Each day now we do enough for a full post. The Burnetts are really milking time for all it’s worth. So much has happened since the last post that Mel is giving you another long one:
- In late December, we sailed downwind with the Parasailor to St. Thomas, which went surprisingly well, and at the Yacht Haven Grande Marina we said a sad goodbye to Jo Belle and Bill. We had an awesome few weeks with them cruising Anguilla and the Virgin Islands.
- THE SAME DAY Jo Belle and Bill left, we welcomed our next guests, the Abrahams, a family of five, good and longtime friends. The Burnett kids will claim that the five hours of boat cleaning they underwent before their arrival scarred them for life.
- Mel and Greg provisioned for their voyage with nine total people to the Spanish Virgin Islands, assuming no grocery stores for five days. Cost-U-Less in St. Thomas is awesome! However, here’s a note to St. Thomas cab drivers: cruisers are NOT ultra-rich yachties! Geez! Look at our shoes, people!
- Mel and Greg have mixed emotions about returning to American-ish ground. On one hand, FINALLY, WE CAN GET STUFF DONE. AND THE STORES – AT LAST, GRAVY IN A CAN! On the other hand, WHAT’S WITH ALL THE STUPID RULES? (“Unregistered dinghy stickers,” really?)
- Mel organized one of her famous “land tours” on St. Thomas. Except that no cruise ships were in. And it was New Years’ Eve. And so everything was closed. And the cab driver didn’t bother to inform us of that, instead offering us a $250 cab tour of all of the closed facilities on the island – we know your tricks, Amir! After we politely declined, Jane got a surprise dousing when a vendor tent’s tarp flipped up in the wind after a rainstorm. But hey, free T-shirt!
- We watched OU lose the bowl game via the cable at the marina and then watched some New Year’s Eve fireworks off of a barge parked right near our boat in St. Thomas. Pretty cool! Mel has no pics because she was too lazy to get up from the forward cockpit and get her camera. She will instead describe them for you: Pictures of fireworks. Out of focus. Boring.
- We take off the next day to Culebrita, part of the Spanish Virgin Islands, which are part of Puerto Rico, which is part of the US. The most famous anchorage there, by the best beach in the SVI, was packed with Puerto Ricans out for New Years’ Day festivities on their powerboats, so we went around the corner and stayed on the quieter West side, visiting an old lighthouse via a trail.
- We travelled to Culebra and eventually spent some time in Bahia Almodovor (pretty setting, but a shore current makes snorkeling tough,) Dakitty Bay (crowded for the holiday, and the seagrass makes snorkeling by the mooring field boring,) and Bahia Tamarindo (very nice.) While at the Bahia Tamarindo, we had a great day that consisted of some awesome snorkeling and swimming, a view of some cuttlefish, and a hike to “The second greatest beach in the Spanish Virgins,” Playa Flamenco, where we were able to spend twenty minutes before turning back before the sun went down. The beach was nice, but it was…pokey. Lots of pokey things in the sand there. Here are some fish by our boat.
- Of course, our plans to leave the next day were foiled by a port engine that wouldn’t start, but at least that allowed us some more beach time. Luckily, our guests seem to know that “adventures” usually include some Calamity. Watching us fix problems (both self-induced and not) with the boat must be more fun than working and going to school. More on that later.
- Port engine fixed thanks to Greg’s electrical acumen and no thanks to the Yanmar helpdesk (a corroded butt connector – yes, that’s what it’s called,) we sail to Vieques. After a few failures due to mud, we anchor on the east side of Puerto Ferro, “the second greatest bioluminescent bay in Vieques.” Stick with the Burnetts, baby. We’ll show you second best!
- The boys look for a trail to the “best bioluminescent bay,” one bay down, and come back 5 minutes later in their dinghy. “It’s a no-go!” The trail is marked: “Prohibited due to unexploded ordinance.” A good hostess does not allow her guests to get blown up.
- Mel renames Puerto Ferro, “the best bioluminescent bay” after a moonless, overcast night in an anchorage all to ourselves in which we all stirred the water with kayak paddles and watched hundreds of twinkle lights flash on in the turbulence, disappearing after a few seconds. Unfortunately, photos of this unique experience are impossible. Greg’s conclusion: “That was amazing, but it was the closest to Disney I ever want to get.”
- We motor over to Ensanada Sun Bay and dinghy into the cute waterfront town of Esperanza, making reservations for the gourmet restaurant of El Quenepo. Mel will add “mofongo” onto the list of things she likes!
- We take off at 2 a.m. for St. Thomas, our guests comfortably drugged with ondansetron for the upwind sail, and land back at Yacht Haven Grande that morning. We say a sad goodbye to our friends and wash down the boat.
- The next day we pick up four loads of laundry and then anchor out near the marina in St. Thomas. Mel naps for four hours. After five weeks solid of guests and travel, the Burnetts are ready for a rest! Besides, all of our cuts need to heal. We are all COVERED IN BANDAIDS. Sailing is not for the weak! (Or the tall–you should see the top of Greg’s head!)