Another week.....

Chelone's travels.....
John and Susie Blair.
Thu 7 Nov 2013 13:50
N:018.19.04 W:064.57.50

Yes, time is flying! Here we are, a week into November already. The last
time I wrote we were in Marina Key, North East Tortola. Since then we moved
to Cane Garden Bay with a snorkelling stop at 'Monkey Point' after being
given a tip off that it's a great spot.
Monkey Point didn't look anything special but it was! We've never swum
inside a huge shoal of tiny fish before! Also, we were dive bombed by
Pelicans (one missed me by a meter) as they gorged themselves. Huge Tarpon
patrolled the edge of the shoal as well so it was quite something to see.

Cane Garden Bay was very nice indeed, we again managed to find a spot to
anchor despite the proliferation of mooring balls and went ashore for some
very reasonably priced drinks at a beach side bar with balcony to enjoy the
sunset. The following morning we had a look around the village and picked up
some groceries before making the move across to the third British
Island....Jost Van Dyke.

There are just four main 'stop off's' on JVD, the island is very
small....about three miles by half a mile.
We we're recommended to visit 'Diamond Key' from where, after a short trek
we'll find the 'Bubbly Pool' (not to be confused with 'The Baths' on Virgin
Gorda). One of our neighbours boats was sporting a large Welsh flag so we
introduced ourselves and it turned out that they were from Welshpool and the
following morning we teamed up for the short walk to the pool. Despite the
lack of any huge swell there was water gushing into the tiny pool which was
quite refreshing.....a natural Jacuzzi! Our new friends said that someone
was killed in the pool by the forces of the incoming waves and there was a
shiny new sign nearby warning of the dangers.

That evening, I decided to stay aboard but Ross dinghied over to the one
tiny bar on the beach for a nightcap. Later, he reported back that he'd met
an American Charter Skipper who needed a hand making his Catamaran ready for
an upcoming Charter Boat Show in Charlotte Amalie, the capital of the USVI.

Well, we were heading that way so arrangements were made though firstly we'd
stop off in the next bay...'Great Harbour'. Somewhat more populated, we had
the usual struggle to find a spot to anchor but though quite deep we did
manage ok. Ashore were a few bars though 'Foxy's' it seemed was the place to
be so we dinghied in just before the heavens opened and the Halloween
evening was spent chatting to various charterers and Ross' new friend Josh.

The next day we'd originally planned to round the headland to the final stop
off.....'White Bay', a recommended place and home to the famous 'Soggy
Dollar' bar but with an opportunity for Ross to get a few days work (which
may lead to other work?) we changed our plan and Ross joined Josh aboard his
44 foot Lagoon Catamaran and sailed away to Nanny Key Tortola to pick up
some gear prior to an arranged rendezvous with myself in a couple of days
down in Charlotte Amalie, St.Thomas, USVI.

I tell you, it was quite strange watching the Cat sail away as I pulled
Chelone's sails out and headed off in the opposite direction but I was
chuffed to bits for Ross now having the experience of sailing a large
Catamaran (Something I've not done for sure!). So my plan now was to sail
over to the American island of St.John and check in with Customs then sail
across to the other (bigger) American island, St.Thomas and the capital,
Charlotte Amalie (where we'd been as foot passengers last week).

So cut a story short, I did that (in driving rain and squally winds) and
anchored off Charlotte Amalie next to the huge Cruise liners and Marina. I
pottered about onboard with the really good local radio station for company
and looked forward to meeting up with Ross and Josh the following day.

I was chatting to a neighbouring American yachtie by his boat the next
morning when Ross screamed up driving a RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat for those
who don't know). He'd also had a boisterous passage to Charlotte Amalie
though was enjoying himself. I was invited to come over to the marina {where
they were alongside) for coffee and Josh said to bring any laundry that we
needed doing as he was doing a laundry run. Over on the Cat we had coffee
and as they were starting to spruce the boat up for the show I pitched in
too. Josh provided lunch and later gave me a huge amount of unused fruit,
vegetables, frozen meat....even booze! that was left over from the previous
charter. He also gave me a wi-fi card which enabled me to use the internet
from Chelone (I couldn't log on before) so that was all very nice.

Ross attended a swanky 'Skipper's Dinner' with Josh and was staying aboard
the cat in his own air conditioned room complete with en-suite! (spoilt
rotten!). The following evening we went to the cinema to see 'Captain
Philips' with Tom Hanks, about a Container ship Captain's struggle with
Somali Pirates....very entertaining.

So after quite a few days in Charlotte Amalie we've now moved to nearby
'Water Island' and again on recommendation....'Druif Bay' where upon arrival
last evening Ross cooked up yet another masterpiece...a Roast Pork dinner
with Red Cabbage, Broccoli, Carrots, lovely gravy and even better Mash (You
trained him well Mechelle!!!!) Banana Yoghurt for desert thanks to Josh!
After dinner we chatted in the cockpit while the sun set in spectacular
style over Culebra, part of the Spanish Virgin Islands (Dominican Rep).

So I'm writing this as the sun is rising, we'll take a dip now before we
make a move back to the other American Island, St.John as we've not explored
there yet. I just checked in with the SSB radio 'Coconut Telegraph' some
checking in from Florida to the north to others in Bonaire in the south.
After the net I chatted with friends whom Susie and myself met last season
who are now making their way north so we'll meet up with them at some point
which will be fab.

So bye for now....see you in a while. JB & R.