Wow! I can’t believe almost a month has passed since our last entry. We spent one last time in Maho Bay and Leinster Bays on St. John, before experiencing the BVIs one last time again too. In the BVIs, we enjoyed both island hopping (Key Bay and Great Harbour on Peter Island), Little Harbour on Jost Van Dyke, and Cane Garden Bay on Tortola. We also spent two days in Nanny Cay Marina on Tortola. We always wanted to visit this wonderful marina. I was nervous pulling in to first get fuel and then backing into a slip for the first time. The weather was really windy and there were multimillion dollar boats around so my sphincter was just a bit tight! Success! All went smoothly. This marina has always had a special place in our hearts but we had only seen it in pictures. This was where Counting Stars was on the hard during both Hurricane’s Irma and Maria. It brought back so many emotions. We both remember the many hours trying to find out the status of Counting Stars, seeing the horrific images of the damage, and finally finding some drone footage of Counting Stars and seeing her still standing! While there we stood in the same spot in the yard as Counting Stars, counting our blessings. It was heartbreaking to still see some of the boats we saw damaged in pictures two years ago, still getting work done. The boat that lost two masts that was next to ours was still there. On an upbeat note, there was a fantastic vibe at the marina. We even met two boats with connections to Wilmington. One couple from England whose relatives were the Cameron’s and McRae’s and another couple whose cousin is Bill Saffo, the mayor of Wilmington. Small world!
We then headed back to the CYOA base where Kevin spent the next 6 days alone while I flew home to visit my Mom and Dad and catch up with Frankie and check on the house. It was great to see everyone and spend some time at home (although a lot of time was spent getting some of our taxes together and getting the car inspected). Kevin kept busy servicing our 5 separate winches, not wenches- ha ha, changing out our water filters, cleaning the contacts on our windlass and getting things together to change the oil on our generator. Secretly, I think he enjoyed it a little bit!
So where are we now? We reprovisioned on St.Thomas and left for St. John for one night then sailed the 33 nautical miles to St. Croix. We flew there averaging 8.5 knots and hung out in Buck Island, Christiansted, Salt River Bay and we are now currently in Frederiksted. We got to experience an event only celebrated four times a year in Christiansted known as a “Jump Up” and it was a lot of fun. It is similar to Carnival with music and food vendors but very family oriented. The bands from the local schools here are steel drum bands. 50-75 elementary kids were playing together tapping and swaying to the rhythm of the music as they played. We loved it! Jumbies also danced in the street which are a tradition here of people dressed up in costume on huge stilts- so tall you can walk under them.
We realize we are in a territory of the United States but the local people here have kept all their traditions alive and it still feels like you are world away in another country. Both Christiansted and Frederiksted have many buildings dating back to the late 1700s. The dutch owned the island for many years so there is a lot of history too. Today we are going to snorkel the pier in Frederiksted which is supposed to have a unique underwater ecosystem with lots of seahorses!
We will likely leave here tomorrow and make our way towards Culebra in Puerto Rico. It will be a long 40 nm sail approximately 7-8 hours. We then plan to make our way along the south coast of Puerto Rico before heading to the Dominican Republic. Every place after Culebra will be brand new to us so it is exciting but a tinge of the fear of the unknown is also ever-present. You definitely need patience waiting for a weather window because it dictates everything!