December 2008

December 1, 2008 - White Bay, Jost Van Dyke to St. Thomas, USVI -- 18.04 nm

Brian had to catch a flight out of St. Thomas so we headed that way with a stop in St. John's just to check in with Customs. We anchored in Charlotte Amelie, us and 5 cruise ships! What a busy place. Charlotte Amalie is named after a Danish Queen. It is the capital city of the US Virgin Islands and a major seaport. Used extensively over the centuries as a haunt of pirates and privateers, St. Thomas was declared a free port by the Danes thus enabling the sale of goods, livestock and ships acquired in honest trade or under the flag of piracy. The town still has many of the original Danish buildings and mansions on the hillside overlooking the harbour. We found out through Chris's parents that a friend of Chris' when he was growing up lives in St. Thomas. Similarly to us, Mark and Charlotte sold all their belongings in Vancouver, moved to and bought a business in St. Thomas. They have 2 young children, similar in age to ours so we had a great time having dinner with them at their house.

Market in St. Thomas, USVI

Getting all fancy - Dingying in for dinner

Fun restaurant decor @ The Shipwreck Tavern

A great dinner at Mark and Charlotte's house

December 4, 2008 - St. Thomas, USVI to Culebra, Spanish Virgin Islands

Lying 17 miles east of Fajardo, on Puerto Rico’s east coast, Culebra is geologically more a part of the Virgin Islands than of the mainland. And it looks the part when viewed from afar, lush, irregular peaks are fringed by beaches and rugged offshore cays. Culebra’s main settlement is small enough to circumnavigate in 10 minutes (plus it has the best wifi ever).

Much of Culebra has been designated a national wildlife refuge, protected by both the Dept of Natural Resources and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Large chunks of Culebra’s 7000 acres including all of the coastline and the offshore cays are owned by the federal government. Many beaches here are closed during the summer when they are important nesting grounds for endangered sea turtles.

Walking around Culebra - Do not feed the Iguana's!

Culebra in the distance

On our way into town

Mamacita's Restaurant


Do NOT Feed the Iguanas

Lots of Iguanas hanging out

Isla de Culebra

Very festive home


Iguana's in the restaurant


We decided to take the day off of school and go to Flamenco Beach for the day. It's always a bit of an ordeal as we need to haul out the 4 bikes, the bike trailer, the bike helmets, all the snorkelling gear, the beach gear, the required snacks and water etc. etc. Get it into the dingy, onto shore, unfold all the bikes, unfold the bike trailer, tie the bag onto the trailer, well you get the idea.

The bike ride was shorter than the one we took on Anegada, BVI as Culebra is only about 11 km long and 5 km wide. Flamenco Beach is considered the second most beautiful beach in the world by Discover Channel. Flamenco is a bay as well as a beach with a fairly complete reef protecting the over mile and a half of spectacular beach from erosion. It is a gorgeous fine sand beach, we did some snorkelling and lot of swimming in the surf. We brought our new underwater camera that we bought in St. Thomas and took some pictures. We also bought a skin board at one of the kiosks in the parking lot, so we all spent some time trying that out. I did find it odd that there was a rusted out tank on the beach and another one up by the Sea Grape trees. In 1901 the US Military arrived in Culebra to establish an area for the military to use as a firing range and to hold marine exercises. The military stopped using Culebra as a bombing range in 1975. But the rusted tanks are still there.

Flamenco Beach

Flamenco Beach

Flamenco Beach-new underwater camera

Flamenco Beach

Flamenco Beach

Flamenco Beach

Flamenco Beach

Flamenco Beach - new skim board

December 7, 2008 - Culebra, Spanish Virgin Islands to Mosquito Bioluminescent Bay, Viequez, PR -- 19.69 nm

We had heard that this was a must stop in Viequez and that Mosquito Bay was noted in the Guiness Book of World Records 2008 as the brightest Biobay shining with the most intensity.

Indeed, it’s also known as Phosphorescent Bay. We saw 3 mooring balls just outside the bay, so we took one. This turned out to be a mistake as we spent a very uncomfortable night bouncing from one hull to the other. Once the sun went down we got into the dingy and made our way into the dark bay. It was neat to see all the glow in the dark fish scooting out of our way. It didn't occur to us to jump in and go swimming but we did hear from quite a few cruisers who did just that!

December 8, 2008 - Mosquite Bay to Green Beach, Spanish Virgin Islands via Esperenza 8.37nm

We planned to meet up with sv Imagine in Green Beach, we stopped at the little town of Esperenza first to check it out and do a little provisioning. We walked around town, it was a cute little seaside town. We found a grocery store, and stocked up and carried it back. We found a burger place on the beach to spend our last 20 bucks. Turned out all the food he was cooking was from Costco. Go figure! We met up with Imagine at Green Beach, it was Jane's birthday so we made her a cake, the kids made a bunch of cards and Chris made us Painkillers. It was a great reunion. We did some fantastic snorkelling, looked for conch and checked out the beach.

Esperenza-Friendly shopkeeper


Lots of shells in this store

Here comes our friends on Imagine!

Kids of Imagine and Stray Kitty

Happy Birthday Jane!

December 9, 2008 - Green Beach, Viequez to Ensenda Honda, Viequez 18.26nm

Imagine caught a tuna along the way so we had sashimi for appetizers! Delicious! Ensenda Honda was a superb anchorage, in fact we were the only two boats in the whole place. It was blowing hard outside of the anchorage but we felt very secure in our spot. Ensenda Honda is a great hurricane hole. We spent several days while waiting for a weather window, snorkelling, catching and eating conch, swimming and having a full moon party aboard Imagine.

Prepping the conch, with some help



Conch fritters and the lovely Jane who made them!

Music lesson in the cockpit

Pinata on the bow for our full moon party

Fantastic snorkelling

December 12, 2008 Ensenda Honda, Viequez to Charlotte Amelia, St. Thomas 33.41 nm

We thought Honeymoon Bay looked like a nice spot to spend a few days, but we couldn't get the anchor to hold, and neither could Imagine, so we went back to Charlotte Amelia, St. Thomas.

We met up with Charlotte and Mark again and helped decorate their Christmas tree which was great fun for the kids as that was one thing we were going to miss this Christmas.

December 14, 2008 - Charlotte Amelia, St. Thomas to Christmas Cove, St. Thomas

Before we left we met a Danish family with two girls on board with a 3 year and a 9 year old, they came for a visit and the older girl played Monopoly with the kids. However it was time to say goodbye because we had to leave for Christmas Cove. Boat problem: the port engine died twice - fortunately Chris fixed it, the engine had blown a fuse.

Looks like a beautiful anchorage with good snorkelling. We will go to the St. Thomas Yacht Club soon to pick up Charlotte and Mark and the kids. Everyone came over to our boat for dinner, sv Glass Slipper, sv Imagine, our St. Thomas guest and their friends from the night before showed up on their fishing cat. It was quite the crowd – 8 kids and 10 adults. The boat handled it fine, the hostess was slightly frazzled though.

Dinner on Stray Kitty

Dinner on Stray Kitty

Learning young to blow the conch for happy hour

Art class

December 17, 2008 - Christmas Cove, St. Thomas to Sopers Hole, BVI - 9.39 nm

A few boat problems on this little passage: The autopilot won’t start – turns out to be a blown fuse . The starboard engine won’t start – after starting to take the engine apart, realized that the engine was in gear, not in neutral – wish they were all that easy.

Arrived in Soper’s Hole, so we could check into customs, tied to a mooring ball and went to shore to do some last minute Christmas shopping when the kids weren’t looking. Back to the boat to head to Norman Island and meet up with sv Strider.

Sopers Hole, BVI to Benure Bay, Norman Island, BVI -

In this anchorage we saw many boats from the Caribbean 1500: sv Bliss, sv Aquila and Strider. We met a new boat sv Arielle. We invited everyone over to Stray Kitty for a pot luck. What a great night. It was so nice to see everyone and find out what everyone has been doing.

We planned to leave to go to St. Martins but Benure Bay is so lovely that we can’t seem to move fast enough. We went snorkelling and it was definitely the best snorkelling that either of us has done. There was tons of reef fish. It was awesome. We saw X marks the spot on the rock face, dinghied over and found the treasure that Imagine and Aquila had hidden there so Arielle, Strider and us added to it.

Handmade Christmas stockings are ready for Santa

Sailing to Sopers Hole, BVI

Dinner on Stray Kitty

Kids taking funny photos with their cameras

Girls getting their hair done


X marks the spot

Stray KItty at anchor in Benure Bay, BVI

Fabulous snorkelling in Benure Bay

December 19, 2008 - Benure Bay, Norman Island, BVI to Road Town, BVI then Marigot, St. Martins - 97.20 nm

The word on the high seas is that the Dutch side is pricey and the French side is free, before Christmas is was, when we came back in the New Year it wasn’t. As of January 1, 2009 the French side of St. Martins has implemented a new fee structure for visiting yachts. If you anchor in Margiot Bay, you must pay a per metre/per day fee plus an entrance fee of 20 Euro. For us a 42 foot catamaran cost us .25 euro cents per metre so $10 euro a day. What they forget to tell you is if don’t anchor in Margiot Bay, and go into The Lagoon, Grand Case or Orient Bay, you do not have to pay (except for the entrance fee).

There is a Cruiser Net on VHF 14 for St. Martins, which is very informative. We met up with Imagine, walked threw town, saw some Caribbean steel drums performance, and a Christmas concert, unfortunately, the lights went out in the middle of the performance. One of our best discoveries? Fresh baguette at the bakery! We met a boat called sv Pickles, a cruising family with 4 kids.

Fort Louis was built in 1789 on a hill overlooking Marigot Bay and the island of Anguilla by the locals in the town, on the orders of Jean Sebastian de Durat, who was governor of St Martin and St Barth, for the king of France at the time. The hike to the top was worth the view of Margiot Bay.

A rainbow!

Beautful sunset on passage.

Caribbean steel drum band

Boat kids

St. Martins

Fort Louis

View from Fort Louis, I think I can see Stray Kitty down there!

Made it to the top!

Fort Louis

Fort Louis

Christmas Concert

The end of another excellent day

December 23, 2008

We wanted to check out the Dutch side of the island, so hopped in the dingy for a day tour.

St. Martin's Dutch side

St. Martin's Dutch side -mega yachts

St. Martin's Dutch side

Ile de Saint Martin -bridge between sides

December 23, 2008 - Margiot Bay, St. Martin to Grand Case, St. Martins - 3.76nm

Grand Case is a small town on the French side of the island of Saint Martin in the Caribbean. There was a beautiful stunning beach and a lot of French restaurants, I wish we could stay here and try them all!

This is where we are going to spend our first Christmas on the boat.

Christmas morning and the weather has been harsh, blowing in circles around our anchor. Large gusts every half an hour but our rocna is holding strong. We spent the day tubing and playing on the beach. The good thing about having a catamaran over a monohull is that there is more cockpit room so happy hours just gravitate over, Christmas dinner on Stray Kitty!

Making Christmas cookies

Our Caribbean Christmas tree - Santa found us

Happy kids

Christmas day tubing

Christmas on Stray Kitty with Imagine, Arielle and Pickles

Christmas on Stray Kitty with Imagine, Arielle and Pickles

Christmas potluck

Kids inside - parents outside!

Dec 26, 2008 - Boxing Day

We spent boxing day at the beach with our friends. Sad day though - we had to say good-bye to our good friends on Imagine, they are heading off and I don't think we will catch up with them again but we plan to stay in touch. xoxo.

Dec 27, 2008 - Bus tour of Island

We took a bus around the Island stopping at the Bakery for Cafe au Lait and croissants, then to Phillipsburg for lunch at an Indian restaurant and the St Maarten Zoo.

Boxing Day on the beach

Boxing Day on the beach

Phillipsburg, St. Maarten

The St. Maarten Zoo

December 28, 2008 - Grand Case, St. Martin to Road Harbour, Anguilla - 11.15nm

We are glad to be leaving this very windy anchorage. Saw some dolphins on our way over and it is always a thrill.

We arrived in Anguilla and anchored in an unbelievable beautiful anchorage. There is a guy here from Nova Scotia teaching sailing in the harbour.

We went to the Reggae Reef bar, and met the American owner, the drink du jour here is called a panty remover. Nice!

Fishing on the way to Anguilla

Practicing different knots while underway

The Reggae Reef



I signed the kids up for sailing lessons with our Nova Scotian friend, so that should be fun.

Chris fixed the internet for the Elvis Beach Bar, so the owner offered his jeep to me so I could do groceries but I chickened out. They drive on the left here!

Our inverter died, it is not possible to fix it so we have ordered a new one from Defender.

More excitement: a Charter catamaran ran over the anchor rode of the boat next to us and it is stuck in the propeller, Chris is going over to help them.

sv Strider is meeting us in Anguilla, which is great because it is New Years Eve 2008!!

Lookin' pretty relaxed for 1st sailing lesson

Just meandering through the anchorage

Ryan in an opti-Sailing lessons - Day 2

Christine and Suzanne, from sv Strider