Tuesday, November 30, 2010

St Thomas

Le Chat Beaute is on a mooring at Water Island. An island in the Harbor of Charlotte Amalie. I had heard from Team Sandpiper that when Earl came ashore a lot of boats on St John took the hit and broke free from moorings. I counted eight from my mooring on Water Island. That did not include the ones that sunk. Five boats actually sunk in about 50 ft of water.A couple more were in bays I could not see from the boat. Only two of the boats had people on them when they were washed ashore, the rest were left to fend for themselves.

 Catamaran on the rocks
 man exercising horse at Red Hook
 On the Beach
 South side St John
The standard strategy during tropical storms is to move the boats to the mangroves on Culebra or go on to Vieques near Puerto Rico. I talked with a cruiser who went to Vieques and he had 50+ winds but only six inch seas so the mangrove strategy paid off. Another cruiser in Culebra did not even remove their bimini.Culebra is 18 miles from Water Island.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Sadie Sea

Met Tom and Amy of the ex Team Sandpiper fame for a couple of beverages and Tom mentioned he needed crew for the next days Reef Bay Hike with the National Park Service. The ranger does a hike from the highest point on the island down to Reef Bay on the southern side of the island.

A taxi to the top of the hill cost $6 then the group walks down the trail while the ranger points out plants, animals and discusses the old sugar plantation ruins.It is a great hike through the tropical forest.  It takes about 2.5-3 hours depending on age of the group. When the hikers get to the water the Sadie Sea is there to pick them up  and transport back to Cruz Bay. The trip back is $15. One heck of a good deal to have a guided hike with a boat ride around half the island for $21. Best deal in the islands other than a liter of rum for $7. My job was to handle lines and help people in the boat from the dinghy.

 The Sadie Sea
 Reef Bay before the hikers showed.
Capt Tom transporting the hikers to the Sadie. There were 27 hikers so it took a number of trips


Woke up the other and while I was having my morning latte waiting for the sun this Gunboat moored behind me. This is a 62 Gunboat. A South African composite speed machine. Would have one of these machines if I win the lottery!

St Thomas , Again

Dave left for the snowy parts two weeks ago. I went back to the States for a funeral and am now back on St Thomas. Beautiful sunset as I arrived and gave a nice feeling as the weather was horrible back in the NW. Picked up a few groceries then headed off to St John. The pace on St John is quite a bit slower than activity of St Thomas. I like to hang on one of the National Park moorings and take in the sites.

 Saw this beauty on the way to St. John. Actually saw it unloaded off a ship then they roared by on the way to the BVI.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Fort Fredricksen, English Harbor

In the last post I mentioned English Harbor and its Dockyard as an English outpost in the Caribbean. Well, this outpost needed to be defended so a fort was built at the mouth of the harbor. There were also other forts on the hills above the harbor but they have been over grown by the vegetation and erosion has damaged the coral and sandstone blocks.

Fort Fredricksen has been maintained by the Antiguans and is a good example of fortifications from the period. Dave and I hiked to the fort then hiked the two miles over the headlands to the beach on Falmouth Harbor.

Nice view of fort from the trail

 Powder magazine
 Notice how erosion of wind and sea has affected the foundation
 32 pounder on its mobile carriage. If surprised they would use as is. If given advance notice the barrel would be moved to wooden carriage as the wooden carriage handles the stress of the action better.
 The Guardhouse
 The gun embrasures
 On the trail across the island sailors have been replaced by goats as the lookouts.

A view of Le Chat Beaute and the fort at the entrance of the Harbor

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


The sail from Dominica was a fast and very comfortable sail. Flat waters and 15-20 knots. Average for the trip was 8.2 knots. YES! As we approached English Harbor we made the decision to anchor there as it  was a great hurricane hole for the English Navy during Nelson's time.With Tomas coming we expected 25-30 knots in the area. As a matter of fact the landing is called Nelson's Dockyard in his honor. It is the most complete and restored naval fortification in the Caribbean.

 Nice view of English Harbor from Shirley Heights. Falmouth Harbor is in the background.
 Officers quarters that are restored. As it is the off season most buildings in the area are shuttered.
 Le Chat Beaute is in the foreground.
 The gunnery quarters.
 The Dockyard
 Fort Fredrickson which guards the entrance to the harbor.
 A nice old boat
 Administrative dockyard offices that have been turned into a restaurant.