Monday, November 21, 2011

Land fall! St. Thomas, USVI

An adventurous sail to Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas. 

Troubadour arrived in St. Thomas, USVI, after a four hour journey from Culebra. Anticipating 5-7 foot seas and 15 - 20 kt winds we put one reef in the main. We experienced 6-foot swells with 2-3 ft wave chop - not far off of predictions. We encountered one squall with gusts to 25-30 knots relative (and seeing that coming, we reefed the jib). It was an adventurous close hauled sail; we sailed on a 16° - 20° heel, our boat speed averaged 5.5 - 6 kts, topping out at 7.8 kts, not exactly our 8.5 hull speed, but mighty feisty! What a ride!

Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, on the horizon

We searched along Water Island for a place to anchor, but found it quite crowded for our taste. Hungry and a bit tired, we anchored for lunch at Flamingo Bay. The cruising guide was correct that the anchorage was rolly but the break gave us time to find somewhere else to anchor for the night. As the crow flies, Long Bay was two miles away so we motored south around Water Island then northeast past Hassel Island to locate a spot to anchor in 20 feet in St. Thomas Harbor at Charlotte Amalie.

Shopping area in Charlotte Amalie, as viewed from Troubadour

Charlotte Amalie from where we sit is beautiful. We poured ourselves drinks - me, a Margarita, Chris, a rum and S.O.B. Crystal Light (we are trying to come up with a name for this drink). We listened to music and danced in the cockpit in our own small celebration. As the sun set the street lights on the island lit up the hills like stars in the night sky. We feel we've reached a milestone in our travels. One year ago we were in Hatchet Bay, Eleuthera, Bahamas with our friends Skip and Lydia of Flying Pig.

A sea plane takes off in our new "backyard"
We awoke this morning to find two cruise ships in port and the sounds of commerce.  While enjoying our breakfast (of tortillas and eggs) we watched as sea planes landed and took off near Haulover Cut and tour boats ferried passengers to shore for their excursions.

The anchorage in St. Thomas Bay with cruise ship docks to the right

We marvel at how lucky we are to be in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, on our own boat. And we look forward to cruising the Virgin Islands while we host family and friends aboard through February.


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