DATE: December 25, 2006
Just put Drew (Drewps) on the taxi to the airport in Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas. Big smile as he climbed into the 10 passenger open truck/taxi, he nearly always has a big smile. The 18th I had sailed from St Croix bound for St Thomas where Drew would fly in the 20th. . St Thomas is my least favorite place but it does have a handy airport and flights to and from the States are reasonable. After spending a day doing laundry and never-ending maintenance, I hopped in a cab and after some haggling over the price met Drew at the airport. Big smile both of us. We spent the rest of the afternoon shopping in Charlotte Amalie, which is a semi duty free port for U.S. citizens. ($1200.00 duty free I think) It is amazing the number of shops, and the amount of door front hustling perpetrated by the shopkeepers, most amazing though, is the number of cruise ship passengers filling those shops. The big truck/taxis were running bumper to tailgate down the narrow streets, the drivers shouting, ÒtaxiÉ cruise ship.... PrincessÓ or whatever the name of the cruise ship now boarding. Passengers would exit the shops laden with sacks and boxes, climb into the trucks and trundle back to the cruise ship from whence they came, replaced by perhaps two truckloads of passengers who were on their way to the shops from yet another cruise ship, their wallets laden. What a scene. There were 3 cruise ships in town that day; I wonder what percentage of Charlotte Amalie's population the passengers of those three ships represented.
The 21st, Drewps and I were off. It was good to see him so excited. After a brief snorkeling stop at a little island east of Charlotte Amalie we hauled the anchor and made it into St John by evening. St John is a unique island, it's on the US side and most of the island and the surrounding reefs are designated a national park. We set the hook in the harbor, hopped in the dingy and explored the main St John town of Cruz Bay. A quaint, quixotic place, at one end a cluster of boutique restaurants and shops, very chic, and at the other end outdoor beer and Caribbean barbeque stands. The shops were indeed unique and Drew and I perused for an hour or so, we then ate at the upscale restaurant and wished we had settled in with the locals at the beer and barbeque stands down the way. We made up for it later. .
The next day saw us in Tortola clearing into the BVI. Drew decided he had rather make the short hops from island to island that characterizes sailing in the BVIs rather than the one long haul to St Croix where the diving would be better. He only had four days, can't do everything. After dropping off my alternator at Al's to give him his second chance at fixing it, we were off south to Norman Island to visit the ÒWillie TÓ. The Willie T is named after the architect of the US Capitol, William Thornton. I don't know what the connection is or was between the Willie T at Norman Island, a big barge of a steel sailing boat, permanently moored in the Bight at Norman and the real Willie T, but Willie T the boat is where it happens. Supposedly, if you catch it on good night the lady patrons will strip down and dive off the top of the boat for a free t-shirt. The evening was good but not THAT good. We had a great time along with all the other sailors who were at Willie Ts that night and made it back to the Parallax , well later.
The next day, after a short snorkeling stop at the caves off Treasure Point on Norman Island, we set sail to Foxy's at Jost van Dyke via Sandy Cay, a discrete little island with a great beach and great snorkeling. We had to run the dingy on the shore at full speed in order to stay on the crest of a breaking wave, you can easily flip your dingy if you get it wrong, which always results in spending the rest of the day dewatering your outboard. Later at Foxy's we listened to a very good solo guitarist and Drew had his first Caribbean barbeque, buffet style. They gave you two plates; I didn't realize how much food an 18 year old can pack onto two plates. That smile never stopped. The next day we went around the corner to White Bay beach which is as about as perfect a little beach hang out as you can imagine. The boats have to work their way around the reefs in tight to the beach where the sand was brilliant and the water crystal. A couple of bar restaurants were nestled into the palms complete with hammocks and lounges. One guy was on the guitar and was as good as you'll hear anywhere. He sang for two hours and never stoppedÉ
And today, Christmas, after a short stop at St John to clear onto the US we worked our way back into the harbor at Charlotte Amalie. Drew packed his stuff and I packed my laptop and we spent the rest of the afternoon at the Internet caf calling friends and relatives and sipping latt and smoothies. Drew got a chance to upload a newly mastered cut for his bands CD (all original) to hisÓ My SpaceÓ site. He had bought the original disc with him for me. Not a bad way to wind it down Drew said. And with that big smile he was off.