Wednesday, January 7, 2015

St. Thomas

We are headed home for the holidays! We will need to find a safe place to leave Mirador. Marie was nervous about the long narrow channel that led to Compass Point Marina, but it seemed to be the most reasonable option, $$$. The depth of the water was only about 1 foot on either side of the channel, and just about 7 inside the channel, but the charts reported shoaling. I called the marina with our satellite phone, and asked if I could get in with a 7 foot draft. The dock master told me to hug the right side of the channel, and I should be okay. We timed our approach with the high tide, but here, high tide is only 9 inches. We'll take what we can get, I guess.
Marie really drives me crazy by asking me "are you sure?" about hard decisions..."it's a call, it seems like a viable option." Somebody has to make a decision, the charts support it. This is an on-going issue which has enlightened me to the difficulties facing people that have to make decisions that affect others...assuming there is a conscience at play. In any case , yeah, "are you sure?", it drives me crazy. There, I got that off my chest!
We motored out of Christmas Cove, towards the marina, only a mile away. It was a beautiful trip that took us around picturesque islets with the lush mountainous St.Thomas as a back drop, rising high over the blue water. I followed the dock masters advice, and we made it in with nothing but a little anxiety.
The Marina is basic, but well kept. The cost of electrical power, and water is quite high. I have imposed sanctions on the crew, but I don't exactly have a trained navy, they only listen to a fraction of what I have to say. "Everyone must use the marina showers, and no air conditioning during the day." You would think that these are clear, and simple orders, but they've been met with heavy resistance, or should I say whining. I have had marginal success limiting the use of air conditioning. The water usage continues unchecked.
St. Thomas!

This is Charlotte Amalie Harbor.

I asked the locals about public transportation on the island, they pointed us to what they call "Safari Taxi". These are pickup trucks with 4 or 5 open air bench seats where the bed used to be, the kind of vehicle that a resort might use. Anyway, it works like this; you walk out to the main road, and wait for one of these taxis to come by, and after securing a fare you find an empty seat to sit. Once underway you commence asking the locals around you, "where you want to go, and when to get off". Since they use bench seats, and you can only board from the left side, when a person on the inside has to get off, everyone in that row must get off. There are door bell switches mounted on the canopy over the seats that you press to when your destination is near. The price for locals is $1, the price for non-locals is $2, if you look kinda stupid the price is $5. If you are reading this, and you've been here, and paid $5, I'm sorry.
We went over to "Customs and border Protection" to check in. They asked us if we were US citizens, and are you carrying over $10,000 in cash. We gave them a yes and a no, and they sent us on our way without checking a single piece of paper? However, we're now in the middle of the tourist area, and the taxis were aggressive. They wanted to make the big bucks now. We ended up walking a fair ways before a taxi full of locals came by and picked us up. We jumped off at the mall, and surveyed the prices. The cost of food is anywhere from 30 to 50 percent more than in the states. Liquor is really cheap, about half of what it costs in the states, but not the beer. This is going to wreak havoc on my eating habits!
Marie goes for walks with our dog "Vanilla", about twice each day. One morning while on a walk, a local resident showed her the way to "Secret Harbor", a beautiful cove. Marie was eager to show the rest of us her new discovery. She made it sound like a short walk. So, off we all go to see this new beach who's proximity was way over-sold. We walk over very hilly terrain, through neighborhoods, and vacant lots. This was a bit of a long walk! With minor resistance from Hadrian, we made our destination. The location itself was over-sold. The beach was beautiful, nestled into a well protected cove. The water was clear, and little fish nipped at the hair on my legs. There was a floating platform in deeper water that the kids could climb and jump from. A great time was had by all, but it was getting late, and we had a long walk ahead. MELTDOWN! Hadrian walked out to the street, and flipped at the sight of the road ahead. Eva, who had made some friends at the beach and didn't want to leave, was not happy either. She ran ahead, about a hundred yards, so as to be as difficult as her little brain could devise. Hadrian in contrast walked as slow as he could. I picked up my pace to keep Eva in view while Marie fell behind, prodding Hadrian to walk. The distance between us grew as the sun dropped low on the horizon. At times I would lose sight of Eva over the top of a hill or around a curve. Finally she stopped to rest on a picnic table in someone's front lawn. As got to her, she just ranted about her discontent, palatable as a spoonful of horseradish. I was about to make the tabloids, "Man Chokes Daughter" the headline. I couldn't see Marie, but I was sure that she was behind me. Eva said that she wouldn't take another step, "I'm waiting for mommy". "Fine!" I stormed off. The marina was about a half mile away. I was approaching the entrance when a taxi pulls up next to me, it was Marie and Hadrian. "You didn't see Eva?", I asked. "No, the taxi took another route." "Oh no, I left her at the house with the picnic table. I thought you were right behind me?" Marie jumped out of the cab, and ran to get Eva. I stayed at the entrance of the marina, at the Dive Bar. I ordered a beer, and mauled over the last hour. Man, they (the kids) can be difficult! Somewhere in the course of my thoughts it struck me, "should I be worried? Is Eva okay?" Marie was taking a long time, it wasn't that far. It was dark now, 45 minutes had passed. The bad thoughts raced through my mind. "What do we do? Where do we go for help out here? Why is it taking so long for them to return?" I couldn't stop staring at the road that led down to the marina, in the hopes that I would see Marie and Eva walking down. Wait, I see something, someone! As the distance closed I could see that it was Marie, she was alone! As Marie got within talking distance, she began to cry. "I couldn't find her", she said. My blood ran cold. I could sense the people around us homing in on our distress. We had their attention. "The police, is it 911 here? Is that the number to the police? We lost our little girl!" In an instant we were surrounded by concerned neighbors.
As dialed 911, I thought about what I was about to say. I want to be clear, not rant. Concentrate, "Hello, I'm at Compass point, and I have lost my little girl." "What is her name?" the voice asked. "Eva," I responded. "We have her. She is at the Sunset Grill," the woman said. One of our neighbors interjected, "Let's go, I have a car." I stayed behind as Marie and Debbie drove off to get Eva. We had been really lucky. I don't think that we have ever been in such a potentially perilous situation with our kids. It was the most helpless feeling that I have ever experienced. As it turns out, Eva had started walking back towards the beach, as night began to fall. Thankfully when she got there, she asked two ladies for help.  "They looked friendly" Eva said. The ladies stayed with her until Marie came. She said that everyone treated her very well. She was drinking a "Shirley Temple".
Eben and Genevieve from SV Neccese arrived to join us in St. Thomas. They travel with 2 little girls that are just adorable. We all are looking forward to exploring the wonders of the Virgin Islands.


  1. Wow!! Scary to say the least.
    Made & Jorge aboard Calypso Cat

  2. Calypso Cat, It's great to hear from you again!