Monday, February 27, 2017

St. Martin

I would like to tell you how much we enjoyed St. Croix but that will have to happen next year.  We left St. Thomas on the 16th and started on our way.  We got about 2.5 miles and the engine started to act up.  It felt and sounded like fuel starvation.  We turned around and headed back to the harbor.  Rather than drop anchor we picked up a mooring ball and I went to work replacing the fuel filter.  It did not look that dirty but you never know.  We dropped the mooring and headed out again, motoring directly into a light wind.  All was going well until about seven miles out the engine did its thing again.  It wasn’t the filter.  Checking things out I found that the fuel primer bulb that is used to push fuel to the filter when changing filters was collapsed.  By dropping the rpm’s it ran fine.  We decided this was a sign we were not supposed to go to St. Croix and we turned and motor-sailed to Great Lameshure Bay on St John.  This is our favorite harbor on St. John and is a great place to relax and get away from all of the other cruisers and charterers.  On Friday I replaced the priming bulb and everything ran fine, again.  I then ran the generator and made water while Cori went kayaking.  Lee and Sharon on Allegro came in and in the evening we joined them and Larry and Barb from Aquilla for social hour.

We decided to make plans for the next week to go to St. Martin.  Chris Parker, our weather advisor, was forecasting an unusual weather pattern.  A low was coming in and the trade winds were to die and we would get a couple of days of winds from the NW moving to NE.  His advice was to wait until Tuesday.  Being as we were where we wanted to be it was an easy decision.  Saturday I decided to find why the priming bulb collapsed.  Was it just old and soft or did something plug the intake to cause excessive vacuum.  I pulled the pickup from the tank but could not find anything, especially with a full tank.  Later Cori went kayaking, paddle boarding, and snorkeling with Lee and Sharon.  I spent the day with a good book.  Sunday we were picked up by Lee and Sharon and Tom and Pat from Lonestar and we rode their dinghies around the point to the sugar factory to hike to the petroglyphs.  From there we took the trail that leads up to The Great House.  During the slave rebellions most of the master’s homes were destroyed but not this one on St. John.  Over the years the park service has made attempts to restore parts of it.

Saturday morning Lee and Sharon came over to drop off a book and give us advice on St. Martin.  Later in the morning we dropped the mooring and headed off to Virgin Gorda to get ready to cross.  We chose to sail on the south side of the islands instead of the Drake Channel and Cori put out a fishing line.  She caught a nice size barracuda but he was set free.  Later she hooked up a nice 10 pound black fin tuna.  Her first tuna.  After that we cut back into the Drake Channel and motored up to the North Bay hoping to get a mooring in Lubrick Bay.  We could use the free water and ice they give when you use their mooring.  With the wind forecast to come around from the west and northwest everyone else had the same idea.  We anchored where we could find a spot and settled in for the night.

The trip from the BVI’s to St. Martin is about 80 miles so sailors have to leave late in the day to arrive the next morning.  Otherwise we would arrive at night in the dark, not a good plan.  In the morning we listened in to Chris Parker and were going to verify his advice when another boat, Callahan, called and asked.  We were a go for a late afternoon departure.  We contacted Callahan just to let them know we would be out there with them and waited.  At 4:30 pm we raised the main and mizzen sails, pulled our anchor and were off.  Once out of the harbor we turned to our heading and put out half of our headsail.  The winds were on the beam at 20 knots, gusting to 25.  Chris forecasted the winds to drop during the night and about 10:30 we were under four knots and started the motor.  We had sailed 30 miles of the trip.  We continued to motor-sail through the night with one rain squall, and when the sun came up in the morning there was an island in front of us.  GPS and the auto pilot did not let us down.

We arrived in St. Martin about 9:30 am and motored around the harbor looking for a good spot to anchor.  We chose a spot with a couple of other boats well away from the pack.  We launched the dinghy just as it started to rain.  Once it was over we got our stuff together to check in.  The rain fooled us and we got soaked.  St. Martin is divided between the French side on the north and the Dutch side on the south.  Where you check in makes a difference.  We chose the French side, Marigot Bay.  I you stay on the Dutch side you have to pay more, there is a charge for going through the bridge and a cruising fee to anchor in their bay or their side of the lagoon.  The French are more lenient, They will charge a cruising fee if you check in at the Customs office near the marina but if you go into town to the Island Water World store they have a computer set up that you use to check in, print your paperwork and one of their employees signs them and collects your $2.00 fee.  Being poor broke sailors we opted for the computer option.  It was my first time checking in using a French keyboard and most of the form in French.  With a little help we got checked in and started to wander around the town.  After a great lunch at one of the bakeries we took the dinghy through the French bridge, through the lagoon, under the causeway bridge and took a tour of the Dutch harbor.  We stopped at the Island Water World store there to check it out and to meet Rene.  Rene is the store manager and a good friend of Lee and Sharon.  We pumped him for information then headed back to the boat.

Thursday, the 23rd, we loaded the Honda generator into the dinghy and got ready to run back to Island Water World to have it serviced.  It runs but after it ran out of gas once it would not idle smoothly.  I suspected some debris got into the low speed jet.  After waiting out a short rain shower we were off.  They could not promise when it would be done but we could make it through the weekend without it if we had to.  We also talked to Rene about our problem getting the dinghy up on plane.  His advice was that wings would help but a lower pitch propeller would make a big difference.  They gave us directions to the Yamaha dealer and we were off on foot again.  Just down the street is Budget Marine, the other big marine store and we stopped there to look around.  There we ran into Tony and Deb from Exit Stage Left that we had met and traveled with in the Bahamas last year.  Once back on the boat we called a dive service to come out and clean the bottom.  It hadn’t been done since we were hauled out after catching a crab pot up in the Delaware River.  They were just finishing a job and said they would be right over.  We now have a clean bottom again.  By 2:30 they were done and we headed into town to a shop called Shrimpies which offers a number of services for cruisers including Wi-Fi.  We have been without Wi-Fi for almost a week.  Once at the shop we were able to get online and get updates and email.  One email was from the shop repairing the generator.  Due to the rain showers earlier the service tech did inside jobs instead of working on boats.  He cleaned and adjusted the carburetor and it was running fine.  I made the run down to get it, stopped off at Shrimpies to pick up Cori and then back to the boat.  The transfer of the generator onto the boat was successful, we didn’t drop it overboard, and then we headed back to the Dutch side for happy hour with Tony and Deb.

On Friday we started out early by bringing a propane tank in to be filled and to catch the shuttle to the grocery store.  We met up with Tony and Deb again.  Once the groceries were on board I collected the tools and supplies I thought I would need and we set off with the dinghy to find a beach we could use to change out the prop.  The new prop gets us up on plane in half the distance and we don’t notice a loss of speed.  We are happy.  We went back to town and stopped at the Tourist Center and they were having an event for the Carnival: free snacks and pasties and a variety of music and dance acts.  We wandered back to the main town center and ran into Dean and Kim from Dream Catcher whom we met last year while we were in Nassau.  From there we stopped at a phone store to get a sim card for the phone and then over to Dream Catcher for dinner.  We now have a data plan for as long as we are here and on a variety of other islands.  We can again communicate with the world.

Saturday started with music for Carnival at 5:00 am blasting out into the harbor.  Later as I let the generator run we went into town to check out the market.  Lots of stalls selling everything they think a tourist should have and more.  There were also stalls selling fresh fish, meat and fruits and vegetables.  The weather forecast is for the winds to increase and be in the 20’s out of the east for the next week so we opted to pull the anchor and move closer to the shore with the others to be better protected.  On the second try the anchor set and we are now part of the herd.  In the afternoon we headed back to the Dutch side for a fishing seminar at Island Water World and then to a party at the Buccaneer Beach Bar being put on by Outpost Magazine.  Outpost Magazine is the latest of Bob Bitchin’s endeavors.  Bob became famous or at least well know when he started and ran Latitudes and Attitudes magazine and wrote a couple of books about cruising.  We spent the evening visiting with old and new cruising friends and talking to Bob.  It was a long slow ride back to the boat in the dark but we didn’t hit anything and we didn’t get hit by anyone else.

Sunday was the adult parade celebrating Carnival; the kids’ parade was earlier in the week.  We went to town early and took the climb up the Fort Louis. The fort was built around 1780 and there isn’t much left of it other than the walls but it is a spectacular view.  We met up with Dean and Kim again and moved down by the sports stadium to watch the parade.  The parade was set to start at 12:00 but would take a couple of hours to get to us.  We made use of the time at one of the vendors sitting under their sunshade drinking beer and eating.  For $16.00 we got ribs, chicken, rice, macaroni and a salad that fed all four of us and the beer was $2.00 a bottle.

Let me describe the parade: slowly coming down the street is an 18 wheel truck with a flatbed trailer.  On the trailer is a generator, as many BIG speakers as they can stack and either live of recorded music playing loud enough to make your ears bleed.  Behind that is a dance group with elaborate feathered costumes dancing.  This goes on for a little more than an hour but the party doesn’t stop.  It is reported they will be doing another pass.  We wander up and down the street partying with everyone else until we decide to go home.  We got back aboard about 6:30 and I lay down for a “nap” that lasts all night.

Today, Monday, we made a run into town and walked up to the grocery store for more fresh provisions.  On the way back we stopped at one of the sidewalk cafes for lunch and to use their Wi-Fi.  As Cori made a trip down the block to pick up some bread at one of the bakeries the people at the next table must have noticed my tee shirt from Oriental and announced they were from New Bern NC.  It was Hal and Marsha on Eagles Wings and Rick and Peggy on Vision Quest.  Back at the boat I am running the generator since it is mostly cloudy and the solar panels are not producing much electricity and the water maker is also running.

The weather forecast is for winds in the 20’s out of the east for the rest of the week.  When it looks like it will drop off we will move to another island.  Which one we still have not decided but it will be hard to leave St. Martin.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Enjoying the BVI

We have enjoyed the BVI.  We have been moving every couple of days staying on moorings some nights and anchored others.  We are trying to anchor more but a lot of the bays are either real deep for have a bottom that will not hold an anchor or we would be causing damage to coral if we anchored.  On Friday, the 20th, we moved over to Cane Garden Bay.  There is a beautiful beach but it is on the list for the cruise ships that visit Tortola and a lot of tourists are bused there for the day.  In the evening they all clear out but then the three beach bars start competing who can have the loudest music.  With the tourists being bussed in it feels very touristy, even the local rum distillery.  They promote that they make the best rum in the islands but if you go there all you get is four VERY small samples for a dollar.  No tour, no seeing the facilities, just them hawking their wares.  They even have signs up that photographs are prohibited until you have bought a bottle.  I don't need photos that bad, but I took one anyway and was told to stop.  When we arrived we took a mooring but after riding the dinghy around the harbor we chose a spot and moved there to anchor for the night.  During the night the swell off the ocean shifted and the harbor was a rolling mess.  In the morning we joined the exodus out.  We then followed the north coast of Tortola to find a new location.  We had decided on White Bay on Great Camanoe Island and headed for there.  On the way we topped at Monkey Point to check out the snorkeling.  This is part of the BVI National Park system so we had high expectations.  Cori launched her kayak to go exploring and I swam in to check it out.  There was a lot of different kinds of fish including the school of little ones that surrounded me.  Thousands of little two inch fish everywhere, then as you move along you are suddenly out of them, just a wall of fish along the edge of the group.  We continued on to White Bay but there were several boats there and not a lot of room so we continued on to the other side of the island and picked up a mooring in the area between Great Comanoe, Marina Cay and Scrub Island.  On Sunday morning Cori took off with here kayak to go beachcombing.  I stayed aboard and ran the generator to charge batteries and run the water maker.  When Cori got back we dropped the mooring and moved to anchor next to the mooring field.  After that we took the dinghy out exploring and I checked out an area that is reported to be good snorkeling.  A big variety of fish but the coral was a bit disappointing.  In the early evening a boat came by selling fresh fruit and tee shirts.  Cori bought some fruit we have never had before.  Interesting stuff.

As we meet other cruisers we are always asking where we should go and almost all say we need to go to Anegada.  Monday morning we pulled anchor early and headed out.  We had been told we needed to get there early and since the weather was cooperating everyone was going to make the trip and the harbor would be full.  We motored against the wind for the eighteen mile trip and joined a line of boats going into the harbor.  We maneuvered around for a bit until we were able to pick up a mooring.  The harbor is on the south side and the winds and waves were from the north so it was a comfortable location, which is why everyone was coming here.  There isn't much to the town, several small resorts, a few restaurants that fill up early so you need a reservation and preorder since everything is made to order.  No walk-ins, no just showing up.  What they do have is some of the best beaches in the BVI.  After walking around a bit and riding through the harbor we called it a day.  We are competing with hundreds of charter boats everywhere we go but we found a good use for them.  There is one company that has equipped the boats with their own WiFi, and not locked it down.  If you get close to one of these you get free WiFi and we have started to take advantage of it when we find it.
Getting WiFi means we get connected again to the rest of the world.  That is good and bad.  While here and connected Cori got an email from Francine on Both Sides Now.  She and Ken were the first people we met when we were in the Bahamas our first year.  We have met up with them several times and it was their sailboat we delivered from St Augustine to New Bern last year.  On their way south for this winter they stopped off at Matthews Point Marina and spent a couple of days with us.  This was not one of the emails we wanted to receive.  While spending their time in Florida, they decided not to go to the Bahamas this year, Ken passed away from a battle with Pulmonary Fibrosis.  Ken was a great guy and will be missed.  Another sad day on Hi Flite, we hate losing friends.  The other side of the coin is how friendly everyone is and how many new friends we make.  On the ride to Loblolly Beach we shared a ride with a family from Argentina.  At the beach I went swimming and snorkeling and Cori walked the beach looking for "treasures".  At the appointed time our driver "Lawrence of Anegada" picked us and the Avellaneda family for our ride back to our boats.  We learned that the family was on summer break and were checking out sailing for the first time, with a crewed charter.  When we got back to our boat Cori got out here box of jewelry and we made a trip to their boat to give the girls their choice of some Bahamian shell and glass jewelry and Dimas got a pair of sunglasses since Cori didn't think he would want jewelry.  Of course his little sister immediately claimed his sunglasses.  That is for him to work out.  Cori now has four new Instagram followers.  We need to also mention the locals on the island.  Everywhere we went we were greeted with "welcome to our island" and when the guy came out to collect for the mooring ball his greeting was "thank you for being my guest".  They have a small island and they are very welcoming.  A note on Anegada Island.  It is different then the other islands in the area.  It is very much a low limestone island very much like the Bahamas instead of the higher volcanic islands that make up the island groups.

On Wednesday morning we dropped the mooring and followed the herd out.  We set sail and headed for the eastern end of Virgin Gorda.  We tried sailing but after several tacks called it quits and motored our way into North Sound.  We chose a spot off of Prickly Pear Island and set the anchor.  We launched the dinghy and headed of to The Bitter End Marina to check it out.  BEM is a large resort and marina operation and we found out how expensive it can be.  We checked to see if we could buy milk and they had it available, at $12.95 for a half gallon.  We are still drinking the boxed milk we brought along.  No way will we pay that.  From there we moved over to the Saba Rock Marina for happy hour.  Several painkillers later we were back on the boat.  On Thursday morning Cori went kayaking and I stayed to listen to the generator run.  I am thinking we need a wind generator.  I spent the day in the hammock suspended from the boom and got myself a real unusual sunburn.  Later we took the dinghy to explore the bay.

Friday we decided to treat ourselves and went to Leverick Bay Marina for the night.  We thought of getting one of their mooring balls and dinghying in for dinner but a mooring ball is $30 and a slip is $1.00 per foot  which works out at $42 for the night with 100 gallons of water and a bag of ice included.  Electrical is an additional $20 but our batteries loved it.  When we finished tying the boat up there was a smaller boat pulled up to our finger pier to drop off some people.  It turned out to be Richard Branson and his people.  He seems a real nice person, greeted and shook hands with everyone before moving along.  He has a house on a neighboring island and was there with his guests the Obamas.  We checked out the facilities, made our reservation for dinner and Cori did a load of laundry.  Walking out of the laundry Cori thought she recognized someone.  Tom Emberson was sitting there waiting for his group to get out of the showers.  Tom is the guy we sailed with and then bought his 29' Ericson, "Carina" from up in the Apostle Islands on Lake Superior.  In the evening we went for the all you can eat BBQ buffet.  We both ate far too much but it was all good.  Later as the music played we retired to the boat and crashed.  In the morning we pulled out and started making our way along Virgin Gorda.  We put out the headsail and sailed around the point and aimed for Savanna Bay.  We pulled into the bay, tucking inside the reef and set anchor with several other boats.  Cori went kayaking, met a  group from Ohio and then on Sunday she did a little maintenance sealing the teak toerails and  polishing the stainless steel.  We had some rain showers off and on both days but nothing that amounted to much, mostly a dark cloud coming over the island and drizzling or outright raining for a few minutes and then the sun would be out again until it happened all over again.

Monday morning, it is the 30th now, we pulled the anchor and went around the bend, about two miles, to Spanish Town.  We picked up a mooring and headed into town.  First on our list was a haircut.  We both have not had one since we left the US.  The beauty shop was closed but we came across a barber shop and both got haircuts.  This was evidently his first experience cutting a woman's hair.  It looked pretty serious when he went at it with a pair of shears.  From there we found the Flow telephone office and topped off our data.  I have internet on my phone again and we can use it as a hot spot for our other devices.  Back at the boat we decided to take the dinghy down to the area called "the baths".  This is an area with very large granite rocks with pools of water between and through them.  It is very popular and we had planned to go early the next morning.  Approaching through the moored boats there we spotted the boat our new friends from Argentina had been on and we stopped by to check.  There was a new group on board and the captain told us the family had departed over the weekend and were off to go skiing in Colorado.  Instagram posts show they are having a great time.  We tied the dinghy to the dinghy line and swam in to check out the baths.  There are several nice beaches with paths through and around the rocks, up stairs and along rope lines getting you from one end to the other.  A very impressive display put on by Mother Nature.  In the morning we dropped the mooring and continuing past the Baths we stopped at Fallen Jerusalem Island.  We had been told that the rock formations were similar to the Baths and there was better snorkeling.  We dinghies in but it was too rough to beach the dinghy so we threw down an anchor and I jumped in to check out the snorkeling.  Not bad but there was a lot of wave action that bounced me around a lot so we gave up and continued on.  We stopped at Cooper island and again, picked up a mooring.  Cori took the kayak out to some remote beaches to look for shells and sea glass and later I took the dinghy out to find her.  She tends to stay away longer then I am comfortable with, and since she is out of sight I have no idea if she has had problems or not.  By mid afternoon the moorings were filled and boats were either moving on or anchoring further out.  It is a very popular spot.  In the morning, Wednesday, Cori was off on her kayak again and I got some quiet time on the boat.  By noon Cori was back and we dinghies around then went in to grab some WiFi from the coffee shop.  At 4:00 we went back in for happy hour then a quiet evening on the boat.

Thursday morning Cori got a message from Bo and Allison on Selah that they were on their way and after checking into the BVI would meet with us at Peter Island.  We dropped our mooring and set the headsail to make the downwind run to Peter.  We pulled into Deadmans Bay and set the anchor among a number of other boats.  Later Selah arrived and dropped their anchor.  We had a discussion, while other boats continued to try to anchor around us and we decided to leave to move to Great Harbor.  There we met up with their friends Mike and Melanie on Moonshine, friends of theirs from Ohio.  Friday morning the other two boats left early to dive and snorkel on a nearby wreck and then we met up with them in Cooper Island.  We hung out on Moonshine for the afternoon and then in for happy hour again.  In the morning Cori was ready to head off with her kayak to another remote beach but this time I towed the kayak there and she transferred over to head in.  This beach was open to the open water and had four to five foot swells coming in and breaking on a reef before calming down and hitting the beach.  Cori decided not to give it a try and paddled back to the boat.  We dropped the mooring and set our headsail and mizzen sail for a relaxing sail to Norman island and picked up a mooring in the bight.  We rode around on the dinghy for a bit, checking out Willie T's bar boat and watched some of the clients jumping off the roof and upper deck.  Willie T's is world renowned and we needed to check it out.  Just going by in the dinghy was enough.  From there I dropped Cori off at a beach and I went over to one of the points to check out the snorkeling.  After that I picked her up, dropped her off at another beach and I went snorkeling again.  After that we got cleaned up and just made it for the last 15 minute of happy hour to meet up with Bo and Allison and some of their friends.  We made plans to meet at a rock formation called the "Indians" to snorkel in the morning.  We decided to take the boats there instead of the dinghies so we headed out first thing in the morning to get one of the limited moorings.  After breakfast of fresh caramel rolls we went snorkeling while Cori went to the beach for treasures again.  The snorkeling was outstanding with a lot of varieties of fish.  Unfortunately I don't know what any of them are.  From there we moved to Privateer Bay for the rock formation called "The Caves" which is a series of caves cut into the rock.  Cori was off on her kayak and I dinghied over to the dinghy line to tie up and get in.  I swam around a bit looking at the coral and fish, didn't see any turtles although others said they did, and then swam into the caves.  The cave vary from small and narrow then opening up to large chambers, and another that curves around to another opening.  It is pretty interesting snorkeling and very different when you come above the surface and you find yourself in a cave.  An interesting experience I would like to do again.  That evening, not having any interest in the super bowl we decided not to go back into the bight and moved around the island and dropped anchor in Benure Bay with a couple of other boats.  We had a nice quiet, non-rolly night.  In the morning Cori went off in her kayak again and I charged the batteries and ran the water maker.  It was so peaceful we decided to stay another night.  By the time we left Tuesday morning Cori had collected more shells and sea urchins then she could count.  As she cleaned them and prepared them for travel she quit counting at 600.  That is not a typo, 600 and didn't bother to continue counting.

When we left Benure Bay we were planning to move up to Beef Island and anchor for the night but when we got there it was a bit rolly with the sea swell and when we dropped anchor and backed down on it we were too close to Selah and pulled it to move.  We checked out another spot but it looked too rocky so we moved back and dropped again, this time a bit further away.  Bo went out with their dinghy to check his anchor and was not happy with it.  We decided to move on.  We motored around Beef Island, straight into 20+ knot winds and waves crashing over the bow and made the decision to stop at Marina Cay again.  We picked up a mooring but by the time Selah arrived they were all taken so they anchored for the night.  We went in for happy hour at the Happy Arrrr Bar and then had dinner on Selah.

We had been planning to attend the full moon party in Trellis Bay so in the morning we moved across and picked up a mooring there.  Bo and Allison had been there, done that so they moved on.  Trellis Bay is right at the end of the runway for the Tortola airport but it was not really very annoying.  What was annoying was all of the charter boats coming in and circling around trying to find and pick up a mooring.  They are usually motoring too fast, can't turn in a short radius, have too many people giving orders, over-drive the mooring, drop their boat hook and overall entertain and scare the heck out of everyone else.  The full moon party was to be held on Friday evening but the advice was to get there a couple of days early to guarantee getting a mooring.  We arrived on Wednesday.  We made a short trip to shore to see what all was there and later Cori went in with a garbage bag and picked up trash.  She was rewarded with a free drink at Jeremy's Kitchen.  On Friday we went in to try to get attached to someone's wifi but it was too slow so we moved out to The Island Last Resort Bar and Restaurant to try there.  It was a bit better and the entertainment was better.  They have afternoon hermit crab races.  It is a lot more entertaining then it sounds.  In the afternoon we went to Avventure to visit with Rob and Cindy.  Cori met them previously while on shore picking trash.  Friday evening we went in for the festivities.  There are several bars and restaurants along with a variety of shops and an art center.  There is an artist that makes steel fire rings and fireballs.  They fill them with wood and light them on fire.  The designs he cuts into them are then highlighted by the flames.  They are really well done.  The other attraction is a steel statue of a man with his hands up in the air that is also filled with wood and set on fire.  The statue and two of the fireballs are set out in the water so you also get the reflections off of the water.  There is food served everywhere so we had a variety of choices to eat.  There were several music stages with a variety of music being played. If you didn't like what you heard you just needed to move along to find something else.  All in all it was a good night, and the full moon over the water was spectacular.  We planned to leave Saturday but when the money collector came on Friday we were told that we could have the fourth night free, so we stayed another night.  Most of the boats had left on Saturday so we had a quiet day with me running the generator and Cori polished more stainless steel.  Again, in the afternoon more boats came in to pick up mooring balls and the entertainment started again.  Just a side note but when we came in and picked up a ball Cori got applause from several other boats because it went so well.  We have developed hand signals so she is able to tell me what to do from the bow without yelling.  We are getting better.  Docking is another story.  On Monday morning we went across to Marina Cay to top off the fuel.  We circled for a while until the fuel dock was free then we made our approach.  The wind caught me and we had to go around and try again.  Again, the wind caught me and we had to try again.  This time I overadjusted my angle and just about took off the bow of the ferry that was parked there.  With a bit of help from the ferry crew on our lines we got tied up.  We got our fuel and then headed off to meet up with Bo and Allison at Jost Van Dyke.  We tried sailing but the wind was too light and from right behind us so we motored there.  Once there we anchored in the same spot we had on our previous visit and joined Bo and Allison for a trip to the bubbly pool.  The sea swell was higher then last time we were there so there was a lot more activity when the waves broke into the pool, enough to knock us off our feet and toss us around a bit.  A very good time.  From there we moved out to the Bee Line Beach Bar for happy hour.  We visited with a couple from St Paul's MN and with Bunkey, the bar owner.  Being the social animals they are Cori and Allison soon made acquaintances with Ricardo and Signe on Privileged.  He is from Portugal, she is from Latvia, they live in France and are spending their first time in the Caribbean after having their boat shipped over from Europe.  Later, Bo convinced them to just stay anchored where they were and join us for dinner.  We ended up bringing the meal to their boat and spent an enjoyable evening comparing cultures and telling stories.

Monday morning we picked Bo and Allison up with our dinghy and we made a run around the point to Little Harbor for lunch at Sidney's Peace and Love.  Later we all met up at the Bee Line for happy hour and again met a number of other boaters.  Thursday morning we moved to Great harbor to check out of the BVI.  We had been here 29 days and only had a 30 day cruising permit.  We checked out and motored to Charlotte Amelie on St Thomas.  Once anchored we went in to have lunch and find our way to Immigration to check back into the US.  Once that was done we did some grocery shopping then back to the boat for the night.

The reason we wanted to come back to Charlotte Amelie, other then check in was to find Cori's marker.  In 2007, Cori's dad was here with a NOAA survey crew.  When he placed one of the benchmark markers he changed the number on it to Cori's name.  He then sent a picture of it and the GPS coordinates for it to her for her birthday.  It has taken us ten years but we have finally made it here to find it.  This morning we took the dinghy across the harbor to the marina it is located at and got some pictures of Cori with her marker.  You can find a photo at her Instagram:

We are planning to leave St. Thomas tomorrow and make our way to St. Croix for a few days before venturing further east to St. Martin and begin working our way down the Leeward and Windward Islands.

Sorry there are no photos, I am still trying to get them uploaded so they can be added to the photo galleries.