Lots of Virgin Island Stuff



We mentioned to Laurel, the park ranger who leads the birdwalks, that we had picures of the Manta Rays in Francis Bay.  She later asked if they could use them in the local Audobon magazine.  We got published!

Click on the link: Feb 2012 Bananaquit and check out page 3.

Marina Break

We had been rolling quite a bit in Charlotte Amalie and Superbowl Sunday was fast approaching so we decided to take a break and spend a couple nights in Crown Bay Marina.  Our friends Bob and Debbie on Chimayo  also came into the marina.  Janice and Steve on Sailacious and Dave on Persephone anchored out, but came in to watch the game.

There are a few big yachts in the marina, but most other boats are not too ostentatious.  Then Bob pointed out the boat at the end of our dock and one almost across from us.  The one across the dock was Ella Bleu, John Travolta’s sailboat, and the one at the end of the dock was Blue Guitar, a powerboat formerly owned by Eric Clapton.

Blue Guitar and Ella Bleu

More Visitors

A friend of ours, Dave Daniels, needed to move his boat back to Florida and was looking for crew.  Our friends Don and D had considered helping him, but the logistics couldn’t work out.  I mentioned the situation to my brother, Dave W, and he was interested.  After a few emails and a phone call or two he was on board.  Two other crew had been lined up, so there would be four for most of the trip.  The others were Lori, a women Dave D had met when she was visiting another boat, and Jake, a friend of Dave D.  Dave W flew down and spent a day and night with us before we turned him over to Dave D.  The trip went pretty well.

Crew l to r: Lori, Dave White, Dave Daniels, and Jake

Playing  Tourist

While in Charlotte Amalie Jackie and I played tourist a little bit.  When brother Dave was here we walked up to Bluebeard’s Castle, which turned out to be a hotel that had decided to cash in on the fame of Blackbeard’s Castle to get some toursits.  After Dave left we trekked up to Blackbeard’s Castle.  According to their website:

“Blackbeard’s Castle, St. Thomas Skytsborg Tower (meaning sky tower), was built in 1679 by the Danes as a watchtower for the harbor of Charlotte Amalie. It is located at the highest point on Skytsborg Tower Government Hill. Danish Soldiers used Skytsborg as a vantage point to spot enemy ships and protect impressive Fort Christian from attacks. Fort Christian is at sea level, which was ideal for warding off attackers with canon fire, but did not offer a good enough view of the incoming ships before they entered the harbor. It is not known what year Skytsborg Tower took on the name of Blackbeard’s Castle, but the infamous Edward Teach, commonly known as Blackbeard the Pirate, did sail the Caribbean waters in the early 1700s. It has become part of the lore of the island that he used the Tower as a vantage point for his own treacherous purposes.”

The tour up to the castle includes four historic houses and the Caribbean World Amber Museum.

View of the harbor from one of the houses. Can you guess which boat is Compass Rose?

Looking west from one of the historic homes

Pirates of the Caribbean

We also took the dollar bus to Red Hook at the eastern end of the island.  The attraction was a salt marsh where we did some bird watching, but we didn’t see anything spectacular.

Lounging Lizard? We saw this iguana walking the dock at Red Hook

During this time the end blew off our water maker’s pressure vessel.  The local Spectra dealer looked at it and we sent pictures to the factory.  They had never seen a failure like this before.  Although the unit was out of warranty, they sent us a new pressure vessel – we paid only for shipping.
Visiting St John
We took another break from Charlotte Amalie and hooked up with the Cruzateers in Rendezvous Bay on the south side of St. John, where we met Mark and Willie on Liahona.  This is a nice little bay that is essentially undiscovered by cruisers.  From there we went around to Francis Bay on the north side of St. John.  We were in search of the elusive Manta Rays.
While there we picniced on the beach,

Picnic on the beach at Francis Bay

went bird watching at the salt marsh,

Green Heron at the salt marsh

Tried a new figurehead on the boat,

A pelican roosts on our bow

did water arobics,

A little after this was taken a turtle came to visit and then a dolphin tried to run over Janice

went bird watching at the salt marsh (as you can see this was a recurring activity)

At the salt marsh: Jackie, Eric, Bob, Debbie (Chimayo)

Fixin’ to Leave the Virgins
Eventually we returned to Charlotte Amalie to get ready to leave the Virgin Islands.  During this time we took care of some old and new problems with the boat.  The first was to get the autopilot repaired. That got shipped back to the factory.  We also had a failure with the voltage regulator.  Balmar stood behind the product and helped me troubleshoot the system.  Jackie flew back to the US and spent ten days with her niece and family to help out with their new baby, Willow. 

Great Aunt Jackie with grandnieces Willow (l) and Sumer (r)

While she was gone I did some boat projects including modifying our dodger to fit around the sea hood we installed in Oriental.  When she returned she brought back the new regulator and the repaired autopilot.
Balmar offered to take a look at our wiring to see if they could find any problems.  I installed the new parts and then drew up a wiring diagram.  One wire didn’t make sense to me and Balmar confirmed that it was wrong.  They came up with the right connection for it.  Evidently when a previous owner installed the unit, two wires were connected to the wrong spots.  I moved the one wire and just disconnected the other.  No more wiring going up in smoke so far.  It’s amazing the boat didn’t burn long ago.
Anchoring around Charlotte Amalie harbor

Double Rainbow over Charlotte Amalie

This boat anchored right by us. Would you cross the Atlantic on it?

Rising Sun anchored in the harbor.  The boat was the second largest private yacht in the world when it was built for its original owner, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison.

Rising Sun

Moused!  Disney Magic anchors in the harbor and the harbor pilot usually has to ask some private boats to move – at 5:30 AM.

Moused. Disney Magic's anchoring location requires private boats to move.

One More Visitor
Our nephew Richard was on vacation from his flight attendant job, so he hopped a plane down and hung out with us for about ten days.  We spent some time in Charlotte Amalie while I finished fixing the wiring, then we sailed for Francis Bay, St. John.

Our view of the harbor entrance as we prepared to leave for St. John

Francis Bay – one last time
The trip to Francis Bay was uneventful.  We snorkeled, hung out on the beach, and did some bird watching.

Elusive (really!) Mangrove Cuckoo

Nephew Richard relaxes on the beach

Next: Voyage to St. Martin.

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