Getting ready for a Virgin Christmas

Merry Christmas

Wednesday morning I did all the laundry while Richard and Blaine got on with some maintenance jobs.   They took apart a couple of winches that had been temperamental on the passage and also did some trouble shooting to see what was going on with our engine temperature sensor.   They couldn’t work out whether it was the gauge or the actual sensor itself playing up – so we need more expert advice on this one.   Richard and I then went off to visit the new supermarket across the road and were delighted to find it full of good quality meat and veg….   Yay!   So we stocked up on meat to take advantage of shore power to get it all frozen down before we head out.

I also spoke to Garmin – again – yawn!!!!   They have been driving me nuts… We chose not to order the new chart plotter chip that we need for this season in the UK because it was £160 rather than $160 on the US site. So knowing we were coming this way and being able to access the US Postal Service to St John we were confident in our ability to get it.   So the first hurdle – can’t order to the US Virgin Islands on line – have to call their support team. No problem – sorted – order done. Than a follow-up e-mail to say there are problems with the credit card. No worries – another phone call – sorted. They had switched the billing address with the delivery address, no wonder it didn’t work!   Then I get another email to say something wrong – please call again. Turns out – after four frustrating (Skype) phone calls and about two hours – they will not guarantee delivery to a PO Box address in St John – even though it is a US territory.   So they will take the cash but we’ll have no recourse if it doesn’t turn up.   Grrrrr….. why is this so difficult?   They supply marine charts but can’t support cruisers who do not have a local physical address???   So I tell them where to shove it and will leave it to another day….

Garmin thoughts

Later on Richard and I met with Bill, Judy, and their sons Bill and Jonathan – who are the proud owners of Charbonneau, which is Blaine’s old Island Packet.   What a small world!   They are planning to go down island and wanted some hints and tips. We had a delightful couple of hours with them in Mollys before heading off out to eat and then to Duffys for ladies night.   Blaine was already there dancing around and it was rammed – ladies night means free alcoholic drinks for any girls – so gets pretty popular! And Richard particularly enjoyed the “cockodile” shot…. which was a surprise gift from the barman.

Laides night at Duffys Ladies night at Duffys 2 Cockodile shots

After Duffys we returned to the Tap and Still for a nightcap and Richard and I got roped into shots with big Kevin and his friends who were celebrating a birthday and Christmas all rolled into one….   Fun times and, of course, ended up getting to bed much later than planned!!!

Big Kevin and friends Birthday girl Christmas silliness

Thursday morning and Kevin, the mechanic, came over to look at the temperature sensor – looks like a new part required – and I cleaned down the stainless and wood.   I also filled up the water tanks. Richard tightened up the genoa halyard which had stretched a bit and cleaned up down below as we started to get ourselves sorted out post passage.   We then headed over to the ATM – bit nervous – and YAY our US bank account debit card works!   At last, we can relieve it of some cash!

We met Dave and Susan – Blaine’s friends – at Mollys for happy hour and then headed over to Lattitudes for some live music.   Great sounding band – mid West American music, not really our genre – but enjoyed it anyway – especially as we had chicken rotis for dinner. Yum.   Interesting bunch of people at this bar – drunk and / or just plain scary!  …

Jason Jones band


Owner of the bar

The audience loved to dance though, including the guy who danced on and broke one of the tables.   As the band closed their set for the night we headed back to the marina and, guess what, ended up in Duffys again….   This is Blaine’s final night here in St Thomas with us – so we partied, but not too hard this time as he had an early flight.

Blaine enjoying his last night

Friday morning and Blaine was up with the lark and left for the airport.   We then spent time getting the boat straight and re-utilising the space he’d vacated.   We were excited that our friends Lyle and Julia were coming in on their boat Orion, but were sad that the marina couldn’t accommodate us for an extra couple of days to stay here with them.   But they are heading to the BVIs for Christmas and New Year so we are looking forward to a proper reunion with them very soon!   We rushed around doing some final fresh produce provisioning and stowing it all away when Dave turned up. The previous night he mentioned that he had all the physical marine charts and pilot guides that we would need this season – and we had ones that he would need to travel further south in due course.   So we did a swap – excellent!    I also had success in sourcing the Garmin chart plotter chip from another company who were happy to ship to a Post Office box on St John. Hurrah – things are finally going our way!

New charts

We left the slip at American Yacht Harbor just before the 1pm deadline to depart – and motored straight across a very flat Pilsbury Sound. The water and views across the islands is always spectacular but we really appreciated it having been in boatyards and marinas so far. We rushed into customs and immigration – as we planned to check out for Saturday – but were told that we no longer need to do this. That’s very good news – thanks!   Shame I had already completed the forms though LOL…

Leaving American Yacht Harbour

Underway againBeautiful vista across the islands

We parked dink by the ferry terminal and went to Connections to collect the two parcels that were waiting for us – and then onto Woodys for a late lunch. Well, it was supposed to be a snack, but it was huge US portions, and I struggled to finish even though I’d only ordered an appetizer / starter!   Richard peeked in his parcels and after a couple of drinks we left – back to Morphie. We dropped the mooring ball and motored down the coast of St John towards Mahoe Bay. Opened the parcels – only spare fuel / air filters and threaded impellers – nothing fancy, but Richard was excited anyway. There will be more parcels to collect next time we go across…   We had a very quiet evening on board and retired down below for an early night having enjoyed a spectacular sunset.   We needed a break after the madness of the last few days!

Beautiful sunset

Saturday morning and it was lovely to be back in cruiser mode, enjoying tea in the cockpit admiring the anchorage.

Mahoe Bay anchorage

We left the USVIs and sailed straight across to Great Harbour, Jost Van Dyke.  Was a wonderful reach in 18-20 knots of breeze.  Just perfect….  We cleared into the BVIs and then headed to Foxys for internet connection.   Which, of course, wasn’t working… Really frustrated – need to talk to my mum and we have other stuff to order – and, of course, I wanted to post this!   Never mind- we headed down to Corsairs to catch up with the gang and see if their internet was working….   No, of course not, this is the islands!   We had a couple of beers and waved to Vinnie and Lori as they left for a Willy T afternoon on his new boat – they did invite us, but we declined this time LOL!

We had a quiet afternoon on board enjoying the beauty of Great Harbour and ended up being surrounded by super yachts as the sun went down…..

Great Harbour, Jost Van Dyke

Later on we headed into Corsairs for the evening to catch up with the gang and meet the rest of the new staff. Fun time was had by all – Vinny was on great form – and so back to Morphie to sleep.

Woke up this morning – Sunday – early and we’ve come into Corsairs to get internet with lots of fingers crossed as I need to phone my mum before she goes away for Christmas. Thankfully it worked!   Yay!   Was a bit tearful after speaking to her but glad we managed it….   Just had a late breakfast and we’re catching up with internet stuff – and planning a soggy dollar afternoon.

In the meantime, we’d like to wish all our family and friends a wonderful Christmas.

Happy Christmas!

Bye for now