[Blind Approach] [St Thomas/St John] [British Virgin Islands] Nov '92 - Feb '93
The Virgin Islands are arguably the most popular cruising destination in the Caribbean for Americans and many Europeans - the US VIs are busy, crowded and a little run-down, the British VIs are a little more laid-back and sophisticated. We liked them both.
Approach to the Charlotte Amalie harbor at night, without instruments or radios was nerve wracking. We did not realize there were hundreds of boats anchored in the port, with no anchor lights, nor that dinghies zipped back and forth -with no lights, or that cruise boats plied the harbor all evening with party-goers and loud bands. No depth gauge meant dragging out a lead-line - we were proud to have a back-up system, but had never used it. After about 4 failed attempts to anchor, we finally found a spot, and crashed for the night. We were awakened at dawn by a loud pilot boat telling us to MOVE - we were in the cruise ship turning basin and a 1000 passenger ship was coming in as we talked. We moved!
Warm, clear tropical waters at last! We anchored in Charlotte Amalie harbor on St Thomas for about a month as we gathered our wits, met other cruisers, and admired HUGE yachts from all over the world. We hauled the boat at Independence Boat Yard on the south coast and $7000 later the lightning damage to the boat was fixed (repairs to our nerves took several months). Trips to Sapphire Beach to ogle the beach volleyball players and listen to reggae occupied our weekends as parts were shipped and repairs made. Our introduction to real clear water snorkeling was at Christmas Cove on St. Johns - absolutely amazing!! After repairs we joined an impromptu Shannon rally in Maho Bay, St John's - we had Hull #1 and the newest 50' 'Splendor' was there; a span of 20 years!
Jost Van Dyke
A little postage-stamp sized island with great beaches, natural whirlpool on the north - the favorite of all islands for Christmas and New Year's parties at Foxy's. They pack hundreds of charter boats into a cove sized for 10 boats, dance late into the night, and listen to Foxy play the guitar!
Pusser's, in Soper's Hole, a cove on the west coast, is the quintessential island bar - exotic drinks, view of the sunset over the anchored yachts, and great atmosphere. A cruise to the north takes you to the Tortola Yacht Club, another good watering hole.
30 miles to the north of Tortola, Anegada has a protective reef that is a little daunting to new cruisers, but the warm welcome at the Neptune resort and walks on miles of undeveloped beaches on the north coast made it well worth the trip.
We moved on to the Leeward Islands in March.