been one week and already we are slipping into our Caribbean reality.
Radio buddies greeted us warmly and we have hosted and been hosted
by last year's friends. We are presently close hauled under cotton
ball clouds in blue skies on indigo seas. Life is good.
When last we left Eaux Vives she was sailing "on
the hard" about 15' in the air with all canvas stowed and all lines secured.
June through November being hurricane season in the eyes of insurers, she had
to remain in that undignified position until our arrival just before dusk on Wed,
Dec. 3rd. "Just before dusk" is the critical phrase as Air Sunshine's
10 seater plane cannot land on the unlit unimproved dirt runway in the dark.
Immigration and customs closed after processing Susie, Lance and Petra, a charter
boat operator from Germany who was tottering about on spike heels in a micro-mini
skirt. We shared a cab back to the yard and carried our luggage and boat toys
back to the spot we had left Eaux Vives 6 months earlier. In these 6 months,
the yard seems to have lost a great number of ladders and, after a fruitless
search in the dark, we pulled up a saw horse and the taller of our intrepid sailors
perched on top and let down the stern ladder. Other than Sahara dust, the only
thing different was the poly pro painter on the dinghy had gone nearly white
and was lined with nasty poly pro slivers. We pulled out the stack pack and battens,
toasted our good fortune and went promptly to sleep.
Our refit consisted of: removing 3 dead lizards, two
dead cockroaches (Texas size), repairing and replacing the bimini, putting the
battens back in the main and replacing the main and stackpack back on the boom.
The jib went back up easily and the dinghy still holds air as well as ever. On
the down side, our bottom job was not quite done, the engine wouldn't start and
the refrigerator no longer has any charge.
We were in a hurry to get in
the water on Friday as the lift does
not operate on the weekend and Jim and Susie, our boat partners on "Mostly
Harmless" were due in on Saturday. With a little gentle prodding and a new
battery ferried in from Tortola, we were ready to go. We spent the night in Virgin
Gorda Yacht harbor where the Puerto Rican to port gave us great tips for our
visit to Vieques and our Swedish neighbors to starboard were impressed with
|Susie's Swedish. It blew pretty
hard that night so we dashed out of the marina as soon as possible.
Our neighbors seemed to be happier in the marina but I didn't like
all the bouncing and jerking against the dock lines. The winds and
rains were dragged in in the wake of Odette, a tropical storm then
over Hispaniola and since gone North. This weather continued for
a bit but we were able to ride it comfortably in Little Harbor on
Peter Island. We did meet with Jim and Susie there but could not
get them well anchored in the strong winds and they hurried on to
Norman Island before it was too dark. That night we enjoyed 2.5 inches
of rain in one hour. Unfortunately, we had not yet picked up our
homemade rain catcher which we had mailed to St. John before we left.
I wonder if it works like umbrellas and it will never rain on us
In the morning we sailed down to Soper's
Hole to check out of the BVI. As we kept calling Jim, "Kia Orana" recognized
us and advised us to hide from the north swells predicted to reach
the Islands from Odette that night. In a truely ambitious day, we
got to Soper's Hole, provisioned, checked out of the BVI, and went
on to Cruz Bay, St. John. Because Susie is so charming and well organized
(or perhaps because the moon was full) the checkout cost only $1.00,
a new record low. Check in at Cruz Bay was equally smooth despite
the Yellow alert and we found 3 of the 4 packages we'd sent at Connections,
the mail drop. A very wet dinghy ride back to the boat (literally
wring out your clothes afterwards) and we hoist sail for Lameshur
Bay on the south side of St. John. A long day was capped by a pleasant
dinner and get reacquainted session with Dick and Liz on "Kia
Orana". It turns out they have been volunteering for an Eco-camp
operated by Virgin Islands Environmental Research Station owned by
Virgin Islands University and operated by a non-profit. Look it up
on the internet.
After 2 days in Lameshur, we went back to
Cruz Bay, got the last package and have been wandering (sailing)
around the BVI hailing "Sara Ann", which holds Jim and
Susie, so far to no avail.