In the Caribbean the wind almost always blows from an easterly direction. This happens to be the direction that we want to sail in, go figure. Luckily a sailboat can actually zig-zag into the wind. If you think licking your way to the center of a Tootsie Pop took patience, you have no idea what patience is. Imagine our excitement to learn that we would be having a few solid days of wind from the northwest at about 10 knots with seas 2 to 4 feet. This is a rarity to say the least. We made our final arrangements to leave Puerto Rico, truly the "Island of Enchantment".
As part of my to-do list, I actually had to change out the axles on our car before turning it over to its new owners. I had mail-ordered the parts only to find that one of the axles arrived damaged. Car mechanics are a love-hate thing for me, I love that I can do the work, I find it rewarding. I hate the physical strain of a less than ideal work environment. I was lucky enough to have a covered roof to work under, still I am not in the best shape to be dragging my butt under a car. Oh, back to the car parts, we ran out to try to find an axle for a 2000 Volvo...in Puerto Rico it would take a small miracle, but lo-and-behold we found one at the third auto parts store that we visited. After an anxious 12 hour day, I was able to scratch "fix car" off of my list.
As you know from my previous post (you did read it, right), I'm receiving parts by mail from the States to build a wind generator. We were still waiting for the last part to arrive on the day that we were scheduled to leave. A 9 am departure turned into a 5 pm departure, but then we are always late for everything, why should this be any different?
We checked out of Palma del Mar marina, it's like leaving family, and began our voyage. The ocean was calm, and there was only a slight breeze. Just like we like it, we're not racers. In fact, there is not a racing bone in us, we like it slow. I set "Otto" the autopilot, and he steered the whole way through. We moved along at 4 to 5 knots. The moon was full, and it was so bright that you would cast a shadow as if it was sunlight. The light would dance on the tips of the waves, and it was serene, almost spiritual. I took a deep breath, and appreciated being alive.
At about 2 am Marie came up, and took the helm, or that is sat by Otto while I went down for a little sleep. When I awoke at dawn, we were approaching St. Thomas. Marie quickly ferreted through a couple of cruising guides for a place to anchor, as the marina that we had made reservations with was closed on Sundays. She found a beautiful place called Christmas Cove where the mooring are free. A lot of places in the Virgin Islands do not allow you to drop an anchor because it damages the sea floor. As we got near to our cove we dropped the sails, and continued with the motor. It was so calm that we were able to pick up the mooring with little effort, not always the case.
It was a gorgeous early morning, and we were in St. Thomas! I could hardly believe it, as I looked around at the paradise that lay before me. This is a milestone on our adventure.
|Approaching St. Thomas.|
|Eva wasted no time.|
|The view from Christmas Cove.|
|Hadrian is really helpful on the bow.|
|The cruise ship traffic is almost a part of the landscape.|