Happy New Year from St Thomas!

Our new hatch for the forepeak locker arrived Christmas Eve, we had a long walk to the airport to collect it as we didn’t see a single bus on the way which is always typical when you want one. It gave us the chance to check out the bay just south of the runway, it looked very settled and quiet (except of course for the airplanes taking off) so we decided to move there on Christmas day so that we could have a change of scenery and hopefully a swim.  We had a few drinks Christmas Eve with an English couple, Richard and Rowena on Galene, we had met them in Bonaire so it was nice to catch up with a few happy hour drinks ashore, and left Charlotte Amalie Christmas morning with a beautiful sail around the corner to Lindbergh bay.  We were disappointed to find the water not at all clear, in 6 metres of water the sandy bottom could not be seen so we opted not to swim. Instead we settled in to a few lunch time drinks with the sun shining and started cooking our late lunch. With a free-range chicken on the BBQ, tatties in the oven and a cheese sauce bubbling awaiting the arrival of a royal cauliflower ($5.95 for small one!), the old UK phone rang and it was our Aussie mates Steve and Ange from Pannikin calling from Mexico.  They are on the Pacific coast of Mexico waiting for a weather window to continue north to Puerto Vallarta.  We had a long chat with the Aussies as we haven’t spoken with them since early September when they left us in Bonaire – unfortunately we had forgotten that Vodafone charge £1 a minute to receive a call! An expensive £38 catch up, but it was so good to hear their voices, we miss them so much.  Hopefully they will like Mexico so much they will stay for a while and we will catch them up next year.

As always with nice quiet anchorages, things can change overnight – and usually do.  A rolly swell entered the bay, good job we had consumed enough whisky to help us sleep!  Boxing day morning we decided to move to Brewers Bay to the north of the airport, and again we had a wonderful sail ‘around the corner’.  Brewers is a large protected bay with a long sandy beach, the runway isn’t actually that noisy and only one or two take-off overnight, we anchored in the northern part of the bay closer to the shore rather than the runway so we have a beautiful view of lush green mountains fringed with a few palm trees and sand.  There are plenty of fish hunting the waters, and twice a day we watch the water literally bubbling around the boat as larger fish munch the smaller ones. The smaller ones all jump out in large waves trying to escape their predators and our hull sounds like its being fired at as they all run into us in the panic.  Pelicans and Boobies then join in the feeding frenzy, a wonderful sight to watch as the sun goes down.

The only down side to this anchorage is that it is a long walk to any shops, about 3 miles to the supermarket and chandlery at Crown Point Marina but it is quite a pleasant walk and stretches the back after dragging the dinghy up the beach (far enough to lock it to a tree).  From Crown Point we managed to flag down a dollar bus, these are ‘safari’ buses which travel the island in a figure of 8 and most of the locals use them as the official bus system is slow and unreliable.  We went all the way to Budget Marine for $2, another chandlery at Benners Bay on the south east coast, to get some fixings for the hatch. Jez has finished making the frame for the hatch as it is a different size and style to the old one. The deck is curved so he had to scribe the frame to fit it flush, good job we have a large aft deck for working on.

m_Hatch frame1

From a plank of teak…

m_Hatch frame ready for fixing

To a frame ready for fixing down.

m_Brewers Bay

Brewers Bay, St Thomas, alongside the airport runway.

m_Sunset over Joy 30 Dec 14

Sun setting over Joy as 2014 comes to a close.

As with all New Years, we look back on events in our lives in the past twelve months. Ours has been a wonderful year in the Caribbean, beautiful weather, storms, new places, new experiences and new friendships.  We have tackled everything thrown at us from bad weather to breakages and repairs, we are pushed out of our comfort zone regularly! This is part of our adventure, part of the challenge, and every day we learn new lessons. We do count ourselves lucky, even though luck hasn’t played a huge part in how we got here.  We have sacrificed a huge amount, most importantly leaving behind family and friends and in particular not being around when they need us.  We must continue to live our dream, grasp life with both hands and shake it. We owe it to ourselves, we owe it to those who have lost their battle for life far too early.  Wishing you all a very happy and healthy new year.

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