“I wish I had a pencil thin moustache and I could solve some mysteries too” Jimmy Buffet’s famous song is playing on the radio while we do a 15 NM crossing from St. Thomas USVI to the island of Culebra in Puerto Rico. The wind is between 5-10 knots, Mick’s worried that we’re going too slow (we have yet to cross the 5 knot mark!), I’m just happy that is nice and calm.
For the last three months, we’ve been listening to the same radio station called “Trade Winds Radio”. Despite the fact that they play the same songs over and over again, we have grown to like it. They love playing Jimmy Buffet and a few other singers that sing about tequila drinking and life on the islands.
Life on the boat is definitely different. Internet sessions have decreased and are usually fast and stressful as we try and check everything we need in less time, usually at noisy restaurants with poor connection. We still have to run our engine twice a day to keep our fridge cold, so we use those times to charge all the electronics on board.
Some nights are good and some nights are really hard to fall asleep, as it depends on where we have anchored for the night and how protected it is. We’re doing well with our food stocking. We usually buy fresh produce that keeps well in the fridge for 10 days or even two weeks.
It’s been a while since our last post so a quick update to what’s been happening:
- We left Moorings Marina and headed east. We spent three nights anchored at Marina Cay, which is a tiny island with a restaurant and a bar. It’s a great spot with some really nice snorkelling; we got to see an eagle ray and a big scary shark that made us stop and head back to where we came from.
- We ran into Keith there. He’s an Englishman in his 50’s who also bought a boat from Moorings and is planning to cruise the Caribbean and head back to England at the end of the season. He’s great company and it was good to talk about our boats and exchange some tips.
- After a few days there we sailed to Virgin Gorda, another island on the BVI, and anchored the boat at Spanish Town. We were hoping to get some waves at this spot called Yacht Harbor and luckily we did! The break is in a weird spot right in front of busy bay, where big ferries come at all times and in the entrance of a marina. We had a really fun session there and decided to endure a very rolly night on the boat because the forecast predicted better waves in the morning. We woke up tired after a bad night sleep to find the spot completely flat. We made the most of it and rode the dinghy to “The Baths” a beach only 10 minutes from where we were, famous for its big boulders and caves. We were there early and it paid off because we had it to ourselves for most of the time. This place gets crazy busy with all the charter boats and tourists every day of the week.
- That day we continued north to Gorda Sound also in Virgin Gorda. It’s a big bay with plenty of anchorages and things to see. We spent three nights there, two at this nice anchorage called Prickly Pear and one near Sabba Rock, which is a famous restaurant and popular place to gather.
- We did a long sail back to Jost Van Dyke ( a bit more than 4 hours) ; That is a long sail here in the BVI as all the islands are so close to each other. We ran into our friend Keith again, exchanged some stories and headed back to Tortola the next morning. We returned to Moorings Marina for a few days; luckily we can still call in and get a free spot as we bought the boat not long ago.
- While we were there we took a ferry over to the USVI as we had read that we needed a proper visa to get into the USA on our boat. As we are on the waver visa program, this isn’t considered a proper visa, so the option we read about was to get the ferry over and get the official stamp that gives you 90 days on entry. The officer that saw us on entry wasn’t happy with us, in fact, she was pretty grumpy and angry, and even accused us that we were there to buy more time and that if she wanted she wasn’t going to let us in ( she probably has to deal with a lot of sailors that do the same thing as we were trying to do) so we just played dumb and innocent and after a few threats and accusations we got our stamps on the passports and returned to the bvi.
We left the BVI on Sat 13 December. Most of the people that we talked to (mostly BVI locals) were not that keen on the USVI, but we’ve loved it so far. It’s been just nice seeing a new place. People have been very friendly and helpful so far (except for the immigration lady!) We spent a night at Caneel Bay in St John and it’s the place with most sea turtles we’ve seen so far, beautiful! They just swam around the boat, getting their big heads out of the water for air and then swimming away quickly. We spent three nights at Lindbergh Bay in St Thomas. This bay was right next to the airport and we had to pick up the fridge from the fedex office located there, so it was convenient and a really quiet bay. In St Thomas we did a bit of sight seeing. Charlotte amalie the main town has beautiful old architecture but it was crazy being there when the big cruiseships arrive (sometimes 5 a day) It was rush hour with all the tourists running from one shop to the next, we were just mesmerized by it and just cruised along looking for all the historical buildings in town.
Now we’ve arrived in the island of Culebra in Puerto Rico. It took us about 5 hours to get here and Mick caught his first fish aboard Ondular, a Mahi Mahi, not too big and not too small. We had it for dinner last night and gave the rest to a neighbouring boat.
Culebra is a small island that belongs to Puerto Rico. It’s great for me to be in a place where they speak Spanish again. We are anchored in the main bay called Ensenada Honda and their main town called Dewey is right here. It’s a nice town, full of little houses and interesting places. We don’t know how long we’ll stay here. Christmas is here in a week’s time, we might spend it here or we might go back to BVI and wait for the perfect weather window to do the crossing to St Martin, but we just don’t know. Like they say on our favourite Caribbean radio station “whether you stay or whether you go, it all depends on the weather!”
Note: We’ve had a wonderful Christmas. We went out to a restaurant in Cruz Bay, St John on Christmas Eve and then spent Christmas day at Maho Bay, snorkelling and enjoying the day. Majel, our good friend from the BVI, invited us to have Christmas dinner with her and her family in Tortola. Now we’ve been working for a few days on the boat, installing a new and more effective fridge and solar panels. We’ll spend New Year’s Eve at Trellis Bay here in Tortola and wait for a weather window after that to sail to Sint Maarten. The winds are looking really strong so it looks like we’ve been here on the BVI for at least another week. We would like to wish you all a wonderful 2015 and may you have a wonderful time during these holidays! Looking forward to more adventures and new places in the new year.