Tortola to St Johns – 28th May 2013

DSC01179

After finishing off some tasks in Tortola and finding a place to leave Troskala for a year we were ready to get on with our final month of cruising these amazing waters and we planned to enjoy every minute of it.

We departed Tortola in the early afternoon heading for Cruz Bay in St Johns.  It may not seem like it but this was quiet a voyage in terms of countries as we would be now leaving British Waters and into American waters.  I only mention this due to the endless struggle we have had in getting visa’s sorted in order to get Troskala here.   We should have sorted our B1 and B2 visa’s before leaving London but we had though that it would be easy enough to sort this out in the Caribbean but this is not the case and the only place you can do it is Barbados, which we are not planning to visit soon.  Anyway, due to our work on the Superyacht and flying into Miami when departing them we had the stamp that gave us entry for 90 days into the US.  This, along with our ESTA (a visa waiver) we should be able to enter America with no problems but of course Carlotta’s nerves were going.  My advice to anyone planning to sail to the Caribbean and America is to get your B1 and B2 visa’s before leaving your home country, it has been an absolute battle with the US homeland securities and I would not wish dealing with these people on anyone.

DSC01184DSC01185DSC01186

We had a great sail into Cruz Bay, which is the main port of entry.  Our arrival was late and therefore we could not check in but managed to drop anchor in the spare square meter that was free from mooring buoys but with only 0.4 meters below it was tight.

DSC01189

In the morning we went to customs and faced our fears; 15 minutes later we were out with no problems at all but as we only have until the 28th June on our passport it was to be a short visit.  We walked around Cruz Bay but there was nothing of interest but it did have a feel of a national park, which most of St John’s is.  We did not spent long there before returning to Troskala and setting sail to St Thomas.  We will return to St Johns on the way back but due to the nationality of the crew the Spanish Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico are the destinations we want to explore in more detail.

DSC01187

 

Cruz Bay (St Johns) to Red Hook Bay (St Thomas) – 29th May 2013

We set sail shortly after returning to Troskala.  We only had a passage of 3 miles to make so used only Genoa.  There are rocks and reefs everywhere not to mention the amount traffic in these waters.  We made Red Hook Bay in St Thomas early afternoon and found a nice anchorage just off a little beach.  The wind was beginning the howl but we had held well and after some lunch and a siesta we took the dinghy over to the marina complex.  Again, there was not too much to explore but the feel of the place was very American.  We went to a bar to have two Mudslide cocktails before staggering back to the dinghy and motoring back to Troskala.

The night was pretty uneventful but the wind blew making it very uncomfortable on board.  We had to get out of this place fast and planned to fill with water the next morning and head to Charlotte Amalie, the capital of St Thomas.

DSC01188DSC01190DSC01194

Red Hook Bay to Charlotte Amalie – 30th May 2013

We managed to wake up early for a change and after a quick breakfast we motored to the marina to fill our water tanks.  Shortly after we departed and headed out into 30 knots of wind on the nose.  It was an evil sail with short choppy waves crashing over Troskala’s bow.  We have not been in weather like this for a while and it was not long until items below started flying around.  We decided to take a short cut through a narrow passage called Current Cut, where the current passes through at 4 knots.  The gap is strewn with coral and rocks and is only a few meters wide.  I must admit there was an element of worry as approached the gap.  The water between went turquoise showing shallower depths.  I started the engine ready to make a turn back is needed.  We flew through with the depth going from 15 meters to 3, but before we knew it we were through the other side with the depth gauge reading 10 meters and increasing.    It is good to challenge yourself but not too often and not in these waters.

DSC01193

The rest of the sail went well and as we turned west the wind followed and we made good speed reaching Charlotte Amalie around 13:30.

We anchored close to the town and the ferry dock.  The place already seemed busy with endless trucks and buses spoiling our view and tranquillity, this is another favoured cruise ship destination so we did not hold out any hopes for any culture.

DSC01196

We ventured into the city and were amazed by how busy Charlotte Amalie is and how American.  We already noticed the cars and traffic lights that are depicted in any American film. We were also pleasantly surprised by the architecture and history that surrounded the place.  The island was formally owned by the Danish and a lot of the old buildings from that era exist.  You do still have the cruise ship area with shops selling anything to do with Diamonds but there is also other shops and alleys that make it pleasant to walk around.  We spent the whole afternoon here before returning late evening and enjoying a spectacular thunder-storm.

DSC01203DSC01205DSC01199

3 thoughts on “Tortola to St Johns – 28th May 2013

  1. Hi you guys,
    Troskala looking very trim I must say! How are the sails holding up in the blazing sun? They look pretty good. Nice view of the hydrovane too which shows me how to fit it when I get one. Nice nav through that Cut! Have you got Navionics on board I wonder? Very useful for close quarters nav.

    We are sailing every weekend now as the weather has at last broken.

    Enjoy the rest of your Carib cruise…

    cheers
    Mark and Heather

    1. Hello Mark and Heather,

      Thank you for the comment and I hope you are both well . Our sails are holding up incredibly well. I think having a UV protection on them had helped but they do need a bit of a clean. If you need any help in regards to Hydrovane let me know and I can always take more photos of the other side. We use C-MAP navigation on a chartplotter based under the sprayhood. I have mixed opinions about navionics but do not know enough about it at the moment; is this what you are using on Cariblue? I find that once you have laid the first track the rest is easy but we are finding the waters here more challenging. We entered Culebra yesterday in the Spanish Virgin islands and that was strewn with rocks and reefs although we are getting better at defining depth by colour, which helps a lot.

      We are glad to hear you are sailing, I hear it is quite warm now. Let’s hope it stays that way when we get to the UK.

      It would be great to meet up so please let me know if you are free towards the end of July /. early August. It would be great to share a beer or a meal before we have to come back.

      All the best and hopefully we will see you soon.

      Best wishes, Oliver & Carlotta

      1. Ah C-Map. Navionics is worth a look – the Caribbean and South American complete charts are about £10 on iTunes for an Iphone or iPad (I think they do an HD version for about £40 which is better resolution for iPad). But to be honest your C-Maps will be just as good. The good thing about Navionics is you get all tidal info and current info and all charts updates are free.

        Currently I am using a thing called Seatrak (from Meridian Chartware) on a PC. It hooks into my Furuno GPS and they talk to each other on Waypoints so I can plan everything at home and transfer to the Furuno. It’s used by oil exploration companies apparently as it uses Admiralty charts. Although I think they use a fancier version than I am using. It’s about £100 and updates are free. It does about 30 things more than Navionics for real navigation but it isn’t quite as user-friendly as Navionics.

        I reckon with your C-Maps it might be worth £10 on your smartphone or iPad to get the Caribbean charts – it has all the marinas and phone numbers as well as harbour masters etc so quite useful stuff.

        Yes: when you guys get back let us know and we’ll get you over for a meal ( and a sail if the weather is right!)

        all the best
        Mark and Heather

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s