We are in Charlotte Amalie, waiting for Mafalda’s sister, Yolanda to arrive. This is a busy harbor with cruise ships (no roosters) and lots of stores.
We are docked next to Larry Ellison’s (CEO of Oracle) statement of his insecurity – a 430 foot private yacht -- supposedly, the world’s largest private yacht. The rumor is that it costs over 400 million and about 30 million a year to run – and it’s ugly! Originally, it was supposed to be 380 feet, but he heard that Paul Allen (co founder of Microsoft) was building a 400 foot yacht, so he added 50 feet to the stern and it looks like somebody glued a dock to the stern of the boat. I guess he is compensating for shortfalls in other areas.
We are spending the last week in the Virgin Islands showing the best spots to Yolanda and then it’s off to Trinidad where we will haul the boat for the hurricane season. We hope to get it there by the end of April; we are planning on a leisurely trip with stops in Guadalupe, Martinique and, hopefully, Domenica. Domenica is said to be the most beautiful of all the islands, and for people interested in flowers – a paradise. There are rumors of crime, but there is crime everywhere and our bravery will be rewarded by much beauty.
We will miss sailing in New England this year, but we have had enough sailing for this year and there is always next year.
Stay well and happy spring!
We are in Culebra, a small island off the coast of Puerto Rico. It is a refreshing change from the touristy Virgin Islands. It is a relaxed quiet island with very friendly people and no crime; I picture it as the Caribbean was 50 years ago. It has a couple of restaurants and a few small hotels and a dive operator, but that is it for the tourist industry.
The anchorage has a few free moorings and plenty of places to anchor with no charter boats and very few boats at all. We have nothing but a low reef separating us from the Atlantic, so we have cool breezes and beautiful views. We had planned to stay one night and go to Vieques, but it is so beautiful that we decided to spend another night. We went to town for breakfast and ate in a small café on the water – good food and very relaxed!
It will be very difficult to return to civilization, politics and CNN!
We had a number of new experiences during our short cruise to the Spanish Islands of Culebra and Vieques: we saw the Southern Cross, a water spout and an eagle ray jump out of the water.
Those video game playing modern people among you might say of the Southern Cross, “Who can get excited about a constellation.” Well, sailors for centuries found there way by using constellations, and this one marks the South Pole. It is only visible in April at this latitude, so I have never seen it before. As for the water spout, it is a tornado that touches the water and sucks water into the vortex. We were sailing along the South coast of Vieques and a storm passed a mile south of us. When we got close to it, we could see the funnel. Another funnel started to form even closer, but never fully developed! The eagle ray is similar in shape to a sting ray, but 2 – 3 times the size with a long thin tail. This one jumped completely out of the water a few feet from our boat; it did this three times. All of this in the last two days!
Vieques has harbors that are strewn with reefs and no buoys to mark the channel. Once inside, you are treated to a view seldom seen in today’s world: a serene, large harbor a few miles long with no one in it or near it; the beaches are unchanged since 1942 when the Navy placed it off limits until a couple of years ago. You need the serenity to get rid of the anxiety of navigating past the shallow spots with 5 foot depths on the way in!!!
We made a drastic change in our plans. My doctor sent an email saying that I can get into the Vertex trial sometime in 2007, so we are bringing the boat back to Connecticut.
Today, we are back in Culebra; we will head to Culebrita this morning and spend the night there. Culebrita is a small island with a beautiful semicircular harbor and a fine beach. Then, back to St Thomas to start the preparation for the passage back to Connecticut.
Pre stories about New England tomorrow.