US Virgin Islands

St. Thomas (posted from Sint Maarten)

The weather forecast was for typical east tradewinds for the next few days. The winds tend to be lighter early and fill in as the morning wears on, so We left Culebra very early. The winds were already filling in and the seas were still lumpy from the previous day. We did a long tack to the southeast and then one back to the northeast to bring us into the lee of St. Thomas. We expected the waves and wind to be a bit less there. We tacked a couple more times and then motored the rest of the way in.

We anchored in Honeymoon Cove on the west side of Water Island. This put us some distance from the actual harbor in Charlotte Amalie, but we were off a nice beach and within an easy dinghy ride to Crown Bay Marina. The marina has a nice resturaunt, grocery store, laundry, and marine store, and is convenient to other local stores. We could also catch the Safari buses and ride downtown for a dollar. We still got some of the Charlotte Amalie flavor – there was a cruise ship dock next to the marina and they went past the back of our boat on the way in and out.

Honeymoon Bay, St. Thomas

Cruise ship leaving St. Thomas

St Thomas is a typical cruise ship destination and because it is a duty-free port, the waterfront is lined with shops and restaurants. We spent some time cruising the shops, but also took a couple excursions to the post office to pick up a package and to a fabric store to get more sunbrella for boat projects. These side trips are interesting in that we get to places the typical tourists never see.

Christmas Cove (3/28)

We left St. Thomas and motored east towards St. John. There was plenty of wind, but again it was right on the nose. As we approached the east end of St. Thomas we could see the race boats in the Rolex Regatta. We had to thread our way between the race courses and the path took us to Christmas Cove on Great St. James Isle. We motored in, dropped the hook, and watched the races off our stern.

Christmas Cove is a pretty place with two reefs. One is right off the beach and the other splits the cove into north and south halves. It is a fish sanctuary, so there are lots of fish that would otherwise be dinner. A lot of the local day charters bring their customers there to snorkle.

St. John (3/29)

The next morning we motored the few miles to Cruz Bay, St. John. We were expecting a package there. Cruz Bay is a small, touristy town, but it’s much more quaint than St. Thomas. Out package hadn’t arrived yet so we headed for one of the coves on the southeast part of the island to wait. We made it around the southwest corner of the island, but the engine died. We had to replace a fuel filter on the way to St. Thomas and it again looked like a fuel blockage problem. We put up the sails and headed back for Christmas Cove. We decided to rest for a couple days.

We found the blocked fuel line and hope that the problem is now solved.

We ruturned to Cruz Bay two days later, but still no package. The next day we motored around the island to the Coral Bay area. Coral Bay is quite large and has many smaller bays off it. We anchored in the Coral Harbor area. The settlement stretches around the harbor. It’s a haven for hippies who never left the sixties, but for better or worse, the modern era is slowly finding Coral Harbor. It’s iconic Skinney Legs restaurant and Love City market now share the area with some more trendy, upscale competition.

Welcome to Coral Bay

Coral Harbor was fun, but a shift in the wind brought rollers into the harbor and Compass Rose rocked incessantly, so we moved across Coral Bay to Johnson Bay. Coral Harbor might seem like the end of the road, but Johnson Bay is really quiet. There are homes and a small campground along the shore, but except for a couple of day cruises coming from Coral Harbor and a small turnover in cruising boats, it was quite peaceful.

Failed/patched solar charge controller - why we wait for packages

There was a nice little reef with glass eyed snappers just waiting to be speared and a field of conch.

Dinghy load of conch

I finally caught some of the elusive conch and learned how to clean them.

This small, tasty grunt was swimming behind the snapper I missed

Hard to believe it, but between recovering from sore throats and waiting for packages, we spent two weeks in the Coral Bay area. Finally a weather window opened.

Next: Sint Maarten

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