Well, its been a crazy Winter.
I’m sure more of you will agree, than not.
After a long awaited journey back to Lost Loon in St Thomas, VI, we are enjoying the warmth, sunshine, and blue water of the Caribbean.
To catch everyone up…..we arrived mid December (the longest we have been away from Lost Loon) to splash our dear boat back in the water. We completed the last of our seasonal goodbyes, traveling from Florida to Minnesota and back to take off on a bright Monday with our negative Covid tests in hand. After four days of hard labor, scraping, painting, replacing batteries, reorganizing we were ready.
Wait who is that character on our boat??
Oh it one of the repair guys.. we had a through-hull replaced over the summer, they did the work and can you believe they showed up for the launch to check and make sure there was no leak???? Thats service!!
Good news no leak!
We are sitting in the slings as they are called , and hold our breath as the engine fires up. The slings are released into the murky water of the lagoon and Lost Loon surges forward, as naturally as a horse out of the gate.
We met up with our friends on SV Joli, who made an incredible sail from Maryland early November. (Read about it here SV Joli blogspot). With Covid still present on the islands, we decide to stay put for a bit……and as you’ll see… a bit longer. The trouble with cruising to other Caribbean countries is the testing and quarantine. The requirements are all over the map. Most countries require a test before leaving and then a test upon arrival, along with 3 to 5, and in some places 14 days of quarantine on the boat, with no going ashore before they clear the crew in. What is more frustrating is that they are changing their requirements frequently.
Other cruisers have commented that its like trying to hit a target while intoxicated and blindfolded. So we have made the Virgin Islands of St Thomas, St John, and St Croix our winter home.
Debrief on the Virgins
St. Thomas has many bays and anchorages, but we found a gem near the airport , Brewers Bay. Ok so we watch and listen to jets taking off between 11 and 4, but the beach there is wonderful. It is well maintained by the University of Virgin Islands, and on weekends closes due to Covid outbreak at 4:30, so no all- nighters on the beach. Which means peaceful sleeping for us. It is also within walking distance of some shopping…2 miles or so. We spent New Years Eve here with friends on 3 other boats…. we enjoyed a great night of progressive apps and cocktails,finishing the night dancing on the huge foredeck of Joli.
Charlotte Amalie, Long Bay, is a harbor right in the city. In non-Covid years it is chock-full of cruise ships and travelers from everywhere. Right now it is full of charter catamarans that have little or no business and need a place to park. This location is great for provisioning in large quantities, getting laundry done, and catching a safari bus that runs all over the island for a few dollars each way. We come here to get things done.
St John is lovely, with huge green hills, beautiful white sand beaches, and clear blue water. We spent a couple of days in Lameshur Bay on the south side of St John a couple of weeks ago with our friends Ric and Mimi aboard. There is a terrific spot to dive and snorkel in settled weather and a great out of the way beach as well.
We made our first trip to St Croix a few weeks back. It is a 35 mile sail south from St Thomas, so we waited until the wind is from the east or a little north and the seas were settled . The first sail was quite squally, and we were reacquainted with the quickly changing weather and waves in this region. Our second sail was the Valentines Regatta… (another post in the works!)
This island is a little like a place that time forgot. There is a very colorful beachfront, old buildings transformed into hotels and restaurants., cute shops, a struggling museum, a bakery, dive shops, an ice cream shop and KFC… yep Kentucky Fried Chicken!! The Colonel sure has an edge in the fast food market here.
The anchorage at Fredricksted Pier holds a collection of boats, mostly cruisers, very few charters. So what I’m say is that its … shhh ..quiet!
There are beaches everywhere and the SCUBA diving is awesome. From the anchorage we can visit nearly 10 dive spots with the dinghy. We have made 5 or 6 dives here and have never been disappointed. The big fame is diving the pier and looking for seahorses. We looked, we didn’t see them. We are told there is one location and possibly only 1 resident seahorse??…oh well we will keep looking.
We dined at a couple restaurants , rented a car and took a trip to the larger city of Christiansted, made our way to the Eastern tip of the island Millennial Monument, Point Udall, ordered carryout Roti, and even stopped at the Mutiny vodka distillery. ( why? Because they have closed the Cruzan Rum distillery because of Covid).
So today we are back in St Thomas, we need our SCUBA tanks inspected, need to buy a starter battery for the engine, and need a propane bottle filled.
But we have a date back in St Croix….. March 12, 3 pm for our 2nd Covid vaccine. Unbelievable but everyone is encouraged to get vaccinated here, but word has it the locals are reluctant. So we got on the list and got the call. We know several other cruising couples taking advantage of the opportunity. Feeling lucky.
Well so much more to tell, like the birthday surprise… next up….and Valentines Regatta / Race
Thanks for hanging in there with me. XOXO from the crew of Lost Loon.