Wednesday, April 1, 2015

St. John Circumnavigation

After sitting in Lameshur Bay for five days, no matter how delightful, it was time to move on.

First stop, to pick up mail was back at Cruz Bay at the west end of the island, so off we went timing our arrival there for lunch. As is so often the case, it took us two visits to the post office for them to find our general delivery shipment and they still managed to miss one package that we now know was there, but no worries, we also visited the market for some fresh provisions and then treated ourselves to the ooey-gooey goodness of half-price burgers at Across The Street. The name refers to the fact that they are across the street from Woody's, another well-known Cruz Bay establishment, not surprisingly run by the same people.

The delightful waterfront by the ferry dock in Cruz Bay.
My view from the table looking down to the ferry dock. This place is so wonderfully laid back after St. Thomas, but is still a busy little place.
Pre-burger libations a yummy on both fronts.
Watchful of our three-hour time limit for anchoring in the tiny little harbour, we headed off mid-afternoon to make our way round the north shore to Leinster Bay and to meet up with Blue Blaze and Freedom. That evening we had the best sunset we've seen in quite a while, and I think just about everyone from here to Florida and possibly north of that were posting pictures. It was pretty spectacular! Here's my little contribution.

Since we'd basically come all the way around St. John to sit in the north shore, just about opposite of where we'd been on the south shore, the next morning we set off on a hike back to the south shore. Just a little bit crazy, but once again the views both north and south were spectacular, with the colours in the morning sunshine making it all worth the effort to get ourselves up the hills.

By the way, I know in this first picture that I'm sitting under a Manchioneel tree and if it were raining I definitely wouldn't be there and nor would the dingy. For those not familiar, the Manchioneel tree has some very nasty properties including sap that can give you burns like acid (even rain dripping off the leaves can be irritating), and fruit that when one of Chris Columbus' sailors ate one proved fatal and have therefore earned the rather obvious name of "death apple".
Our hike often begins with beaching the dinghy, getting the sand off our feet and hoping that our shoes are still dry when we set out.
Love the trails of St. John, but you certainly have to keep an eye on your step to protect for rolled ankles.
First stop Brown Bay, looking north to Tortola in the BVI. Yes, it really is that close!
Really hard to make out but if you look closely, do you see the bear in the tree, looking right back at you? This is actually a huge insect nest.
We reached the end if the trail on the road down by Coral Bay, and proceeded to climb up this hill...
When we got to the first crest and saw that we had to go back down to sea level and then back up this next hill, I mutinied! We still had to climb back over another hill like this to get back to the boat.
Another fabulous view up the Drake Channel with Tortola on the left.
At the top of Windy Hill sit the remains of the Murphy Estate house, later a reform school. From up here Mr. Murphy could keep an eye in his massive estate at Annaberg.
Here's the view from the house... And the anchorage with Mowzer second from the left.
And just below us was Waterlemon Cay, with some really great snorkeling.
Although the sights of the north shore are stunning, it was a tad too busy for our likes so we picked up once again and made our way around to Hurricane Hole at the southeast end of the island. It was here that we debated with ourselves where to spend the night, but once we found that Rick & Christine on de Life were to be in Hansen Bay that night, we made a quick decision to go in and join them. Although the holding was difficult to find, on our third drop of the anchor we settled in for a good evening.

This morning we headed once more for Lameshur Bay which would complete our circumnavigation of the island. However, not before joining Rick & Christine once more, with some St. Johnian friends of theirs, for mimosas and lots of good tales of life on the island, which included rescuing donkeys, adventures on the safari bus and the joys of sketchy post office delivery.

Mimosas on de Life - what a great way to start the day!
Now we're back in Lameshur and hoping to meet up with some friends from the Nepean Sailing Club back in Ottawa. And, Blue Blaze and Freedom are also here so it should be a fun evening. This may be the quiet side of St. John, but for us it's been anything but!