Thursday, May 14, 2015

Cheery bye now...

The transient nature of this lifestyle means lots of hellos and goodbyes; lately there have been both. Our freezer was full of tuna and mahi from our few recent passages that we were happy to add to shared meals with friends (bonus: it gave us a chance to boast about our fishing luck/skill... mostly luck) and at last we had good reason to cook that extra turkey we picked up after Thanksgiving which had been taking up half our freezer space.

I'm cheating here.... this is the mahi Skip showed off at the end of the previous blog. But I can't resist starting off with a fish photo!
On St John we connected with bunches of friends who were in the area waiting for weather to head north to the US, south to Bonaire or east to the Azores. 

Iain and Fiona on Ruffian, with guest Emma on board, zipped by us as we sailed toward different anchorages on St John. We caught up with them on the south side and negotiated a half-hour-past-the-crack-of-dawn timing for a hike one day. 

Hi Ruffians!
View from part way up/down. Saralane way in the distance, in Great Lameshur Bay, St John
Emma, front and center, with the crew of Saralane on the left and Ruffain on the right
Iain, with... Larry, the stuffed llama... in his mouth. I can't even explain this. 
Iain & Fiona demonstrate proper selfie technique. Larry the llama peeks out of Iain's backpack.
In Francis Bay we caught up with Ed and Elizabeth on Skylark and Dan and Jackie on Chill, and decided to meet up again a few days later in Great Lameshur along with Ruffian and their friends Tony and Jill on Nychea. 

Ed and Elizabeth on Skylark
Luna, Skylark's sailing dog... who, despite appearances, did not just eat a black magic marker
Saying 'cheese' with Ed on Skylark, in Francis Bay St John

Dan & Jackie on Chill. Jackie should be crowned as "Queen of the Conch" for her musical conch skills.
Dan and Jackie spent their past few months hosting so many friends and family aboard Chill in the BVI that they were officially thought to be a charter boat here - but with their last visitors gone, we finally got some time with them. Maybe chartering is in their blood, since they graciously offered to host eleven people for an impromptu belated (or early?) Thanksgiving dinner one night. Thanks Chillians!! 

Clockwise from L to R:  Ed, me, Jill, Iain, Jackie, Dan, Skip, Fiona, Emma, Tony. Missing is Elizabeth who's behind the camera.
I think we'd eaten just about everyone's food stores by this time and the weather was good for traveling so off we all went in different directions. We said our goodbyes and headed to St Croix to visit with Skip's family.

One last sunset before sailing for St Croix
We tried like mad to catch something other than sargasso on our way to St Croix - reeling in and cleaning weed from our lines constantly - but no luck. This big patch of weed was sheltering at least a few tuna and they jumped out of the water and snapped at our lures but they were too fast, too smart or too lucky to be caught.

There's tuna under that thar patch o' weed!
Our week in St Croix was the mix of good time spent with family, cushy square beds, air conditioned rooms, endless hot water and too much good food that we've come to look forward to each year at the Buccaneer. We were SO relaxed in fact that neither us ever managed to pick up the camera and take any photos. Fortunately, our brother-in-law Dan is an avid photographer and he graciously allowed me the use of his. Thanks Dan!!

Cindy & Kathie 
Warren on the beach... the jury's still out on that hat.
Kathie & Cindy fresh from the sea
Skip and me
Kathie enjoys the view
The only issue with Dan being the photographer is that there are no photos of Dan! There are lots on the blog post from last year's visit though so he doesn't get left out.

We had use of a car one day and did some running around for boat 'stuff' and stopped in to see our friend Matt in his gallery, Island Fire Glass, in Fredricksted. Matt is a master glassblower and teaches glass blowing on the island too. 

Matt's whimsical beer drinking pig
We missed out on seeing Matt and Rachel last year when we were here so this time we made plans to meet up at Buck Island for a night after leaving the Buccaneer. They're really fun to hang out with; Matt is easy going and low key and Rachel practically sparkles with energy. Plus, being that she's from Alabama, she's the only person I've ever heard say "Dadgummit!" and mean it.

Rachel & Matt with Skip on the beach at Buck Island, St Croix
Saralane framed by Skip and Matt. St Croix through the haze in the background
We said our goodbyes with promises to visit again and the next morning we sailed north to St Thomas to catch up with the Ruffians before they sail off across the Atlantic. They're heading home with theoretical plans to work for a while, then turn around and set off again on a bigger boat perhaps.

Windblown Fiona aboard Ruffian
You know everyone by now... Fiona (with Larry the llama), Skip, me, Iain
We've had a lot of fun with these guys and it's been hard to say goodbye to them. Odds are even that they'll decide that the working life is 'rubbish' and that Ruffian is big enough, but time will tell. So... cheery bye now Ruffians. We're following your track across the ocean and hope you're catching fish every day. 

Ruffian's anchor comes up for the last time in the blue Caribbean
I'll leave things there for now. We'll be hanging around the USVI and BVI until the end of the month...