St John (and St Thomas)

With some friends coming to visit us, we sailed up to St John. We got a bit of a late start, and wind wasn’t great, so we found ourselves dropping anchor in Rendezvous Bay around sunset. Of course, having made plans for our visit weeks in advance, our toilet’s manual pump picked this moment to fail spectacularly. We’d already ordered a new toilet, but we’d been hoping to limp along a little longer. Still, we were able to patch the electric pump in so that it kind of worked, and we spent the bulk of the day cleaning up the resulting mess.

With that dealt with, we rounded the corner, grabbed a ball in Caneel Bay, and did some Very Serious prep work to get ready. Captain made the final decision about whether the boat could be decorated.

Since they would be arriving in the afternoon, we took the opportunity to squeeze in a dive at Caneel Bay. It was surprisingly nice given the amount of boat traffic. Good job park service! We saw an especially sneaky hind, giant angels, a hogfish, and managed to get a moderately OK shot of a parrotfish.

We got the gear rinsed and made it into shore to see Joey and Laurelle. We brought them out for a tour of the boat, but the sunset we’d promised was underwhelming, and we went back to shore for a welcome dinner.

Our plans for the next morning were stymied, partly by rain, and partly because the recently-temperamental dinghy decided that this was the moment it would give up the ghost and demand repairs. We started by cleaning the carburator, because It’s Always The Carburator. Here’s lunch break – note the slice of lunch meat for Captain. We have given up on eating sandwiches unmolested.

And when that didn’t work, we pulled the spark plug at the next break in the rain, and found that it was definitely the wrong color. Replacing that got us back in business, and we went out for excellent drinks and tacos at The Longboard. They don’t take reservations, so we had to put our name on a two-hour(!) list; we waited happily one bar over at the Tap and Still. It’s been weird having reservations be a thing, but they definitely are here, likely because this is one of the few places open to American tourists right now.

The next day we brought our guests on a “quick” day sail over to Christmas Cove and the Pizza Pi boat. It turns out that neither of them is particularly into the water, or islands, or beaches, so our plan for snorkeling became a slightly queasy hangout on the boat. This was kind of where it clicked for us that they had no interest in the island lifestyle, and we felt very loved that they’d come to see us anyway. And we still checked the Pizza Pi box.

We headed back to Cruz Bay, picked up a mooring on our first try like the smooth and competent cruisers we are, and headed back to blessed, solid shore for some excellent wine and a charcuterie plate that was so good we ordered a second one.

We met our guests in the morning for one last meal, a goodbye brunch at High Tide, and parted ways so they could get to the ferry and we could get to our second vaccine dose. When we got back to the dinghy dock, we found someone had untied our painter to get to theirs, and just left us loosely dangling around the cleat (the green line is ours). Bad manners, but we were locked on so no big deal. We rushed back to the boat and got under way, so we could race our friends’ ferry across to St Thomas. (They were faster, but we were sailing, so I think we won.)

We made it to Charlotte Amalie, dropped anchor, and bused to the university, where we got dose two!

And as many have said, dose two was a bit of a doozy. I had medicine head, and Jazz was basically down for the count, so we hung out on the boat and spent the day playing with the cat.

It turned out that Sara and Mark were also in St Thomas (remember Camp Sara?), and we met up with them to visit the oldest synagogue in the islands, with its remarkable sand floor. We learned from our tour guide that this is a call-back to the time of the inquisition, when jews spread sand on their floors to muffle the sounds of their services. Wild.

Sara and Mark passed on an invite to a boat-based concert down in Druif bay, and we motored the two miles down, dropped anchor, and dinghied over with our floaties. We were treated to a nice concert in an unusual setting.

And as usual, outside forces would draw us away: we had a nice window the next morning to sail back to St Croix, where our pallet of goodies would be arriving shortly. So we got the Captain up early, hauled anchor, and had another pleasant 7-hour sail back down to Christiansted. (OK, Captain didn’t really stay up that whole time.)

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