Again I find myself happily ensconced in “Nor’easter’s” cockpit under a starry sky, with a nice SE breeze blowing through the mooring field, which is sheltered from that direction. Calm seas and a slight, cool wind makes for excellent sleeping. We like that.
Jamie and I picked up some wonderful pork chops at the Starfish Market in Cruz Bay today, which I masterfully grilled on our outdoor gas barbecue. Some fellow cruisers visited us for cocktail hour, but stayed in their dinghy while we sat on our boat. They take social distancing more seriously than we do, which is their prerogative. Many of us have elected to eschew trips to town, and have groceries delivered to their boats, but Jamie and I enjoy our forays into town every few days for fresh meat and produce. We sanitize our hands at every opportunity, don’t touch our faces, and stay 6’ away from everyone. That said, I wouldn’t mind catching the CV now so I can get over it before we head north. My physician friends tell me this is a bad idea, so I continue to follow the rules.
My wife and I had a rather heated discussion yesterday after one of our neighbors told me he was planning to dock his boat in St. Thomas for a couple of weeks and go back to the U.S. Having been moored here for over two weeks, and unable to head north until May brings warmer weather for going north, that sounded immensely appealing to me. I was frankly just sick of being on the boat. Plum Brook Country Club in Sandusky is open for golf, I haven’t been home to see my daughter in over a year, we can’t even set foot on the beaches here anymore, and it is boring being stuck in one place and after over a year on “Nor’easter,” I am ready for a break! However, Jamie summarily disabused me of this notion of flying home, exposing us to CV, and then flying back again and potentially falling ill on the passage. The discussion abruptly ended when she stated that if we flew home, she was not coming back, and I would be on my own.
So today, I was resolved to have a better attitude, and we had a great day. The Virgin Islands Parks Service had all who were moored in their waters come to the Visitors Bureau today, where we paid $13 per day (Golden Age discounted 50%) for the next two weeks, and picked up these little white balls with our mooring number on them, which we can hang from our mooring balls to show we “own” that spot, enabling us to take day trips, or even overnight, away from Caneel Bay without someone stealing our spot. Next we visited the Starfish Market for some super-cheap Sonoma-Cutrer Chardonnay, came back to the boat, swam 500 yards round trip to the beach and back, and made a great dinner. Tomorrow we are going sailing! Jamie wants to refresh her skills in advance of our 1400 NM passage to Newport, and the weather is supposed to be nice for a day sail. It will be wonderful to hoist the sails and circumnavigate St. John’s.
We have gotten to know many of our neighbors in Caneel, and everyone is extremely friendly and helpful, as we are all in this together. Today a dark blue Swan 61 took the mooring adjacent to ours, and it looked exactly like one I had sold to a California client in Newport, RI over 30 years ago, and raced aboard during Antigua Sailing week in 1989. The professional captain on board, Thorp Leeson, originally from Toledo, Ohio, told me the yacht’s former name was “Paladin,” which was, in fact, that same boat. The current owner lives in Cleveland. Small world.
I am heartened that pandemic news of late has been slightly encouraging, as the volume of hospitalizations and ICU admissions have been drastically lower than forecast. That said, I believe we are many weeks away from getting the world back to business as usual. In the meantime, we are resolved to shelter in our rather unconventional place, Caneel Bay, and head north around May 1.