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MOVING NORTH, WHAT AM I DOING!! January 26, 2016

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Sure enough, we moved from St Croix to Culebra. North!

In the mean time we rented a car and spent a day touring St Croix. We went from one end to another. The day before we rented the car we walked all over the downtown area of Christanstad. It has a lot of old Dutch architecture. Couple old churches and a fort. This fort is all freshly painted and swept clean. Add troops and it would be ready to go. It has a claim to fame in that the mother of Alexander Hamilton was in jail there for 7 months. She left her husband for another man. Husband 1 had her put in jail. She did not make a go of wife with the second one either.

On the car trip, we started at the east end which is the farthest eastern point of the US. It is up on this hill surrounded by the Caribbean on 3 sides. It is really a pretty place. There is a millennium monument there that shows the position of the sun on January First of when ever it was built. Carter was president I think. We also went to a plantation that the Big House has been restored with original furniture. The workings of the sugar mill was all moved to one place. As plantations go, this one was pretty small.

We also went a botanical garden. That was a bust. It was also built on an old sugar plantation. It had more ruins then flowers.

We drove into a Rum Distillery. A nice modern one. We decided to go to lunch instead of touring another modern distillery. We know how to make rum. It is a smelly process.

We went on to Fredrickstad. Much smaller then Christiansted but has a pretty waterfront and the normal art and clothing stores and restaurants. The middle of the waterfront has this big pier that can handle 4 cruise ships. There was 1 ship in and I was amazed how a small town can absorb 3000 people. They did it well. We ate at a “New Orleans Jazz” restaurant. Half the band was from New Orleans. The jazz was good and the food could have been served on Canal Street.

One of the high points of the whole week, was lunch in Christiansted. The mates birthday was Sunday when we sailed overnight to St Croix. For Birthdays, we normally do a great dinner someplace. We had sailed overnight and it takes a while for us to recuperate. Plus, white folks are not to be out after dark. Not good for your health and wellbeing. We had a list of restaurants to try. We went into a small shop and asked the lady where they were located. She said if we wanted something a little special, try this other place. It was a small French cuisine restaurant. It was superb. Could have spent the whole day there. A great belated Birthday Meal.

Sunday we sailed north to Culebra. About 45 miles and I hoped to sail on a broad reach. No such luck. The wind turned dead astern and died to about 8-10 knots. Plus there was a left over sea of 3-4’ to occasional 5-6’ We rolled up to 20 degrees each direction. We motored sailed as best we could using the mainsail as a steadying sail. It was an uncomfortable 7 ½ hours.

We are looking forward to spending some time here in Culebra. On the way down the islands, we spent 1 night here and left before the weather closed in on us. This place has lots of beaches and good snorkeling. Our weather is to close in with high wind and seas starting tonight. Ruminants of the snow storm that hit the east coast last weekend.

North, I must be loosing it.


ST CROIX January 19, 2016

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The weather looks good even to the mates standards. Therefore on Saturday we left for St Croix USVI. I wanted to sail as much as possible for the 19 hour trip. We got in some sailing at the beginning then around dusk the wind died. We sailed again from dark till midnight. Then the seas got to be a steady 4-5 on the port quarter and the wind was on our stern plus or minus 20 degrees and only about 8-10 knots. Back to the iron sail. Even then we tried to motor sail and tack down wind. We did not realize till light what was happening with the seas. The wind driven seas were 4’ from the SE and the swell was NE at 6’ with an 12 second period. That is not bad. A lot of uppity up and downity down. Its just when they get together. By sunup, the swell had died to about 4 feet and the wind driven sea was about the same. That means all is the same size from different directions and you have the old wash machine effect. When you were not on watch it was hard to sleep. Very rollie.

20 hours from anchor up to anchor down. Exactly what we had estimated. Sunday was a day of lots of napes. Morning, afternoon, evening and night. I woke up sitting up on a settee about 1:30 am. Woke up at 6:45 just in time to here my weatherman. It takes at least 2 days to get over an overnight.

We are in Christiansted Harbor, St Croix, USVI. This is a big 3 day weekend for the island…, Martin Luther King weekend. “Back in the USA”. The island is closed. That was good. We needed the rest and I had a couple big projects to work on. Projects done. Tuesday we will start exploring the island.

Very slight roll behind the reefs. A lady cruiser we met Sunday said the week before was quite rollie. After Simpson Bay, it could not have been that bad.

No mountains, just hills. I am going to miss the mountains of the Windward and Leeward islands. Mountains and seas are beautiful. By the time we get to the Bahamas, you will be able to stand on deck and see over many of the islands. Boring. Also, no French bakeries. French Bakeries are one of the true joys of life. To sit at a table on the sidewalk and have a cup of their coffee and a pastry or two. Life is good.

OFF AGAIN January 11, 2016

Posted by sailingnightwatch in Caribbean, Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
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The weather is suppose to slowly settle down. By the 3rd it is actually calming down a bit. Seas from 9 feet to 6 feet. That is a good start. On the 5th we moved back to Jolly Harbor to stage for our trip to St Martin. We will do an overnight on this 18 hour trip. We have always stopped at an island somewhere in between to make the trip in 2 days. The navigator decided we could save a day by doing an overnight. I concurred.

We want to do more overnights, which are usually around 80-90 miles and cut off stopping at places we have been and either checking in and out through customs or “Yellow Flagging” the island. Yellow Flagging is quasi legal. Most of the islands do not care, but some want that tax dollar and check either at night or at first light. The Dutch side of St Martine and St Bart’s are two that come to mind.

The stop in St Martin is more of a repair and maintenance stop. It is a duty free island and that saves some money. It has machine shops, welding shops, rigging shops ,electrical shops, etc. All with great workmanship. Plus it has two good marine stores. If you order stuff, air freight is only .70/lb. Ships used to be great. They ran every other day from Miami. Now with the oil critics and things slowing down on the islands they only run the ships once a week. That puts you 2 weeks to get a shipment.

We wanted to go to Marigot Baie on the French side. It was only 7 Euros forever to check in. It was not supposed to be, but Customs had decided not to collect the fees that run you $40/ week, like the Dutch side. Well, the first thing we find out is we can not check in where we used to and its 7 Euro fee, but had to go to the ferry terminal with everyone else checking in. You guest it, 40 Euros/week. Secondly there were to be a northern swell and the bay is open to the north. And finally it is about a 45 minute dinghy ride to the end of the lagoon where all the shops and stores are located. So, we moved back to Simpson bay on the Dutch side.

We were here last year when we got stuck by 6 weeks of Christmas winds. The first week here was fine, then the winds started and the seas built and started coming into the bay. Within 12 hours it went from rolly to scary. We then moved into the Lagoon.

These seas are from a semi-tropical storm in the middle of the Atlantic. They are to be 9 foot by tomorrow and then start down. The wind has us beam on to the swell that is coming over the reef. We have things to do daily and have to run around in the dinghy. If it gets a little more rolly, we will move. Do not need to try to get into the dinghy in 4 foot seas. The poor mate fell getting into the dinghy a week ago and hurt her back. Do not need to beat her up any further.

Even in the boat you get very tired. Constant moving and when you move around you are bouncing off the bulkheads and furniture. Even in bed, you are rolling 3-4 degrees each direction, all the time. You brace yourself as best you can, but the mattress still moves under you. Not the best of sleep.

We are hoping to be out of here by the weekend. We will do another overnight and go to St Croix in the USVI. St Croix is off the beaten path so we missed it going to the islands. It is supposed to be an interesting island and we may spend a week there. Or we may be stuck here with weather and/or waiting parts.


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Nothing good mind you. We still have 30 knot winds and 7-9 foot seas, therefore we are still held up in Antigua. The winds are starting to slow some, but the seas show no sign of getting into that elusive 4-5 foot range. Even 5-6 would be tolerable. We have decided to skip St Barts totally. If you can not do New Years Eve, screw it. We will do an overnight to St Martin. We have to get parts there, have a sail repaired, repairs to one of the windshield tab that holds it open, a new zipper in the Bimini and its adjoining sun shade. Then there are the water maker spare pump, a replacement pump for the electric head, a repair kit for one of the bilge pumps, speakers for the lap top, batteries for the patio lights. That was off the top of my head…, that means I am forgetting something.

The wind and seas are to get down by late in the week. Tomorrow afternoon we will head back to Jolly Harbor to stage for our overnight towards the week end. Seas should be down some, but a northern swell should enter the mix.

This week has been more normal with laundry and grocery hikes. We decided to have over a couple of cruiser buddies couples for New Years Eve. Heavy ho’rderves. You knew I could not spell that. Not even close enough for spellcheck. That was very enjoyable. At midnight the Dockyard does fireworks, also the Yacht Club and a restaurant. The rest of the world does not know how to do fireworks like the good old USA. The Yacht Club had medium size fireworks with the show lasting about 3-4 minutes. The restaurant did 5 minutes of the size your crazy neighbor finds and buys. The Dockyard did full fledge fireworks. Good ones that lasted 6 minutes.   Thousands of people hike into the Dockyard for 6 minutes. I’m sorry, I need 40 plus minutes of world class fireworks.

That was really all right. We old folks need our beauty sleep. One of our guests had her hand set earlier that day. They were coming to Antigua in the 8-9 foot stuff and a odd wave hit the boat while she was moving from one side of the cockpit to the other. Fell down and bent her little finger and ring finger further back then they should be bent. Broke the bone in her hand that is the ring finger. I was amazed. There med kit has this stuff you cut it to the size you need to make the hard part of a cast. Then you rap your hand or arm to this material and instant cast. No pain pill and doing fine. Just good wine.

Hope your new year is off to a great start.