Visitors From the North

No sooner were we back in Francis Bay than our friends Don and D came to visit.  They own the Dickerson 41 Southern Cross and helped us immensely while we were in Oriental, NC this past summer.  Not only did they help us with tools and advice while fixing Compass Rose, they opened their home to us when hurricane Irene flooded our apartment.  As a way to thank them for all their help we offered to host them for a little Caribbean vacation. 

Not too far into planning for their visit they heard of a friend of a friend who needed help moving his boat from the Dominican Republic to St. Thomas.  What luck!  A sea voyage and a vacation!  The trip down went well and the day after they arrived their skipper brought them over to St. John on the car ferry so he could help them get their gear to our dingy.

On the day D and Don were to arrive Jackie and I went on a birding tour of the north side of St. John.  We saw a lot of cool birds.  In a marsh next to a road we saw a Green Heron down a fish and a Snipe – the bird you never find on a snipe hunt.

Green heron about to devour a fish

After bird watching we met Don, D, and the rest of the crew in Cruz Bay.  We had lunch, did some provisioning, and then Gordon gave us all a ride back to our dinghy.

We hung out in Francis Bay for a while snorkling and watching for Manta Rays.  We eventually spotted one, but it was on its way out of the bay, so we didn’t get a very good look at it.  We did do a trip into Cruz Bay so we could visit the Tap Room and do some shopping.  As I understand it, the Tap Room started out by making beer, but couldn’t keep up and now has it brewed for them in the US using their recipe.  They have a lot of good brews at the Tap Room and Don and I set to sampling them while the ladies went shopping.

Does Don seem a little fuzzier than usual in this picture?

The ladies spot an elusive Blue-eyed Beer Peeper

Needing a change of venue we crashed and bashed our way upwind, then rolled downwind to Coral Harbor in Coral Bay where we went to dinner for Jackie’s birthday.  The next day we moved across Coral Bay to Long Bay.  This is one of our favorite “off the beaten path” anchorages.  Nice snorkeling and a cool little lunch spot just down the road.

Vie's Snack Shack - Cool little lunch spots like this are spread around the Caribbean if you just take the time to check them out

Even the Bannaquits think Vie's is a great place for lunch

A Green Antillean Hummingbird stops moving just long enough to get its picture taken

While in Long Bay we were discussing which boats where in the bay next to us the previous day.  I got out my binoculars to check the boats out and discovered Mane Bris anchored there.  We had met Hal and Inga in Grenada as had Don and D when they were there a couple years before us.  We dinghied over to say hello.  It turns out the top half of their mast broke off north of Puerto Rico and they were motoring back to Grenada to fix it.  They were leaving the next day, so we invited them over for dinner.

(l to r) D, Don, Eric, Hal Inga

Hal and Inga left the next morning.  Last we heard they were in Martinique.

We moved out of Coral Bay and around Ram Head to Salt Pond where we picked up one of the park moorings.  Salt pond is a little gem on the little visited south coast of St. John.  It has good snorkling, a very nice beach, good hikes, the salt pond for bird watching, and it’s on the bus line so you can get around the island for $1.

We did some snorkling along the edges of the anchorage each day.

Barracuda don't bother you, but they give you a disquieting evil eye

We had fun hiking up to Ram Head, the rocky outcropping that separates Salt Pond from Coral Bay.

Rose among the thorns. I have to keep reminding myself that this is an arid climate and the cactus outnumber the palm trees

Don and D explore Ram Head

View of Long Bay - our favorite anchorage in Coral Bay

On the way back from Ram Head we explored the salt pond – a bird watching area.

A bird watching...

After the bash around the island to get to Coral Bay, the downwind sail to Christmas Cove was a refreshing  journey.  We picked up a mooring and went snorkling with Janice from Sailacious.  She led us to an area we hadn’t checked out before and found an amazing number of fish.

A Palometa watches the snorkelers

A couple squid swimming in formation

All good things come to an end.  We sailed to Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, so Don and D could catch a plane back to the states.

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One Response to “Visitors From the North”

  1. Barry S/V Crew Rest Says:

    Hey guys—

    So great to have updates on FOUR of the greatest Dickerson people to ever set to sea. I’ll spread the word on the Forum that ya’ll are “living the life”.

    Back here, we are gearing up for the Rendezvous. It should be spectacular with a lot of Dickerson original guests.

    “Crew Rest” and “Aequanimitas” are plotting a trip down the ditch to visit.

    Best of times,

    Barry & Judy

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