We took our ASA sailing classes in St Thomas back in 2013. You could say that’s where this whole crazy boat life thing began. We returned several times to charter sailboats on vacation and to hone those sailing skills. But how fun is it to return in 2019 on OUR OWN sailboat?!?! We grabbed a one-day weather window to motor-sail over from Culebra when the easterly trade winds were very light. We squeezed Sanitas in between all the other boats in the anchorage at Honeymoon Beach on Water Island. Wow! It’s really changed in the past six years! Now there are two beach bars, and tons of booze cruise boats come over from the main island for a swim and a little beach time. I took a whole album’s worth of photos of the strange crafts: pirate ships, the Kon Tiki bar boat with its steel drum version of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, and of course, the huge cargo ferries! We enjoyed the beach and the live music and dancing at Dinghy’s Beach bar on a Sunday afternoon. Also, a lovely island to explore by foot, enjoying the lovely vegetation and huge land tortoises.
After a couple of days of beach vacation, it was time to get to work! About two weeks since we left Puerto Rico, we were out of veggies, eggs, and low on water, so we motored over to the main town of Charlotte Amalie to get stuff done!
Errands take a lot longer when you’re doing them by foot. And in 85deg temps! We felt the need to sustain ourselves with tacos and a margarita at Greengos about halfway through.
Of course, our most important errand was to pick up the new water maker membrane that we’d shipped to a St Thomas post office via General Delivery. The question is: which St Thomas Post Office? We’d used the street address of the historic downtown post office, since we knew we could walk there from the anchorage. However, once we arrived, the clerk told us they don’t accept General Delivery. Uh oh. Worst case scenario, did that mean they’d returned our critical water maker part back to Defender? To my relief, the clerk told us it was probably at the main post office, and we could get there by riding the dollar bus to its last stop. So we were off again, hunting for the main post office. This one’s definitely off the tourist path! Second time’s a charm, we were thrilled to find our package had arrived, and we could put another boat project on the to-do list and could start making fresh drinking water again.
Frankly, one night in the busy and industrial Charlotte Amalie anchorage was enough. We popped over to Christmas Cove on Great St James Island (also known as pedophile Island ’cause it was owned by Jeffrey Epstein) Mike loves this anchorage, but there’s no access to land so it’s never going to be one of my favorites. There’s excellent people watching here as day charters stop by the bay for a snorkel and to pick up a pizza from the floating Pizza Pi restaurant.
The best part of our stop at Christmas Cove was catching up with TC and Suzanne – our first sailing friends who we met the day we pulled into the St Petersburg Municipal Marina in 2017. They untied the lines and started cruising last year, but we never ended up in the same place at the same time. We had a fun reunion, playing games and having sundowners in the cockpit of Anna Bella.
Our last stop on St Thomas was the best! We sailed to the north side of St Thomas to Magens Bay. It’s a gorgeous white sand beach, ringed with palm trees, and hosting the obligatory beach bar. With four cruise ships in town, the beach got pretty busy during the day. But that’s the best part of sailing – we shared the bay with only two other boats, and in the mornings and the evenings, we had the whole place to ourselves. In another attempt to beat the crowds, Capt. Mike and I walked the 3-mile “Nature Trail” which kicked our lazy sailing butts. The heat and climb were tricky, but the hardest part was the mud bog we had to fight our way through right at the start. I almost lost a Keen sandal in the mud, and expected to wind up on my butt and covered in mud at any moment. Mission accomplished though- we got a bit of exercise AND we didn’t see a single cruise ship tourist the entire time!