Our Boat

Caloosa Spirit

Catalina 42 mkII

Log #19 Go-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o!!!!!!!!!!!!

After getting our mail (the rest of the stuff we’ve ordered to finish the last of the projects) we came over to Christmas Cove, and actually spent some time relaxing this afternoon. Jim actually started reading a Clive Cussler novel! (Yes, Virginia, there really is a Santa Claus!) The weather was truly spectacular all day, including another gorgeous sunset. Speaking of weather, we’re starting to get the hang of listening to weather forecasts on the SSB. The hardest part is following the speech pattern of the computerized voice on one of the frequencies. I think “he” is called Mechanical Mike, but he sounds more like an Olaf to me. We’re finding we can’t run the watermaker every day, because it will overfill our tanks! What a great problem to have!

Jim finally relaxing

We left Christmas Cove to return to Jersey Bay to complete some more projects. However, the wind has been blowing 15-20 out of the east, so Jersey Bay is again a bucking bronco. This time we elected to come into the marina just off the bay to fully charge our batteries, complete the project of fastening the spinnaker pole to the mast, and do the provisioning. We’ll be here for the next several days.

Before crossing over to Jersey Bay we gave Otto some drill in following a compass course (it’s called calibration). We gave “him” a test on the way over, and “he” passed with flying colors! Now we have more confidence that Otto won’t inadvertently put us on any reefs. Uh-oh. I just realized that if that happens, now it will be my fault instead of Otto’s!

The spinnaker pole project is to fasten the pole into a movable car on the front of the mast. The pole’s job is to hold the head sail out when sailing downwind, something we expect to be doing most of the way north, since the summer tradewinds blow east-southeast. Jim needed to get some small hardware pieces to complete the job, but, of course, the local marine store didn’t have the right ones. So he walked a couple of miles to the next closest one in Red Hook. At least the jaunt was worthwhile, because he got everything he needed. While he was doing that I was working on the provisioning. That means planning all the food we’ll need in the next few weeks as we travel, shopping for everything (which necessitates several trips), repackaging most of it, then stowing it all. Are you tired just thinking about all that? Me too! And I’m not done yet. Actually, I’m sick of thinking about food! But at least it’s gratifying that everything fits, so far.

This evening we helped some friends (Don on Sea Dreamer and Jim on Vantage Point) celebrate achieving their captain’s licenses. It was a grueling course for the last two to three weeks, and they were greatly relieved that it was over. Jim was teasing us about our saying for the last three months that we’re leaving, and that he thinks we really should just plan to stay here for the summer. Don and Nori echoed the sentiment. It’s sure tempting to just leave the boat here and get on a plane to come north for a visit. There are a lot worse places to be than St. Thomas, even during hurricane season. And it’s great to have made friends here that would like us to stay. We’ll definitely miss them when we leave. But the call to sail north is too strong. So we’re planning on heading out at the end of the week. The Bahamas beckon.

Tracy came over from St. John today to install the alternator, a regulator for the alternator, and a new raw water strainer (for the sea water that cools the engine), and all went well. The new alternator seems to be cranking out the amps that will keep the batteries well-fed, alive and well. We’re still on track to leave in a few days, even though our friends keep telling us that it’s too late and we should stay here. I guess they don’t really believe that we’ll actually leave one day. I’m not sure I do either! It’s a little like being pregnant—not really believing it will ever be over until it’s finally over.

It’s been a few more days of getting the last few things done. Everything seems to take more time than expected, especially as we get more eager to get going. The provisioning is just about done, and, amazingly, all the frozen foods I bought fit into the freezer. I think the cashiers at the grocery store are wondering how many more trips I’ll make, and why I don’t get everything at once. In this circumstance a car would be helpful, but it couldn’t drive down the dock to the boat anyway. And the grocery store is within an easy walk of the marina. While I was finishing this task Jim took another 2-mile hike to Red Hook to take the ferry across to St. John. When our watermaker was delivered the lamp for the ultraviolet filter was missing. It was shipped to the company on St. John that installed it, but, of course, not until after we had left. So Jim went over to get it, only to be told by the girl at the desk that the person who said it would be at the office hadn’t yet delivered it. So Jim stood around fuming, thinking of all the things he needed to be doing back at the boat. Just after the next ferry had left the office clerk noticed a wrapped package next to the cash register and innocently asked, “Is this what you’re looking for?” Sure enough. Yup—she was blond!

This evening we celebrated our “Bon Voyage” with friends Don and Nori and Jim at a nearby sushi restaurant. Yes, we actually ate sushi! I can’t say I’d seek out the experience at the next harbor, but it was worth doing. We’ll be broadening our horizons in many more ways soon.

We got away from the dock at Independent Boat Yard and motor-sailed to Water Island. This will be our departure point for Culebra between St. Thomas and Puerto Rico. Laundry, e-mail, and a few last odds and ends will keep us busy for yet a few days.

A few things got back-burnered today for a very important lunch date. Greg and Carla of Magic came over on the ferry to meet us for a farewell. Over the last 7 months their friendship and company have been a real source of comfort, fun, and support, as we have struggled together through the Sunsail refurbishment and equipment outfitting. We will miss them, and wish them fair winds and following seas as they sail down-island toward Grenada and Trinidad.

A last trip ashore to K-Mart and Cyber Zone (the cyber café). Tomorrow morning we will leave St. Thomas behind for some new horizons. This is probably the last log to be sent for several weeks. While we’re underway I’ll try to record our experiences (we’re supposed to keep an accurate log anyway), but we don’t expect e-mail/internet services to be available until we reach George Town in the Bahamas. We really have appreciated the interest in our adventures expressed by many of you (even though by now you’re probably as tired of hearing about equipment installations as we are of doing them!). We can’t adequately tell you how much your responding e-mails have meant to us in keeping us connected with our past lives. The Virgin Islands are heavenly and we plan to return someday, but we have often felt very distant from familiar surroundings—something like being on another planet. We look forward to reconnecting with many of you when we return to Indy for a visit this summer.

Sunset over St. Thomas

Fair winds and welcoming destinations until next time,
Alice & Jim Rutherford

Posted Monday June 2, 2003

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