compass rose

 Accidental Cruiser in the West Indies

We anchor in weather and see a shark: Christiansted, St. Croix
This journal is a log of all the messages from Susie & Lance. For pictures, please see the Gallery.
Sunday, February 23, 2003
    Since we last wrote, we've been hanging out in various bays, running errands, fixing things and getting ready for Quincy and Sarah's visit. And now, we are enjoying having friends aboard. We arrived in Red Hook on Monday, the 17th, so the visitors could take a taxi and find us, and we could take advantage of being in the USVI for provisioning, and various marine supplies. One of the projects we decided to undertake was replacing the smelly hose under the galley sink.
    We took the dollar bus to Charlotte Amalie, and visited Radio Shack, Budget Marine and K-mart. Hundreds of dollars poorer, we returned to Red Hook. Next to us in the marina , we met Ed and Tina who live aboard a Beneteau 35 and work as Captain and first mate on a Hinkley 51 taking people on day sails from Caneel Bay. We went up to the bar and got lots of tips and advice from them. Ed used to be a CFO, and he likes being a Captain much better. The next gig they have lined up is 3 year gig on a 136 foot motor yacht. They start in Connecticut, take the boat down to the Caribbean for the first year. There will be the two of them and the pilot/engineer aboard, and then 3 more staff when family and guests join them. Then for the second year, the boat will be barged to the Med, where they will spend a year exploring. For the third year, the boat will be barged to Seattle, where they will take it up to Fairbanks, and then the year will be spent going down the coast. They get the boat for themselves and their friends 4 weeks a year, and are extremely well paid for this gig.
     In the morning, Lance started working on removing the smelly hose, which plugs into a y-valve and joins the galley sink discharge. Because the hose clamps were rusted, he disconnected the part of the galley hose that attached to the seacock. Much cursing and swearing, as part of the seacock came off with the hose. Ed from next door came over to look, and he and Lance agreed that one could remove the top of the seacock, and replace that part of the connection. This involved buying some new wrenches, which we needed anyway, and studying seacocks in the local marine supply store. So, with bung and hammer at the ready, Lance attempted to remove the top part of the seacock. It basically fell apart in his hands. More cursing and swearing. Remember, all this was just a minor repair to replace a smelly hose, which drains a compartment that we don't even know why it needs a drain!. At this point, I'm thinking we're going to have to haul the boat out and replace the through-hull and Quincy and Sarah are arriving this afternoon. But Lance persevered, and with help from the marine store and the hardware store nearby, acquired a set of parts that could replace the seacock and elbow joint, and got them all installed without letting very much water in the boat. So we managed to get fuel, water, do the laundry, finish the provisioning, and check the email to see when the airplane is actually arriving. Quincy and Sarah found us around 4pm, and we managed to check out and take off so we wouldn't have to spend another night in the marina. We decided to try Hawksnest Bay on St. John, and when we got there at around 6, with the sun
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setting, there was exactly one mooring ball available. Why became obvious when we pulled up the rope -- the loop you usually attach to was missing, but there was a perfectly acceptable loop that we tied to. This made Lance nervous, that perhaps the lines holding the mooring were similarly damaged, so he dove the mooring and checked it, finding it acceptable. After a lovely sunset and dinner, we sent our guests to bed in what looked like it ought to be a protected anchorage, but turned out to be a washing machine. It was still agitating in the morning, and the weather reports indicated that high winds and swells would continue, so we moved back to Maho Bay, which we knew to be well protected from this weather. The weather guy has been complaining about the lack of change in the weather, continued high winds, continued squally showers, continued easterly swells. Sailors keep asking when it's going to change, and the weather guys say, "Don't shoot the messenger!" On Thursday, we moved from Maho to Hurricane Hole, where after our second attempt to get the anchor set, a local came over in his dinghy to give us advice. His advice was suspect, because he didn't know what the bottom was, but recommended that we put out 150 feet of chain, and claimed he had never dragged anchor. We thanked him, and Sarah managed to restrain her urge to slap him, and we got our anchor set and had another lovely dinner. In the morning, we pulled up anchor, re-anchored in Coral Bay, where Sarah got new sandals, Lance got gas for the dinghy and we took the garbage to the dumpster while I baked bread. We left Coral Bay and headed around the corner to Salt Pond Bay -- no anchoring allowed, must use mooring ball. Just as we turned the corner, we could see a hefty squall behind us and a mooring ball in front of us so we hooked on quickly, beating the squall. While the squall was passing, we established that we were not yet in Salt Pond Bay, so when the weather cleared, we moved to a mooring in Salt Pond Bay, where we sampled the snorkeling and enjoyed yet another beautiful spot. At one point Lance swam over to tell me about a shark, but instead of leading me to it proceeded to swim quickly in the other direction. He claims it was substantially larger than he is, and looked like it was hungry. We had decided that we wanted to try the passage to St. Croix, and the weather guys indicated that the seas would be 8-10 ft, and the winds 20-25 and things would slow down a little over the weekend, so we decided we could handle that. So yesterday morning, we left Salt Pond Bay, and headed the 35 miles south to St. Croix. We were close hauled all the way, and going like a bat out of hell, heeled way over. We arrived, gritty with salt at 3:30 and anchored by the sea planes in 6-9 feet of water (we draw five and a half). We had a nice walk around the very historical Christiansted and asked various locals to send us to a good seafood restaurant. They sent us to a charming small place where we had a lovely dinner and then dinghied back to the boat. Quincy has specialized in delicious breakfasts, so we are happy and well fed, and planning our land and water excursions for the next few days.
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