Down the Hatch

Wind Charger
Bob and Elizabeth Frearson
Sat 9 May 2015 22:23
No Balls!  Hooray, he was definitely on my list of “reasons not to be a prostitute”.  On that happy note we walked over to Tickles for supper and had burgers and fries, as you do around here.  With a bottle of Carib (okay, or two) we quite happily put the world of elections to rights, moved on to just how much should the taxpayer fund in terms of welfare and good deeds and how much should be undertaken by charities and ended up with a rather heated discussion about the merits of having a sign saying “Caution Hot Water” above the hot tap (surely people must realise that the hot water from a hot tap is going to be, well, hot?  I think we should stick to the safer subject of the loss of Balls!
We had a long discussion with our neighbours but one, Rosemary and James (yes really, a genuine Rosie and Jim!) about preparing the boat for shipping.  They are going with Peters and May as well and seem to have received a long email with numerous instructions.  We haven’t, or just can’t read it through the satellite link.  Stuart said “just load it as it is, just rope up the sails”.  Rosemary and James have taken theirs off.  We have decided to err on the side of caution and our list of things to do is getting longer by the minute.  However, we are in St Thomas so we want to have a bit of a look around so planned to to do the Historic Walking Tour of Charlotte Amalie.  We took the taxi bus into town, a strange sort of pick up truck style vehicle, with the driver isolated in his cab, with open seating at the back marked taxi.  You have absolutely no idea where it is going so just have to hope.  Any trip is a dollar and you pay when you get off.  To tell the driver you want to get off at the next stop, you press a buzzer wired along the roof and it makes a wahoo sort of noise.  It all seems to work very well although we were a bit confused when our driver turfed us all out and told us to get the one behind.
We duly alighted at the first featured highlight of the tour, Fort Christian.  It was closed for renovation but we were able to admire it through the security fencing.  We then walked through Emancipation Park, the Grand Galleria (closed), popped into the delightfully simple and peaceful Frederick Lutheran church, passed by the St Thomas Historical Museum (closed), skirted by the Historical Trust Museum (closed), the Seven Arches Museum (closed), admired Government House and started the vertiginous climb of the 99 Steps.  Fortunately we hadn’t got too far when a very friendly local informed us that the map was wrong and these weren’t THE 99 steps, just some steps.  We stopped counting, descended, went along the road a short step before finding the real thing.  So we climbed those 99 steps and went to visit Blackbeard’s Tower (closed), admired the Haagensen House from outside (closed) before retracing the 99 steps down to Main Street.  We picked up the trail past Bakery Square (restored out of all recognition), passed the enormous Reformed Church (closed) and staggered up a very steep hill to the second oldest in the world (some doubts about that) Synagogue which was, you have guessed it, closed.  By this time it was noon so we went and found a beer, once we found anywhere that was open! 
We returned via the sea plane terminal where we found that we could have a day trip to St Croix, so we are tomorrow.  After lunch in the restaurant that overlooks where the sea planes land and take off we made the return trip to Crown Bay via the bus come taxi service feeling quite old hands.
After a bit of a sit down, we are on holiday after all, we set to and took the sails off and any ropes that we can, shovelled them down the hatch, cleared out all but essentials from the fridge (leaving the beer, tonic and gin of course) and cleaned all the instruments and put their covers on.  Taking down the foresail Bob discovered that the shackle had worked its way open and was hanging on by the skin of its thread.  The guys at Rodney Bay had, despite reminders, omitted to put in a very simple and easy piece of wire to stop this happening.  We have been extremely lucky not to have had a very exciting parting of the ways under sail.  We are now both sweaty, exhausted and dehydrated.  I think we really do deserve a gin and tonic.  Cheers, down the hatch!