A Travellerspoint blog

St Thomas

St Thomas, USVI
July 26, 2012
Typical days while living on a boat.

When we bought our dinghy and outboard motor in Ft Myers I wasn't aware that outboard came in 2 shaft lengths. Some are short shaft and some are long shaft. You want a short shaft on a dinghy. We got a long shaft. The problem with the long shaft is that when you get the boat up to speed, or on plane, the water rushes under the boat, hits the shaft and dumps water over the transom back into the boat. I solved this problem back in Marathon by fitting an aluminum deflector to the back of the boat. Well we have the same problem with the new boat. So yesterday we went to the boatyard and had a new deflector place cut and bent to fit the dinghy.

8:00 Our day started out with running the dink over to the boatyard, about 1.5 miles through rough water, to pick up the new plate. I had to go slow as to not flood the boat. When we got back, the next task was to go ashore at Secret Harbor to get our dive tanks filled. I had used most of our air patching the rudder damage. Now we could pull anchor and head over to Red Hook. But first we had to pull the motor off the dink and hang it on the Heart of Gold.

We got to Red Hook and headed up the bay but couldn't find anyplace to anchor, it was very crowded, so ended up in the anchorage at the entrance to the bay. Now we gotta put the motor back on the dink and go ashore with our 2 LP gas tanks to get them filled. We ran out last night. The only place on St Thomas to get LP gas is at the other end of the island, about 9 miles away. So we caught the local safari van, pick-up trucks with covered seating in back, and off we went. The safari vans are the cheapest way to get around here. You can go to the other end of the island for $2. Tourist rarely use them, cause they don't know any better. We can go for $2 for what the regular taxis charge $10 a person, if you know where your going. Except we didn't. But the locals on the bus did. A very nice young black girl offered to show us where the St Thomas Gas Company was and walked with us ¾ of a mile to help us find the place. The walk back was a lot longer due to the weight of 2 full tanks. But we made it, hopped on the safari van and road back to Red Hook. Dinghy'd back to the boat, hooked up the gas and had a cocktail. About 5:30.

July 27
Today we got up at 7:30 and had to meet a guy at the dock at 9:00. He's going to service the water maker. I got there at 8:50 and waited til 9:35. No service guy. So back to the boat, picked up Penny with the I-pad and we went to grab some breakfast and some wifi so we could call the guy. No answer. Didn't get a hold of him till about 11:00 and he said we could reschedule for 1:30. When we met him he said he was where we were supposed to meet but somehow we missed each other. I took him back to the boat and Penny hopped the safari van to go pick up some groceries. The store in Red Hook is way too proud of their food. Too $$$$. He checked out the water maker, changed filters and had it all done within an hour. Took him back to the dock. Came back to the boat for a while then went back to the dock to get Penny at 3:30. After 2 beers she showed up. “Would have been here right on time if I hadn't gotten on the wrong bus” she said.

On the way back to the boat we spotted the catamaran that we learned to sail on 3 years ago. There were a couple of dinghy's tied on so we went over to say hi. They were 2 sailing instructors from Horizon Sailing School cleaning up the boat. We chatted a bit and arranged for one of the guys to go out sailing with us tomorrow, to brush up on our skills. He's sailed a Hunter 450 before, so we're looking forward to that tomorrow.

Posted by Heart of Gold 07:56

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Hi Dan and Penny looks like you are finding your way around and having fun. I do have a question, is the trip what you dreamed it would be? Our prayers are always with you and I enjoy your posts.

by Gordon and Rose

Hi Gordon,

That's a tough question.
Actually I didn't have a preconceived notion of what this venture would hold. The romanticized view of anchoring off small sandy coves and taking that morning swim has certainly held up. But for the most part we are deffinately dependant on the weather.

You want wind to travel but not in your face. We've made a lot of passages where we had to motor. And many days where it was just too windy to fish or swim. So we just had to keep on moving.

There have been enough of those calm evenings in secluded coves where we just lay back and enjoy our surroundings.

And the few dives and snorkling we've done were wonderful.

The ventures on shore have been both delightful and sometimes challenging. But that is to be expected with the different cultures and lifestyles we've met. You go from place to place and have to adapt quickly to their rules.

Mostly it's day to day living stuff. Maintenance off the boat, arranging repairs if needed and provisioning.

And communications is a bit harder than I thought it would be. Getting good internet is not as available as I thought. We depend on it for weather mostly. Althought where we are now, in the Virgin Islands, vhf radio weather is very reliable.

TV coverage is hit and miss. I haven't seen any of the olympics coverage. So I kinda miss that. But I don't miss the political crap.

Was this a good choice for us?
I think so.
We still have a long way to go and a lot to discover.

I'm looking forward to seeing the leward islands and down to St Lucia, St Vincent and beyond to Grenada where we wil have the boat hauled and the bottom done. We'll spend some time there, maybe hit the ABC's before we head back north this fall.

So. Is it what we dreamed of?
It's just living a different way.
A much simpler way. But with different concerns.
Like where we gonna park and what are we gonna eat tonight.

Not a bad way to live.

by Heart of Gold

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