Never say never

Three years ago when we sailed within the US and British Virgin Islands, shortly after Hurricane Irma released her powerful fury, we were witness to the incredible destruction of homes, resorts, cars, and boats. We saw the carnage in Spanish Town, Virgin Gorda, Nanny Cay, Tortola, and boats strewn ashore in St John and St. Thomas. Today, much of that has been cleaned up, but there are still derelict vessels in the mangroves and other de-masted sailboats on moorings that remain as a warning and reminder of how life is so easily disrupted and the power of nature. We spent about a month between the countries there at that time and mentioned as we left, we were glad to have secured a place nearly as far south as we could for the hurricane season in Grenada. We were still cognizant that storms could occur there, but with far less frequency.

It is now mid May and we have done something that has surprised even us….left our boat in the Virgin Islands!! Scary huh? We think so too, but like I mentioned in the previous blog we were not in favor of making a non-stop trip back to the US from the Virgin Islands and Grenada was closed down tight from our perspective. So it’s done. And we pray for all hurricanes go North of these islands!

We spent several days in the water, cleaning and polishing and getting ready for the haul-out. We were actually contacted 3 days before the BIG day and told that the boatyard would be closed because of a holiday on May 1st (our intended date) and that we would now be hauled on April 30. Come to find out, the holiday was Carnival, but Carnival was cancelled due to the Covid virus precautions and restrictions. Wow! Cancel Carnival? That’s crazy parades, bands, food, drink, and parties !!! But as a resilient people, they decided they would still take the holiday. We have definitely learned to live day by day out here in this life on the water.

Sailing downwind…one last time

We had made a last sail around to Charlotte Amalie a few days previous where we would take off the sails and get a few other things done in what we thought would be a settled location. Little did we know that for 3 days we would have 15-18 kn winds and from where we anchored a bit of a chop and swell. We made the best of it and got the work done.

Motoring Bare poles into Benner Bay for the haul out

So at 1:30 on that Thursday we were sitting in the lagoon waiting for a signal. We made a phone call as we saw no one manning the lift and found out there was a boat ahead of us. Kind of disappointing, but they did move quickly to get that boat in the lift and put us on the staging dock. By 4:30 we were out and the sailing season for Lost Loon was over. Always a bittersweet moment. I will admit that I love this life so much, I did shed a couple of tears.

After procuring water and electric sources we were back to work in the cooler part of the day..late afternoon. We still had 3 days of work ahead before we flew back to the US.

We were fortunate to find someone willing to rent their AirBNB at a very reasonable price for us during this time. Our host even picked us up at the end of the day and returned us in the morning! Superhost! And a beautiful location above Red Hook with the best hot shower and comfortable bed.

From here we could see most of St John, St James and parts of the BVI.

We even had a nightly visitor that would conveniently show up as we were cooking dinner

We spent 3 long days working away at our list of tasks, crossing them off and adding new ones each night. Sunday,Departure day, arrived with a gorgeous our sunrise and we were off by 730 AM to finish the laundry we needed to leave on the boat.

Sunrise Red Hook

By 1030 we had made it back to the boat to take one final look and turn the lock for the last time this season. She was as ready as she would ever be.

With our bags packed, masks and alcohol gel in hand we headed for the St Thomas airport that afternoon. It was a breeze through customs and security that afternoon, as there were only about 25 people on our flight back to Miami.

Thanks Pia for the masks!

Miami airport was eerily deserted on our arrival.

We spent 16 days in Punta Gorda, FL as part of our self quarantine ( thank you Jeff Bellairs!) We spent these days walking in the early morning, biking, and kayaking, fishing, swimming. ( not a bad quarantine!) We feel great, our exposure was likely very minimal once we got off the boat through the airport, but enroute to see family, it’s what you do, right? Protect whom we can!

Redfish prize
Sunrise

Next up the journey north….there are walleyes to catch on Lake Vermilion!!!

Take care friends, stay well!

2 thoughts on “Never say never

  1. Cameron M Wagner

    Just came across your blog. Love it. We just bought our first sailboat, a Catalina 30, last year and dream of cruising the Caribbean in the future as you are. We are on Leech Lake in Walker , MN. We had never set foot in a sailboat before buying our Catalina. Would you recommend chartering in the Caribbean as the best way to gain experience and see if ocean cruising is for my wife and I

    Like

    1. Nancy Magnine

      Cameron, congratulations on your Cat 30!! Don’t you love how she sails so effortlessly? I would certainly recommend chartering the USVI or BVI first. It’s a great way to “get your feet wet”. Those sailing grounds are quite easy. You might consider taking a couple of ASA courses which might give you more confidence. Let us know if you need recommendations. You can use my email nancymag9@gmail.com. Send me a photo of your boat!

      Like

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