Getting ready to head North

Monday 2nd May 2011
 
We've spent the last few days in Charlotte Amalie getting a few jobs done,  shopping in the chandleries and KMarts and riding around the island on the local buses. These are trucks with open sides that would definitely not pass Health & Safety rules back home!
 
The inverter which we use to charge the laptops gave up on us shortly after leaving St Martin,where we could have easily and cheaply bought a replacement.We have been to numerous places here in an attempt to buy something that will suffice until we can replace the inverter. No luck as none of the adaptors will fit our nine-year-old Dell workhorse. 
 
I have treated myself to some new shorts- not before time as the arse is hanging out of most of those I already own.  Steve also has some very smart check shorts -typically American!
 
We ate out at Shipwreck on the first night and the burgers were so huge we didn't need to eat until lunchtime the next day!  We also spent a very enjoyable evening in Greenhouse where the cocktails are two for one, with the guys from Flying Cloud and Nimue.
 
           
Rick (Branson?!) & Lucy (Flying Cloud), and Anne (Nimue)                            2 for 1 cocktails during Happy Hour...
 
It's carnival week here now, which doesn't seem to make much difference during the day,but boy does it get noisy at night!  Not surprisingly there is a large empty expanse of water in the part of the bay nearest to the shore, but even out in the middle we can feel the boat vibrate with the 'music'.  Today there were three cruise ships on the dock when we woke up - they seem to slide in silently in the night and then disgorge their thousands of tourists onto the island for a few hours before slipping back out again.  Locals say that they are killing the tourist industry on the islands because they are so well fed and watered onboard that they don't spend any money ashore.  They visit so many duty-free places that they don't spend anything in those shops either, so they are not that popular, especially as they take holidaymakers that might at one time have spent a whole holiday on one island.
 
Our plan now is to do a supermarket run to stock up for a longish passage- not  because we necessarily are going to do one, but because we've been advised that if we stop in the Turks & Caicos or the Bahamas prices are high and availability limited.  We need to fill up with diesel which is very cheap here - $4 a gallon, and then it's just a matter of waiting for a weather window and we will be off. 
 
Internet access here has been surprisingly poor, and we're not sure what it will be like until we get to the US coast, but we will press the satellite phone into action for email if need be.