I once thought the world was big... I thought that it would take a long time to move around between the island groups.
I once thought that wandering around between countries was... well.... I NEVER thought that you could just WANDER AROUND between countries!!!
It's just too EASY! Its strange!!!
|Arriving at Waterlemon Bay|
I had to scramble to do some research about the USVIs. Luckily it's not a very big place and the information is all out there on Facebook, Active Captain... and of course the companion books that came with our NV Charts and the companion Harbour & Anchorages Pilot that comes with them...
|DIY Payment barges in the National Parks|
Let me just tell you... going through the trouble of getting into the SVRS system before we left the States has paid off! I hadn't even realized when we signed up for it that we could use it clearing into and out of the US Territories!
|Side Trip for Cellular|
|A giant pelican attacked our boat!|
There is a trail that leads all the way around the bay and there were quite a number of land-based visitors walking in to enjoy the snorkeling and swimming around Waterlemon Cay .
|We watched the pelicans feeding|
Annaberg Sugar Mill Ruins.
|Slave's Quarters. They got the best view!|
We plunged in and at first were a little unimpressed with what we saw. There is some area that is devoid of much of anything... but as we got closer to the Cay and swam around the perimeter... we were WOWED!
There were SO many fish, big ones, little ones, colorful ones...
|Territorial Wrasse in my face!|
|New sighting... What IS this???|
|Ever popular Flamingo Tongue Snail...|
|I almost missed this flounder!|
|See him now?|
|And different colors... darker|
The best part was the feeding frenzy! We've seen birds feeding on top of the water many times and wondered what was going on beneath. Here we were actually in the middle of it! There were millions of baitfish swimming all around us, the predator fish were swimming in schools along the bottom beneath them.
Suddenly the fish would begin darting upward causing a literal FRENZY of feeding from below and above... all around us! It was awesome!!!
There is an underwater snorkel trail here that we had planned on seeing, but we put it off hoping for more moderate conditions in the morning.
Crossing the bay between St. John and St. Thomas was interesting. It started out nicely but by the time we reached the pass that would take us into Christmas Cove, we were rolling down some pretty good sized waves.
Pizza Pi VI!!! Put a checkmark next to that one on the Bucket List! We have arrived!!!
|Paddling around killing time before PIZZA!!!|
|Placing our order!|
|Just dinghy right up to the window!|
I couldn't believe it when they told us that a lot of their customers never knew they were here! A place like this should be on every Cruiser's Bucket List!
OK... unsolicited advertisement complete! NomNomNom...
|Sailboat races just off our starboard side|
Sailing downwind with following seas is WORK! But our route is a short one and soon enough we were once again doing our anchoring routine...
|Heading for Happy Hour at Dinghy's!|
We don't spend much time in bars... but this one was just our style... Small, sandy and attended by very sweet and welcoming bartenders!
|Peanut Butter... Chocolate... and alcohol!!!|
|That's the face I make when I realize I'm in TROUBLE!!!|
Our time here is short but we will be returning in a few weeks so maybe we'll catch that movie next time...
The lights of St. Thomas are so beautiful. It's like Christmas! We did some reading about Charlotte Amalie and will definitely be returning to check out St. Thomas again! We filed a float plan and headed for the waters of Puerto Rico.
|Passing Sail Rock|
By this time, we're learning the Downwind Drill. The weather forecast was driving us onward. The waves were supposed to be in the 3-5 ft range and they were every bit of that with the occasional monster.
I took the first shift of what would be about a four hour sail. We were leaving the USVIs and entering the waters of Puerto Rico... Once again the waves were big and we had to hand steer because the autopilot just couldn't keep the boat from rolling wildly when a set of those huge waves rose up behind us.
It was hard work but good exercise... and good practice! We've spent so much of the time using the autopilot, it's good to know we still remember how to sail this boat!
|The waves are camera shy...|
It is necessary to clear into PR in order to go through the formality of "Customs"... The USVIs are duty free. You must declare any purchases over $1,600 per person... We were really happy to see the channel markers that lead into the calm anchorage of Ensenada Honda on Culebra.
We made it back to Puerto Rico with time to spare. Our friends don't arrive for a few more days...
All of this time we've been sort of dazed and confused as to where we were going and what exactly we were doing. We've just been bouncing around out here... time to settle down and think about (ya think???) storm season.
Time to get our heads on straight... rebobulate... We think we've got it!