LAHOWIND » Just you, me, + the dog.

Swept Away with the Christmas Winds!

Life lately has been a whirlwind of holiday celebrations, sailing, and extra gusty Christmas winds.

We spent a solid week or so in total celebratory mode over at Christmas Cove, St. Thomas. …First there was a laid back Christmas, followed by Jereme’s birthday where we packed 11 bodies onto our tiny sailboat for a fun birthday bash, and then one seriously hilarious New Year’s Eve celebration complete with lighting expired flares and inflating old life rafts a la Survivorman style. You can read our bloggy friends recounts here and here. Good times!

And after all of ^^that^^ holiday craziness, our plans were to spend a day getting down to business with a few regular boat chores before sailing on to a safe harbor in St. John where we planned to wait out the blow over the next few days.

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Well, you know what they say? A sailor’s plans are written in the sand. On a windy day. Lol.

Our plans started out just fine. We left Christmas Cove and moseyed our way over to Red Hook, St. Thomas to fill our tanks and grab a few groceries.

Unfortunately, that routine stop in Red Hook took a turn for the worse when we popped a hole in our dink at the fuel dock just as we were about to fill our jerry cans. Just dandy! We had to drop everything, fly back to the boat, put a temporary patch on the dinghy, and wait it out while the emergency patch dried before we could even finish up lugging water and supplies back to the boat.

Instead of it being just a quick trip in and out of Red Hook with enough daylight hours left to sail on to St. John, our delayed boat chores had us motoring back to Christmas Cove just before the sun set.

With our original plans now screwed, we decided to mix it up a bit more and, instead of heading to St. John, we figured it might make more sense to head in the opposite direction, downwind, and sail over to the big cruise ship harbor of Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas. We (ignorantly) assumed this would be a really great anchorage to wait out the heavy winds over the next few days.

So that next morning with winds already beginning to pick up, we woke up early and set out to make the casual 7-mile trip west to Charlotte Amalie. By 11am, we were rolling into the cruise ship harbor and were underwhelmed to say the least as we pulled in. We expected much better wind protection and were really quite surprised to find it wasn’t nearly as protected as we would’ve thought. We also weren’t overly thrilled with the idea of having to hang in this crowded, kinda dirty, and somewhat noisy anchorage with ferries and cruise ships running in and out of there on the regular.

So we did what any not-so-sane person would do and decided to backtrack our route and head back upwind PLUS tack on an additional 15 miles or so to make it all the way to the very east end of St. John — to an anchorage we had visited a few weeks prior and one we loved and knew for sure would be perfect to wait out the strong winds blowing through. We quickly dropped anchor in Charlotte Amalie just so we could better prep our boat for a more serious passage east (move the dinghy from the davits onto the deck, that sort of thing) and just as quickly weighed anchor to head back east.

Although we knew conditions were worsening by the hour and we’d be beating into the wind and waves for the rest of the day, this decision turned out to be the best one yet!!!

Conditions weren’t amazing that’s for sure, but they really weren’t uncomfortable either…and that, my friends, makes all the difference in the world. It was surprisingly a rather enjoyable sail over to Princess Bay (part of Coral Bay) St. John. We made the total 30-mile sail that day without issue and did it quickly no less! Yay us. :)))

We grabbed a mooring in the super secluded Princess Bay, where we were the only boat (minus our friends on SeaRah who joined us there for one night). We spent the next few days doing a whole lot of nothing. We put a legit patch on the dinghy, we gave Jereme a much-needed hair and beard cut, I organized some of my photo files on my external hard drives, Jer completed some required continuing education (online) for his professional engineer’s license renewal (fun times, lol), we dined on our good friends Chloe + Stefan’s boat, and we did lots of swimming, beach-combing, reading, photo editing, and music listening that we do on the regular!

We ended up splitting our time between Princess and Hansen Bays, two totally different scenes when it comes to anchorages and both fabulous for different reasons. After a few days in the SUPER secluded Princess Bay, we wanted a change of pace and sailed around the corner to Hansen Bay, which is a bit more beachy if that makes any sense at all. We spent the rest of our time enjoying Hansen Bay, the cute turtles that were everywhere, along with good swimming, and nice beaches that surrounded us.

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>>Thanks for visiting LAHOWIND sailing blog! We’d love for you to get to know us and follow our story as we attempt to navigate a whole new world of sailing, as we cruise the Caribbean.

Jennifer - s/v Luna SeaJanuary 14, 2015 - 12:29 pm

While it sounds like it was a bit of an ordeal to get there – it also sounds like it was well worth it! Everything always works out. Also sounds like a heavenly few days, particularly in comparison to December in the States. (even this southern “warm” part of the South…)

Paul amd Patty BeukemaJanuary 17, 2015 - 11:51 am

we have enjoyed following your blog through the past year. It gibes us the oppurtunity to libe vicariously through your pictures and stories. We have two sets of personal friends who arem oir home marina on Lake Ontario (just outside Toronto) that are sailing the Caribean now. So if you happen to run into SV Slow Waltz and Sv Mythago stop by and say hi, some really good people.
The pictures you post are refreshing as we sit inside with the fireplace on and -20c this morning.
If our plans come to reality we will hopefully be out there in pur Catalina 380 in 4 years or so.
Keep posting as it is enjoyable to read and experience through your blog