From Culebrita we sailed about 4 hours to St. Thomas, USVI. Normally this can be a pretty rough crossing and you really need to wait for a good weather window to go back to the USVI. You are sailing into the swell so there is a lot of bouncing and spray as you pound through the swell. We picked a pretty good day with 3 – 5 feet of swell and minimal wind so it was a pretty good sail, uneventful with no screaming which is the best kind according to Safety Admiral Lann.
We arrived at Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas to go to the post office to pick up the thermostat for the refrigerator and we did some provisioning. Charlotte Amalie is cute, it’s where the cruise ships dock for St. Thomas. It can be quite rolly in the bay but we had gotten quite used to that from Culebra. We safely picked up the refrigerator part, satisfied our beer and chocolate emergency provisioning at Pueblo super market and settled in for some frozen drinks and wifi at the Rum Shack with an immediate frozen headache ensuing. That frozen margarita was worth every bit of pain though. We then walked over to a Mexican restaurant and stuffed ourselves with good Mexican food and settled in for the night before we left for St. John in the morning. We watched the giant cruise ships delicately pick their way through the harbor as they sailed away for their night cruise and their next destination. Around 8:00 p.m. some very loud local music started up from one of the bars in town. Sound carries exponentially over water so it was crystal clear and very loud. The music lasted until midnight so we yet once again didn’t get a good night’s sleep.
Our sail to the north end of St. John was quick and easy the next morning. We decided to try Trunk Bay as Stan and Lann had not been there yet and the guidebooks say it’s the best beach and snorkeling in the Caribbean. There were only a few mooring balls but we were able to get one. The bay was nice, lots of people snorkeling and very clear water. We did get a bit of wake from the passing ferries in the channel but it was only intermittent and we figured it would die down as the ferries ended for the night. The snorkeling turned out to be only mediocre, nothing super exciting. That night we were woken up around 2:00 a.m. with the rolliest swell we had been in yet on my trip. And it didn’t stop. Latches had to be locked so things weren’t flying everywhere. You had to brace yourself constantly or you would go flying too. I moved up to the top once I figured out it wasn’t going to stop to prevent any nausea that I was sure would start if I stayed below. Really no one got any sleep after 2:00 a.m. Lann said it was one of the top 5 worst nights she had ever spent on the boat. We couldn’t figure out where the swell was coming from as we thought we would have been protected by Johnson Reef but apparently that is not the case, at least for us on that night. After some very fortifying coffee we picked up and left Trunk Bay behind. We went up to Francis Bay, just a few bays over. Lots more boats here but definitely more calm then that damn Trunk Bay. We swam a little bit, went snorkeling and took the best nap ever.
We have spent a few days in Francis Bay and it’s been great, nice and calm with good sleep every night. We saw a dolphin in the bay one evening around dinner time. There was a snorkeler that was lucky enough to be swimming around and with it and it got as close as the next boat over. We started eating dinner up top thinking it had finally swum away but it surfaced right next to our boat for a breaths and then swam out of the bay. It was very cool.
We have been hiking the north end of St. John, kayaking/swimming in to shore from the boat. We saw the Annaberg Ruins, an old sugar mill plantation with a very cool gardener named Charles who feeds you raw coconut and sugar cane and they bake bread there most days. From there you can hike to Leinster Bay and even cross the island down to Coral Bay. We did that which was about 8 miles and then Lann and I swam back to the boat while Stan kayaked back. That was definitely a good exercise day!
We will be headed back to St. Thomas and Crown Bay Marina for my last few days which will be very busy for getting projects done and provisioning. Stan will be replacing the boat batteries and finally getting that 2nd solar panel up. We have rented a car for all of these errands and god help us they still drive on the other side of the road on this island. So watch out everyone, Barefoot Life will be weaving and tottering it’s way on land in a car.