After our relaxed weekend sheltering from strong
winds we exposed ourselves to the outside world in a lovely bay on the
south-east corner of St John. The snorkling was great and Chris was
eulogising about all the familiar and unfamiliar brightly coloured fish.
In this large and almost empty bay two large catamarans came and rafted up right
in front of us so we took umbrage and retired to our hurricane hole for the
night and enjoyed the antics of six pelicans catching their evening meal.
Annaberg Sugar Mill overlooking Water
On Tuesday we had a lovely sail round to the
north side of St John into Water Melon Bay which is in the National Park.
Moorings are provided and anchoring prohibited. With no destructive anchor
chains the seagrass` has recovered here and the wildlife is flourishing with
lots of eagle rays and turtles. The Bay Hostess (senior prefect), a
volunteer living on a yacht, visited us in the evening and introduced herself
and her dog rather as if she were showing some new pupils around her
school. All very US! She was obviously there to make sure we behaved
ourselves and we gleaned from her that our isolated anchorages of the weekend
were prohibited to yachts as Bill Clinton had declared them the Virgin
Islands Coral Reef National Monument. He really should have kept himself to
himself! It is not surprising we had the place to ourselves but in
mitigation our recently published, US written, pilot identified them as bonafide
Equally confusing are the Customs and Immigration
procedures and the guys behind the desks seem to make up their own rules as they
go along and are armed with sheets of totally ambiguous instructions for
unsuspecting foreign yachties.
Onward via Redhook Bay and Christmas Cove to
Charlotte Amalie on St Thomas where the dock was lined with cruise ships
and the town stuffed with passengers looking for bargains in the 200 or so
Who is invading our
The ships come in for the day and then put out to
sea in the evening to get to their next bargain hunting destination.
Sometimes these are so close that the ships steam very slowly or round in
circles while the passegers slumber ready for the next days shopping
spree. We have often met these brightly lit floating cities when
sailing at night and their circular perambulations can be quite confusing!
Culebra - delightfully shambolic and
We left St Thomas yesterday and sailed to Culebra,
the nearest of the Spanish Virgin Islands on the east side of Puerto
Rico. Delightfully scruffy, and 3000 very friendly inhabitants. All
this is US territory and we now have a US Cruising Permit which allows us: "to
go freely anywhere for a whole year without clearing in or out providing we
check in with the Customs at each port of call !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! "
Confused? yes so are we!
By great coincidence while we were ashore last
night for supper in a waterside establishment miles from anywhere, seated at the
next table was a couple we last met in Trinidad (very good friends of friends on
Dartmoor) who are on their way to Alaska via Panama and Hawii on their yacht