01 May 2009

Charlotte Amalie, USVI

A Safari TaxiAnchored off Charlotte Amalie
St Thomas Harbor
St Thomas Island
U.S. Virgin Islands

1179 nm to Charleston, SC

After a night at anchor wondering if the engine was going to start in the morning we woke up early to see what would happen. The day before we had changed out all the engines filters and thoroughly cleaned everything out. I cracked the injectors and had Amy crank the engine over to run all the water out of the injector pump. Once diesel started squirting out, I tightened the injectors back down and she cranked right up like nothing ever happened. We ran the engine for about 30 minutes to make sure there would be no drama once we upped anchor. Then we motored over to the fuel dock at Yacht Haven Grande Marina just in front of us. We took on 40 gallons of diesel and filled both water tanks.

H2O is quite scarce in the Virgin Islands and many parts of the islands rely on rain water collected off their houses roofs for their annual supply. We paid 20 cents a gallon for water! With this extra fuel we should not do not need to refuel for a very long time as the last time we refueled was in the Canary Islands, 2780 miles from here, and we still have a full port tank. 

Once topped off we re- anchored as close to Yacht Haven Grande Marina as possible so our dinghy commute is as short as possible. Ashore we made contact with Piper followers Carl, Penny, and their daughter Lacey. We found out they had planned on meeting us that day instead of the day before where we had thought we had stood them up. So we hopped a Safari Taxi to the port of Red Hook where we had been unable to anchor the day before.

The Safari Taxis in St Thomas are large flatbed trucks with bench seats in the back covered with an awning. They make loops around the island and is a cheap way to get around, costing only 2 bucks to get where we were going. When everyone climbs aboard they greet everybody seated with a cheery "Good Afternoon". Since the diver is up in a truck cab and cannot hear his passengers when one is approaching their stop, there are doorbell buttons above the passenger seats that when pushed alert the driver to stop.

After we jumped out it was just a short walk thru a park and we were back at Latitude-18, the cruiser bar where we had been the week previous to scope things out. We met Carl, Penny, and Lacey who had just flown in from snow filled Montana and were quite pleased to be in the warmth of the tropics. At home in Montana Carl and Penny both sell real estate while their 15 year old daughter races dog sleds in the winter. She competes in the Junior Ididarod with her assortment of 23 sled dogs to choose from. They were out here not only to enjoy the warm sun, but were filming a High Definition point of sale DVD that will be released sometime soon called 'Travelers in Paradise'. Team Sandpiper will have a short cameo in this soon to be famous film, and we were even wired up for sound for our interview. Very professional!

Carl, Penny and Lacey plan on traveling through the islands filming and interviewing as many people as possible on their 2 week Caribbean charter aboard a catamaran, stopping all along the British Virgin Islands. Later that night at Lat-18, cruiser favorite Eric Stone, appeared and played two sets of acoustic guitar that will be featured on their film as well. We wish them well on their Hollywood fame and a great thanks for a night out!

If it seems like we are dragging our heals while in the Virgins Islands it is because we have a few things brewing here. We cannot stay too long as hurricane season is fast approaching. But we plan on staying here in the U.S. Virgin Islands as least one more week. If what we got brewing works out, then you readers will be the second to know!

We plan on an early start tomorrow morning to motor back upwind along the east coast of St. John hoping to be in Coral Bay by Sunday.

More Down Island,
Tom and Amy

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