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Can you believe that our first day sailing in the Virgin Islands was actually spent SAILING in the Virgin Islands? In other words, not motoring or motor sailing? At least the majority of it anyway. With plans to travel only 11 or so miles and all day to do so, one has the luxury of being able to go slow. And for a good part of the day, that’s exactly what we did, tacking back and forth into a 5-7 knot headwind. But we had fun, slow fun. I may have gotten frustrated about the slow speed and turned on the engines had I not challenged our friends on Happy Times, who were sailing the same direction as us, to a race. I won’t say who won the race but I will say that we’ll certainly enjoy the drinks that they need to buy us now. 😉

We are currently on a mooring at Hawksnest Bay on St. John and it has not been a super peaceful night. With winds from the east or southeast, I am sure this place would be awesome. With the northerly swell that’s running right now, it is rolly and uncomfortable.

To add to that, shortly after dark we got into a weird wind-against-tide/swell situation with the mooring ball underneath our boat, banging on the hulls. Our boat was in fact facing the completely opposite direction to Happy Times who were right beside us. Unable to move the boat to a better position with the engines (we tried) nor willing to listen to that banging all night (forgetaboutit!), we had little choice but to cast off and try to pickk up another mooring, in the dark. Good thing we were the only two boats in the big bay!

Why were we on a mooring in the first place instead of anchored? Believe me, I would rather anchor, for a couple of reasons. Sadly, it’s just not allowed here. Much of St. John is a national park and their rules require you to take a $15.00 mooring for the night if one is available. I generally trust our anchor much more than some random mooring and it was especially true in this case as the water was so deep I couldn’t dive to the bottom to check it out (I tried… it was 30′ deep, way beyond my current limits).

We’re planning on slipping our lines pretty early this morning and moving a couple miles down the coast to Maho Bay where a friend (Steve on s/v Anchor Management) has told us that it is not rolly. If that intel doesn’t pan out to be true, we’ll set sail for Jost Van Dyke where we can anchor on the southern shore, hopefully sheltered from the swell.

The above situation illustrates something that I have felt to be true for quite some time. That being, people often walk away with an impression of a place based on a very specific, and sometimes short-lived set of conditions, positive or negative, that on another day, may not have existed at all. For example, if there was no swell running here I might think this is a great place to stop. In this case, I don’t. If we meet up with some friends at an anchorage and have a great time, we’ll always have positive thoughts about that place. If we drag anchor or pick up a line in our prop, the opposite may hold true. This is why we always try to check out places on our own (Luperon for example) rather than relying upon hearsay to make our judgments. We think everyone should do the same too.

24 Comments

  1. Welcome to one of our favorite places on earth. Don’t miss Jost. Pick up a mooring in the bay on the east end and have a drink at Foxy’s Taboo. After a few, walk over to the Bubbly Baths for a real treat. Especially with a north swell.

    The BVI await with more pleasures than you can imagine. Try to get to Anegada for an end of the known world experience.

    Fair winds,

    Russ

  2. Hey Mike,
    If snorkel around Mary’s Point you will see millions of bait fish and tarpon swimming in and out munching down. It’s kind of intimidating at first but so cool! Also the turtles love Maho! Dont forget to see Foxy over at JVD : )

    • We are going to head to Maho right now. If the swell isn’t reaching there we’ll stay, otherwise we’re off to JVD. And yes, swimming with the big tarpon would be intimating I bet!

  3. The pictures we’ve seen of Jost Van Dyke make it look like a gorgeous place! You have to drink a “Painkiller” at Soggy Dollar Bar for us!

  4. Did you motor or sail to Maho, if the sail was not up at about 1045am I saw you on web cam!

  5. You can use your US cell phone on Jost. it will pick up the tower from ST Thomas.

  6. Love it! This is my part of the islands! Jost is the greatest! Nice people. Be sure to put The Baths on you list of places to visit once you slip over to the BVIs.

  7. And take the dingy ashore at Maho to hike up to the resort. They have a greet gift shop.

  8. If you ever have the mooring buoy banging against the hull in a wind over tide situation again, just hang a bucket over the stern.

  9. I sat on the hook in Maho for almost a week. A lazy past life for sure.

  10. One other place we love to visit on Jost is Sidneys Peace and Love in Little Harbor. Wonderful family and the best lobster dinner I have had there. And they have an honor bar. Enough said. My wife and I hike up to the top of Jost from Sidneys. Beautiful views and a great work out. Thanks for letting us all live vicariously!

    Mark

  11. Peter bay st john webcam, its at Cinnamon bay

  12. Hope you made it to JVD. Last report from our friends down there was they were sitting out front at the Soggy Dollar Bar today. We were able to spot them on the Soggy Dollar Bar webcam. Perhaps we will spot you on the webcam as well. Post when you are there. The camera refreshes every hour on the hour.

    Make sure you stop at Leverick Bay in North Sound. Tell Nick (they manager of the docks and hotel at Leverick) that you are a member of traveltalkonline.com and you can get a spot at the dock for the price of a mooring ball and free ice and water. Tell Nick and Monica (his wife) hello! They are great people. Make sure you stop there on a Friday evening and they will be having their weekly Friday night BBQ – not to be missed. They also have Mocko Jumbies (stilt dancers) that perform on Friday evenings.

  13. andy & sonja cru-zinacatamaran - Reply

    Just incase , the wind over tide question regarding the bucket, “or you takin the preverbal” lol is when there is a slight movement in Tide the bucket will pull you away from the Ball & it will be held away” from your boat like a dro’n. Other method is use an inflatable kids life ring “the ones you inflate” put that over the ball & it then stops the Ball banging other than that lift the ball a little up out of water & tie to your boat. But the bucket works good as long as there is some tide / current movement

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