Tuesday, February 15, 2011

St. Thomas to St. Croix – via St. John

Have we got all the saints in there yet – definitely for the U.S. Virgin Islands!

We set off from St. Thomas and although the initial plan was to head straight for St. Croix, we decided that we would take a shake-down day and head up along the southern shore of St. John to spend the night. This would ideally put us on a better angle of sail to St. Croix and we knew that Lameshure Bay would provide an idyllic quiet spot after the hectic hustle and bustle of St. Thomas. And what better place to spend Valentine's day than a nice secluded bay with only a handful of other boats and no beach-bar in sight.

Tuesday morning we were up bright and early and were off our mooring ball by 8:30am. The direct line to St. Croix put us with 36 nm on a nice line just above beam to the wind. All in all the crossing took 6 hours and by the time we dropped the anchor off Christiansted it was about 3 in the afternoon – our longest passage yet. The sailing was absolutely spectacular with seas only 3-5 feet and the winds from 12-18 knots. The trades are a joy to sail in, especially after the shifty winds of the Ottawa River, and for much of the journey Henry had the sails so beautifully balanced that the boat steered itself to the perfect point of wind – and with no auto-pilot sucking up power!!

Christiansted is a pretty little town of Danish heritage that has been preserved in the store fronts along it's little narrow streets. We didn't do much exploring today but headed to Rum Runners for a coldie and appetizers (on Kirsten's excellent suggestion).

Generally the plan is that tomorrow we will explore the town and harbour and then try to explore the island on Thursday. We've heard that rental cars are hard to come by, but if we can't find one we can always enlist one of the local drivers to take up on a personal tour. Of course we'd love to get over to the Cruzan Rum distillery near Frederiksted and could find us at the eastern-most point in the U.S. There are great-houses left over from sugar plantation days, a rain-forest and numerous other sites to explore so we shall see what we can make of it.