Monique Burgess
Caneel Bay, St John, USVI
Saturday, March 31, 2001
14:51

My last log entry was just 2 weeks ago and it feels like we have circumnavigated since then. Actually we have probably sailed over 600 miles in the past 14 days. Writing that just a few months ago would have been mind boggling to us. I mean we used to plan a week ahead if we were going to sail from Newport to the Vineyard. But here we are. Our visit with Katherine and Darlene Barkman was busy, but perfect. Uliad brought them to 6 islands in the Grenadines within 5 days. Out of everyone who came to visit us, they got the full taste since they lived aboard with us. They happily showered off the stern, ate freshly caught lobsters in the cockpit, bargained at the outdoor markets with us and enjoyed even the wet dinghy rides. It was amazing to see my buddy. Getting a 'reality check' helped salvage my sanity. I constantly wondered if Cammi and Cole were progressing at their proper rates. Darlene confirmed that they were not only in line, but had excelled in many areas since she had last seen them on that teary day in Mystic.

Darlene and Katherine's visit gave us a perfectly good reason to break away from our everyday cruising buddies. And although we enjoy sailing with our friends, it was refreshing to break away from the group, meet new people and concentrate on our own activities. While sobbing at the airport, I knew it was time to head north. We were provided with the perfect weather window and left Prickly Bay, Grenada on March 26th. It was a bit rushed. Provisioning was at a frenzied pace and we failed to take a tour of Grenada. But our zenith concern was giving the children a smooth multiday passage so they would relish the time at sea instead of despise it. And we accomplished that with flying colors. Although the ocean failed to welcome whales or dolphins to our path, it did give us calm seas and clear nights. Tom and I started 6-hour watches in the day and 3 hour watches at night. No emergencies or malfunctions occurred at all. The only excitement was the encounter with the cloaked ship. Here's an excerpt from an email that Tom wrote to his dad:

It's 3am and I wanted to tell you about the exciting night. At about 2100 a large blip on the radar started to close our position very quickly after hanging about 6 miles ahead of us for an hour or so. I freaked out and started to wish I had that shotgun I almost purchased before we left. I could only see it on radar because they were cruising with no lights. When they got within 1 mile I grabbed the big spot and was just about to blaze them when their nav lights came on and a voice cracked over the VHF..."This is the USCG please identify yourself".

I jumped on the radio and said I was just about to call them to report an unidentified vessel running me down. They were very business like and just wanted to know the regular stuff (vessel name, owner, last port and next). They kept me on the radio for about 15 minutes, shut down their lights and kept hunting.

Well we're about 25 miles from St. John with enough wind to ghost along under sail (6kts or so). I have adjusted course to skip Norman Island and go directly to Cruz Bay. We should drift into the anchorage around 0630 or so.

I'll drop you a line after we get some rest. Gotta go, the radar looks like a video game due to all the cruise ships...I have 5 targets all around me.

The journey was quick and after a little discussion, we opted for sailing into St. John, USVI instead of Culebra, Puerto Rico. It was a last minute decision. Those are always the best. We anchored in Caneel Bay, near Pam and Jeff on Foggy Mountain. Such a small world. Exploring the town of Cruz Bay was a blast. The kids even found a playground. The village was clean, cruiser-friendly, but expensive in comparison to some of the southern islands we had become accustomed to. The biggest thing was the fact that we were on American soil. Little things helped us to adjust, the many waving US flags, the language, and the use of native currency were just a few things. Slowly, the idea of traveling homeward will sink in.

The journey was quick and after a little discussion, we opted for sailing into St. John, USVI instead of Culebra, Puerto Rico. It was a last minute decision. Those are always the best. We anchored in Caneel Bay, near Pam and Jeff on Foggy Mountain. Such a small world. Exploring the town of Cruz Bay was a blast. The kids even found a playground. The village was clean, cruiser-friendly, but expensive in comparison to some of the southern islands we had become accustomed to. The biggest thing was the fact that we were on American soil. Little things helped us to adjust, the many waving US flags, the language, and the use of native currency were just a few things. Slowly, the idea of traveling homeward will sink in.

Caneel Bay was a perfect spot to rest up after a passage. There were many friendly cruisers coming by Uliad to pick our brains on what we had experienced 'down-island'. We had a little session in our cockpit and invited anyone interested. We shared our opinions and tidbits about anchorages while we learned about Puerto Rico and the Bahamas. The next day we set off late for Little Culebra. Because our arrival time into the reef strewed anchorage would put the sun too low in the horizon to con our way into the anchorage safely, we tucked into Maegan's Bay, St Thomas instead. After anchoring adjacent to a small, quiet beach, Tom readied the dinghy for a kids' beach run. His plan was thwarted when realizing it was not only a nude beach, but a gay beach as well. Welcome to America. Tomorrow Puerto Rico.

-T and crew