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
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.