The day before yesterday the stars were finally back out at dusk. I was able to shoot Sirius and Procyon from the fantail of the Far Reach. I recorded the precise time for each shot.
My good friend Colonel Steve Davis USMC was the first person I ever heard say “the main thing….” He was a terrific leader and had a unique gift for preventing his unit from getting distracted. He never lost sight of the mission and knew how to keep the team focused like a laser-beam.
As the departure date for the sail home gets closer it was time for a haircut. So I took Sweet Pea into the dinghy dock and walked up the hill to the local barber shop.
I learned celestial nav a long long long time ago, as in way before anyone ever heard of satnav. But I was a youngster and never got proficient. And though we don’t have a chart plotter on the Far Reach, I, like most of the modern world, have come to rely on GPS because it’s quick, simple, and accurate. But…using GPS always leaves me feeling…unsatisfied. Like I cheated. It’s just too easy. There is no reward.
It was a sad day to see Gayle fly home. We had a great time together. But the kids have to declare their college selection by 1 May. She needed to assist them with another round of campus visits so they can make a wise choice. So we divided our combat power into two elements, each with missions to accomplish.
With fresh provisions on board we slipped the mooring in Elephant Bay, St Thomas on 12 March with only a basic plan—sail towards St John and proceed somewhere from there.
I have a fair amount of diving experience. I earned my PADI card when I was 17. I’m also a military trained diver and served in dive billets for nine years. But I don’t have diving gear anymore and I think I made my last dive about 2003. I just snorkel now. But I always think about options….
After a wonderful week in Culebra it was time to head back to St Thomas. Unfortunately, St Thomas is about 20nm dead upwind against the powerful Caribbean trades. We prepared the afternoon before by stowing gear and stripping the sun awnings and sail covers. We hauled Sweet Pea up and inverted her on the cabin top and snugged her down securely in her teak chocks.
For the last month or so it’s been pretty easy living. The Far Reach and I have mostly remained here in Elephant Bay, St Thomas until Gayle could join us. The pace of living has been slow and relaxed. There has been plenty of time to read, sleep, swim, eat, study the sky, think, and meet new people.
Until recently, while anchored in Elephant Bay, I had been rowing in and out of Crown Bay Marina in St. Thomas, USVI. I purchase water there and sometimes ice. I load up to 35 gallons of water at a time, in seven 5 gallon collapsible jugs, to haul to the Far Reach. I also use the dinghy dock to get a beer or occasional meal at Tickles Pub or grocery shop around the corner.
After about two weeks of rowing in and out, the marina office sent a security guard to tell me I couldn’t row into the marina. “It’s not allowed….”. I responded with something along the lines of “I don’t even understand that comment.” So, I went and talked to the management. They were adamant. No rowing. “Why,” I asked. “Well because you might not be able to maneuver out of the way with other boats coming and going.” I said “It’s a no wake zone. No one is going any faster than me and I am far more maneuverable than any power boat.”