Saturday, April 7, 2012

Heading Down-Island

Catching up with Sinbad.....Since our last major posting, we returned to St. Thomas so that Di could fly home to visit and do taxes. Randy stayed behind on Sinbad, anchored securely in Elephant Bay, near Crown Bay, St. Thomas.  From this base, he ordered and installed the controls, and wiring for the new solar panels, the last of Sinbad’s need-it-now upgrades.  He was able to install one (of two) 135 W panels, which really boosted our power supply.  Once completed, it was high time to begin to move make our way east and start heading down the Leeward Island chain, first making our way east, upwind to St. Martin (to stock up on great French pastries, wines, cheeses and sausages). We have been dodging what is called a “north swell event”, massive rollers moving down from the north, the aftermath of fierce gales in the higher latitude North Atlantic.  We hiked around Hassell Island as a farewell to St. Thomas.  

 It is national park now , with ruins of Napoleonic era British fortifications.

A colorful aloe..

There is also a  colorful hippy sailmaker's loft....
The next day we sailed from St. Thomas over to Salt Pond, St. John, and spent two days cleaning the marine growth off Sinbad’s bottom.  Patches of shaggy “beard” and several dime-sized barnacles had grown in the weeks since we last scrubbed and scraped.  Using only snorkel gear rather than scuba, it was  pretty vigorous work!  After that, we motored around the Ramhead Point to Coral Bay to do last minute chores, and happened in on a retirement party at Skinny Legs. A local Bluegrass-Irish band (in Coral Bay, the “grass” part is for real!) had the crowd on its feel dancing in the sand. We met up with friends Suzanne and Gord of S/V Ocean Wings, had a blast, and had sore muscles for two days after!  From there, we cleared through the BVI’s at Jost and move to our “jumping off “ point in the North Sound of Virgin Gorda.

A last stop on Jost..

Di collecting specimens-the noni fruit, so good for you, packed with super antioxidants and tastes so vile!

Michael Beans show at Leverick Bay, Virgin Gorda

Conch blowing contest,
just couldn't resist

There we spent two days in wet dock, both of us toiling away on a long list of necessary  maintenance jobs. Between projects we took in the Michael Beans show with new cruiser friends Bill and Joanna on S/V Baidarka , from Alaska, and studied the weather reports to determine when the north swells would decrease enough for a comfortable passage to St. Martin.  We will leave this afternoon, sail northeast then cut southeast, and arrive sometime on Easter Sunday, after at least 14 hours under sail with (hopefully) fair winds.     On to St. Martin…  Lafayette, here we come!

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