Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Return to St. Thomas

Thursday 19 May – Tuesday 24 May

Our Thursday departure was delayed a little by a morning shower. It finally let up and we got underway by 10, in a light drizzle under cloudy skies. We had good 15-20 knot wind just aft of the beam in 3-5 ft seas so had a great sail back to St. Thomas. With a full main and 1 reef in the genoa we were making 8.5 to 9+ knots the whole way. The sun tried to come out a few times but couldn't burn through the clouds, at least the rain stopped shortly after we left St. Croix waters. We were anchored in Red Hook Bay on the eastern end of St. Thomas by 3 PM. Quick run into town for Steve to pick up his reports from the doctor to renew his captains license, check out the grocery store to see what we want to come back for, stop by one of the local bars by the marina / dinghy dock for a drink and check out the area restaurant menus. Back to the boat still under dry conditions but can tell we might not have escaped the nightly shower routine of the last week. Take showers and get ready to head back into shore for dinner BUT the rain comes and we dine on board. Friday we expected the weather to get better since the sun wakes us up, but before long the clouds move in. Thinking the rain will hold off until night like it has been Steve runs me in to do laundry while he changes the generator oil. It takes him longer than expected, and when he turns on the generator to fill the oil filter so he can top up the oil, the dipstick falls out and sprays oil all over the sound enclosure and generator compartment. Realizing that it's going to take at least an hour to clean up, he leaves the mess and comes back back to pick me up at 2, but by then it is pouring rain. We go for lunch waiting for the rain to slow or stop, putting off our grocery shopping and other errands for a better day. After lunch we get a break in the rain and get our clean laundry back to the boat dry thanks to being doubled wrapped in garbage bags. The dry spell does not last long and the rain starts up again continuing for the rest of the day and into the night. This would NOT have been a good week for anyone to come for a weeks vacation that's for sure, even the locals are saying enough already. Paper reported St. Thomas being 3 ½ “ of rain above normal for the month of May. There was not a lot of wind with today’s rain, but around 7 pm we notice we are a lot closer to a boat moored near by. All the boats in the anchorage are laying at different angles due to weight, design and wake from the ferries. We are watching and by 8 we know something is not right as we are know side by side with the Cat that was behind us. We try to bring up some of our scope on the anchor line to see if we can reposition but realize our anchor has drug and we will need to bring it all up and move. Doing this in the dark, in heavy rain while fending off the other boat we got too close to. We know there are several private unused moorings close by and are trying to avoid running over those lines that we can't see ! We see a mooring and even though it is private it is after 8 on a rainy night so we just pick up the line for the evening and will worry about re-anchoring in the morning light. This anchorage is also known to be rolly due to all the ferry traffic and we can attest to that. Adventures in paradise can be challenging sometimes. Saturday we are up early to move off the private mooring, just in case, and anchor between that one and another that has been empty the last few days. The moorings are private but there is only a 20' restriction on the water around the mooring so we just have to hope a big boat does not return to the 2 moorings close by. The morning starts off cloudy and rainy but the rain stops so we run in to shore and go to the grocery store and Steve mails his captains license renewal papers off and we get back to the boat without getting rained on. While Steve was cleaning up his oil mess the day before he discovered a melted 30 amp fuse on the generator. It's obvious it's been melted for a while, and the generator has been running OK, so he's not sure what it means. Checking the limited documentation for the generator we have gives him no clues, so the next day he calls around St. Thomas looking for someone who is familiar with this brand of generator. Eventually he finds a guy, but he's over in Charlotte Amalie, and won't come to Red Hook, and can't look at it until Tuesday morning. So we decide to go up to Megan's Bay, and then around the west coast of the island back to Charlotte Amalie on Monday. The day looks like it might stay dry so after getting everything put away we have a late afternoon departure from Red Hook. We have a nice downwind sail along the northern coast of St. Thomas with just the jib out and 2 hours later at 5 we are anchoring in the beautiful Megan’s Bay. The guide books say National Geographic named this one of the prettiest beaches in the world, and it is very beautiful. A mile of white sand beach with green mountains behind and along the sides and turquoise waters out in front, the sun is even out as we come in so it looks great to us. The guide book also talked about how it can get very crowded, well that is NOT the case. First there are only 3 other boats anchored in this HUGE bay, and the beach looks pretty empty also. We have to go to the opposite side of the beach from where we are anchored to land the dinghy, and there are only a few people scattered along the beach, even the chair & water toy shop and beach restaurant are closed. Which is great for us as we prefer quiet, isolated, uncrowded beaches to noisy crowded ones any day. It feels good to get out and walk along the beach, with just a few clouds still hanging around. Sunday turns out to be a rain free day, YEAH !!, still a few clouds but the sun is breaking thru a lot more now. No new boats anchoring in the harbor, but the beach is a lot more crowded. Different groups all playing their different music loudly. No I-pod's on this beach, these guys come with 4 ft speakers. Even with the bigger Sunday crowd it is still not that busy as there are no cruise ships in that normally bring over big groups. We enjoy the day in this calm anchorage, even with a few jet skis and small power boats the wake from them is nothing like the ferry wakes in Red Hook. Monday we continue west around the Island and are back in St. Thomas Harbor by noon. Lunch on board then into shore, walk up to find a place for Steve to get a hair cut then catch a safari bus to take us in island to an auto parts store to get oil filters for the engine and generator, and a new fuse holder for the generator. Stopping by a K Mart and the grocery on the way back to the boat. A Monday night call the the generator mechanic finds he can't come until Wednesday afternoon at the earliest. Steve goes ahead and replaces the fuse and holder still trying to figure out what it's for, with no success. The generator is working OK, which is a good thing because there is NO wind, and the humidity is high, and it is sweat city below until he gets everything put back together and we can turn the AC on. Tuesday morning after an internet search he gets a technician on the phone from a generator dealer in Florida, who tells him that fuse is for the glow plugs on the generator. The glow plugs have never been used, since we've always been in warm climates, and the button on the control panel hasn't worked since the boat was struck by lightning a month after he bought it. After he replaced the fuse he checked and the circuit was drawing 11.7 amps, at 42 volts, so something is shorted out somewhere. But since we're planning to stay in warm climates, we don't need the glow plugs, and the easy decision is to pull the just replaced fuse and forget about it. Just another adventure in Paradise. Go in for a late lunch and to “check out” of the USVI, we do not really need to do that to go to the BVI'S but when we last checked into the USVI, the customs officer told us that down Island they may ask for it so since the custom office is right at the marina by where we are anchored it is easy to do. So we thought until we got there a little after 3 when they had just closed. Since we are just going around the corner to the BVI'S on Wednesday we can go by the customs office in the morning before fueling up and heading out. One of these days someone will ask to see our departure papers and we will have them.

link to pictures; https://picasaweb.google.com/103931849054358791487/ReturnToStThomas?authkey=Gv1sRgCMj-wKPv5pzdEA&feat=directlink

1 comment:

  1. Mary Craft asked me what I thought was the worst part of sailing for you. I said laundry...but maybe it's shopping at Kmart?