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Jan 27, 2015

North Coast of St John (Waterlemon Cay)




   We had heard from many people that Waterlemon is a must see in St John, so we wanted to make sure to hit it up before leaving the island. There are only like a dozen mooring balls here, but luckily for us, a lot of boats just come here for a quick snorkel around the island and then head out again. So if ever you get here and all the moorings are taken, just float around for half an hour and one will surely free up. 

   I have to say that Waterlemon cay is much smaller than I expected. It is pretty much a rock cliff on a sandbar. But people flock here for the snorkelling. The underwater life we got to see included sting rays, turtles, an octopus, and a ton of fish, coral, and sea urchins. I can see why a lot of people come here to snorkel, letting the current around the island pull you along. But for me, snorkelling is not something I appreciate to its fullest. Swimming alone in this whole other, intruding on these creatures homes, with tunnel vision from my goggles, I find it slightly creepy. I always laugh when I catch myself checking behind me to see if I am being stalked by anything that might think I look tasty!

   In the early evening we went on land to for a hike up to the ruins of an old sugar cane plantation. This place is well maintained, with educational signage along the way, explaining how everything worked back in St John’s sugar cane glory. The ruins are intriguing to walk through, and the view from the hill top, of the bay and surrounded islands is quite spectacular. We could see St John, Jost, and Tortola from this one spot.

   One wonderful thing about Waterlemon, especially after how we have been spending the last few nights, is that there is no rolley wake sending our boat wobbling this way and that. THANK YOU!











Jan 25, 2015

North Coast of St John (Francis Bay)




   I had read that Trunk Bay is one of the prettiest beaches on St John, but apparently everyone else in the world had read the same thing. When we cruised by 9:30am with every intention of mooring here, the beached was already swarming with tourists. So that, combined with the ground swell and the horrible sleep we had had in Caneel bay, we opted to continue (an extra 10minutes further) to the more protected Francis Bay. 

   We got a mooring and then jumped into the dinghy to go and play on a rock beach that we is to the NE side of the bay. Because it is rock and not beautiful white sand, and because it is right next to the Funghi Channel, and because the waves crash in pretty strong, there was no one else there but us and our buddies from s/v Mirador. If ever you come here make sure to bring shoes, because even though the rocks are smooth it is still rather painful to walk on. And make sure you have a dinghy anchor, because there is no beaching your dinghy here, unless you want it full of salt water in five minutes from the waves crashing on to it. It may sound aweful, but we had a great time beach combing and finding washed up sea fans. There is also the ruins of a one-roomed house to go walk through. Creepy but cool.

   In the afternoon we went to the white sandy beach in Francis bay. It was also quite busy with people, but we had enough space to find a little spot and have the kids play in the sand while the guys tried to fixed Mirador’s dinghy once again. That thing has been causing them nothing but issues. The girls went snorkling but were sad to report that, other than seaweed, there wasn’t much to see. We escaped the beach before sunset avoiding the no-see-em’s.

   Our night here was slightly rolly, but once again it was due to the lack of wind to point us in the right direction. And thankfully, this roll was nothing like the ones we were getting in Caneel. 

   After breakfast the next morning we left our mooring moved on to our next destination. It was a long 20 minute motor before we were getting our new mooring in Waterlemon bay.









Jan 22, 2015

North Coast of St John (Cruz and Caneel Bay)




   First a side note, there is no anchoring on the North coast of St John because it is part of the National Park. Instead you are required to pick up moorings that are taking care of by park volunteers. Some bays you go ashore to pay, but most have floating “paystations” where you drop off your $15/night payment with your boat name and description. At around dusk someone will dinghy around the bay to check who has and has not paid. If you have not paid your name goes on a list. I don’t know what is done with that list afterwards, but we watched them write some people’s boat names down.

   The winds were forecasted at barely anything this week so we decided to take advantage of the lull and discover the North coast of St John. We first motored into Cruz bay but quickly decided that this would not be where we were going to be sleeping. The bay is a lot smaller than we expected and all the boats are crammed in there, too close for comfort. There was no way we were going to try and drop anchor here and have a horrible sleep fearing that we would bump into someone else’s boat. So instead we rounded the bend and picked up a mooring ball in Caneel Bay. This bay is close enough to dinghy over to Cruz bay if you have the desire to see the cute little shops without having to cram your home into that parking lot of a bay. So that is just what we did. 

   Cruz bay, in my opinion, is super cute. Our “regular” has become beaches, so to change it up every now and again I like to go walk amongst the rest of land-living society. This town clearly caters to tourists, but they do it well. They have the inter-island ferries that come in and out of here, the beach side Rum Shack and restaurants, and shopping for every taste, from high end jewellery to surf clothes. They even have a playwark and frozen yogurt shop to appease the little ones. Our girls were happy. I would gladly return to this place and spend a little more time, maybe for some shopping without the kids next time.

   Cruz bay is set up in two pretty distinct shopping areas. There is the beach front side (with the rum shacks) which is called Whafside Village. All the buildings on this side are tall wood painted in your typical pastel paint pallette. And on the other side of town there is the Mongoose Junction, which is a conglomeration of shops in old stone buildings. The courtyards are overrun by beautiful, jungly plants, and the atmosphere is jolly (for lack of a better word). They both a worth a walk through. It is amazing how contrasting the architecture is of both these areas, but I found both equally appealing for their differing aesthetic qualities.

   Caneel Bay is super convenient to get to Cruz bay, but if you are going to spend the night, watch out! It is not calm. You get a wicked rock from the ferries and every other power boat that goes by, and there is no coverage from them. I found myself stowing the boat, taking everything off the counters, before we were going to bed, because with every ferry all our stuff was sliding around making a horrible mess. Of course, part of this was our fault, since we came here during the lull in the weather it meant that we had absolutely no wind to point us into the waves, so our boat spent the evening doing 360’s and taking the waves at whatever angle we were floating. I had an awful sleep. By morning we were all annoyed and left this bay right after breakfast. It’s sad that we didn’t even take advantage of the cute palm tree lined beaches here, but we could not handle another minute of our boat getting rocked by the wake. 

   Half an hour later, we picked up a mooring in Francis Bay… 




Ellia back in her element









s/v Mirador in the sunset of Caneel Bay




Jan 16, 2015

Thank You For Your Support




   I wanted to spell it out, how extremely grateful we are to all of you at that that donated to and/or shared our crowdfunding campaign. I realize that Eben and I lead a life that's a little different, and me announcing that we want to go on this crazy Rickshaw Adventure in India this upcoming April must sound totally insane to all of you. But the fact that you took the time to look at our campaign and show us your love and support means a lot to us.

   The crowdfunding is now done, and we should be expecting to have the raised funds in our back account in "7-10 business days". I am excited to say that that is when we will give have of the raised moneys to Live Different. The difference that that money will make for some families in the DR is big. 

   As everyone online knows, we did not reach out "goal" that we had set out for our crowdfunding, but I am not about to let that slow me down. I have been reaching out to airlines trying to get our flights to India covered, I have been writing to BIG companies looking for sponsorships, and even if they keep on telling me "no", I will persevere. I am determined and have my heart set on this race. (ps. if you have any contacts in any of these domains, I am open to help!)

   Don't stop spreading the word about what we are doing, because even if the crowdfunding has stopped, my fundraising has not. We are still accepting Paypal donations (right hand column on blog's main page) and reaching out to anyone that wants to be involved.

   I can't wait to see where we will be in 3 months!

   

Thank you again for all your love. In no particular order, here is my "Wall of Thanks" to you. (Some of you donated anonymously, so I couldn't add your name below, but know that I LOVE YOU TOO!)


J.Shrove V.Running-Minnie S.Cutbill G.Kerekes N.S.Clark J.Quong M.Eguiguren B.Stephen T.Jaggi Chvastal M.Cupido Kirkwilliams M.Stjean PatnKarl K.Jank M.Plisic K.Ross H.Sue E.Chabot T.Fenner T.Hacker H.Belzile Janahart Browkade A.middlemiss J.Marckese GBCscrappers K.Owens L.Matwie J.Dong C.Beebe J.Ledoux E.Babs K.Kildew S.Belsher L.Chapdelaine Heather397 J.Stolz C.Cline L.Dench



Launch Into The Sunset




   S/V Salty is fast becoming the family fun boat. Not only can they accommodate us and a slew of other people on their boat, all at once, but with the size and strength of it the boys have started to find all sorts of ways that we can go from the boat into the water. There was the famous Spreader Jumps that the guys all partook in last week, and then yesterday we leapt into the halyard swing and the boat launch. I am starting to think that we are going to have to start training for our very own sailboat-sport Olympics!

   Yesterday the guys started off with the halyard swing, and then the kids wanted to join, and finally all the mommies gave it a go too. I was extremely impressed that Arias had the courage to do it, but once she did she was on a roll. She would swing off, swim around to the back of the boat, and run back in line for her next turn. Even little Ellia found some courage and let us throw her off the side of the boat a couple of times. And I think the girls were pretty impressed that I found the guts to try it too...I am a wimp (when it comes to cooler water!)


This is what the swinging looked like:










The Baby Swing:







The Boat Jump and Baby Toss:








And the Mommy Jump






AND THEN ARIAS OVER AND OVER AND OVER!









Jan 15, 2015

Upgrading Up In Here



   We’ve always had this big white wall in our salon that we didn’t know what to put up on it. And of course it is the first wall that you see when you come down into our boat. We had considered art, but since Eben and I can never agree on what would look good. That wall stayed bare. Most of the time it wasn’t a bother, but after taking down our Christmas decorations, and that huge chimney we had decorated that wall with, the wall felt more naked than ever. The whiteness of it gave a lack of hominess.

   We lasted about a month starring at that white wall before we were gifted with something amazing. The story goes like this. We were sitting on a friends boat, admiring their flat screen TV when Eben pipes up, “you know they make 12volt tv’s now?” That’s when Carl confirmed that theirs was a 12volt and that it is awesome. Eben had been wanting one of these for a while, but we never actually put the effort in to looking to buy one online. “We have a 2nd one, do you want it?” they asked. The obvious answer, “Heck ya we do!!” But you can’t just give it away. 

   I guess they had bought two 12volt flat screens but realized that one was enough for them, and planned on selling the second one. But like many of us, sometimes life takes over and the smaller tasks get put on the back burner, where they stay, for a long long time. So they never got around to selling their tv and just wanted it to go to a good home. We were flabbergasted and super excited.

   Finally something to put up on that big white wall! Eben custom made a mount to put it up so that it would be pretty flush with the wall, but also so that we can take it off that mount and put it on a secondary mount in our bedroom. This way the TV will be shared, in the salon in the morning for the girls’ shows, and in our bedroom in the evening for our shows. Now we’ll see how often we actually move it back and forth, but it’s nice to have the option.


   As soon as we had it up on the wall, Eben and I just sat there starring at it. It makes our boat feel a lot more like a house! It is strange and awesome. And it was an amazing boat gift. This boat is upgrading, like our friend Peter said, “the boat’s worth just went up by a grand”! Now if only we could get some flooring in here it would really start feeling like more of a finished-product. Anyone want to gift us some flooring?!