Thursday, January 7, 2016

Our time in St. Croix

It has been a lazy, relaxing three weeks since we first dropped the hook in Christiansted, St. Croix, and I have been slacking on getting a blog entry cranked out. We bypassed St. John, St. Thomas, and the British Virgin Islands and sailed from Culebrita, Puerto Rico to St. Croix since there is a Mercury dealer where we could have the dinghy repaired or replaced under warranty. There are only two dealers in the Caribbean so we did not have much choice of where to go, but we are glad we made this unplanned visit. St. Croix is about 40 miles south of the other Virgin Islands and kind of out of the way so not many cruisers end up sailing here.

Christiansted is a cute, colorful town with vibrant displays of Danish architecture. A short walk through the historic district allows you to see old government buildings, shop fronts painted in various pastels, and a fort that leads you to a boardwalk lined with restaurants, bars, dive shops, and places to buy souvenirs.

Our first stop was the marina where they determined that the dinghy would have to be replaced. Yay to a new dinghy, but boo to the time it would take to have a new one shipped here. We were told it would take two or three weeks, and we were anxious to make our way north to the other Virgin Islands. But it is not really being "stuck" when you are in paradise. It gave us plenty of time to explore the island. Plus, the water in the bay we anchored in was crystal clear, and when we jumped off the boat to snorkel, we saw lionfish, lobsters, rays, turtles, and starfish.

After a few days of checking out Christiansted, we took a taxi to Frederiksted, which is on the west side of the island. The group taxis are a great deal at only $2.50 a person. The beaches are really pretty, and again the water was really clear. It is rocky in some areas, but that doesn't distract from the beauty of the place. I even found a piece of Chaney as we were walking along the beach, which is a piece of old Danish pottery. Several jewelers collect these pieces and turn them into jewelry. Maybe one of these days I’ll get mine made into a necklace.

Christmas was a quiet day spent on the boat with some awesome food, and then a few days later we sailed over to Frederiksted since there was a fireworks show on New Year’s Eve. We started out the night on s/v Moon where we had a couple of drinks, headed to the Christmas village to eat some delicious roti, and then ended the night on our deck watching a fabulous fireworks show. It was such a great start to 2016!!

The next day we snorkeled at the pier, which supposedly is a great night dive where you can see octopuses and sea horses. I wish we could have done a dive, but we aren’t certified L Then we went back to the beach to snorkel for sea glass and more Chaney. Not sure what I’ll do with it all, but it was fun looking for it, and I saw my first eel during that snorkel.

We ended our time in Frederiksted with the Carnival Adult Parade. I had never been to one so I was really excited about the music and costumes. We met up with Stephanie, Brian, and Rachel from s/v Moon again and had a great time watching the different troupes dance their way along the street.

And today we got our brand spanking new dinghy!! No more pumping up the old one until our arms feel that they will fall off!! The new one is white, and I’m a little sad to part with Dapple I. Being green he definitely stood out from all the other white and gray dinghies and had some character, but I am glad that Dapple II will be more reliable.

Tomorrow we say goodbye to St. Croix and will head to St. John. We’ll spend the rest of January in the USVI and BVIs, and I’m excited about several stops we have planned!

The following pictures are all out of order, but I hope you enjoy them. Once pictures are uploaded into Blogger, it is a pain to re-arrange them. There was also a quick trip to Buck Island that I didn't mention above. It is a beautiful uninhabited little island where sea turtles nest, and it is a great place to snorkel. It was our first time snorkeling with a big school (there were at least 100) of fish. It was beautiful!! We had also been told that a 10 foot tiger shark had been spotted a few times in the last couple of weeks along the island so it was a little nerve-racking snorkeling at the reef. Luckily there was a tour boat with people snorkeling around us so I felt a little better. You know what they say. You don't have to be the fastest swimmer.... :)

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