10 April 2009

St. Croix, US Virgin Islands

Anchored Christiansted
St. Croix
U.S. Virgin Islands

1214 nm to Charleston, SC
3 Days Till Amy's Sister Shannon Arrive!!

Back in the USA!

We rounded the east end of St Croix (the easternmost point of the United States) at 9am after a rare pleasant 300nm sail from St Lucia. Just outside of the channel for the port of Christiansted where we are currently anchored is Buck Island National Park where we stopped for an hour to snorkel around. The water was crystal clear off a white sandy beach where the national park has put picnic tables and BBQ's. On the windward side of the island is the best snorkeling where there were several charter boats anchored full of tourists splashing around. Just where the Piper was anchored we saw two barracuda, many large conch living amongst the sea grass, a ray, and a large reef fish.

One purchase we made in St Lucia was a brand new folding dive ladder that hangs off Piper's side making it much easier to get aboard. Once aboard we fired up the engine and made our way through the reefs outside Christiansted and found a small spot to drop the hook amongst a bunch of boats, all on mooring balls, behind Protestant Cay. This small island is in the middle of the harbor and provides a lee from the trade winds.

Once the dingy was pumped up we made our way ashore to explore town and set our feet on U.S. soil. The U.S. Virgin Islands are made up of 3 islands. The other 2 are to the north, 30 miles away, with St. Croix being the largest. Christiansted is a picturesque town filled with many of the original Danish buildings that have been restored. There is an old fort (Fort Christiansvaern) on the town's waterfront. Its a bit surreal being back in the U.S. after being away for so long. It is strange things like getting U.S. dollars out of the ATM's, not having to do any mental arithmetic trying to convert foreign currencies into U.S. dollars, drinking Coors Light at the waterfront bars, seeing U.S. post box's on the sidewalks, everyone speaking great English, and watching U.S. television at the bar.

We had hoped to do a trip over to the Cruzan Rum distillery for our ongoing rum research but found to our dismay that it was closed early for the Easter weekend and that today (Good Friday) it would be impossible to buy a beer until 4pm.

Sandpiper's plans are to leave here tomorrow morning if the winds cooperate and sail 30 miles to the north to St. John where we plan on staying for a week or so to visit with Amy's sister Shannon who is flying in to 'live the dream' with us for a week.

More As Soon As It Happens,
Tom & Amy

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