After arriving in the early afternoon to this beautiful bay and picking up a mooring we found one side of the bay very windy and the other side full of mosquitos. Oh well, you can't have everything. We decided then to try a mooring at Caneel Bay around the corner. It was a good move, it was calmer, no mosquitos and we got the Caneel Bay Resort wi-fi internet for free, as it happens, they lost their security that day, and it was free for anybody to use until they fixed their problem the next day.
We visited again Cruz Bay. This is a good place for receiving packages in the post office. A package was delivered to us here with a new flag for Zenitude, so she is now proudly flying a brand new Australian Flag.
Our initial plans were to sail directly from here to Bahamas. But we have changed our minds. A 4 days weather window is needed and is not coming and a strange noise in the starboard engine when engaging in reverse gear is worrying us. It sounds like it is not always engaging. Now we have decided to go to Ponce, in Puerto Rico, and then from there decide what to do. Oscar has been exchanging emails with Dave, from Tortuguita, our friend that always comes to our rescue with very valuable information.
Before leaving for Ponce, we stop in Christmas Cove, St Thomas and anchor in very shallow waters so that Oscar can dive to clean and check the sail drives that were behaving strangely. He could not find anything wrong and after lunch we left towards Ponce. It is about 120 miles to go. The forecast was predicting a miserable day but it seems to be wrong. It is a lovely day, 20 knots winds and a perfect sailing trip.
Z E N I T U D E
Blue Water Dreaming
Back in Virgin Islands and all the way to Puerto Rico - Virgin Gorda - Tortola - St John - Puerto Rico
Virgin Gorda - 15 to 16 May 2009
After a good sailing night with E winds at 18-23 knots we arrived to Virgin Gorda. A strong squall caught us at the start of the trip with 30+ knots of wind but the rest was uneventful. Sailing on the second reef with 30% of the jib turned out well as we still did good timing. Our jib did not jammed for the first time in many trips. We think the change of the rig sheet and re-rising it well up with the electric winch did the trick.
Spanish Town and The Baths
We visited town, did entry procedures, checked the supermarket (way too expensive). In the afternoon we left the anchorage to visit the famous baths. We were planning to stay the night but all the boats were leaving the moorings and with a little investigation we found out that we could not stay overnight. Moorings are for day use only and it was not a good place for anchoring. We ended back in Spanish Town.
Next day early morning we tried the Baths again. You have to be there early to grab a mooring as it gets crowded with boats. Understandable. What a stunning place, nice beaches, caves and beautiful pools in between the caves. It is truly amazing, with walks inside the caves.
From the caves you come out to the beach, in some places there are pools inside the caves, in other places the pools are outside were you can see the open sea behind. The walks among caves and rocks is well organized, you feel like you are in a Disneyland kind of place. It is essential to take beach shoes.
After about two hours of walking around we came back to Zenitude and left towards Tortola.
The Baths in Virgin Gorda
Tortola - 16 to 17 May 2009
Good sailing, jabbing along the way among the islands about 8 miles from Virgin Gorda we arrived to Road Harbor to find a big area with lots of marinas and charter boats and not a lot of space to anchor, at least not on a nice place, all quite deep.
We ended up grabbing a mooring, later on we found out it belongs to one of the charter companies. They were very nice to let us use it for the night free of charge. Actually we didn't pay any mooring fees this time in the VBIs, nobody ever came to check. Probably we are out of the sailing season already. We can see this as almost every shop is closed and streets are pretty empty.
Later on we went for a long walk to town and after that had a good night of sleep ready to continue on our way the next morning.
St John - Back in the US - 17 to 19 May 2009
We had planned a stop at Peter Island along the way to St John to snorkel the area but the weather was not too good, a lot of wind had produced some swells, so we decided to give up the snorkelling and keep going to St John.
Maho Bay - (18.21.90N-64.45.70W)
Puerto Rico - 20 to 29 May 2009
Ponce - (Ponce Yacht Club)
We arrived at Ponce Yacht Club and went directly to the fuel dock. Somehow we managed to stay there until next morning. We love Puerto Rico. People is so nice and helpful. They remembered us from the previous stay and let us remain in the dock. We re-fuelled, filled up water tanks, went shopping and finally went to sleep exhausted.
Oscar was able to use the internet from the club and finally with mails back and forth with David and a Penta Volvo mechanic he found out what was causing the gear box problem. It is the transmission oil! Some time ago the transmission oil was changed with transmission oil instead of engine oil, our transmission needs engine oil.
The solution, just change the oil. It is not possible to completely drain the oil without hauling out, so the recommendation is to do oil changes many times until a good proportion of engine oil is there. Problem solved.
Sunset in Ponce
Boqueron - (28.01.25N-67.10.56)
After leaving Ponce very early in the morning we had a beautiful downwind sail with 10 to 15 knots winds and very calm seas. We arrived in Boqueron early afternoon. We will stay here waiting for the 4 days window needed to reach Bahamas. The anchorage is quiet. It is getting closer to hurricane season and many boats have already left. We met again with the guy painting T-shirts on the beach and the same people drinking beer in the same bars everyday.
Towards the end of the week a bunch of boats arrive coming from Dominican Republic. They have all crossed the Mona Passage and are the 'south bound group' in the radio, keeping VHF busy at times. I was surprised to see so many boats going east at this time of the year. I'm not sure what they do for hurricane season in this area.
We rented a car and decided to do the exit procedures in Mayaguez, some shopping for the trip and a visit to Toys R Us to buy the first toys for Alicia! (not sure when we'll see her).
Now we are patiently waiting for the weather window. And we wait, and wait, and wait a bit more. First days there was too much wind, then too many squalls, after that too little wind, then Chris Parker, our weather guru had his house hit by lightning and was out of the air for a couple of days. We didn't feel like doing this crossing without his blessing. When he came back he asked us to be patient and wait a bit more until Saturday or maybe Sunday, but at this point we thought it was enough waiting and finally decided to leave Friday. According to Chris there was going to be too little wind, ok, we'll motor, but we are going. So, we said good bye to Caribbean Sea and left towards, either West Caicos or Bahamas, to be decided underway ....