Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Act 1: Video Finale!

Thanks for following the blog! Now that Sarah is tucked away for the Hurricane season, we'll be flying back to Boston to earn some money for the return trip! Allyson has a 12 week nursing position at the Beth Israel Deaconess and I will be going back to my former employer, Sensata Technologies, for a 4 week contract job. We won't be able to keep up with the blog while we're away, so here is one last video that I hope will hold you over until we return in October. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Sarah get's hauled

After shopping around for a boatyard to store Sarah during hurricane season, we landed on St. Croix marine. It would be difficult (or impossible) to fly Bela back from the British Virgin Islands, so St. Croix being US territory seemed like a reasonable option. I didn't have to be put on a waiting list and being on the north side of a larger island with a protected reef, it would provide some protection if a storm blew through. After getting hauled out we spent 4 nights at the boatyard getting her ready for 4 months on the hard. Here is a list of what we did to prepare:

-Bagged all fabrics/books to prevent molding
-Took measurements for future projects (New head, Engine Mounts, Soundproofing)
-Fogged the outboard and diesel engine
-Stabilized the fuel
-Ran antifreeze through the engine (for anticorrosion purposes)
-Drained and bleached water tanks
-Removed and folded sails
-Cleaned and dried Tater Tot
-Removed dodger and halyards
-Cleaned/defrosted fridge
-Threw out useless stuff we had on the boat
-Removed all food items from storage and stored in a rubbermaid bin
-Cleaned and dried bilge/anchor locker
-Removed rusty anchor
-Locked up everything

 Getting the straps in place. I had to remove the backstay so it didn't come in contact with the lift. Luckily the wind generator could stay where it was.

Finally! Out of the water for the first time in a year, look at the bottom on Sarah!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Last Sail!

Our final leg of the trip was a downwind sail 10 miles from St. Croix Yacht Club to Christiansted. After sailing and motorsailing to windward since leaving Luperon, it was an awesome feeling to let the main and jib sheets all the way out and feel the wind at our backs. To make it even better we were greeted with a half dozen turtles during the sail, one of which was 4 ft long! 

 The helm detail decided to dress in black for the occasion

 After opening the jib to speed out of the yacht club (to make it look like we knew what we were doing) we furled it up and sailed under the mainsail alone. 

One final picture of Buck island across the reef

 St. Croix was a great place to cruise around and we're planning to check out more of the island when we get back!

As luck would have it, Wes on Sea Angel, had a friend in St. Croix who picked us up, showed us around the island, introduced us to friends, and brought us to a hilarious beach volleyball game. We found it refreshing after sailing so many miles to land in such a nice island with so many friendly people. Thanks for the hospitality!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Final Dinghy Adventure

To keep with tradition, Bela and Dan decided to do their last dinghy adventure at high noon in the tropics. After 2,000 miles of sailing, a 1 mile dinghy ride and a 2 mile hike up an unshaded blistering road they finally reached the eastern most point of the United States. Mission Accomplished!

 The start of the walk brought us by one of the SETI radio antennas. "ET phone St. Croix."

 Point Udall off in the distance (further than I thought)

 Some Americans showing they're thoughts about driving on the left using their second amendment rights. 

 Looking west over St. Croix

 Isabela wondering what the hell I was thinking, my bad!

She found a sliver of shade under the monument which smelled of urine. The Blarney Stone of the United States?

 Next US territory from here is Guam in the Pacific

 Buck Range Light

 Making it official with this picture

 Had to take a beach break to cool off on the way back

Some jibber jabber about the monument; azimuths, roman numerals, shadows etc. If i wasn't suffering from heat stroke I might have gotten a picture at local apparent noon.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

St. Croix Yacht Club

After a night at buck island we decided to head through a cut in the reef and move further up the island, we ended up anchoring near the yacht club. Going ashore we expected fees for using the dinghy dock and the facilities, but we were welcomed in like members of the club. Everyone was very friendly and interested to hear where that random boat came from that was motoring around the mooring field looking for a spot to anchor. Turns out the place had a few folks from Boston and we ended up hitching a ride to a nearby bar with Billy who moved down with his family after selling a house in Somerville of all places. 

It was such a comfortable spot (after putting out a stern anchor to prevent rolling) that we spent a few days going back and forth to the club for dog walks and doing brunch at the club and I got out for one last dinghy adventure to Point Udall, the eastern most point of the territorial United States. 

Thanks for the Hospitality!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Buck Island #2

We left Leinster Bay at 8 am and rounded the eastern edge of St. John. Once we had our bow pointed toward St. Croix the engine was shut down and we had a beautiful 30 mile sail to Christiansted. The windvane did the steering and we spent most of the time lounging down below keeping out of the sun. The first two night's were spent at St. Croix Marine to arrange our haul-out date, do laundry and load up on food and water. We also went to the fort downtown to get a permit for anchoring overnight at the Buck Island wildlife refuge. 

The national park service is trying to remove all invasive species and foliage off Buck island and return it to it's natural sate. They reintroduced the St. Croix ground lizard to the island and the beach is a frequented turtle nesting area. That said, there are no dogs allowed.

During the day a bunch of sailing charters showed up and would pull up right to the beach by dropping an anchor off the stern and then stopping abruptly as one of the crew launched another anchor onto the beach. Pretty impressive to be doing under sail. At dusk a few powerboats would show up and leave after sunset leaving us alone with the island creatures and turtles. 

 Not to pleased with the rules (we did sneak her to shore twice though… shhh)

 View from the observation deck, the entire reef north of the island is protected as well. Talking to locals... the reef could be seen poking out of the water before hurricane Hugo came and knocked it down. 

 View of St. Croix from the hiking trail

 Some interesting rock layers on the beach caused by tectonic upheaval. 

A huge tamarin tree that must have fallen over in a hurricane but is still growing like nothing happened. Not sure how the national park service plans to remove this thing...

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Virgin Islands, the view from Ixion

During our couple weeks sailing with Ixion they took some pics of us and Sarah in full cruising mode. Looks very glamorous from a different of view. Sometimes we were so caught up in the weather, boat maintenance, finding water and groceries you forget how lucky you are to be exploring the Caribbean.

Buck Island snorkeling with Bela on the lookout for sharks

Shark detail at Christmas Cove 

Looking for a spot to anchor after a 7 mile sail from Buck Island (St. Thomas) to Christmas Cove. Being the expert helmsman, Allyson has her eyes glued to the depth sounder.

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