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.
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.
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.
I slipped out of Jost Van Dyke early on 30 December. The anchorage was already getting crowded in anticipation of the big New Years Eve bash. The night before I left, while I was ashore helping Baba, a 62’ private charter cat anchored way too close on the starboard side of the Far Reach…exactly the reason I wanted to get out of Great Harbor.
The Far Reach—Great Harbor, Jost Van Dyke
My 13th Day at Jost Van Dyke. I have spent the last 8 days helping out Ali Baba on whatever projects he has lined up. Painting, helping run wires, building a booth for the New Years festivities, etc. I have really enjoyed working with Baba and getting to know him and Urinthia. They have fed me and engaged me in interesting wide ranging conversations. I have learned a little about Island culture and got a peek or two about what goes on behind the scenes. I have traveled all over the world yet never cease to be humbled by the kindness so many people extend to people they barely know. There is nothing that demonstrates how we are so much more alike than different like foreign travel especially when you engage outside your own community and culture.
As mentioned in an earlier post, I was invited by my friend Kaj Jakobsen, to help him step the mast and splice the standing rigging on his beautiful Lyle Hess designed 34’ Falmouth Cutter. I flew to Vancouver Island in the middle of July. I had never been to British Columbia and all I can say is wow! It is gorgeous. It reminded me of Montana but with a lot of water. Many islands. Clear water. Deep fiords. Lovely Douglas Fir trees everywhere. Clear sunny skies. Perfect temps.
We had hoped to sail to Bermuda this summer but it was just not in the cards. We had too many balls in the air especially with the kids graduating from home high school and the seminar I teach at Camp Lejeune graduating at the end of May. So, we decided to enjoy a more simple to execute, week long cruise out to the Cape Lookout National Seashore. This trip was just for Gayle and me. Because the kids are usually with us, it was the first time Gayle and I have been alone on the Far Reach for more than a night. So we left the newly graduated high school seniors at home with a credit card and the car keys.
Sure, there is some hyperbole if I said sailing for me is like breathing for the average lubber. But, you get the point. I needed to go sailing and an overnight trip on the Far Reach seemed like just the ticket. With the southern US under what seems like constant threat of hurricanes this year and homeschool in full operation we have to fit sailing in when we can. But, we finally we had a window of opportunity and grabbed it.