This was written yesterday, posted today (Monday). Photos below.
We arrived into St. Croix yesterday afternoon after what I think was probably the easiest passage I’ve ever done. We sailed on starboard tack the whole way, broad reaching in anywhere from 8-25 knots, and only motoring for one hour, through a pretty calm spot when the sails were banging around and we had to roll up the jib. Otherwise it was full genoa and mainsail, with up to two reefs in the windy bits, and the boat just rollicked along rather contentedly, like her crew.
Daniel and Marcia surprised me by not getting seasick (much). Marcia did puke once, after a morning cup of coffee. I warned her that coffee might not be the best thing to drink offshore. But she was over it. Dan even managed to read down below, and only felt queasy just once, after doing the dishes down below. Both of them put transderm Scopolamine patches on the night before departure, so I think that definitely helped (in fact, I told all the crew that they’d have to get scopolamine from their doctors and wear it for 24 hours at home, to ensure they didn’t get an allergic reaction. Once, up in St. Pierre, we saw a schooner return to the dock three days after they’d departed towards Greenland. The photographer onboard who’d chartered the boat for an Arctic photo expedition, reacted poorly to scop and didn’t pee for 3 days - his kidneys had nearly shut down and they got him to the hospital just in time. I do not want to experience that).
St. Croix, Christiansted in particular, where we tied up to the end of a rickety old dock on the boardwalk in town, is a beautiful, sleepy little Caribbean town. I dig the vibe here - nothing like Tortola or St. Thomas. Very cool Danish architecture, more or less preserved, all throughout town, and a lovely yellow fort overlooking the harbor. Sailing in from the east, we almost went aground on the bar you have to cross if you want to cut the corner off a bit (and not go out and around). I’d mis-identified the one green marker we needed to aim for, and we were heading towards a 5-foot spot on the outer edge of the bar. The depth sounder read 12, then 10, then 8, 6 and finally 5 - meanwhile the boat is sailing full-and-by going 6.5 knots - and I spun her around and let the sails flog before we grounded. We worked south to the deeper side of the bar and found the correct green marker and sailed the rest of the way in the ‘schooner channel’ to the east of Round Reef and onto the Customs Dock in Gallows Bay, where we parked in front of the schooner Roseway.
I went for a run yesterday once we got settled onto the dock, exploring to the east of town and past what looks to be the power plant. They run a pretty well-known half-Ironman here in May, so I’m going to try and run the running course today or tomorrow, 13.1 miles that starts at the fort in town and loops around the northern coast before returning and finishing back in town along the main street (all of which have Danish and English street signs, by the way). I haven’t run more than 6 miles in a loooong time, so it’ll be a good little endurance test before we set sail again. My legs felt like concrete yesterday after only 48 hours on the boat.
Kevin and Tom should arrive tonight, and Dan just headed off to find a cab to take him to the airport. Marcia leaves tomorrow afternoon. I plan on getting a scooter to go exploring further afield tomorrow and hopefully find some trails off in the hinterland that I can explore on foot. All we have left to do on the boat is some provisioning at the nearby Pueblo’s grocery store, so that should happen tomorrow afternoon. Then we’re off again, bound for somewhere in the Bahamas. It’s just under 1,000 nautical miles to Green Turtle Cay. It’d be nice to make it that far, but we’re tempted to stop at some of the out islands to the southeast of the Exumas, if only just for a swim and a little exploratory mission, so we’ll see how far we actually make it.
Kevin is supposed to be bringing the inverter I need to be able to send emails from the sat phone, so if that’s the case I’ll be updating our position on here every few days. Stay tuned!