Once upon a time....
Friday morning we set sail for St Thomas, US Virgin Islands. A new island! The Virgin Islands have always been on my to do list and we were looking forward to it. An easy few hours was all it took. We called into customs to see if we needed to clear in. The response I got was "No sweety, you're leaving domestic and arriving in domestic. Happy Easter!" So we took the scenic route into harbour amid some threatening clouds. The water was littered with all kinds of debris. Water bottles and garbage bags floating everywhere. I don't know if it was washed in by the rain or if it always looks like this. We slowly wound our way through the channel and into Charlotte Amalie.
|Take off! Right beside us|
We found a good empty spot not too far from shore and dropped our anchor. Once we were sure it was set we lowered the dinghy and outboard for a trip to town. We walked all up and down through the streets full of duty free stores. Loads of nice stuff and good prices too all located along narrow cobblestones alleyways.
After our window shopping we casually walked back along the waterfront. As is usual we looked for the Moose out at anchor. Hmmm? Where was she? It was then we realized that there were 2 dinghies tied up to her and she was much farther from shore than when we left. Panic!
Brian and I both set off at a run, flew into the dinghy (literally) and raced to the boat. The 2 helpful cruisers had fended her off the other boats she passed on her way across the harbour. They had tried to reset her anchor without success and even tried to attach her to a mooring ball. Once back on board we turned the key to start the engine.....nothing. When things happen, they happen big. With a whack on the starter from a winch handle we had the engine running and quickly set about getting the anchor up only to find a huge length of rotting line tangled in it.
As Brian was clearing the line from the anchor I kept the boat in a circle until he was ready to reset it. Wouldn't you know that this would be when the cruise ship decided to leave. It was backing away from the pier not exactly right at us, but close enough to be intimidating.
We are not new at this. We have set our anchor hundreds of times. The only thing we can think is that the line we had snagged had fouled our anchor and caused us to drag. The only damage was a bent stanchion on another boat. The owner told us he had researched the cost of a new one at $50 and was willing to replace it himself. He also told us that they called called for help repeatedly on channel 16 and nobody answered.
All the next day we stayed on the boat. We were a little nervouse that the Moose would decide to gallop again. No fear. The winds gusted over 30 knots and she didn't budge.
This is one of those things that you hear about but hope never happens to you. Considering the crowded anchorage and how many boats were in our path things could have been much worse. Our thanks to those good Samaritans out there.
Back to the fun stuff. We waited out the rain (so far more than we've had in months) then headed to town again. The vendors were trying to protect their wares from the on again, off again showers while chickens clucked between the stalls. On to the rum shop. Cruzan rum, made in St Croix was selling at 3 bottles for $27. It just happens to be Brian's favourite. What a deal!
On a stroll through a jewelry store the clerk noticed that I was basically jewel free. He thought that a large diamond stud would be just the thing. Try it on, he told me. You'll love it! Buy it for yourself. I did see some really nice wine glasses that I just might have taken home but a sailboat and glass don't get along well together so I left them for someone else.
Next stop, groceries. You can drink for pennies here but eating is another story. In Pueblo's, the grocery store the rum was a little as $2.99 a bottle, but a box of Cheerios, and not a big box was $9.99. We got a few basics like bread, milk and eggs and called it a day.
Just before bed last night a giant mega yacht pulled up behind us and anchored. I think they might have been too late to get into the marina and had to wait until morning. Still there this morning I did a little spying with the binoculars. I have no idea how many kazillions of dollars something like this is worth but as they reversed into the marina this afternoon I counted a crew of 18 standing by for docking. It was half as big as the cruise ship.
We did get a little bit of a sunset just before it poured...again.