Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Across the Annegada and beyond

Time to sail the 100 miles from St. Martin to the Virgin Islands across the infamous Annegada (Oh My God-a) Passage. We listened to the weather forecasts while in St. Martin and when it sounded like a good time to go - we went. Left in a bit of a hurry so weren't able to clear out with French Customs in St. Martin - oops.

As soon as we got underway the rods were out and in short order the Gale Bros Fishing Team had landed a double header of tasty tuna!

Night passage across the Annegada. Everyone seemed to feel better sleeping in the cockpit, rather than going below. Lovely sail, broad reaching in 15 knots of wind.

And when we got there it was time to get in the water...

.... and go snorkeling. Samuel took to the water like a fish and was diving down chasing tarpon and barracuda bigger than he is! His little sister Celeste, was able to put on her mask and snorkel and float around in her life jacket oohing and aahing at all the fish. Snorkeling was a highlight for all of us - we spent a lot of time with our heads in the water!

Artists at work. We can't be in the water all the time.

Maintenance madness. The darn watermaker continued to be a problem, only producing about 2/3 of its rated output of 60 lph. Our guests were very good with their water conservation so we never ran out nor did we have to fill up at the dock. And we only had one of our 2 alternators working to provide electricity on board. But we always had enough juice to keep the drinks cold and crank the tunes!

A hot hike to see the Annaberg sugar mill on the island of St. John in the USVI. The kids were great even though they were melting. Interesting restoration of a sugar mill typical of the hundreds that thrived throughout the islands in the 17 and 1800s. The Caribbean of today was shaped by sugar, slavery, and of course pirates! The good, the bad and the ugly.

A view of the harbour of Gustavia on St. Barths, one of the French islands. It felt very Mediterranean, especially with the cafe au lait and croissants! And the prices were authentic as well....

Luckily the tide only comes up about 1 ft.

The wild windward side of Barbuda. You don't want to fall on those rocks; they're razor sharp lava. Thankfully the kids are very sure-footed from growing up on their beach on Quadra Island!