Monday, 23 December 2013

No 33 St John and St Thomas USVI

Hi from Clare,                  Sunday 22nd December 2013

When last I wrote we had just arrived in St John USVI. We've had a very social week catching up with some of our Salty Dawg friends.
A quiet anchorage in St Johns 

We firstly had drinks with American friends Seale and Hank on their large Catana catamaran. They hosted the evening for eleven Salty Dawgs from five boats. It was terrific to meet some of the people we have been in radio contact with throughout the Rally. We anchored in Francis Bay on St John's Island and enjoyed snorkelling, swimming and sunbaking. We enjoyed a lovely shaded bush walk around the waterfront to Water Lemon Bay. We climbed the hill and viewed the remains of an old sugar plantation. In the past sugar was the main industry on the island and the plantations were operated with slave labour. We then moved the short distance to Water Lemon Bay for more snorkelling.
Views of Sir Francis Drake Passage

This old windmill powered a sugar mill
The Following day we sailed from the north side to the south side of St John Island to Salt Pond Bay. Not a very glamorous name but the bay is beautiful. Just a short walk inland revealed the natural salt pond. By this time Flash had caught up with us and so we had drinks on Eye Candy and another enjoyable social evening was had. The following morning we (Andrew, Deb and I) went for a bush walk out to the end of the island. Seale and Hank on Flash had highly recommended the coastal scenery. Unfortunately for us it rained and it was so windy as we climbed higher we seriously ran the risk of being blown off balance. We didn't reach the highest point for this reason and although we got a glimpse south across the Caribbean sea it was too grey and wild for the perfect scenic photo shoot.
Ram Head
By the time we got back to the boat it was sunny again and so we settled for a swim and another snorkel. We joined Seale and Hank on Flash for drinks along with Terry and Bob from Kismet. Hank was mixing Pain killers that were guaranteed to do the job, that's if they didn't knock you out completely. I decided to mix my own weak rum and tonic proving at long last that 'you can live and learn'.
Entering Charlotte Amalia
We sailed the short distance to Christmas Cove on St Thomas for lunch where we met up with Mary and Jeff on Echo who we spent Hurricane Sandy with last year in Virginia. Since then Jeff has had a triple bypass and is now very gratefully enjoying a new lease of life. We also met up with Salty Dawgs Fiona and Tim on Endless Pleasure. So we had a very busy lunch break and Deb enjoyed her last swim for the holiday before we moved to the capital city and busy harbour of Charlotte Amalie.
Cruise ships in Charlotte Amalia
The following day we explored the town and enjoyed some retail therapy in the duty free shops. Deb bought a few more gifts to take home. She came with two small bags but is leaving with three. Andrew and I bought ourselves Christmas presents; new binoculars for Andrew and a pocket size underwater camera for me.

Deb left yesterday after a three month holiday. In the beginning she was saying "I can't believe I am in New York" towards the end she was saying "I can't believe I won't be here in a few days" - suffice to say she was feeling quite at home on the water.

Bringing home the shopping

Last night we moved half a mile away from the busy harbour and anchored in a quiet bay near by. We had drinks with English OCC (Ocean Cruising Club) friends Judith and Ken on Badgers Set. This morning we took the dinghy ashore to the beach bar and connected to WiFi for the first time in two weeks. We will post both this and last week's newsletters shortly.
Debs departure
We will head back to Francis Bay St John Island for Xmas day. We will know a few people there and it is a large well protected bay. After that we will probably go around to the south side of St John's and explore a few of the bays that we missed.

We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Love Candy and no Deb xx

At 12:53 PM14/12/2013 (utc) our position was 18°21.85'N 064°44.78'W

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