|A - Great Lameshur Bay, B - Saltpond Bay, C - Coral Bay, D- Hansen Bay, E - Francis Bay, |
F - Waterlemon Cay
Saturday, April 12, 2014
Friday, April 4, 2014
March 19 - April 4, 2014
|22 - San Juan, 23- Fajardo, 24 - Culebra, 25 - St Thomas, 26 - St John|
It was 5:15 AM when I awoke. The local roosters were crowing telling Culebra it's time to get up. Too early for me. I rolled over and suddenly it’s 7:00. The roosters were still crowing but at a much more civilized hour! The doors to the cockpit were open and I could look from the bed all the way through the boat. Since we are anchored, I got a panoramic view of the bay as the boat slowly twisted on it's anchor chain. Another beautiful day! We enjoyed three days in the Culebra harbor without leaving the boat. It was good to relax after having company for a week.
|Charlotte Amalie Harbor from a lookout on our way to Magens Bay Beach.|
|Exploring alleys and streets in Charlotte Amalie.|
|These ships looked really big (259 & 279 feet) until |
David Geffen's 453 foot ship pulled in. Yowza, that's
only one of his two super yachts!
|Lavinia and Richard's Krogen, Partners.|
|Night view of Charlotte Amalie from our cockpit.|
|A - Great Lameshur Bay, B - Saltpond Bay, C - Coral Bay|
|First views of St John|
Three nights and two days was long enough in St Thomas. We were ready to move on to St John, one of our favorite destinations in the world. Two-thirds of the island is a national park with NO airports or cruise ship docks. There are only two towns and very few large resorts. St John is where our daughter, Jennifer, married Ian 12 years ago. 55 guests spent a week celebrating with us. I still hear from some of those guests saying it was one of their best vacations.
Our weather guru had sent an email warning that a large storm with hurricane type winds had hit Nova Scotia earlier in the week. That storm was sending large swells our way and we needed to get into a protected bay before it's expected arrival on Thursday. Email friends that have been down here for years recommended Great Lameshure Bay on the south side of St John. It was just two hours from our anchorage in Charlotte Amalie. Thanks to Barb and Chuck on Tusen Takk II (another Krogen) we are tucked into a beautiful protected hideaway.
The weather prediction was correct. Thursday night, right on schedule, the winds picked up with intermittent showers throughout the night and the next day. Our secluded location protected us from the swells and wind. Even the best locations can have a drawback or two. We are suffering with very limited WiFi and poor phone reception. Luckily the water is 80 degrees, clear, a beautiful blue and calling me to take a leap.... a good daily diversion. Brian is being much more productive by putting additional coats of varnish on the cap rail. The last time he worked on it was in Stuart, Florida. Bugs, rain and ash from the sugar cane
|Every night there is a beautiful sunset. Luckily I|
remembered to take a photo this time.
Most of the bays in St John have mooring buoys. Anchoring is only
allowed in specified locations. The park service is trying to preserve the coral and anchors can tear up decades of growth. The buoys are only $15/night which is a great deal. But, even better — if you have a senior pass for the national parks the fee is cut in half! Luckily we have the pass and, even better, we could actually find it. Fabulous!!! This bay is where the Tektite aquanaut program was located in the late 60s and early 70s. Four men lived in a chamber 60 feet under water for two months. Saturday, March 29th was the 45th anniversary of the program. Three of the aquanauts spoke at a program and showed slides of their life under water.
|The weather has calmed. Time to leave Lameshur.|
|Saltpond Bay |
The beach was an easy swim from the boat. Snorkel
off the swim platform and some BIG FISH.
Monday, March 31st, we moved to the next bay, Saltpond. There are only six mooring buoys in this bay and we were warned to only stay if we could get on one of the two that are closest to the beach. The other four get too much wave action from the reef. We came over on Sunday and no buoys were available. Tried again on Monday morning and JACKPOT — we got one that was next to the beach! This is a classic location.
|On the ferry for a 15 minute ride from Cruze Bay,|
St John to Red Hook, St Thomas.
Thursday was a busy fun day. We used the dingy to go into Coral Bay. Met Roger at the dingy dock. He had the full scoop on this small town including where to catch the island bus. The bus is a full size city bus that takes this two lane, steep road like it’s a Miami freeway. It was exciting! Especially when it turned to one lane and a van was coming at us in that one lane. Our bus driver didn’t back down, she had size on her side — both the bus and the driver! Next was a ferry ride to St Thomas to pick up
|Walking into the Cruze Bay shopping area.|
|'Fine dining' at Skinny Legs.|
I carried my computer this whole day hoping to find a restaurant with WiFi. No luck. If this blog gets longer it's going to crash computers that try to open it.
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
|Doing the 'happy dance' now that they are |
off the plane!
|Ready to begin the hike.|
The first day of their visit we went to El Yunque National Forest....a tropical rain forest. The land was originally set aside in 1876 by King Alfonso XII of Spain. We hiked the long strenuous path to La Mina Falls. OK, it's only .7 of a mile, but it really is up and down one steep hill and then another on a very narrow path. The falls cascade into a pool of ice cold water. It was definitely worth the pain. The scenery was fabulous the entire way and the kids loved swimming at the falls.
|Finally, the falls!|
|Amazing trees supporting other|
|Heading back to the car.|
|Feeling a little seasick.|
Our next stop was Culebra--a four ride by boat. This beautiful island was a practice bombing site for the U.S. Navy until 1975. There are still tanks in the forests and on the beach. Now it is a quiet getaway for Puerto Ricans and boaters traveling the area. Culebra is one of the islands referred to as the Spanish Virgins. We arrived mid afternoon, anchored in Ensenada Honda and began jumping off the back of the boat. The next morning Brian put the dinghy in the water only to find that the motor would not start. Lots of disappointment for everyone. He worked on it all day rebuilding the
|Not everyone felt bad.|
Beach.... absolutely gorgeous!
|We're all feeling great now!|
|National Wildlife Refuge|
|Niko and Erin snorkel.|
|Heading into town|
|Downtown shops, restaurants and hotels.|
|Leftover tank from the Navy's bombing practice.|
|Wild chickens are all over the island. |
This one has babies.
|Watching the fish as we wait for lunch.|
|Last night on board I helped the kids make fish out|
of coconuts that we found on the beach.
Another stop at Costco after the airport. Time to finish provisioning. Unbelievable--- they were out of Diet Coke. Really -- out of Diet Coke? How can a major store run out of Coke? You know what that means -- another (our 6th) Costco visit. This one had plenty. (I know you are relieved.) This boat is maxed with food. Every drawer and cabinet, all of the refrigerator shelves and both freezers are loaded. We even filled the ice maker with food! Trinidad here we come!
Gotta smile -- we're lovin the ride!