Sailing


Trip Highlights
March 1994
 
    On March 22 Dan, Alice and John flew from Newark NJ to St. Thomas for a one week sailing vacation. The bare boat charter was arranged with Ocean Incentives located in Red Hook. The boat named "The  Investment", is a 32 foot Oday, (see the spec sheet for more details of the boat). We arived in Red Hook about 5PM and had arranged to sleep on the boat that night with the charter to begin the following morning. We had a seafood dinner at a resturante that was close by, and baught food and supplies for the week at the local markets.
 
    On Wednesday morning, we were checked out on the boat systems and left Red Hook shortly before noon. We sailed towards Jost Van Dyke in open water and became familiar with the operation of the boat. Our first anchorage was in Leinster Bay on St John. We snorkeled around Watermelon Cay which we were familier with from earlier trips to St John. Alice was not feeling well and thought she was sea sick. We avoided rough water the next day and she got progressively better. Soon she was not affected by rough seas.
 
    We sailed for Coral Bay and Huracane Hole on St John Thursday morning. We anchored in the second bay in Hurracane Hole called Otter Creek. Although calm, there was alot of gusts and back winding. We put out a sttern anchor to keep the boat stationary. We stayed through Friday. We explored the town of Coral Harbor and met some of the local people. We ate lunch at the local Mexican restraunt called Don Carlo's. On Friday, Dan and John took the dingy to Battery point to snorkel. We went from there arround Battery Point into Coral Bay and hiked up a trail to the ruins of a Dutch fort. The view was spectacular and we took several pictures. We met a number of wild goats on the way up the trail, and thorns from the bushes went through the soles of our shoes.
 
    On the way back to the boat, the dingy ran out of gas and we had to row about a mile to get back. Fortunately it was accross the wind and it only took about an hour.
 
    On Saturday morning, we sailed for Road Town in Tortola. We cleared customs there and left for Fat Hogs Bay on the south eastern shore of Tortola. By the time we droped the anchor, I was not feeling good because of heat exhaustion and went below to sleep it off. Dan went ashore and met a group of salty sailors in the local pub. They sang and partied for the evening. Dan got some advice on the trip to Virgin Gorda.
 
    Sunday morning, (Paslm Sunday), we sailed for the marina at Spanish Town, Virgin Gorda. We rented a slip there for one night, ($1/foot), and took a cab to the Baths. We snorkeled there until 5PM, and then returned to the marina. We ate dinner at the Bath & Turtle Pub at the marina. They had entertainment with music to suit an older crowd. The marina has all services and we used the showers, and took on 30 galons of water. We were hooked to the pier electric service and ran the refrigorator all night.
 
    Monday morning we left to snorkel at the Dog Islands. This was the farthest point North and East of our jurney. After snorkeling there we began the down wind treck to Norman Island. This was a long sail and we found that the boat did not sail well directly down wind with both sails set. It wanted to turn into the wind and required constant correction at the helm. It sailed at about 6.5 mph this way. We found that it sailed much easier with just the jib, but at 4.5 mph.
 
    We did not anchor in the Bight at Norman Island assuming it would be crowded, but went directly to Benures Bay. This also was crowded but not too bad. We managed to anchor quite far in, and set a stern anchor to keep from swinging 360 degrees in gusts. While there we saw large fish, (over 5 ft.), and a large sea turtle. The snorkeling was good here too.
 
    The next morning, we motored to the caves and found a mooring there. We snorkeled for a couple of hours and set sail for Salt Pond Bay, on St John. There were moorings at Salt Pond too and we used one. The snorkeling was great especially arround the reef in the center of the bay. Towards evening we had a barbque on the beach and stayed there until sundown. We began to pack our things to be ready to leave the boat tomorrow.
 
    We left Salt Pond Bay on Wednesday morning and sailed along the south shore of St John towards Cruze Bay to clear customs. Cruz Bay is a very busy harbor but we managed to anchor there. Alice and Dan took the dingy in to clear customs while I stayed with the boat. Our plans to have a drink at the pub there were curtailed because time was running short. We left for our final destination of Red Hook at 11 AM to arrive before noon when the boat was due.
 
    As we crossed Pillsbury Sound, a large storm formed behind us and we raced it into Red Hook Harbor. Rather than try to dock during the storm, we decided to anchor in the harbor and wait it out. In the process of anchoring, I fouled the dingy line in the propeller. This left us adrift in the harbor with sails down and no engine. We were able to anchor quickly and avoided a bad situation. I swamunder the boat with snorkel gear and a knife and freed the propeller. In a matter of minutes the storm had passed and we brought the boat safely in.
 
    We had a quick lunch in Red Hook after returning the boat, and left for the airport at 12:30. That was just enough time to clear customs and catch our plane at 4:15. We were home in Clinton before midnight, and marveled at how much had occured in a day that began in Salt Pond Bay in St John, and ended in Clinton NJ.
 
    In summary, it was a great trip and a wonderful adventure. We sailed and snorkeled till we dropped and were exhausted by 8PM every day. Although our misshaps were minor and added to the adventure, we would do well next time to avoid too much sun, take dramamine prudently, keep gas tanks full, watch the charts carefully, and work harder at finding a calm anchorage for the night. The nights spent at Fat Hog, and Salt Pond were sleepless because of a constant swell while the others were fine.
 

More Documents

Sail logs: 1974 1994 1995 1998 2001 2010
  Harvey Gamage
Maribela
Dan's Article

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First Virgin Island Trip (1974)
Harvey Gamage
1992
1995
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