The Virgin Islands

 

Virgin Gorda - Beausoleil at Anchor

Virgin Gorda – Beausoleil at Anchor

 

My how time flies when you are having fun! We left Puerto Rico on Easter Sunday to complete an overnight motor sail to St. Thomas.  Much to my dismay we decided to skip the south coast of PR and the Spanish VI’s (Vieques and Culebra), we were in a hurry, we had a schedule to keep.  Turns out that the schedule we had planned on, hauling the boat and having a bottom job done, wouldn’t work out in St. Thomas.  We hung out in the bay and waited for our friends to arrive from Indiana, our first visitors since we left the U.S.

Colorful Buildings in St Thomas

Colorful Buildings in St Thomas

 

So happy to have Carol and LaWayne with us!

So happy to have Carol and LaWayne with us!!!

 

It was interesting being in a “U.S.” country in the Caribbean. There were large grocery stores, a K-Mart and many other luxuries imported from the mainland all intermingled in a very diverse culture. This was the first island we stopped at where you could really see and feel the impact of the cruise ship industry. What I don’t understand is why the industry feels it has to build a “fake town” at every port with all the name brand shops as a front for those stepping off the cruise ships. These “towns” have the same shops on each island, and from what I hear the same shops are aboard the actual cruise ships themselves. If visitors from the cruise ships step off and wander only through these fancy shops and chain restaurants they are not really seeing the islands or the local flare. I truly encourage anyone who is taking a cruise through the Caribbean to venture beyond the safe confinement of the jewelry stores, t-shirt shops, sunglass huts and other typical cruise ship stop stores into the true depths of the islands. See how the locals live, experience how the locals shop, and eat what the locals eat – then you can say you have been to the Caribbean! OK, enough of that, I will get off my soap box now…

Beausoleil Heading into USVI's

Beausoleil Heading into USVI’s

 

Where do we go next?  (LaWayne and Shawna checking the charts)

Where do we go next? (LaWayne and Shawna checking the charts)

 

We didn’t do a lot of cruising in St. Thomas. We picked up our company from the dock, enjoyed a sundowner, watched a beautiful sunset, and set out the next day to load the boat with fresh provisions, pick up some alternator belts (to replace the ones we wore through on the south side of PR), and begin our fun island hopping adventure – first stop, St. John. You could spend months exploring St. John, it has so many nooks and crannies, we only had time to drop the hook in a few. We did enjoy the beauty above and below the surface, the coral and reef fish are colorful and abundant here, the beaches are sandy and white, the water is crystal clear and blue. Most of the island is a marine park and protected from any hunting, fishing or gathering so we put away the fishing rods and left the conch and lobster alone.

Jon and LaWayne SUP Yolo Yak Boarding

Jon and LaWayne SUP Yolo Yak Boarding in St John

 

After several wonderful nights in USVI’s mixing a different type of sundowner each evening and a special home-cooked galley meal each night, one being cracked conch with mango salsa, we headed to the BVI’s to try to show our friends as much of the island life as we possibly could during the ten days we had with them. The wind was just right for a great sail from St. John to Road Town. The anchorage in Road Town was deep and crowded and the only space available was too close to the ferry channel. We didn’t want to stay the night here so we ended up dropping the dinghy in the water to send Captain Jon ashore to clear us into the country while we slowly cruised back and forth in and out of the harbor. Too bad I didn’t have my fishing permit at that time, we saw several schools of fish and flocks of birds in a feeding frenzy just outside the bay. Once he checked us in and returned to the boat we hauled the dinghy up, pulled him aboard and headed to Brandywine Bay for the night. We were the only boat in the bay, it was peaceful, beautiful and very well protected from the NNE wind. We had a wonderful dinner with a spectacular view on top of Brandywine Hill.

The next morning we took a cab into Road Town for a little shopping, a digicel SIM card for my phone and to book a dive trip. You can read all about the dive trip and the accident in the article I wrote for Fishmonster. We were so thrilled to have our friends aboard, alive and healthy – we cherished each and every moment we had left of their visit.

Our dear friends - Carol and LaWayne

Our dear friends – Carol and LaWayne

 

The last day they were with us we visited The Baths. A spectacular formation of boulders where nature allows the sea to merge peacefully into the caves to form ponds and pools, a few are even deep enough to swim in. Our last night aboard Beausoleil with our friends was a special one, I cooked steak au poivre with truffled mashed potatoes and of course some very nice red wine. We gazed at the stars and made promises of meeting up in far away places in the not so distant future. What a great visit!

Boy are they strong!

Boy are they strong! (Jon and Shawna holding up rock in The Baths)

Shawna in The Baths

Shawna in The Baths

Best Friends (Shawna and Carol) in The Baths

Best Friends (Shawna and Carol) in The Baths

 

Feeling a little lonely after our friends left it was really nice to meet up with our buddy boat, Just Drifting, again in Norman Island. We celebrated the birth of Maureen’s grandson, and Jon’s “50th birthday year” with a bottle of champagne. We snorkeled the magnificent caves several times and even had a drink aboard the Willie T. After a stop in Sopers Hole for a few provisions and a visit to Pusser’s Landing we headed to Jost Van Dyke. Here we checked out Foxy’s, and met a local guy named Leslie who taught us how to hand line fish off the reef. We brought in a bucket full of all kinds of fish! Fish Tacos, yummy…

Wade and Maureen "Liming"

Wade and Maureen “Liming”

 

We stopped at Sandy Cay where we paddled to shore on our SUP YOLO boards, hiked, snorkeled and enjoyed a bottle of crisp, dry white wine on the beach with our friends, Wade and Maureen, and then spent a rolly night anchored in Sandy Spit. We headed for Cane Garden Bay where we anchored for a few fun filled nights and separated ways with our buddy boat again. Jon and I headed to Gorda Sound on the northern tip of Virgin Gorda to clear out of the BVI’s and take on fuel. After a wonderful six weeks in the Virgin Islands it was time to continue on. French islands, here we come, “ooh la la”…

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *