Charlotte Amalie, Lit Up

Monday February 23, 2015

Charlotte Amalie at night

I love the sunsets here in Charlotte Amalie.  They truly are something special.  They always feature every color from the oranges and yellows to the pinks, purples, and blues. The sky is only part of the show though.  Just while the sky is getting dark, all the lights of Charlotte Amalie begin to flicker on.

The harbor is surrounded by small hills, and slowly they begin to light up as all the homes, hotels, and restaurants prepare for the night.  At the other end of the harbor, the mega yachts illuminate themselves and the waters around them.  It’s an extremely beautiful anchorage to be in once the sun goes down.  Possibly one of the best we’ve seen yet.

I can’t say I’ve missed a single night yet sitting out on deck with a gin and tonic in my hands and the sun goes down and the lights come on.  Tomorrow, though, will be a different story.

For tomorrow we begin our direct passage back to Florida.  Approximately 1,000 nautical miles, traveling on the far east ends of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, eventually tucking in to the Northwest Providence Channel in the Bahamas and making landfall again in West Palm Beach.  We’re hoping this will only take us 10 days, but based on some light wind passages we’ve had in the past we’re also preparing ourselves for two weeks just in case.

So we are officially leaving the Caribbean until we can return again on our new aluminum boat.  Catch you on the flip side you amazing islands!

Charlotte Amalie at night

Charlotte Amalie harbor at night

Charlotte Amalie harbor at night

Charlotte Amalie harbor at night

Charlotte Amalie harbor at night

Charlotte Amalie harbor at night

Charlotte Amalie harbor at night

Charlotte Amalie harbor at night

A Black & White Look at Charlotte Amalie

Thursday February 12, 2015

Emancipation Park

There had been grand plans to leave the Virgin Islands in the next day or two after making a big provisioning trip in Charlotte Amalie, but it now looks as if that won’t be happening anymore.  Not that we’ll be stuck here forever!…although I’m sure we wouldn’t mind.  No, it’s pesky weather systems that keep popping up off the coast of Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic, and they’re making the window for our 1,000 mile journey back to Florida just a little hard to plan.  We can only seem to get three good days in a row when we need at least 8-9.

For the past few days we’ve been just sitting at anchor in the harbor here at Charlotte Amalie, although it looks like some storm systems are going to be rolling through here as well.  We actually had to move ourselves the other day because the spot we had been sitting in just in front of the cruise ships and the entrance to the harbor was bringing in a terrible swell.  I was getting back to the point where I didn’t want to get up off the settee because I’d get sick.  So now we’re much closer to shore and protected a bit more by one of the islands here and a few of the bigger boats anchored in front of us.

If the weather windows don’t improve in the next few days we may just move ourselves back to Christmas Cove since it’s only 5 miles away and so much more enjoyable and relaxing there.  Weather for the next week just north of us is showing pretty strong, so there’s a good chance that will be happening.  We did take advantage of one of the nice days we did have here to get off the boat and wander around town a bit.  Kind of what you’d expect from a cruise ship port, lots of shopping and restaurants, although there was a nice park by the Post Office that was a great spot to just sit and people watch.

Going back through the photos I took of the day, everything is such a hodgepodge and nothing flows from one area to the next. So I thought I would help that along try my hand at a few black and white photos.  Not something I know much about, but a handy tool for me to eventually learn. And honestly, I’ve been stuck on the boat here a few days and need something to do.

Matt at the Green House

Greenhouse Bar, Charlotte Amalie

Del Sol, Charlotte Amalie

Emancipation Park, Charlotte Amalie St. Thomas

Post Office, Charlotte Amalie

shopping district, Charlotte Amalie

side alley, Charlotte Amalie

Greengos Restaurant, Charlotte Amalie

Buffing Up on the Way to Charlotte Amalie

Sunday February 1, 2015

Charlotte Amalie harbor

So I’m still on my little kick to meet up with as many of my cruising friends as possible which means I wanted to get my butt to Christmas Cove in St. John ASAP, but first we had to do that pesky thing called checking into a country.  Also, I had mail waiting for me!  Little gifts from my mom that I have been waiting months to get, such as guitar strings so I could replace the ones that have rusted off mine, and a new computer charger since at the moment I have a barely working charger and battery which means I can only use my computer when it’s plugged in, and if I move a half an inch the stupid thing shuts off on me.  Very annoying.

Since I knew Charlotte Amalie had a Post Office right in town, that’s where we decided to have our mail sent and to get ourselves checked into the country.  The sun was shinning when we got up this morning and even though it’s been said that going on the north side of St. John is a calmer passage, we wanted to take the more direct route to get to this harbor on the south side of St. Thomas.  Pulling out into ‘open waters’ again we did notice that the waves went up…from about 1 ft to 3 or 4.  After the high seas we spent way too many weeks suffering in this past six months it was child’s play and still a completely comfortable ride.

With a good 3-4 hour sail ahead of us and barley any boats to keep an eye out for anymore I decided it was high time to kick up my beauty routine once more.  The past year or so has not been very kind to my skin and partially because I probably haven’t been wearing sunscreen as much as I should.  Lesson.Learned.  Always wear a SPF 30 or higher on the face at all times and for god’s sake, me, try, oh please try, to get some of that on your arms and legs too!  Maybe if I got a sunscreen sponsor I’d be more apt to wear it every day.  Hmmm….   Any takers?

Anyway, it was time for me to get to work on fixing the damage already done.  In my arsenal I had a Neutrogena Microdermabrasion System which I then followed up with a Yes To Cucumber hydrating mask.  Finishing with a bit of my Lancôme lotion that I’ve blogged about before and still can’t speak highly enough of, I could feel my skin thanking me.  I’m sorry skin, I promise to take much better care of you in the future.

Just as I was rubbing in the last bit of revitalizing cream to my skin, the sun was traded in for clouds and it looked as if there were showers just hanging over St. Thomas.  Hanging out in the cockpit to watch the incoming weather system I took a look at the chart plotter and noticed a ship on AIS that was flashing bright meaning it was going to come too close to us.  Let me remind you that we had it set for open ocean where if a boat was going to come within two miles of you it was a cause of concern, but now that we’re in a major cruising territory we can come within 100 feet of most boats and not blink and eye.

Looking up it’s information just for fun and to see our ‘collision course’ I noticed the name of the vessel was very familiar.  Kasablanca.  Wait a second…this was the same name of a boat that left from our home port of Muskegon last year with a couple near our age on it.  I hadn’t met them before, but my friend Jackie had turned me on to their travels.  If I remembered right they were also in this area since the first mate Felicia and I had joked on Facebook about how funny it would be to maybe accidentally run into each other while there.

Hailing them on the radio we switched to a talk channel and I felt kind of silly as I asked “Is this the Kasablanca with a home port of Muskegon Michigan?”, in case I got a confused or rude No in return.  When the answer came back yes I fell into full geek mode and began rambling a mile a minute.  “Oh my god!  This is Jessica from Serendipity!  We’re about to pass each other on a starboard tack!  So you’re in the USVI’s?  We totally need to hang out!  We can talk about cruising and about Muskegon!!”.  Yeah….  Matt just affirmed my lack of poise with a roll of the eyes as if to say ‘You’re such a dork’.  Yes I am.  Proudly so.

Jessica with face mask

s/v Kasablanca

After I found out that Felicia and Steve were headed to Christmas Cove themselves and should hopefully still be there when we arrived a few days later, I went back to watching out for boats that would come nowhere near us and zoom in on the chart as we got closer to Charlotte Amalie.  The rain showers that were hanging over St. Thomas did capture us in it’s holds until we were just about to the harbor entrance but let up just in time for us to bring the sails in and motor through the channel.

One thing I noticed straight away as we made our way in was the number of boats at anchor.  No mooring balls here.  We had been warned that it could be a little rolly in this port at times, but when we dropped the anchor and began putting the sail cover back we felt nary a ripple in the water.  Looks like it was going to be a good enough spot for the next few days at least.

That evening we enjoyed yet another beautiful Virgin Islands sunset as we took it in from the cockpit with a cocktail in hand.  As the sky grew darker the hills began to light up with homes and hotels shining in the dark blue sky. As a good beat thumped from a club on shore I settled further in my seat to enjoy the nighttime show around me. I could get very used to this life.  Why did we ever leave the Caribbean in the first place?

Charlotte Amalie harbor

Chartlotte Amalie, St. Thomas

entrance to Charlotte Amalie harbor