This week was another jam-packed week of moving the boat, exploring islands, hanging out with friends and, of course, eating some great food!
Last Friday, Wild Horses, Indigo Lady and Caretta moved along to St. John, our last island in the USVI. It was a short one-hour trip from our St. Thomas anchorage where our friends on Bitty Rose were still anchored. We had a great reunion with Kate and Clay the night before, having last seen them way back in Puerto Rico. This is an interesting part of cruising – you meet people, hang out, say good-bye but you know that you will likely meet up once again at another anchorage, another island, or another country even. A few cruisers call this “bungee boating.” It totally fits!
We were looking forward to our visit to St. John as the majority of the island is a national park. A little remoteness, trail walks, and snorkelling sounded wonderful. Arriving in Cruz Bay, St. John, it quickly became clear that the harbour anchorage was extremely full and extremely busy with ferries and tour boats. Hmmm, not really the tranquil setting we were expecting. No worries! We just moved a little more north to Caneel Bay, an anchorage that gave us dinghy access to the town of Cruz Bay but the quietness of the park. Each boat picked up a mooring ball ($26 USD a night), and then we launched our dinghies and headed into town for lunch. The town of Cruz Bay is hopping. The busy ferry from St. Thomas brings tourists, vacationers and locals back and forth. The shops and restaurants are full and there is constant activity on the streets. It was a fun place to just take in the island vibe.
On our way back to our boats, we were pleasantly surprised to see that our friends Matt and Lisa (and pup Rex) on Bye Felicia had also just arrived. Ocean was very happy to see her boyfriend Rex again! After a quick greeting, all four boats made plans to meet up for a drink on Indigo Lady in the evening.
Thanks to Indigo Lady, we also fit in some snorkelling off Mingo Cay.
We knew our time in St. John would be a little short-lived though. A weather window to head to St. Martin had opened up for the following week and all three boats agreed that we should take advantage. Our weather router, Chris Parker, was giving this window the thumbs up but saying it would close tight by the end of the week, meaning we could be waiting several weeks for another opportunity to make the 93 nautical mile journey to St. Martin. On Monday morning we got into our dinghies and headed into Cruz Bay once again, this time to get our USVI departure papers. We were heading to St. Martin the following morning.
With departure papers in hand, we moved our boats to our staging anchorage at Coral Harbor, just 10 nautical miles away. This is a big anchorage with access to town and, even more important, home to “Lime Out VI”, a floating taco stand! Yum! We treated ourselves to three large and savoury tacos – ceviche for me, surf and turf for Mike and a third, blackened tuna, to share between the two of us. Truly the best tacos we have ever had!
The next morning, we prepared Wild Horses for our 10am departure. But, uh-oh, in checking the engine room Mike found water under our propellor shaft. Yikes! It wasn’t enough water to stop us in our tracks but it was concerning. I mopped up the mess, knowing that I would have to do this repeatedly while underway for the whole 24 hours to St. Martin. Ugh.
Of course, once again, the wind was directly on the nose so we had to motor along, first past the end of the USVI and then by the British Virgin Islands (BVIs). The day was starting to bleed away and the last of the BVIs were still in sight when a couple of seabirds (Boobies) landed on our bimini top and decided to hitch a ride to St. Martin. They were an entertaining pair of stowaways and, thankfully, also considerate enough to miss our dinghy when “doing their business”. Outside of the Boobies and my hourly mop up of sea water from under the engine, our trip went very smoothly. Neither of us completely enjoy overnight sails but this was an easy 21-hour motorboat ride.
We arrived at the beautiful island of St. Martin (French side)/Sint Maarten (Dutch side) at 0700 and by 0815 we were checked into the country. We had purposefully chosen the French side of the island due to the informality of their Customs and Immigration, especially for our pup Ocean. No pet import permit or fees here! In fact, she laid beside us during the check in process. There wasn’t even a space on the form to declare we had a dog. Easy!
We will spend at least a week here, enjoying all that St. Martin/Sint Maarten (commonly referred to as “SXM”) has to offer. French wine, food and friendly locals. This is going to be fun! And, yes, we will also need to trouble shoot that pesky water under the engine issue. But first, we will enjoy some brunch in town and then back to the boat to catch up on our sleep.
We are still on the move. Click the link below to find out where we are today!
Victoria is a hiker, dog-lover, blog writer and planner extraordinaire. Oh, yeah and she is kind of fond of living on a boat.