April 21-25, 2011... Escape from Crown Bay

We returned from the States on Thursday and were happy to find Anhinga as we left her. We celebrated with Carl and Carrie and dinner at Tickles. Lucky for us, there was a band playing, Hudson and the Hoo Doo Cats, and we danced till they were done. Friday, work started on the boat. We repacked the stuffing box, tightened the pillow block, and immediately broke the shift cable. Sheesh! However, thanks to John's perseverance and some adult supervision from Joseph from Crown Bay Marina Boatyard, we were able to replace the cable and get back into working order by Saturday. Sunday was spent re-installing the autopilot hydraulic pump and getting it back online. We couldn't adequately test it at the dock, but our subsequent sail to Culebrita showed us we still have some work to do.

So here are now, Monday at noon, cooling our heels in one of the most beautiful anchorages in the Caribbean. Dolphins welcomed us after our downwind motorsail from St Thomas, and we have already seen half a dozen turtles pop their heads up next to the boat. Very fitting for Bahia de Tortuga, right? We picked up one of the Dept. of Natural Resources' 7 new moorings (new since we were here last year.) Maybe that accounts for more turtle grass and more turtles?

Bahia de Tortuga, Culebrita; 18d19.157'N 65d13.703'W

March 27 - April 6, 2011... St. Thomas

We were off on Sunday morning for the 35-mile run up to St. Thomas. This was our BEST SAIL EVER!!! Why it has taken us almost two years to have a sail like this, we'll never know. But the weather was great, the winds were constant from the right direction, and we were all smiles. Sailing into Charlotte Amalie harbor (another first for us... sailing... not motoring in...) we found a place to anchor near the town and set the hook. The town really does look pretty from out here on the water.

We settled into our spot, watching all the ferries, the Marriott launch, and the cruise ship charters go back and forth across the harbor. But the peak viewing time of the day, and when we feel lucky to have a front row seat is when the cruise ships depart in the evening. On a normal high season day, there may be as many as 6-7 ships here in town, disgorging 15,000 passengers on this little island. Sometimes a cruise ship will anchor in the harbor with us little guys as there isn't enough room at the piers. Anhinga doesn't mind though. (See if you can find our boat in front of the cruise ships!)

Since we were going to be here for some time, we decided to make an effort to do more walking for exercise. Our first goal was Paradise Point, a hilltop spot on the east side of the town. Some people take the cable car up; we walked. We didn't do too badly, though there was more huffing and puffing than sparkling conversation. We were rewarded with magnificent views of the harbor and the southwest shores of St. Thomas. (See if you can see Anhinga again!) Other walks were flatter -- just around the harbor or through town -- though we did take the dollar car out to Red Hook so that we could see more of the island and walk around there. Patti supplemented her exercise routine with a free zumba class offered by the big yacht marina. Wow! Fun and great music, but hard!

Another wonderful part about coming here was catching up with friends. Carl and Carrie on Sanctuary have been here over the winter refilling their cruising kitty. We met them in Annapolis 18 months ago and have crossed paths several times since then. Bob and Lorraine on Scaramouche blew in a few days after we did and are likely to be going west too. We met in the Bahamas last year as we both tried to figure out where to anchor in Rock Sound. Its always great fun to share stories with people who have been 'out there'.

Our adventure will be on hold for a couple of weeks as we head back to the States to visit family. Anhinga will sit pretty in the marina awaiting our return.

Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas: 18d20.233'N 64d55.871'W