Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Life on the Dock

When we told people that we were coming to live on a boat in the Caribbean, the first comment was often something like, "Wow", or "Cool", followed by a bunch of questions. First question after we explained the plan was usually, "Aren't you afraid of pirates?" And the second question was often, "What will you do all day?"

The answer to the first question usually involves a response about walking down a street in a big city and getting mugged, and not going near Africa. The answer to the second question will unfold as we go forward, but I can say that over the last few days I have fallen into bed every evening with sore feet, an achy back and a good feeling that we have accomplished something. Maybe not much on the scale of what we would get done in a day pre-boat, but nonetheless stuff has been done.
Our new nav-station stool that can double at the dining table.
Yesterday involved two walks to ACE hardware and as a result of those visits we obtained a stool for our navigation station which we then had to cut the legs down to the right height. I installed an extra shelf in the cupboard under the sink (which of course is not a perfect rectangle being a boat), and we replaced the hinges that had gotten rusty in the galley cupboards. This all sounds very easy but when you buy the wrong hinges in the first pass and still haven't gotten the shower diverter figured out, this would explain the two trips to the hardware store. Three our of four tasks accomplished sounds pretty good to me.

New shelf was definitely not a rectangle, and notice the shiny new hinges.
On our walk we also visited the Excise Tax Office and the Customs & Border Patrol Office. It turns out that even if you buy equipment in the States and have it shipped direct to St. Thomas (which last time I checked is a U.S. territory) you still have to declare all the goods, including their country of manufacture. Our first shipment which includes our generator, sewing supplies for a new sun-shade, a new anchor and other assorted boat-bits is now awaiting the final commercial invoices from the suppliers to identify this crucial bit of info. We sure hope there isn't a huge bill attached to all this paperwork since it is not commercial goods, but time will tell once we get the shipment released. Now that we know what has to be done, we can get ready to do it all over again when our shipment from Canada arrives with all our personal stuff next week.

Three cranes busy unloading Asiatic Wind. Our shipment is in one of those containers.
Days on St. Thomas start with what I call the trifecta: 90 degrees and 90% humidity by 9 am. We're not acclimatized yet so most of the day is spent in a sticky, sweaty, sunscreen & bugspray enhanced mess. By the evening we're ready for a cold beer and some free wifi at one of the local establishments. Of course the forecast in Ottawa sounds decidedly fall-like so we're not complaining (and it would fall on deaf ears) but I have been putting off cleaning out the forward storage compartments due to the heat and ensuing melty mess I will turn into.

Today, after a long walk to the K-Mart and Fruit Bowl grocery store (the K-Mart is reported to have good hand tools but that would be the bigger one in the middle of the island), we are doing something we have never done down here before ... Laundry! We were all ready to set off sherpa-style up the road when Jay made the brilliant suggestion of taking the dinghy around to Crown Bay where they have a laundry at the marina. Much more pleasant to head off across the bay rather than up the busy noisy road. I'm not accustomed to laundromats since like most Canadian homeowners, I couldn't live life without a big maximum capacity washer & dryer. For $7.75 I can wash a load and get 30 minutes of dry-time which seems reasonable, but what do I know?

The waterfront walk of Charlotte Amalie - cars everywhere you look on shore.
So that's it folks, that's what has occupied our days so far along with cooking, eating and sleeping.

We're quite excited about the coming weekend. We found out that it is the reknowned Foxy's Catfight Races this weekend. Foxy's, the legendary bar of the BVI holds this race every year for catamarans but has now opened it up to one-legged cats (monohulls) as a separate class. The party on Saturday night has a Halloween costume theme and the races are all for fun. We've been asked in the past if we would ever participate but we've just never managed to be down here at this time of the year. This year there is no excuse. So, we may be offline for the next few days if we head up to Jost Van Dyke. Cheer us on, although our goal will most likely be just to make sure we're not last across the line.

We just picked up online news and heard of the crazy day of shooting in Ottawa, absolutely horrific and hard to believe this has happened.


  1. Hmm, thought I'd commented, but it didn't seem to take, so I'll try again.

    You definitely can't complain about the weather, there were a few flakes while cutting the grass the other morning! What's up with your "Who's onboard" widget, one from Ottawa, one from Kitchener? There have been a lot of people aboard!

    1. You're right, definitely can't complain, especially as the weather was described to me as "cool" by a local this morning.

      Thanks for the note about the widget, I'll check it out.

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  3. Hearing about a friend's decision to live on a boat is very unusual, so I don't really blame your friends for having such odd questions. Regardless, I'm excited for you as you venture out into the open sea. It's not everyday you read about someone so brave as to live an unusual life. I hope you keep us posted with your adventures. Stay safe! :)

    Traci Mcadaniel @ Carolina Material Handling