Several people have mentioned Leverick Bay Marina because it’s not ridiculously costly and because they have a pool. We decide it might be a good place to be for Christmas. On Sunday, we realize it’s cheaper to rent a car than take a taxi. Driving is on the opposite side of the road here; we head down the edge of a steep hill that looks like it heads straight down into the water. Continue reading
We arrive at Cam Bay in early afternoon. Matt anchored here years ago with his sailing class and we stayed one night when we chartered here over a decade ago. Matt had taken an early morning swim and came nose-to-beak with a giant sea turtle. The guide books say the bay is off-limits to charter boats because a reef guards the outside and it is shallow with a narrow entrance. Continue reading
We leave the USVI and head to the BVI and arrive on Tortola (it’s been about 13 years since Matt and I went down to the British Virgin Islands to charter a sailboat with two other couples).
We grab a mooring ball and Matt dinghies in to check us in at customs. We anchor in the harbor at Roadtown. We need to get a phone chip for the BVI and figure out the wi-fi stuff. While there, we check out a few grocery stores and make numerous Digicel visits (the equivalent of Verizon).
The highlight of this stop is a ‘dolphin adventure.’ I decline to participate because I am conflicted about the use of animals in this way [on the one hand, this type of exposure causes Joshua to talk about being a marine
biologist; on the other, dolphins are not domestic animals and I don’t like to see them confined (although these were bred in captivity)]. They have an amazing time – they interact for about 45 minutes (dancing with the dolphins, being pulled by them, using signals to communicate, etc.).
Malachi ends the visit by saying it is the best experience of his entire life (I assume he means besides having me for a mother).
Matt and I change the dinghy spark plugs together. By ‘together’ I mean that I sit next to him holding an umbrella to block the sun. He does all of the work while I stare down into the crystal clear water. Right before he puts the top of the engine back on, I look at the spark plugs and say, “Is it pushed in enough?” He checks it, looks at me and exclaims “You’re brilliant! You’re really good at this stuff.” He expresses this same sentiment at least twice more during the day. I don’t have the heart to tell him that I’d been daydreaming. It was only when the project was almost done that I rejoined him and made my fabulous contribution. Continue reading
After Linds and Chris leave, we head back to Red Hook on St. Thomas to do errands and get ready for Christmas. We stay at the dock thinking we’ll make some progress on boat tasks. A bunch of issues have cropped up (sadly, reality intrudes even in Paradise). Some hitchhiking ants came aboard in Bermuda and need to be dealt with; for some unknown reason while motoring to shore, the dinghy engine died (we had to grab oars and row the rest of the way); the fridge belt is about to go and needs to be replaced; the stove ignitor isn’t working so I have to light each burner with a match; the wi-fi system we just bought isn’t functioning; the bow hose isn’t working; and the water pump ran too long between switching tanks so now there is no water. We arrive at the dock and a local quickly helps us rectify the water situation.
It stays fixed for about 10 minutes and then goes out again. Matt left the boat so I hook up the dock hose and drag it down into the galley to tackle the mountain of dishes that has accumulated. Matt gets back to the boat and is able to fix the water pump. The learning curve has been steep but he’s getting pretty good at understanding the boat systems and fixing things. It feels great to have a real shower at the marina even though there’s no hot water. Continue reading
Matt finally feels like he can be upright for more than 5 minutes at a time so we spend some quality time with his sister Linds and her husband. Things happen so slowly in the islands because it’s just too hot to move fast. I walk into their air-conditioned hotel room and immediately feel my energy level rise by 60%. They also have ice which feels like a gift from the gods. Continue reading
The boys and I need a change of pace (Matt has been terribly ill for days) so we decide to go on a hike rather than go swimming. We kayak to shore with the garbage, hats and a bottle of water. Part of the trail is a wooden boardwalk through a marshy area filled with thousands of small crabs, their large pincers sticking out of their holes. They all disappear when we get within four feet of them and pop back out once we move on. Continue reading
We need to re-provision and get other supplies so we head back to Red Hook on St. Thomas. We grab a mooring ball and dinghy in to the marina. Simple tasks can take most of the day but I remember this from living in the Dominican Republic. First on the list is engine oil. The marina store sells it for $43 (it’s $16-17 on the US mainland). We head to K-Mart and see an empty space on the shelf where the label says $26. A store clerk says someone came in months ago and bought every bottle (why it was never restocked remains a mystery). Continue reading
Our days are slowly settling into a rough routine. Because the sun is so strong, we try to avoid it between 10 am and 3 pm. We wake up early and go swimming or head to the beach. Then back to the boat for breakfast and chores. The galley has a saltwater foot pump so I’m training Joshua to wash the breakfast dishes. He washes them in salt water and then I do a final rinse in fresh water. Malachi puts the dishes away and hangs wet swimsuits. Continue reading
You know how sometimes you work so hard for something and you finally attain it only to realize it’s something of a letdown and you’re somewhat disappointed? Yeah, well, there is NONE of that going on here. We are finally here and I am soaking it in. Joshua tells me today that he loves living on a boat; Malachi says he remembers nothing of our boring previous life. I have banned any complaints during our time down here. Continue reading