We are alive and in the US Virgin Islands, moving around St Thomas and St John seeing the sights and enjoying the beauty. It has been 3 ½ months and over 1500 miles since Darrin and I left the US. We have experienced the Abacos, Bahamas, Exumas, Turks & Caicos, Dominican Republic (Luperon and Samana), Puerto Rico (Port Real, Coffin Island, Gilligan’s Island, Ponce, Salinas), Culebra -Spanish Virgins, Culebrita, St. Thomas (Crown Bay, Red Hook, Christmas Cove), St John (Caneel cove, Trunk Bay, Moho Bay, Francis Bay).
So, how has it been?
It has been a wild ride!!!! It is a lot of work to go east against the trades! We knew it was going to be and it has not disappointed. We have learned to enjoy the places you stop, and spend time recuperating, often by spoiling ourselves by staying in marinas (this will not be the norm). We were very lucky to have great buddy boats, making the long trips much easier to plan and handle. The trip has not been without challenges big and small. We had one boat take on water on the passage to Luperon. Another boat got hit by lightning in Boquerón PR. But, looking back you don’t dwell on the hard times you remember the fun and shenanigans we have shared together; epic nights of drinking, dominios and other adventures.
People want to know if it is all sunsets, sand, and umbrella drinks. The reality is that cruising is equal parts; work, planning, and fun. As most of you know boats are a lot of work, I can confidently say this is 100% true. Even when everything is working (rare) there is still a ton of work that has to be done, getting groceries, water, diesel, cleaning and maintenance. But what has surprised me is how much time is spent planning! Sailors live by weather, no surprise, but the amount of research we do on check in procedures, where to anchor, where to avoid the crime, swells and other less optimal conditions has equated to a lot more of my day than I originally expected. That leaves fun. And we have a lot of it! Sometimes it is just sundowners on the beach, other times it is taking a gauw gauw or a safari to explore other towns, snorkeling little known reefs, or playing dominos where ever we can find a table big enough. We have seen some amazing things, and the list of places that we have not seen or want to see again, just keeps growing!
Is it different than I expected, yes, but I wouldn’t change it for the world!
Value of Buddy Boats!
I knew there was a community of cruisers, but I had no idea how welcoming, friendly, and helpful everyone is. This is another part of cruising that has surprised me. We meet our first buddy boat, Party of Five, in Wardrick Wells Exumas and made the passage from Georgetown to Turks and Caicos together. We picked up Smitty, O’Doya, Sea Squirrel, Notre Voyage in Provo, Turks and Caicos and Last Tango in Luperon. The friendships that are formed cruising are unlike friendships on land. You spend more time together and place greater trust in them. But like so many things, buddy boats come and go, but they never leave your thoughts. You plan to meet up again and are so excited when you run into them unexpectedly. We are currently buddy boating around the USVI and soon the BVI with Smitty (Jesse and Stacey). We share our love of snorkeling and hiking which makes us a great pair. When we said good bye to Party of Five and Last Tango in Culebra it was a sad day, as we had shared almost two months with them, but it is never good bye…. It’s see you later!
So what is next for Darrin and I? Well we are planning to head over to the BVI to explore the touristy areas while most of the tourists are gone. We want to enjoy the Virgin Islands in total before making the next big move. The original plan was to get down to Grenada by hurricane season, but when we arrived in Culebra, I needed a break from the easting to enjoy this beautiful area. Yes it is hurricane season, but it is early and the more research we do the more options we have to deal with a hurricane if one forms. So like most cruising plans, they are subject to change. I am giving myself a few more weeks to enjoy the virgins before I decide to stay or go! I’ll keep you posted!