Tuesday, May 24, 2011

When it rains it pours

We said our goodbyes to Warren and Kathie, headed north to St. John and spent the next week bumping around the USVI checking out the different spots along the coasts. 

Kathie & Warren aboard Saralane
Christmas Cove, Caneel Bay, Cinnamon Bay, Francis Bay, Maho Bay and Leinster Bay just briefly, until the bugs started bugging us. We had some beautiful sunny days.... 

… and some rain. Lots of rain. Almost two weeks of rain.

And since into each life a little rain must fall… we plumbed our scupper drains into our water tanks to collect it. After a few minutes of hard rain to wash the salt and crud off the boat, we open up the drains to the tanks and let the rainwater in. We’ve filled our tanks a few times this way and are feeling pretty smug and self-satisfied about it.

We saw critters both flying and swimming....

And rays that seem to be both flying and swimming at the same time.

We're seeing some pretty interesting snorkeling styles lately. These first two are snorkeling 101....

Then came the advanced class.... they just jump right in.

Anchored off Caneel Bay in St. John was this BIG sailboat. To give some sense of scale... the little sailboat ahead of the big boat is about the size of Saralane. We're 40'.

Of course there were also the flowers - I still can't get enough of the flowers.

 Our last stop before heading over to the BVI to check in was to top up the fuel tanks. We stopped in Red Hook on St. Thomas for that... and are glad that we're only paying the diesel bill on the left and not the gas bill on the right!

The fuel dock guy saw me take this photo and said "I guess you won't need a receipt then?" Funny guy....
Off we went to Jost Van Dyke to check in to the BVI and I shot this photo of the blue car driving along Jost. See it? 

After a day at Jost, we headed over to Road Town to meet up with my dad and stepmom for a week. This visit holds the promise of yet more new and interesting snorkeling styles. Stand by...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Spoiled in St. Croix

We made some new friends in Culebra where we tucked into a sheltered cove to avoid the bouncy waves brought on by continuing strong easterlies. Having left their “I-could-tell-you-but-then-I’d-have-to-kill-you” type careers in DC, Patti and John live now aboard Anhinga full time. They told us great stories about their lives and shared info about the islands they’ve visited so far. They were kind enough to loan us their tandem kayak and even took some photos of our maiden voyage.
John and Patti stop by for a visit
The bigger/stronger person sits in the back and follows the lead of the person in the front. For this very reason, John calls it ‘the divorce boat’ when a husband/wife duo paddles, but we ended up laughing more than arguing on our excursion. We hope to come across them again as we continue traveling in the Caribbean.
Briefly in sync...
Often out of sync
Once again we were waiting out the weather and since we hadn’t had a chance to do any land travel from Salinas, we took the ferry to Fajardo one day to make an overdue pilgrimage to the West Marine there. The hour and a half trip cost only $2.25 per person each way – quite the bargain. It’s not just small boats that rock and roll in the big easterlies – the ferries do too. The ferry took such a hard roll at one point that most of the life jackets stowed overhead went flying overboard. It’ll sure surprise someone when about fifty empty life jackets wash up on some beach somewhere.

Happiness is an hour spent in West Marine.
With time on our hands we broke into some of the coconuts we picked up on Vieques and made some coco-nutty things. 
This part is best done off the big boat 
I've discovered that doing anything with a coconut is really labor intensive and I'd be willing to pay more now for desiccated coconut or cans of coconut milk. Just drinking the coconut liquid and eating the fresh coconut meat is treat enough too.
Grated and desiccated coconut, used for....
....coconut and lemon cupcakes!
Coconut chips
I made some coconut and mango coconut popsicles too, but they all got eaten before they made it front of the camera. I made some bread too while the oven was hot.

These two critters, both wandering around Culebra, were about the same size.
Still trying to make tracks to St. Croix, we took advantage of what was barely a weather window and sailed a rough 20 miles from Culebra to Water Island and anchored between Water Island and St. Thomas for the night. Skip’s parents lived on Water Island for 25 years and as we sailed in we saw their first house on Shipwreck Point. It’s an aptly named spot….

When we went ashore the next day we ran into our friend Josh, from Rhode Island, who was there to delivery a boat north with a customer. 

Happy sailing Josh!
When we went to sleep that night, this ship was docked at the sub base pier, loading boats to go north to the states.

The next morning we were up early and this ship was docked there in its’ place, blocking out half the hillside. 

More cruise ships tucked around the corner at Havensight in Charlotte Amalie
The last leg of our trip to St. Croix was about 35 miles and we arrived there early in the afternoon to the welcome sight of Skip’s parents waving to us from the dock. (Sorry no photo… it’s hard to handle lines and take pictures at the same time!) For the next four days we got spoiled. Hot showers, clean towels, great meals, great views and most of all great company. (A special thanks to chef Bobby who hooked us up with some fabulous locally made chipotle pepper hot sauce!)

Warren and Kathie
This was one of my favorite spots

View from the Buccaneer dining room
Afternoon at Mermaid Beach
Look closely and you'll see St. Thomas and St. John way in the distance.
Kathie and Warren looking relaxed after their Caribbean holiday
They came down to see us off the day we left, but I'll pick up there on the next post....