Sunday, November 29, 2015

Spanish and US Virgins

Back on the water for season two! First stop was to go back to Culebra where we spent so much time in the summer and then on to the US Virgin Islands. Sometimes it's hard to decide the exact moment to throw off the dock lines. There's always something else on the to-do list. There's always one more spare you might need, one more project that would be easier to tackle dockside, or one more item missing from the provisioning list. But once we leave, it is so liberating and we realize we will figure it out, make do or do without and it just doesn't matter. Just go. Keep moving. The longer you stay, the harder it gets to move.

"Our" mooring ball was free so we tied on and started pulling out all the toys. The pool's open!

Oh but wait. I haven't been swimming in a while and it looks weird. 

One of the things we wanted to do in Culebra was visit with all the kitties we had made friends with. It was sad for us to wander around and not find any of our furry friends. But the good news was that the big campaign to spay, neuter and find homes for everyone was working. So instead we visited with this really friendly horse that Cubby named Peaches. The kids would grab handfuls of fresh grass and RUN up the street. 

Peaches would follow at full speed and everyone would turn around and race back the other way. At the end, Peaches would perform a very fancy, prancing, tight turn. Every single time!

And then she would get a nice treat of fresh grass. She really seemed to love the game.

Every once in a while we like to post the reality pictures. Sure, living on a boat can be fun and relaxing. We get to see lots of new places. We meet new people and have freedom to live how we want. And we can do it all in our underwear most of the time. But boats are a lot of work and nothing is particularly convenient. Here's Andy replacing the boost pump for the watermaker. The watermaker is under our bed. Most things are under someone's bed. So getting a part or a jar of pasta sauce requires being a contortionist. And remaking a bed you can't walk around. Fun! 

But then a lovely snorkel makes it all worthwile. 

Until the dinghy motor breaks down on the way home and then that needs to be fixed. Oy.

After four months on land and a quick hop to Culebra we still did not have our sea legs. We left for St. Thomas fairly early in the AM and made the mistake of not eating breakfast. Add to that some bouncy seas and the kids were not feeling it! 

Even though it was November the weather was still quite tropical. It was only about 20 miles to St. Thomas but it felt like a really long day. 

This was our first sighting of the megayachts that hang out in the Virgin Islands. The three masted thing is Eos, Barry Diller's yacht. 

Another squall washes the salt off the boat but kicks up the sea state. 

We wanted to anchor at Christmas Cove but it was so filled with mooring balls we ended up taking one. They are free but not very well maintained so it was a tough call. Andy dove the mooring and it looked good so we stayed. And stayed. And stayed. We go somewhere for a day and then never leave. But the swimming and snorkeling was so fun right off the boat we had no reason to leave. Plus a great grocery store a dinghy ride away? No brainer. 

Panorama of Christmas Cove. It was pretty and fun for swimming but what the pictures don't show are the swarms of mosquitoes that showed up every night at dusk.

It was good to be getting back into the school routine. Cubby gets a computer lesson from Dorothy Hamill. 

This squad was always under our boat. 

Great snorkeling all around with lots of life including morays. 

And a really big nurse shark.

This boat runs a business called Pizza Pi. They make fresh pizza on their boat. And they deliver. Perfect when the dinghy motor is under repair. World's most expensive pizza, though, so that's the end of spending money for "the fun of it."

A lobster we wished we could eat instead of a $30 pizza.

Drew was kind enough to make us a fruit salad in the AM while we stayed in bed. That's, like, 5 days worth of fruit but it's cool. We love his kitchen independence! 

Arrow Crab.

Trunk fish are so cute and there were a few always under our boat. Andy got up close and personal with this cutie. 

Flamingo tongue on fan coral.

Fat moray. 

We had at least one rainbow per day.

On the south side of St. John we dinghied out to Booby Rock for a snorkel. And there was Barry Diller on his tender getting suited up for a dive. 

Have a nice dive and have fun at work on Monday! I'm just jealous because he has someone to dress him and throw him in the water. 

Queen Angelfish.

We met the crew of Sail Pending in Christmas Cove and then hooked up with them again in St. John. We had fun snorkeling and playing board games together. 

And just chilling at the beach. 

Tangent on a mooring ball in Salt Pond Bay.

Horses get some underwater sand time. 

On the north side of St. John we stayed in Leinster Bay and paddled to Waterlemon Cay for a great snorkel and visit with the pelicans.

Drew spotted this octopus and took some really nice photos of the blob. 

All the good snorkeling made up for the horrible mosquito situation. 

A visit to St. John wouldn't be complete without a visit to the Annaberg Sugar Plantation.

Sorry, dude, no pizza today.

Sugar Cane became sugar and the leftover molasses became rum. 

The mill powered part of the process.

We celebrated Thanksgiving in Francis Bay. We had a butterball turkey breast from Puerto Rico and a bunch of other boxed and canned items purchased in advance for the occasion. We never know what the food situation is going to be where we are so we have to prepare in advance. 

We had set the table really nicely outside but then got totally swarmed by mosquitoes so quickly brought in the bare necessities, closed up everything, and scarfed our butterball and stove top while we sweated and complained. 

Did I mention the mosquitoes? Unbelievable.
On a walk along the Francis Bay trail everyone got munched.

And then it rained. All day. Hot, rain, mosquitoes. Whose idea was this?

We got a mooring ball in Caneel Bay. Lots of wakes rock the boat all day but it's a good place to leave the boat to visit Cruz Bay. And then you get Venus, Steve Jobs' boat, as a neighbor. The roofs look like the back of an iPhone. 

And then they get this douche anchoring right on top of them. A VHF call was made, of course. The captain of Venus was much more polite than we would have been. 

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