Leister Bay and saw more colorful fish including  a school of Yellow Jacks.  Salt pond was our last stop where we attempted to snorkel around Booby Rock but the water was too rough so we stayed near shore.  Samantha decided she would start taking the kayak around by herself with a parent near by just in case.  She and Nicholas have a great time near the beach with the kayak pretending it is their own ship.  They tie a rock to a line and use it as an anchor.  They move from one anchorage to the next (all of 5 feet) and have a blast jumping off their boat into the water to explore their new anchorage.  
Petroglyphs with mirror image in the water.

Annaberg Sugar Mill

The wind direction changed the next day to E so we took advantage and had a great sail all the way to St. Croix.  We applied for a permit to visit Buck Island Reef which took two days to get.  Part of the process was filling out an application then we had to bring it back with the boat registration to the park office so they could copy it.  
The Park Office was located in the Fort.

Chickens are Everywhere!

Buck Island was a nice spot to anchor.  We didn’t snorkel the underwater trail there because the wind was blowing and it was rough water on the other side of the island.  Instead we enjoyed the beach and snorkeling off the shore.  The sand was soft and made cool drip sand castles.  

We spent a day driving around in a rental car to see all of St. Croix.  We loved it there!  The whole island has a good feel to it. 
Art along the beach.

The most eastern part of the U.S.

Mangos from a nice local guy.
Mango! Mango! Mango!

Next stop is the British Virgin Islands.