Thursday, June 25, 2015

Pretty quiet here

It's been pretty quiet here since most everyone has sailed off in the past month or so. We both had plans to travel back to the states for a few weeks; Skip had an Outbound to deliver north from the BVI and I was heading north to visit with family, but first we sailed from St Thomas over to the quieter bays of St John.

Passing by Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas
John H skips along behind us through the harbor in St Thomas
Air/marine traffic in the harbor
Francis Bay was so thick with jelly-like creatures it was creepy just to be in the water. We never quite figured out what they were - siphonophores, salps, jellyfish eggs, some kind of larvae...? Someone on the beach described it aptly as "swimming through tapioca". Ick.

One critter on the beach
Zillions of them suspended in the shallow water in Francis Bay
We managed to find a few spots that seemed clear of them though and got in some good snorkeling.

Tube worm and spider crab
Scrawled filefish
Peacock flounder trying to blend in 
We also picked up a little land creature while we were off snorkeling in Francis Bay. He must have hopped into the dinghy and caught a ride back to the boat with us. We managed to trap him and return him to the beach, but it was kind of nice having a little 'pet' on board for a day!

You know it's been a slow few weeks when I have more photos of this little lizard than anything else...

"Hello? Anyone out there?"

"Let me OUT!!!!!!"
Walking the beach on the Maho side of the bay we spotted this Night Heron perched on a branch over the water.

Classic palms (and power lines) in the Caribbean
Another way to tell it's been slow around here is that we decided to once again try to chase down a tiny fresh water leak on the starboard side. It's been with us since we left, and it never gets better or worse. We can not figure out where the water's coming in. Once in a while we go in and clean out the water that's gotten into the area around the tank. Not our favorite chore.
Drip drip drip...
One nice thing about the slow season here is that our charter crew friends are still around and have a little more free time than they do during the season. We caught up with Barbara & Greg from Spitfire and Rik & Ann from Sandcastle - both of whom we met our first year on the hard in Virgin Gorda. Rik gave us a look at the power boat he's running part time now too.

Rik swings by when he sees us arrive in Caneel Bay
Rik gives us the tour... the cushy salon on m/v Satisfaction. Very swanky.
Between visits with friends and time spent snorkeling and swimming we keep at our chores. A trip up to North Sound to do laundry doesn't work out so well.

Looks like it's back to washing in the bucket for now
We scored some good patching material for John H on the beach in North Sound though. This wrecked dinghy has been here since last fall before we left for St Martin, so we figure it's fair game at this point. We weren't the first to cannibalize it either.

Before we tucked Saralane away in Nanny Cay for our time away, we connected with our friends Ted and Claudia and their cool kids Max and Anya. We met these guys our first year out and since then they've left behind life on land and are living aboard their boat Demeter in Tortola. 

Max - dinghy captain

We snorkel around Ted and Claudia's bubbles in Mountain Point
Palms on the beach in Nanny Cay
While Skip and crew were sailing north, I was spending time with family and friends in Delaware - and got to see my niece Carly graduate from high school. Yay Carly!!! She's off to college in the fall, and hopefully we'll get her back down to visit us on Saralane before she graduates from college. 

Carly the high school graduate!
And, because I can (and because I still think of her as a little kid sometimes).... I'm including this photo of Carly at five years old, when high school and college and all that grown up stuff seemed impossibly far in the future. 

The high school graduate, still in elementary school.
Clockwise from L: Carly and her cousins at her graduation party: Gavin, Maya, Carly holding baby Bryson, Aidan and Sasha
Skip and crew arrived safely in Rhode Island; I met up with them there and four of us traveled back to the BVI together. Two of Skip's crew were our friends John and Fran who we met in the customs office in St Maarten a few years ago. They hadn't been to Newport before and took the opportunity to explore our adopted hometown. The mansions were a big hit with Fran... I think one or two mansions would have been enough for John. (Note to self: go see more mansions when we're back in Newport.)

Fran and John on Cliff Walk in Newport
How to spot an Aussie pirate.... John's Crocs.

How to spot good traveling companions... they're still smiling at the end of a long day of travel. John and Fran on the ferry to Tortola.
These two are really fun to spend time with and we've been sharing meals and drinks and swapping movies and stories (and borrowing their paddleboard - thanks guys!). We're going to stick around here for now; it's windy as hell and we're not inclined to head east until conditions moderate. For now we're enjoying the quiet of being in the BVI off season...