Sailing


Trip Highlights
March 1995
 
Sunday 3/12/95
 
    Alice, John, Dan, and Tom left New Jersey at 9:30 in the morning and arrived in St. Thomas at 4pm to begin a 10 day bare boat charter on the 34 foot sailing yacht "Windi". A 5 mile cab brought us to the Ramada  Hotel in Yacht Haven. Our room overlooked the sea plane dock and the ocean  liners that docked in the harbor in Charlotte Amalie. We walked into town  for dinner at the Green House Restaurant, and then took a cab back to the  hotel.
 
Monday 3/13/95
 
    A 6 mile cab ride brought us to the American Yacht Harbor in  Red Hook where we began preparations to board Windi. Groceries were  purchased, snorkel gear rented, and we discussed the weather with Jim,  Bob, and Carmon, at Ocean Incentives Yacht Charters. The wind was from  the north at 25 knots and the seas were heavy on the northern end of  St John. We decided on advice from the local sailors to change our plans  and head for the south side of St John instead of heading up the north side and Jost Van Dyke.  
 
    It was 2pm before we began to motor out of the harbor, and before going far, the engine stalled leaving us disabled in the middle of the harbor. We averted disaster by quickly dropping anchor. I called for help from Ocean Incentives on our radio and they found the problem to be a vapor lock in the gas line. They had replaced the fuel filter and that caused the problem. It was 2:45 before we got under way again. We anchored in Rendezvous Bay, on the south side of St John at 5pm. We cooked the salmon stakes that Alice brought from New Jersey on the Hibachi grill that attaches to the stern of the boat. Stir fried  
vegetables and white wine made it an excellent meal that we all enjoyed.
 
Tuesday 3/14/95
 
    We sailed up the south side of St John in heavy seas. It was clearly a good move to avoid the northern passage which was much worse.  We sailed across Sir Francis Drake Channel and into Rhode Harbor in  Tortola, (British Virgin Islands), to clear customs. It took almost  2 hours and we found out that Rhode Town is the slowest place of all  for customs. We started back across Sir Francis Drake Channel hoping  to anchor at the Peter Island Yacht Club. However when I made radio  contact with them, they told us there was no room there. Since it was getting late, I used the radio to reserve a slip at Tropic Isle Marina  in Maya Cove, Tortola. This gave us a safe haven for the night with electricity, and a clear shot at Virgin Gorda for the next day. There was not much to do in Maya Cove but there was a bar there. Dan volunteered to cook chicken for dinner. Rum drinks were available at the bar and went for a walk after dinner. We met a wild donkey on the road and he followed us until he was sure we had no food for him.
 
Wednesday 3/15/95
 
    After cold showers on shore, we set sail for Virgin Gorda and went directly to The Baths. A mooring was available allowing us to stay there most of the day. The snorkeling was great, there were caves to explore, and Tom hiked and sketched many of the builgings. It was about 4:30 when we left to get a slip in Yacht Harbor. They have hundreds of slips there and I was not worried about getting one. As it turned out, we got the last one! It was kind of beat up with loose planks on the walkway. When I hooked up the electricity on the pier, it did not work. Our cord was not long enough to reach the next socket located across the pier unless we turned the boat around and backed into the slip. Able crew that we are, we managed this complex manover without a hitch. This allowed us to hook up and at the same time avoided the loose planks on the pier. The slip was close to shore and turned out great once we got settled.
 
Thursday 3/16/95
 
    Dan made arrangements to rent a jeep to tour the island with Tom while Alice and I sail north to Gorda Sound. Before we left, we took a long walk. We came across a herd of goats, and passed a number of  restaurants and ice cream parlors outside the marina. These will be  remembered for next time. We saw a new church, high on a hill overlooking the harbor. We walked up a steep cement path to get to it and found out it is a Catholic church. The pastor, Fr Jack White, has spent the last 18 years in the Islands at different parishes. He presided over the building of this one and got an Italian architect from Milan to design the church free of charge. He is building a community center at the base of the hill and it is still under construction. Fr White is almost 80 years old and speaks with a strong Irish accent.
 
    Dan and Tom took off in their jeep to tour the island, and Alice and I set sail for Gorda Sound on the north end of Virgin Gorda. The wind was light and we had a peaceful sail. We got a mooring near Pusser's Restaurant and Bar for $13.00. It included a free shower, (cold), and a free bottle of Pussers rum. We met the boys at 5pm and Dan took us for a ride to the high spots on the island. We could see all the islands including St Croix from there.  
 
Friday 3/17/95
 
    We left Gorda Sound early and sailed south, to Norman Island. This was a long sail, (about 20 miles), but we got there early enough to get a good anchorage in the Bight. This is the largest harbor on the  island and the most protected. We took the dingy to the caves and snorkeled there. The afternoon sun lit up the water and it was the best time to snorkel there.
 
    Before we anchored there, I called ahead on the radio to reserve dinner on the William Thornton, a ship/restaurant that is anchored in the Bight. We enjoyed sea food, ribs, and rum drinks there.
 
Saturday 3/18/95
 
    We left the Bight and set sail for the island of Jost Van Dyke. We anchored in Great Harbor and went ashore. Tom and Dan had lunch at a bar on the beach, and Alice and I discovered Christine's Bakery. I had a flying fish sandwich there on fresh baked bread, and Alice had a vegetable crepe made with local vegetables. We bought a loaf of fresh bread too. Dan and Tom hiked to White Bay while Alice and I went by dingy. We snorkeled there and walked on the long white beach. We all returned by dingy and had dinner on the boat. The big attraction on Jost Van Dyke is the nightly party at Foxy's Bar. However we were
all too tired to go! Instead we went to bed early and listened to the music emanating from Foxy's.
 
Sunday 3/19/95
 
    It was time for Dan and Tom to return home. Their flight was at 2:30 pm from St Thomas. We decided it would be best for them to take the ferry from Jost Van Dyke to Red Hook while Alice and I sailed to Sophers Hole on Tortola. They left on the ferry at 9:30 and we waved good bye to them. As we were walking off the pier however, I noticed the ferry turn around and start back to the pier. When they got back, they put Tom and Dan off on the pier and left. They would not take them back to the US islands because they did not have passports or other suitable identification. What now? We hurried back to our boat and set sail for Cruz Bay on St John. There was some thought of taking them directly to Red Hook but this was in clear violation of US and British emigration laws and we were warned specifically against it with the threat of fines in the thousands of dollars if caught. Would Dan and Tom be allowed to re-enter the US or would they be doomed to stay out. There was a bit of panic in our minds as we imagined theworst. Fortunately, it was a down wind sail and we managed to anchor in Cruz Bay before noon. The young lady in customs removed Dan and Tom from our manifest without even checking their identification and they
left on the noon ferry for Re Hook in plenty of time to catch their 2:30 flight. Alice and I stayed in Cruz Bay for a while and had lunch at Pussers. I remembered that it was Joe's birthday and called him to wish him Happy Birthday. We finally set sail for Sophers Hole on  the west end of Tortola. We took a mooring there and toured the shops  before returning to our boat.
 
Monday 3/20/95
 
    We took on fresh water, ice, and food before we left Sophers Hole, and then set sail for Leinster Bay on the north shore of St John. We took the dingy out to Water Melon Cay, (one of Alice's favorites), and snorkeled all the way around it. This was our time alone and wespent it relaxing in the sun without a lot of activity.
 
Tuesday 3/21/95
 
    We left Leinster Bay and sailed back to Cruz Bay. We checked back into the US so we would not have to do it tomorrow. Alice spent some time shopping in the fancy shops there while I watched and listened to the local people and the water front activity. Then we sailed back to the north side of St John and anchored in Hawks Nest Bay. We took the dingy to the beach and hiked along the beach road to the ruins of a sugar mill. When we got there we realized we could have taken the dingy there, but the walk was fun anyway. We returned to our boat, and ended our last full day of this vacation with a good meal andsome star gazing.
 
Wednesday 3/22/95
 
    We left Hawks Nest Bay about 10 am and sailed directly to Red Hook to return the boat and make our way back home. The trip home was not without incident in spite of us leaving plenty of time. Our flight to San Juan was late and we missed our connecting flight to NJ. We managed to get onto a Continental flight but our luggage didn't. We came into the C terminal instead of the A terminal and Dan did a great job of finding us. Sailing seems to be much more reliable. Our luggage caught up to us Thursday evening, and that ended one of the most exciting and enjoyable vacations I ever had.
 
Cost Breakdown:
2114    34 foot Oday, (WINDI) for 10 days
1050    Airfare for 3
 148    Hotel for 1 night in St Thomas
 216    Meals out
 323    Food for 4
 130    Customs fees for 4
  90    Moorings and slips
  78    Snorkel gear for 2
  60    Taxies
  17    Diesil fuel for the boat
  50    Airport parking
  30    Ice, Water, Misc supplies for the boat
  35    Cat sitter
  75    Underwater camera, film, prints
4416  Total


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
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