Short journal entry for the last day, but lots of pictures. I never actually mentioned in the journal, but I think it was Day 6, as we were settled down in the bay we had all to ourselves in Vieques, when I said to my fellow Kinjites, "Isn't it great that Island Yachts had that 10 days for the price of 7 deal?" I know that sounds like a badly-written ad, but it was so, so nice to be on Day 6 and looking forward to another nice day of sun and warm air and blue water, and then another and another after that, instead of having to run back to St. Thomas the next day so that we could hand our boat back bright and early on Day 8. 10 days was magnificent - enough time to really unwind, get into the rhythms of being on a boat, savor the experience properly. It was still a little sad to be sailing back to St. Thomas on the 25th, knowing we'd be flying back to our normal lives on the 26th - but 7 would've been far too short.
1/25 - Last full day on the boat, so time to get back to the environs of Red Hook. Wind was nice again, so we did quite a bit of sailing. I started the morning with a search for a knife we'd accidentally dropped overboard while washhing dishes the night before - my mullet buddies were delighted to see those yellow fins again, followed me around the whole time I was in but were most unhelpful with the lost knife, which remained there. Off the mooring at 8, under sail by 8:25.
The sail was lovely, lots of tacking and splashing as we headed upwind. TQ did most of the driving, I took lots of pictures - spent a lot of time trying to get the perfect sploosh picture (when the bow hits a wave and the spray goes flying), and also got some nice shots of Ship Rock, and the airport, and planes, and a schooner out for a sail.
No moorings in Christmas Cove, and we just didn't want to spend too much of our last day fighting with the anchors again (and we now had enough wind that an improperly set anchor was going to be a big problem) so we came on over to St. John and have picked up a mooring ball in Caneel Bay. Lovely spot; my one disappointment here is that although the Spitfire is here on her mooring, and a few items left out to dry on the lifelines say that Capt. Greg and Capt. Barbara are around, they weren't aboard when TQ and I took the dinghy to drop our mooring fee in the payment box. Too bad!
Last night on the boat, so we'll have dinner off of whatever's left.
Note of explanation about the folks on the Spitfire: Capt. Greg was the one who first hired me to work on the schooner Adirondack early in the summer in 2002 - he was hanging out with my Pier 63 friends John and Jean on their boat, the Laissez-Faire, one afternoon when I stopped by; he was talking about how he was a little bit short staffed on the schooner for the season, as of yet, and then he looked at me and said "Would you like to work on the Adirondack?" and I said "I don't know how to sail" and he said "That's OK, we'll teach you" and that's exactly what happened. It was great, I'd been going through a bit of a bleak spot in the wake of both September 11th and my resignation from Manhattan Kayak over the winter (voluntary but horribly depressing) and a part-time job working on one of the prettiest charter boats in the harbor was just the thing to set me back on an even keel. Capt. Greg ran the boat, Capt. Barbara handled the office, I really enjoyed working for them. They eventually left the Adirondack when they got the opportunity to run the Spitfire (a lovely Alden sloop) at the VERY exclusive Caneel Bay Resort year round; the timing was extra-good for them because about the same time, the rules at the 79th St. Boat Basin were changing to be much more restrictive of liveaboards (they'd handled their seasonal housing needs by living on their boat, sailing south in the fall and north in the spring). I haven't been very good about keeping in touch with them and since Caneel Bay hadn't been part of the plans, I hadn't even told them I was going to be there - but when we did end up there, oh, how I would've LOVED to surprise them! I actually kept an eye out for activity as long as we were up, but they must have gone out for dinner with friends somewhere. Their dinghy was back in the morning, but at that point we had to be getting the boat back to Red Hook. Another time, maybe.
Anyways - here are pix from the last full day. Click for slideshow view! Leaving Culebra under dramatic clouds, then sailing back to St. Thomas, passing Sail Rock, then the airport and harbor at Charlotte Amalie (amazing the size of the cruise ships in there), and finishing at Caneel Bay, St. John.