|Update: US Virgin Islands, Feb - Mar 2002
|From Martinique, we headed directly for the US Virgin Islands,
a 3 day passage, starting with fair winds from the east or south east.
At times we had gusts up to 30 knots, but the further north we got, the
more the wind dropped, and we made our approach to St Croix with the engine
on. The water was the most incredible shade of blue, and so clear that
we could hardly believe that it was over 30 metres deep.
Above: view of St Croix and Buck Island from the east
|We arrived to find the anchorage very shallow and very crowded with local boats, and we touched bottom looking for a place to anchor, before being shown an available mooring. Afer months in the Windward Islands it was quite a culture shock to be in US territory again - burgers and fries, rock music from the 60s and 70s, KMart, Wendy's, huge supermarkets. Everywhere is well manicured and very ‘heritage’ being an old Danish settlement here in Christiansted, and rather expensive as everything imported from US or Puerto Rico. Fab service of course, and infinite choice (how do you want that burger cooked? Is that with fries, cole slaw or potato salad? Thousand Island, Ranch, etc etc…..).
Our next stop was at Buck Island, with good snorkelling. Sadly the fantastic pillar corals have been badly hurricane damaged, although lots of new growth is showing now, so they will recover in time. From there we went to the St Croix Yacht Club, and spent a few restful days catching up with maintenance chores, before heading north to St Thomas.
left: Buck Island
|We arrived at Charlotte Amalie, a bustling, busy town,
crammed with yachts and oversized cruise ships. Safari buses ($1 to anywhere),
very cheap phone calls, free internet access at Little Switzerland, duty
free everything, so excellent value all round. Plan D: let's buy a bigger
boat! Ah, but we need more money, so we better get some work this summer..
After a morning out shopping, we were aghast to find that our awning pole had worked loose and had "mash up" the Kiss wind generator blades, so we had to order some new ones to be sent up from Trinidad. Whilst waiting, we had a good time with friends old and new (Cotorra, Havana Good Time, Magic Dragon, Faustina II, Sweet Lou, Rustingburg ). Next the watermaker pump needed a new part, so then we had to wait for that. Plan E: Graham is to work on the TV series Junkyard Wars, shooting in LA, but it starts soon! So we better head straight for the Chesapeake... But not until we have seen something of St John.
Our first stop along the way was Christmas Cove, on the small island of St James. A lovely spot, with lots of gorgeous fish and two southern stingrays grazing peacefully under the boat.
Then on to St John, a really inviting island, much of which is national park, with beautiful bays, fabulous snorkelling, great hiking trails, and lots of ruins from the old sugar plantation days. The highlight for us was in Maho Bay, where we were able to watch turtles feeding on the sea grass. We were also very fortunate to see a naked eye comet (Ikeya-Zhang C/2002 C1, I believe) in the western sky, just after sunset.
What a lovely week - and this is a place we would definitely want to come back to.
Full Moon in St Croix
Above: fantastic panoramic view of the US and British Virgin Islands from St John
|Then it was back to St Thomas, to re-provision and prepare for a long passage, 1500 miles or so, to the Chesapeake.
Wow, what an incredible blue....
Left: we are very pleased with the beugel anchor
|We were welcomed to St Croix by a dolphin escort
|St Croix Yacht Club
Above left: moonlight on the water, St Croix. Above right and below: Buck Island
views of Charlotte Amalie harbour, St Thomas
All photographs copyright Graham Berry, 2002. Images on
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