compass rose

 Accidental Cruiser in the West Indies

Dancing Fish Christmas Cove, Great St. James, USVI
This journal is a log of all the messages from Susie & Lance. For pictures, please see the Gallery.
Monday, March 3, 2003
    We have said goodbye to Quincy and Sarah, left them at the ferry in Cruz Bay, St. John, on their way to St. Thomas, to sample shore plumbing, and get cleaned up for their flight home tomorrow. Just when you get the crew properly trained, they leave. Isn't it always like that?
    We had a lovely historic visit in St. Croix. We were running errands and exploring, and had split up, so when I found myself back by the dinghy dock, I just habitually checked the dinghy. Which was not where we left it, but had been untied and shoved in the corner. Fortunately, it had not gone awol, or been damaged, so I pulled it over to another section of the dinghy dock and tied it on. When we all reconnoitered, I told the others about the dinghy, so after we explored the old fort, and before we had lunch, I said, I'll just check on the dinghy, which was being untied by a local, as I spoke. We all walked over and looked annoyed and outraged, at a local who claimed that this was his reserved spot, although there are no indications anywhere that any spots are reserved. This adventure put some of us in a bad mood, and left us feeling less than completely fond of St. Croix. We also started locking the dinghy to the dock.
    But the historical stuff on St. Croix is truly great. The old fort, and the old government buildings are quite lovely. Also, this island had the largest hardware store we have seen, and produced for me the much desired oven thermometer. We also found some other supplies, including new swimming trunks for Lance, because both of his had pretty much self destructed. Instead of renting a car and doing a land tour, we decided to sail over to Buck Island, which is National Park land. It has a snorkeling trail on a truly marvelous reef that is called a Marine Garden. The anchoring spot is on a lovely beach, where one party was photographing a model in various swim suits. They asked us not to walk behind her on the beach, because they didn't want footprints in the sand showing up in the pictures. Everyone else finished their swimming and snorkeling and left, so Eaux Vives was the only boat in the anchorage. We had a beautiful and peaceful evening in a truly beautiful spot.
    The next morning, we sailed all the way back to the BVI, 6-7 hours on one tack. Over the next few days, we showed Quincy and Sarah some of our favorite spots: Little Harbour on Peter Island, The Baths and Drakes Anchorage on Virgin Gorda, and we hit all the anchorages on Jost Van Dyke. New to us was Sandy Cay, a lovely island off JVD, with a botanical tour of the
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island replete with spectacular views where we took a leisurely circumperabulation resulting in many photos which you will see in the next batch. We had a lovely sail circumnavigating Great Thatch Island, where we manaaged to keep just ahead/outside of numerous squalls, that tried to get us.
    This morning, we took the dinghy to shore to check out of the BVI. The Customs/Immigration office is supposed to open at 8:30, but of course no one was there. The police department upstairs said, we're a laid back island, he'll be here soon. We walked around the small community and then went shopping at Foxy's, where Sarah acquired a superior flamingo bag. We hung out on the dock with Foxy, who had gone out fishing and brought back two kingfish. We watched him cut up and clean the fish, while he told us about local island politics (on an island with a population of less than 200!) Around 9:30 the Customs officer arrived and we checked out. We sailed over to St. John, managed to find a mooring in Caneel Bay, and loaded the luggage in the dinghy, and motored over to Cruz Bay. There we cleared into the USVI, and then found the ferry to St. Thomas. It was close to 1pm and the ferry was at 1:15, but the ticket office wouldn't sell tickets for the Charlotte Amalie ferry until the 1pm Red Hook Ferry left. Since most people in line wanted tickets to Charlotte Amalie, this caused the ticket seller to be constantly annoyed.

Dancing Fish
    In Maho Bay and Little Harbour, JVD, we see the amazing dancing fish. Actually, you usually hear them before you see them. A sudden low roar of splashing, where a school of 12 inch fish just start jumping wildly in all directions. When they performed close to our boat, we could see that they were eating up schools of smaller fish. We think they are Bar Jack. There are also various flying fish and jumping fish. Flying fish take off in the waves, and then look like hummingbirds of the waves as they spin their fins around and sail 20-30 feet parallel to the surface, sometimes crashing into waves. Jumping fish of various sizes suddenly leap straight up 5-6 feet, and then fall down again in a graceful arc. And then finally, schools of small fish leap out of the water in unison, making silvery arcs over the water as they do their water ballet. Lance commented to Mrs. Jones at Harris Place that something must be chasing the fish from below to make them jump like that. "They're not jumping", she said, "They just dancing."

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