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US, British & Spanish VI - July 08
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Link to this postPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 11:31 am    Post subject:  US, British & Spanish VI - July 08

Trip Pics from our July charter in the Virgins. My wife just figured out how to make a webpage with our ISP.

Trip Report: US, British & Spanish VI, July 14-25, 2008
Crew: My wife and I, our 16 yr old son, our 14 yr old daughter and her friend.
Boat: Bone Dry III, a Jeanneau 45.2 from VIP Yacht Charters on STT.
Resources: Imray-Iolare Chart #s A-233 & A-131, NOAA charts 25640 & 25641, Don Street’s Guide to PR & the Virgins, Stephen Pavlidis’ Guide to Puerto Rico & The Scott’s Guide to the VI, much valuable advice from some folks on sailing & travel forums like TTOL (thank you guys!), a new pair of Costa Del Mars, and lots of money.

We originally planned on mainly doing the Spanish Virgins with a little St. John thrown in. That is the main reason we chose a STT based charter company this time around. Our original itinerary was trashed because of the threatening tropical depression. So the itinerary ended up changing day by day. As a result we spent a lot more time sailing than limin’… over 210 nm.

The developing tropical depression convinced us to stick closer to the VIP base on STT the first week. So, we did the North shore of St. John for a few days. Then cleared in the BVI at West End and did Norman Island and Jost Van Dyke. The expected weather dissipated after a couple of days and was no longer a threat. So, we headed back West to St. Thomas. Then we sailed to Culebra. Jibbed downwind cuz it was faster and more comfortable than going DDW. Explored Culebra & Culebrita and sailed to Vieques. Then back to Culebra and St. Thomas. Though the seas were pretty large & sloppy on this trip, no one got seasick.

Saw some big tarpon, numerous hawksbill turtles, a few dolphins, some barracuda, a small yellow shark, several rays, a small school of Caribbean squid, lobster, leatherback hatchlings, beautiful sunsets.

First day we met the friendly VIP staff & loaded our gear on the boat. Dinghied across the lagoon to have supper at that funky little restaurant & bar (it was good!) and to buy provisions at the Food Center. Sleep-aboard at the VIP docks.

Trunk Bay, St. John – The park facilities there are top notch. Nice place to hang around after the big tour groups leave. Leinster & Mahoe/Francis Bays were nice, too.
Snorkeled The Indians, visited Pirate’s and had dinner with a lively, but tame crowd @ Willy T’s. Great service and good food. We forgot to get reservations and the cook squeezed us in before a large group arrived.

Picked up a mooring at Foxy’s Taboo & visited the bubbly pool on JVD for the first time. Long hike, but it was nice
We made numerous frustrating and tiring attempts to get the anchor to bite in the middle of Great Harbour. We finally moved to the east side and found a nice patch of sand that worked. After a little dancing and enjoying some libations at Foxy’s, we posted our LYC burgee (fictitious Lynn Yacht Club) up on the rafters. It’s on the outer corner closest to the grill & buffet.

Visited Cruz Bay, St. John after clearing back in through Customs. Would like to spend more time here.
Anchored in Lindbergh Bay next to the STT airport for the night to make dropping off our son for his early flight easier the next morning. We found good holding there. It was a little rolly, but not a problem.

After seeing our son off, the girls and I motored around the corner to Crown Bay Marina to top off Diesel (about $5.30 per gallon I think) & Water ($0.01 per gallon – practically free) and picked up a few provisions & ice…nice facility and friendly staff.

Visited the town of Dewey on Culebra…very different vibe (Latin) than the BVI. I liked it and will be back. Dinghied to The Dinghy Dock for ice cold beer in the afternoon & Mamacita’s on the canal for supper. Good food & service. Great atmosphere.
We saw leatherback turtle hatchlings around our boat one night in Bahia de Tortuga, Culebrita and saw their nest the next morning on the beach. Beautiful beach and awesome tidal pools and rock formations on the north side of the bay (larger and more impressive than the bubbly pool on JVD.) Hiked to the old lighthouse at the top of the island.

Sailed to Puerto Ferro in Vieques and swam in the bioluminescent bay before the moon came up …way cool. Reminded me of the aliens in the movie “The Abyss.”

After a long motorsail back east, we anchored in Christmas Cove, St. James for the last night aboard. Ran into David & Margaret from Scotland aboard their Beneteau 46 Highland Fling (of BVIYC) whom we had met in North Sound, VG 2 years ago. It’s a small world!

Before flying out the last day we ate lunch at Hook, Line & Sinker and then watched seaplanes “land” on the water and take-off while sipping cold refreshments at the Petit Pump Room in Charlotte Amalie.

Next year we’ll probably go to Ambergris Cay, Belize to visit relatives and go diving. But the next time I am cruising in the Virgins, I plan to spend all my time on Culebra & her surrounding islands and Vieques.
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Link to this postPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2008 8:51 am    

Nice report there. Sounds like a really good time. Great pix also. Where was that old Tank on the beach at? Thanks for posting!
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Link to this postPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2008 9:53 am    

Thanks. That old WWII era M4 Sherman tank (and another one in better condition) was on Flamenco Beach on the Northwest coast of Culebra. It was used as target practice by the US military a long time ago.
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