Friday, 5 April 2013

St Thomas US Virgin Isles

28th March to -3rd April Position roughly 18° 20N 64°55W
St Thomas
After a good crossing from St John we approached St Thomas into Redhook Bay, the whole area is surrounded by coral reefs so thankfully the chart plotter works very well. This place is busy over easter as the Puerto Ricans have a week to come and play with their motor boats, maybe we should have gone to Puerto Rico while they were away on holiday.

I'm afraid the exploring here just didn't happen due to the weather being very wet and trips ashore were curtailed.

We decided to stay in a marina for a couple of nights which allowed us to catch up on a few chores. The marina is surrounded by lots of bars and good places to eat.
Took a trip by one of the open busses into the main town Charlotte Amalie to find the customs and immigration department ready for out check out of ST Thomas ready for the crossing to Puerto Rico and afterwards we walked around the town, more on that later.

One of the alleyways lined with small shops, quite pretty
I took this from the balcony in the VIP lounge
We moved to the anchorage Charlotte Amalie
The main town was busy with tourists from the cruise ships,  we saw 3 in dock on one day and others over a few days, again only staying a few hours so those people can't see much while ashore. We did walk through the park and street market and saw a few monuments but nothing grabbed our attention to stay for too long with clouds overhead and a long walk back to the dinghy dock.

The anchorage is quite big but within an hour we watched another yacht dragging his anchor right in front of us thankfully the owner was onboard and someone went to help.
We were just getting settled when another yacht drifted so fast without the owners aboard  somehow it missed other boats at anchor it was quite scary, thankfully 3 other people on dinghies went to help.
It was a while before the owners returned which must have been a shock to see their boat drifting off with strangers onboard. Later that night 2 in the morning as we rocked and rolled I checked outside to see another yacht just in front of us which wasn't there earlier, that too had dragged so they had to move and shift. Sometime later another dragged so 4 yachts dragged within hours, thankfully we seem to lay enough scope to keep us holding strong but when the wind changes the alarm goes off when we have swung to face another direction. Lets just say its not the best feeling when winds blew up to 30 knots and during the night we had rain and more rain.

These monsters that spew tourists to be fed into the jaws of the shops

Oh no the poor tender about to be run over!
The original plan was to stay for 3 days max but the weather was not only windy but wet so at least we managed to go ashore for coffee a little shopping and internet.

It could be a little noisy at times and even scary when the sea planes headed right for us.
At least this time he was heading away from us
Charlotte Amalie is a shoppers paradise for every designer watches, jewellery clothes, perfumes, Breitling Omega,  every make, Gucci, Tiffanys, Chopard, a very rare sight, in fact so many invitations into almost every shop it was very tedious if you didn't answer the "tout" on the doorstep. 
However to get out of the sun for a few minutes we did go into one, the biggest I think, we spoke to one lady who asked us where we were from and she said her brother worked in London but said he was returning to St Thomas. Then she gave us a VIP ticket to go upstairs to their complimentary lounge, there was coffee, cold drinks including wine, free WiFi and 4 PC's with touch screens and the use of the telephones to call anywhere we wanted. 

Comfy chairs and TV, pc's what more could you want?
I think we were there for 2 hours, the concierge called 2 restaurants to check out the menu, even printed them out for us so that we could go armed with the order when we arrived.

Don hard at work, surfing
While we were at anchor I woke up and looked outside the hatch to see a huge private yacht with all its lights on, I say huge well we found out it belongs to David Geffen, of Geffen records and its called Rising Sun, he always likes to board from his tender at sea. Although it has a helicopter landing pad, only 82 rooms plus crew accommodation.  Rising sun then pulled into the marina, it has its own pontoon, I think its the largest private yacht we have ever seen at 453 feet long. 
Rising Sun 453 feet long 
So back to our puny by comparison yacht to rock and roll for another night, oh were we glad to leave after checking out with customs, so off we go to Puerto Rico.

Agua Therapy
Don and Glenys

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