Best Birthday Ever or “I Can’t Believe My Eyes!”

Family..but who’s sailing the boat??

The day starts bright and we had been planning a birthday weekend for ‘ you know who’ …to navigate the bays of St John..a special time, just Mike and I ( so I thought) … and 3 pounds of shrimp, 2 packages of tuna, an extra bottle of rum, and no argument when I wanted 2 bottles of Pinot,  ( when he  usually prefers Malbec), along with his suggestion for a couple of sweet potatoes, extra broccoli, and more Romaine. But its my birthday right?? If nothing else, we gonna eat like royalty!

We had been on quite a few provisioning runs around Charlotte Amalie and at the end of the day joined up with our friends Bryan and Polly for a refreahment . Just like the cruisers we are, we bought a 6-pack of President beer , found a park bench and enjoyed the late afternoon and regaled our accomplishments. It had become a tradition… now that we had done it twice??? Ha ha

Back to Thursday morning, I am waffling about getting a much needed haircut.

1.  The cost.. ok so its my birthday ( excuse enough?)

2.  The covid thing. Could I sit in a salon for 30-45  min getting my hair washed cut and styled with a mask and hope not to catch anything??

3. My sister in law had agreed to help Mike via video cut this crazy mop. ( of course I trust HER!! But In all that Mike can do.. I was afraid.  Plus where would the hair go? Everywhere on the boat . I’D BE CLEANING LOCKS OFF OF EVERYTHING.)

I think it was that last thought that sold me on the salon.

We had coffee and took the dinghy to yacht basin dinghy dock and it was a 3 min walk to the salon. Mike said he’d be back when I called.

I arrived at the door but it was not open. Checked the watch 10:00. Rechecked my text message with the appointment time. Ok ‘ Island time’

About 10:10, after some worry, I had the wrong place, or time, and just about then, the owner showed up and told me my stylist was on the way. To my surprise… no one else was there. There was another woman who showed up as I was leaving, but my fears of a crowded salon were relieved. And my stylist walked in with this long kinky curly head of hair… I think we could have passed for sisters 20 yrs ago. She was THE right person for the job, and the cut was perfect!!

I depart the salon pretty happy that I got a great birthday present, I call Mike, and we head back to the boat.

We had spent a few days of much needed polishing and cleaning. What is funny in retrospect is as soon as Mike started a job, I would find something like the stove or the bathrooms to clean. Why not have a sparkling ‘house’ for your birthday weekend. And so we did a bit more cleaning…polishing the plastic doger sections, reorganizing the kitchen. .. By mid afternoon I get a text from my friend Polly. ” we’ve been out all day shopping, want to meet for a beer?” Back to the tradition we had set.

With the sun coming in the cockpit, its HOT. A beer sounds good, but I really need a shower. So we quickly get wet, change clothes and head for our favorite park bench.

We open and down 6 bottles between the 4 of us, as the sun goes down behind the luxury yachts in the marina and we watch people coming and going at the end of the day, walking dogs, jogging, making grocery runs. Mike stands up looks at his phone (?) and asks if he should get another 6 pack. I’m kinda full if beer, but Polly says sure she’ll share one with Brian. So who am I to argue. It will be cooler if the sunsets, and we have invited Polly and Brian to the boat for burgers. I’m in for the logic.

Mike leaves. For the life of me I can’t even recall what story I was telling Polly and Brian, but I’m looking off in the distance and my brain registers.. ” oh that girl has same body type and skin color as…. OMG ! Brain cells fire! Its Kelsey! and tailing her is Christopher. I let one explicative fly, and my heart is about to stop, and I realize what’s happening.

I’ve been set up for the most wonderful surprise of my life! I’m in tears now… I look at Polly and Bryan and I think they had wet eyes as well. Big hugs… but where’s Mike? 2 minutes later he’s back with the beers and has missed the unfolding surprise.

I regain my composure and then cant believe I didn’t see the signs….the food, alcohol, radio silence from both kids this week, Kelseys insistence on meeting us in St Lucia , and all the cleaning of the boat.

I need another beer now. We sit briefly and discuss their covert operation…. Kelsey’s ruse, Mike keeping me from seeing his text messages ( funny how he was saying his muskey fishing friends that were texting him alot?? It’s not even muskey season),   Christopher just plain off the grid, and my friends Polly and Bryan playing along.

We had a great weekend. Kelsey has been on the boat twice before, but to get Chris aboard was a delight. He has never seen Lost Loon!! Many thanks to his wife Jenni for encouraging him.

We anchored in Waterlemon. Hiked to the ruins.

We snorkeled, Chris fished in the flatsand Kelsey and I hiked to Coral Bay, 5 miles round trip.

Mike had wanted to dive with Chris, but we didn’t think we had enough weights. When Kelsey arrived in Coral Bay, we were within 1/4 mile of Busy Bee dive shop. We bought extra weights.. and carried them back to the boat.

We sailed to Christmas Cove and Mike and Chris took off to dive Cow and Calf dive spot.

We made some good meals, drank some good wine, had a couple great sunset happy hours.

Feeling blessed that these two made a big effort for my birthday weekend. I will cherish the memories and hope to repeat some day, somewhere.

Hoping you find blessings in your life today. Have a great week!

I’ve Got You Babe..

The sun peeks through the overhead hatch as the watch on my wrist vibrates signaling the beginning of another day as the music comes up… click here

I am sure many of you feel just as Bill Murray’s character, Phil Connors, does in The movie Groundhog Day that we are spinning in perpetual motion day after day as these days of the Covid-19 quarantine , self-isolation, “stay-at-home’ drone on.

Meanwhile, Lost Loon is sitting safe in the US Virgin Islands. We are surrounded by like cruisers who have either come here with plans to head back to the US or like us waiting to see if Grenada opens their doors.

We arrived in US waters on March 14 after an uneventful overnight motorsail from St Maarten. It was our plan to stage here before leaving for the ABC Islands. Shortly after our arrival we became well aware that a minuscule microscopic menace would effect a huge change to our plans. And little did we know that things would change nearly daily on a worldwide as well as local level. More about that in a few….

For a period of time, shortly after arrival here, we were literally between a rock and a hard place, with no where to go. Our insurance policy on the boat says we need to be north of the Florida GA state line or south of 12 degrees latitude … that’s Grenada. Explicitly out of the typical hurricane zone. It would have been our choice to head for Grenada ( only 350 mikes) but we see boats in quarantine, limited haul-outs and very random flights leaving the country for the US. So our second option was to head back to the US (1220miles!!). And… to our disappointment Bahamas waters are closed! ( meaning transit outside their territorial waters …no stopping for an overnight rest!) This would also mean a whole Fall season of trying to get East against the trades to just get right back here in the VIs.

Well we found out last week that just about anything is negotiable for $$$$$. We have tentatively arranged to haul the boat out here in St Thomas for a sizable additional fee on our policy and get one of the scheduled flights back to Miami. I know, it’s very obvious to us that this IS A HURRICANE ZONE, but so is most of the East coats of the US! At this point with options closing off for us we needed to make a decision.

Doing this we give up our option for Grenada. And if things don’t look good here or we have a change of mind, we will end up with our last plan and head to the continental US.

If we were making a return to the US doing the 1200 nm, and that’s 10-12 non-stop days. We have been told that there will be no anchoring in any islands; we would need to make a straight shot north – NW from here. AND they have invoked a $10,000 fine with possible imprisonment if caught anchoring or even in the waters!!

Presently we sit at anchor waiting for our haul-out at Independent Boatyard on St Thomas on May 1st. Week #4.

Backyard
Neighborhood

So what’s a day like in the Virgin Islands when you are not sailing and visiting anchorages?? It’s like having a floating condo… a very small condo. We are living in 250 square feet.

The day starts with the morning radio net on the VHF . We find out the latest local changes ( if we haven’t read Facebook), get weather, discuss options to get food, laundry done, and order pizza! Yep, there is a local pizza place that actually served 40 some boats some 50-60 pizzas today by boat!

So this is a pizza boat. They used to be anchored in Christmas Cove, but work out of Benner Bay now from 11-7 each day

We have a list of duties/ tasks to complete before we haul out and a list of jobs for after haul out. So everyday we get 1-2 things done …the stainless is polished, the heads are lubricated, the diesel fuel is treated, the food and medicine inventory has been completed. We have reorganized lockers, and started taking equipment off the rails.

The weather is good, sunny most days 80 degrees and light breezes at night. We can be dropped off at a closed beach just to cross to the road for a walk. ( Trails and beaches just opened yesterday again!!)

We spend time checking in on the HAM network of boats, email and messages, reading, and watching news clips from home in the morning.

Afternoons we may swim, SCUBA

do yoga aboard ( oh yeah that’s a challenge!), cut each other’s hair 🤣

Yep, desperate times call for desperate measures!

and read. We have had excellent cellular service to make calls to the kids and grandkids, mothers, sisters, and brothers.

So here is a list of Lost Loon’s recent reads:

Cape Horn The Logical Route, Bernard Motissier

Dreamland, San Quinones

Land of Dreams, Vidal Sundstol

The Ravens, Vidal Sundstol

Only the Dead, Vidal Sundstol

Chasing My Cure, David Fajgenbaum

Boys in the Boat, Daniel James Brown

We are making the best of the situation in our little floating home. We feel we are some of the lucky ones to be located in a US territory. Some of our sailing friends are in foreign islands and either cannot leave or are stuck on their boats until the government says they can haul their boats out…. and then hope for a flight back to the US!!

We pray for our friends and family they they stay safe and protect each other. We are doing the same. And wake up each morning hoping this crazy dream is just that!!!

Make it a great day!

Finally got the GoPro app to work!! Diving The Ledges, St James Island, USVI