17 45 0N 64 41 9W

Fri 25 Apr 2014 17:36

It was a sad farewell to the BVI’s on Monday, our 30 days were nearly up (that’s all you are allowed unless you extend it by temporary importing your boat for $200!) and as the strong stormy easterly was about to subside before turning towards to southern quadrant we decided to head to Saint Croix which is about 40 miles south of Peter Island.  This would then give us a good angle to be able to sail to St Martin when the wind shifts to the south east.  From St Martin we then have a reasonable angle to sail back down through the Leeward Islands in readiness for the hurricane season starting in June.

After checking out at Road Town, Tortola, we tacked across Francis Drake Passage passing by The Rhone wreck off Salt Island and setting our course for Saint Croix which is part of the US Virgin Islands.  We had a beautiful sail maintaining over 7 knots most of the way, and were welcomed into St Croix by half a dozen small dolphins who played briefly under the bow and then disappeared.  What a wonderful sight, we haven’t seen them for so long.  We arrived at the capital Christiansted and made our way through the buoyed channel avoiding the reefs and met Pannikin in the anchorage who had left a few hours before us.

The USVI’s were bought by the US in 1917 from the Dutch, and Saint Croix is the largest and most fertile.  We had a brief wander through the streets in the morning, there are some wonderful colonial buildings dating back to the mid 1700’s all painted in pastel colours and well maintained.  Much cleaner and tidier than some of the other islands.

A small dinghy in the harbour caught my eye and made me smile…


Unlucky for some…


After finally finding some Wi-Fi, we rechecked the weather and found that the easterly wind was coming back sooner than originally predicted, so with the current south east wind we had to leave that afternoon and sail the 90 miles arriving early next morning.  So we didn’t get our planned snorkel off Buck Island which supposedly has a beautiful reef with lots of fish and turtles, but that’s sailing.  Just before leaving we took advantage of the cheap fuel at the marina, diesel is US$4.40 per US gallon, that’s around 68p a litre!  So now full of fuel we headed off out to sea, the first few hours of light ese winds were annoying but then the wind turned more to the south and we were off sailing close hauled and in the right direction which is always encouraging!  With light winds of between 7 and 11 knots true, we sailed elegantly at 4-5 knots with a gentle motion, arriving at Marigot Bay, St Martin at 10am the following morning.  During Jez’s early morning shift he had a visit from a tired tern, he flew around the boat a few times then landed on the Navpod at the helm, sitting on top of the Raymarine screen with Jez at the wheel!  He stayed there for 25 minutes, preening himself, before flying off as the sun came up!

The last few days have been so hot, and the lighter winds feel warm too so the boat is superhot inside even with hatches open – thank god we can jump in the sea to cool down!  So whilst we wait for the wind to turn either back to the east or even better a bit north of east, we will stay and get some jobs done on Joy (the usual painting and varnishing).

Yesterday we had some unexpected visitors who stayed all afternoon, I did in the end have to ask them to clear off as we really needed to carry on with our work….



Have you got any peas, Skipper?





Oh, and something else that made me smile in Marigot, St Martin…


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