N18:19:45 W064:57:02 Crown Bay, St Thomas
Bob and Elizabeth Frearson
Thu 7 May 2015 23:27
I managed to part Bob from Rachel Abbott for long enough to go out to dinner. We had booked into Brandywine Bay thinking that we would be moored outside in the bay but not having budged from the marina (see Rachel Abbott above) we were required to call upon a taxi. Carlos (plus his wife, it seems that Caribbean menfolk are not allowed out in the evenings without their wives to chaperone them) duly met us as planned (with only a little bit of confusion having not recognised him in the dark) and we were joined by another couple who were going to the same place. They were Neil from Liverpool and his Canadian wife who were from a massive catamaran just up the line from us (put 2 Windies side by side and 2 more end to end and you’ve got the size of it). When delivered, Carlos was adamant that we should return at the same time so we agreed and went our separate ways. Brandywine was very pleasant with stunning views apparently (but of course we couldn’t see anything in the dark). The food was billed as Mediterranean, the service charming and the starters and mains covered a wide range of family favourites. Bob decided on a very delicious lobster salad to start and then sea bass, nicely cooked. I had the tuna tartare, very yummy although the side salad was somewhat laid out in slabs which detracted from the haute of the cuisine, followed by scallops presented with two very pretty puff pastry “shells”. The pudding menu came and I was horrified by the key lime pie, cheesecakes of every flavour under the sun and Grandma’s apple pie (yeuch). It did include Bob’s fave creme brulee, rather “average, not a bad one but not a hugely good one either”. I opted for the ice cream with espresso which is very simple and tasty but not so good for getting to sleep later. We duly linked up with Neil and wife and had a merry drive home.
This morning I was handed my “get up Elizabeth” coffee and while I came to Bob disappeared to the Marina Office (the one cunningly disguised as a hotel) to check out. We were all set to go by 9:00am as scheduled and left from the dock (rather bad temperedly on my part due to the barked orders) with no mishap (although from where I was clenching my buttocks swinging out towards our neighbour rather more than I would have wished). We gave a hearty wave to Neil as we passed by and headed out across the most amazingly turquoise sea with wind, real wind, blowing at a lovely 18 knots. Hooray. We whipped up the sails and set course to pass by Norman’s island, avoided the most bizarre kamikaze Americans who seemed to have no idea of the rules of the road or any idea at all where they were going other than zig zagging in front of us. Once clear of them we settled to a lovely sail wafting along at a steady 7 knots, close hauled under a sunny sky and over an energetic sea. Perfect. What a happy last sail. As we hauled round on our planned course avoiding numerous obstacles, we settled into a steady rhythm gradually swinging round to a broad reach but keeping up to a soothing 6 knots. We overtook a one man band (yay, we like overtaking even though it was a very much smaller boat) and smoothed our way alongside St Thomas. We put in a gybe that took us right into the passage that leads round Water Island to our destination, Crown Bay marina hauling in the sails for our very last time at the last moment to ease our way through. We have arrived a day earlier than planned so our reserved space was occupied by a yacht due to load for its journey to the Mediterranean tomorrow so we have anchored opposite, amongst an army of yachts and alongside Rosie and Jim who we met in English Harbour when we arrived some years ago now, a very apt way of closing the circle.
On arrival, after a beer and lunch of course, we dinghied ashore (meeting some monumentally choppy waves) grabbed the taxi (driven by a man desperately dragging on an e cigarette who sounded very much as this was a good idea with his congested chest and horrendous cough), and headed for Customs and Immigration where we filled out forms, visited the same people that we had on our day trip from Tortola, had our passports stamped again but then most refreshingly were guided through the form filling exercise by a lovely woman who kept soothing Bob with murmurs of “take your time”. Mission accomplished and hopefully all the right paperwork in order to handover to the agent, we pottered along Main Street on a different secret mission and then tried to find a taxi back. There being no cruise ship in this proved somewhat of a problem until we encountered a man parked in the taxi rank who agreed to return us to Crown Bay. He was patently not a real taxi. The bare bones of the gears and the rips in the carpets were a bit of a give away but hey, he got us back safely, despite the horrendous noised coming from underneath. We popped into the deli for a top up of water and were frankly gobsmacked at the incredible array of goods from globe artichokes to $100 bottles of wine (I wish!) This really is America.
Back on board we are constantly entertained by all the comings and goings of a very busy port. They have already loaded one yacht on deck of the enormous ship opposite and it looks as if Rosie and Jim are planning to join it. Mind you, despite all this excitement, Bob, gin and tonic at hand, has his nose firmly back in his Kindle. It is a good life.
PS Did you vote today?