Z E N I T U D E
Blue Water Dreaming
Puerto Rico to St Martin - A stop in St. Thomas before crossing the Anegada Passage
From Puerto Rico to Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas - 18 January 2007
In the quiet night, at 2.00 AM we departed Las Palmas. I have to say that it is a daunting task to raise anchor and leave the security of an anchorage in the middle of the night. The only driving force that night was the lack of wind and flat seas, when 20 knots head winds and a large swell in a scorching sun was the alternative. (I don't mind the scorching sun, just the crawling against head winds while beating against the waves).
By the time we reached St Thomas, 12 hours later, the wind was blowing and the seas were really uncomfortable.
We entered Charlotte Amalie at 2.00 PM looking for shelter and were overwhelmed by all the activity. It is a very busy port, with large cruise ships, lots of charter boats, and lots of sea planes, landing and taking off out of nowhere, or so it seemed.
It took us a bit of time to find fuel and later to find a good anchorage spot. We just wanted to have some rest before leaving for the Anegada Passage crossing towards our final destination St Martin. Our plans were to stay in St Martin for a couple of months.
When the first light came, at around 5.00 AM we departed St Thomas with ESE 15 to 20 knots wind, about 10 knots more than forecasted. Gradually the wind subsided to under 15 knots during the day but it was a bit unsettled and we found many squalls along the way, or rather the squalls found us.
The Anegada passage consists of seventy-five miles between Anegada, the outermost of the British Virgin Islands, and Anguilla, the most northerly of the Leewards. It is the combination of a prevailing easterly wind, a mean westerly current and a large swell coming in from the Atlantic that makes it a truly sickening passage.
Day and night in Charlotte Amalie
Crossing the Anegada Passage - 19 January 2007
We were totally tired and rather than going ashore to visit the island we anchored close to the port exit and went to sleep.
We had decided to leave the following morning because the wind was forecast to be 8-12 knots and it doesn't get much better than that in the Anegada. We have friends arriving in St. Martin on the 27th and we rather don't loose this window.
Arriving in St Martin - 20 January 2007
There was no way we would arrive before sunset, but we've been in Marigot Bay before, having bought Zenitude just right there. We decided we could make our way slowly into the anchorage in the dark.
The night was very quiet and it was just past midnight when we finally dropped anchor, we have finally arrived to a destination that will be our cruising grounds for a couple of months. We can definitely have a good rest now.
We learned many lessons since we left New York for the start of our first sailing season, but one lesson learned that definitely stands out is this: when you invite friends to join you somewhere along the way, you ask them 'when' OR 'where' they want to join, never let them choose BOTH. Anyway, we've made it on time and we were looking forward to enjoy St. Martin with our dear friends, soon to arrive.
Sunset in Marigot Bay