Sunday, June 29, 2008

Crew's View Ben's Last Week - by Andrew

I have some good news. Mom rented the house out to 3 Embry-Riddle students. Hooray! Now we can head south without the stress of worrying about the house. More good news; Phil and Ben lasted the night on the beach, though, not too far from their camp I discovered some scorpions later during the afternoon.

What’s the bad news? My legs are sunburnt, again.

I spent all day at the island while we were in Newfound Bay. Phil and Ben constructed a fenced-in area with a fire pit and a lean-to shelter with a tarp roof. After fooling around for a while with the fire, they dismantled the shelter and left me at the beach. It started raining, so I knew that I had to go into survivor mode and construct a new shelter.

I took it upon myself to improve upon the design of the old shelter using whatever I could find on the beach. I made a lean-to wooden frame and covered the wood beams with any plastic I could. I used vines and bit of rope I found to secure the fixture. It kept me dry. I actually spent most of the day doing just that.

Ben, Phil, and Doug pulled up a barracuda. They threw it back; quite a catch. I would have kept the jawbone at least. Barracuda and tarpon seem to enjoy hiding in the shade under the boat and attacking fish that swim by or get hooked by Phil. This fact, coupled with our bathing habits, adds a bit of excitement to the salt water shower/bath which we do in the water next to the boat.

The boys also caught 2 delicious snapper. Phil was ecstatic, “It’s my dream come true! I just held out some bait in my hand and they came right up to me! Then I got them! The fish came to me!” After lunch we all went snorkeling, though my goggles kept on fogging up, despite spit and anti-fog, so I didn’t see too much. Of the animals there, I did see some fish up under the mangroves, plenty of conch, some sea cucumbers that looked like really big feces (the scientific name for these is donkey-dung sea cucumbers… most appropriate), and several feather-duster worms. It was not as colorful or interesting as the coral reefs in my opinion, and there was a good deal of detritus on the ground from the mangroves.

After a few hours there, we decided to move to Coral Bay. I think it’s rather funny how everything that could go wrong has gone wrong since Ben has arrived. I’m sure he’s thinking, “Man, this cruising stuff is hard. Things always are breaking, you get seasick in big squalls, the anchor doesn’t hold, and the chain doesn’t work.” True, it had been a long day, a long week, to say the least.

It was time to unwind with a few good games of horseshoes. I also learned an important lesson at the bar… things are never what they seem. This applies to everything. Why did the Danforth hold the second time when we really wanted to haul it up and move? It was wrapped around a big rock. Why did the chain not work? Per my grandfather (Wolfgang) it was an inferior quality product. More importantly, how old was the girl that was checking me out at the bar? She was 14!? Ugh! Gross! Scary… in fact, criminal, had it gone any further than conversation. That’s crazy. Gentlemen, it’s time to go back to the boat!

We had hamburgers on the boat, listened to AC/DC (the only hard rock my dad will listen to), and wrote in our journals. I really started something with the journals. Dad saw what I was doing and is now making everyone keep one. I enjoy this, but that isn’t quite true of the others, especially Phil and Ben. At the end of the week, we sailed back to St. Croix. I was so excited to be out of there and now it looks like we’ll be here another week doing repairs, flying Ben home, and making more connections on the island courtesy of Shaun.

The sail back was much, much smoother than the sail there. We narrowly missed a squall front, and just barely squeaked by. All the while the sun was shining, and I fell asleep on the back deck. I woke up sunburnt on my chest and arms; good thing I had the foresight to at least put sunscreen on my face.

After arriving in the slip, dad and I set about buying a new anchor chain. While there was not as much heavy lifting as I expected, this operation was quite tedious. First, dad pulled out our old chain by hand. Next, he went to the trailer where the chain was stored in large barrels and had the proper length of chain cut.

The next step was to cart the chain over to the dock in a barrel; check. Then, braid the rope to a shackle attached to the bitter end of the chain; check. Feed the chain through the gypsy on the windlass, then through the hawse; check, or almost. The chain fit perfectly into the gypsy, but did not want to come out again because it was a snug fit. Basically, for us, it means that we had to install a stripper on the hawse; not the pole dancing kind, but a thin piece of metal that projects into the gypsy and forces the chain links to leave the windlass. For the time being though, we had to use an Allen wrench. After that, dad attached the chain to the anchor. He went to install a stripper only to find that one of the screws in the hawse had broken in the hole and that it would be necessary to use a drill press to remove it. While he dealt with that problem, Phil and Ben left for town to buy a bracelet for Ben…

So while the boys were going out to do their thing, dad instructed me to go to the local grocery store to pick up two 12 packs of Budweiser. En route to the grocery store, a Rasta hailed me from across the street and, after a moment of hasty small talk, he proceeded to spout out some gibberish about Amsterdam. I didn’t know if he was trying to ask me a question or if he was making a declarative statement… the island accent is such that they put stress on the last words of a sentence, so every sentence sounds like a question. Is that a question? I asked him to repeat what he said a couple of times and could only understand the word Amsterdam. I figured it had something to do with marijuana (he’s a Rasta for crying out loud!), but I didn’t know. So I asked him, “What’s that about Amsterdam?” To which he replied, slowly, so that I could understand, “Hey mon, a piece of Amsterdam, you know what I saying, yeah? I’m a Rasta; you should know what I’m talking about.” I told him that I didn’t have any, but he obviously wanted to talk, because he told me all about how wonderful the “crop” in California was when he went there. I could hardly understand what he was saying, so I just smiled and nodded and agreed with whatever he said. He then told me that things weren’t so good on the island in that department, and went on his way; Rasta’s, they’re crazy, but funny. On Anguilla, a Rasta started talking to us on the beach, then pulled out a blunt that he rolled in a marijuana leaf, instead of a piece of paper, and lit up right there. Ganja is everywhere in the islands.

Ben’s mother purchased tickets for him to fly back tomorrow at 5:00 pm. It is Benny boy’s last day as crew on the Adamo!

We will certainly miss him. He and Phil spent a good deal if time making a most noisy contraption, a conch horn. It is a conch shell with the top spire removed from the crown. This leaves a hole into which you can blow. The reverberations of the air passing through this opening creates a monotonic blast that is extremely loud and also quite annoying after Phil repeats the sound fifty or so times. Phil has one, Ben has one for himself, and there is one extra for us. Perfect; this is just what we need: another noisemaking device on board.

We have a sort of to-do list to finish up before Tuesday. On Tuesday we believe will have a weather window for the two day crossing to Guadeloupe, or possibly to the Saints or the Grenadines if the good weather lasts.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Some Nights are Better than Others

We anchored up in Hansen Bay on the East end of St. John yesterday afternoon. It’s a tough spot to anchor because it is deep all the way up to the shore and drops-off at a steep angle. Not great holding.

After dropping and diving on both the front and aft anchor I was satisfied that we would stay put for the night. The boys and I went diving and returned with two lobsters. After dinner we were working on Ben’s journal when I noticed the Bic banging on the side of the Adamo’s hull. Doug had sailed the little sailing boat from New Found Bay earlier in the day, following us in the Adamo in open ocean sailing. The trip was about 3 miles and he had a great time.

In any case, the Bic was left in the water in anticipation of the forecasted heavy winds for the following day. As the wind began to pickup, the Adamo swung between the two anchors we had set. It was a strange wind because we were nestled close to shore behind a 200 foot hill. Sometimes the wind pushed us towards shore, other times it pushed us into the bay.

When we went on deck to investigate the Bic’s behavior, we realized that we were dragging anchors. Now we had a problem. The Adamo was 30 feet from hitting another sailboat. We had 2 smaller boats, the Bic and the dinghy, in the water tethered to the Adamo. It was dark. Rocks all around. And when we retrieved the front anchor we were surprised to find nothing but chain. The anchor chain had failed and we had lost our bow anchor.

Sparing you all the details, we raised the smaller boats on deck. Pulled out another anchor from the cargo hold. Motored around and reset the new anchor in a suitable spot further out in the bay. The anchor dragged at first, but then caught. We were uncomfortably close to a cliff about 100 yards to our stern so we were going to try to re-anchor, but the anchor was stuck. Bummer. We had no choice but to stay put. As you can imagine, my confidence level in our holding and the anchor chain were very low.

We took turns sitting at the helm all night till dawn, watching the GPS for the anchor dragging or the chain snapping again. I was very proud of the boys and thankful for being there to help. It was a long night with very strong wind gusts. And still the wind was very unpredictable, blowing from all sides as the Adamo did circles around the anchor.

The light of day was a welcome relief. I dove the anchor while Phil was at the helm. Doug manned the windlass. The chain had wrapped around a rock 25 to 30 feet down. I free-dived over and over to wrestle with the damned thing until finally it was free. Then it was off to find our lost anchor from the night before. We found it right away with the help of the GPS tracks (little dots that show where you have been). Then we headed into another anchorage with mooring balls. The boys hooked us up. Finally we were secure. What a night!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

New Crew’s View – Ben Jansen's View

(This entry I received via the satellite email as they are out of range of Internet. Pictures will be added later...Sue)

I arrived in St. Croix on June 11th. The Jansen’s picked me up at the airport and brought me back to the Adamo. We spent the afternoon collecting Coconuts and Mango’s.
In the morning we went out conching. Phil taught me how to clean conch and we had conch salad for breakfast. We spent the rest of the day fishing and played football in the evening. At the end of the day, I was tired!

The remainder of the week we fished, played football and went to town. Phil’s mom had to go back home. So we decided to sail to St. John for a few days. We left early in the morning. We thought it was going to be not as rough. But it was rough, very rough and windy and scary. I got sea sick. Fortunately, it was a short trip. We arrived in St. John at two in the afternoon.
I was happy to be out of the ocean. We have been snorkeling.
Phil’s dad caught a huge lobster. We ate it for lunch.

We went camping on the beach.

It didn’t work out as planned. We had rat problems and Phil wanted his mama. So we ended up leaving.

The following day we went to Cruz Bay to see the town. We walked around looking at shops and boutiques. Then we sailed to New Found Bay and decided to go camping again. This time we made it through the night. We cooked eggs and fish on the camp fire.
Today I learned how to sail on the Bic (a small sailboat).

I sailed okay, but also flipped it.

So far this summer has been a blast!

Friday, June 20, 2008

A View From The "Real World" by Sue

Well, I am in Florida after a horrendous flight originating in St. Croix. In fact the day began with irritation. Mike lost his mind and began sanding/scraping the deck right over my cabin at 6am. For all of those who truly know me, this was a huge offense! It was not an"A.M.A." (Approved Morning Activity). I made a list concerning our morning etiquette early on in our travels so that we can all live harmoniously together in our small space. These A.M.A.'s consist of things like reading a book, writing in a journal, doing a blog entry, or studying the charts. They do not, however, include things like talking loudly, playing opera at full volume, fixing things on deck while others are trying to get my drift. So after this rude awakening I had to varnish the toerail, clean up the cabin, shower, and pack for my trip back.

When I checked my bags in St. Croix I had the fantastic privilege of being chosen to have my bag inspected. I placed my duffel bag on the examining table and was sternly informed that I was not to reach over, touch, or place anything else on the table as she inspected my bag. I stood there a little dumbfounded as she proceeded to completely unpack my bag. She took each piece of clothing out, squeezed it, unfolded it, wanded it, and set it aside. After she fondled each article of clothing and displayed my large bras in front of every passerby she began to open all the makeup, deodorant, lotion...etc.
Now the bag is empty and she is still staring at it like something more must be in it, so she felt the entire flexible, non-rolling, nylon bag, wanded it, twice and finally started to repack my clothes. Being a "type A" person who likes to pack in an orderly fashion, I was fidgeting and pleading with her with my eyes to let me put my things back so that everything would not be wrinkled up in a ball, but I had been sternly touching! Again, those who know me well ,know that I do not like to iron so it was painful to watch as she stuffed it all haphazardly back into the bag. After that I saw three middle-easterner's mosey on by, bags untouched...I guess I fit the profile, go figure? The flight to San Juan was on a small plane. There were about 10 of us on it so it was basically empty. I arrived in San Juan walked to my next flight which was scheduled to leave in thirty minutes only to find the gate packed with lines of people. Not a good sign! At the desk there was a monitor that was flashing "Departure Now - 10:30pm".
Two earlier American Airline flights were canceled and every seat on this flight was booked with a list of twenty standby passengers waiting and hoping to get on the delayed flight. At this point I went to the bar. It was now 7:45pm. I had gotten up earlier than planned, had a full day and was gearing up for what appeared to be a long night ahead. And a long night it was. At 11pm I heard cheering and commotion at the gate I went to see what was happening. An auction had begun. Desperate people were demanding to get on the flight and the Airline was offering vouchers. The price steadily increased to a $400.00 voucher, tickets to a show, and hotel accommodations. Only one taker! We finally boarded the plane and took off at 11: 40pm scheduled to arrive in Orlando at 3:00am. The plane was hot, and packed with Puerto Ricans speaking loudly in Spanish, I was in a row with four people and fortunately had an isle seat. Across from me were four children under 7 years old, and the lady next to me had a 2 year-old lap child, meaning I was not going to get any rest! I finally gave up and let her lay him flat across our laps so he at least could sleep. By the grace of God they played a movie, The Bucket List. It was one I had already seen, but I am used to watching movies over and over so I put on the headphones, blocked everything out, and watched. We landed at 3:00am. We all stumbled through the empty airport to baggage claim. I got lucky, my bag was one of the first out of the plane. Damon, bless his heart, was waiting for me at the airport to take me to his home. I felt so badly that it was the middle of the night and had tried to convince him that I could get a hotel at the airport when I got in so that he could sleep since he has work in the morning, but he said, "No Way."

Sleeping in a real bed was great! As was the shower that I took in the morning! Wow, nothing like deprivation to make you appreciate the simple things in life! Damon left me his car to drive, a range rover, very nice! He should have had doubts about lending me his car because I have not driven a car in 9 months and I don't know the area; however, he just handed me the key, drew me a map and wished me a great day. After meeting Melanie for lunch, I spent 3 hours in a Super Target! Again, Wow, I think it is my favorite store, everything you could ever need or want under one roof! How convenient!

Melanie made me a hair appointment for Friday morning. Melanie took the day of to play with me. I could hardly contain my excitement! Her hair stylist was terrific! I finally got rid of the "Puerto Rican blond" (orange) from my attempt at getting my hair highlighted there. We had wine at lunch and went for a pedicure. I feel pampered and put together again!

Mike called and said that he has a potential renter for the house so my job of emptying the house of personal things into storage is at the top of my list. I have had many offers from friends to help me so at least I can visit while packing. Plus my mom is coming down to help, too, and I am looking forward to her visit.

I am anxious to see what our home looks like after the first renters. Keep your fingers crossed!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Home Alone

Ben’s first week kept him pretty busy: fishing, conching, boating, football, exploring etc… I overheard the boys talking, and Ben said: "Chickens are pretty fast". Apparently Ben tried to chase one of the wild chickens down, but with no success. Man, I wish I would have had my camera for that one!

Here are the boys at Fort Christiansted.

At the same time Ben was keeping Phillip occupied, Susan, Andrew and I worked on some of the cosmetics on the boat: varnishing, painting, polishing, fixing and cleaning. The Adamo looks better than ever.

Doug spent the week working on home school every day. All that is left to do are two papers. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

My meeting regarding a job here went well. And I will continue to stay in touch as positions begin to open up.

Yesterday, Susan flew back to the States to deal with our house and re-renting it out. The boys and I are “batching” it until she returns. Unfortunately, we don’t know when that will be, but she did promise she would return. Our plan was for the boys and I to do a longer sail down to Guadeloupe, however, the weather is not co-operating. We think we may head to St. John for a few days, while the wind settles down. Then we’ll turn back south (all subject to change of course). The funny thing is, as you meet more and more people on the island, it gets harder to leave. We keep getting invited to a cookout, or a beach party or whatever and we seem to always have plans for “next weekend”. I guess this is how cruisers get stuck in one place and never leave.

For us though, we do want to see more of the Caribbean. And if we wait for too long, then heading to the Grenadines and Trinidad will become too difficult due to the weather. Stay tuned and let’s see what happens. Here’s to cruising and not having a fixed plan.

Friday, June 13, 2008

St. Croix - Captain's View

Yes, it is true. I sent my resume to a global financial company which is going to be based in St. Croix. They manage over $50 billion. However, they will not begin hiring in earnest here until their building/complex is completed in two years. But, I will be meeting with someone who works for the company next week who liked the resume well enough to want to get to know each other. He also forwarded the resume to another company on the island that may be hiring. So, right now our plans will remain very flexible.

Our marina at dawn.

Phil's best friend joined the Adamo crew two days ago. We picked him up at the airport and brought him back to our floating home. He's quite familiar with the boat and the rules on board from when we lived in Florida (squidgy the shower doors after your shower, don't pull the high water pressure knob, turn off the water while you suds up, wipe the sink out with a hand towel after brushing your teeth, keep the decks clear, don't sit in front of the fridge with the door wide open waiting for something to jump out at you, put your drinking cup away after your done, don't fall off the boat, everyone helps with chores, and finally . . . have a great time!)

Phil and Ben thought it would be a great idea to get Ben a name tag, so he wrote Ben's name on his back with sunscreen. Three hours later and everyone at the marina knew Ben's name. The rest of the Adamo crew is simply known as the "blond family".

As you can imagine, Phil, Ben and Doug have been very busy since Ben's arrival. Ben's first day here consisted of conching, snorkeling, fishing, seeing the town, collecting and husking coconuts and mangos, more fishing, shopping for a pocket knife, and more fishing! I asked him how his first day was and he said: "it was good . . . actually . . . amazing." and we have another satisfied customer!

That's all the news for now. Adamo out.

Monday, June 9, 2008

St. Croix - Crew's View by Andrew

Again we have changed our plans. Big surprise… we decided originally to head north, back to the states, to get out of the Hurricane Box for insurance purposes and to take care of several other things. These being our houses in Daytona, our cats, Doug and Phil’s schooling (Doug would live with g-mom in South Carolina), our 4 cars, Dad’s career, and let’s see… what else could we possibly pile on top of this, is there any other stuff that depends on us returning home? Is it possible?!

“Whatever. We like it here”, they said, “Let’s stay and get jobs and call the insurance people so that we can get coverage down here.” Well, Dad applied for a job and, hey, guess what? They are hiring in two years when their building is completed. Needless to say, that plan was shot down, but rather than blithely accept or admit defeat, he decided that since the insurance company extended our coverage, we would turn around and continue south. Phil was FURIOUS; “WHAT??!! We can’t go back south, we’ve already gone 500 miles, we’ll be beating into the wind, and I HATE crossings!” Personally, I am quite of the mind that this is a once in a lifetime adventure, and that heading south is the best course of action. Fortunately, as it turns out, so are Mom and Dad, and consequently, we are heading south, or at least that is our plan for the moment. The general consensus, Phil aside, is that we are not finished cruising, and we would all like to see more of the Caribbean. Who wouldn’t?

Other than changing our plans, nothing much happened today; just another day at the dock. Here's Phil with his stash of sweet mangos he collected from a tree at the marina.

For the record, air conditioning is a wonderful invention, one that has greatly enriched all our lives here at the dock. I don’t know how long we will remain at the dock with shore power and unlimited water, but I know that it will not last too much longer. What day is it? I think it’s a Friday because I just asked Dad. We discuss what day of the week it is on a routine basis, because truthfully, nobody cares enough to remember. We have today, tomorrow, yesterday, and anything else requires a calendar. In any case, we stay at least until Sunday, because our friend Bruce invited us to go deep-sea fishing on that day. I guess we leave Monday?

On second thought, we did actually do something of interest today; at some point earlier this morning, we men went on the hunt for Conch. We drove out on the dinghy with our snorkeling gear, which consists of masks, flippers, snorkels, spear pole, Hawaiian slings, weight belts, a bag in which to put the Conch, and a floating air compressor fitted with a hose and a regulator. We anchored out over a bed of sea grass that was covered with large Conch: jackpot! We put on our gear, Dad started the compressor, and I grabbed the regulator and dove in. The plan was simple, yet remarkably clever and effective: Phil and Doug would watch from the surface and point out where the mollusks were to me using hand signals. I would remain near the bottom with the collection bag (I had the regulator, and thus unlimited compressed air) and grab the larger ones. I forgot how fun diving was; the feeling of weightlessness and the graceful swimming motions in particular.

In my blissful state of mind, I proceeded to pick up 8 large and fairly heavy Conch, and as such, I was weighted down and needed to drop off my catch on the dinghy before continuing. As I began to swim up, I felt something brush against my right ankle and flipper. I turned around and found myself staring in the lifeless eyes of a four foot long remora that seemed to have taken a liking to me and a taste for the pieces of debris falling off of the conch shells into the water around me.

Remoras look alien. They have extra pectoral fins that give them extra stability when they cling to a lager organism. They have a retractable, ridged, muscular sucker on top of their heads that lets them attach to the body or pectoral fins of large predators. Their bottom jaw sticks out so that they can catch falling scraps of food. This thing looked like a mix between a torpedo, a vacuum cleaner, and an X-Wing fighter, with a flat football stuck to its forehead.

And what, might I ask, was large enough to drag that around? And where was this animal? Not that it mattered right then… I near about shit my pants when it opened its mouth and unfurled its suction cup and headed for my foot (I guess it wanted a place to stick itself to). I kicked at it and it backed up, and then came back for a floating scrap which it then sucked into its mouth. I had a weight belt on, I was carrying a heavy bag, I had tunnel vision from my goggles, and I was fighting to keep control of the regulator, which kept sliding out of my mouth to one side. I couldn’t swim upwards, and now I had to fight off a remora who had a crush on my right flipper. I tried to back away and slowly surface, when Phil gave me a spear pole. I jabbed at it a couple of times, but it was out of reach (it knew to keep its distance). Nevertheless, the stupid thing wouldn’t leave me alone. It was not until Doug also swam by with a spear and chased it off that I could finally surface and give Dad the heavy bag. They were all laughing their asses off at my plight, in fact, Phil was laughing so hard that his mask filled with water.

Needless to say, I was done diving for the day, so I gave up the regulator and got on the dinghy to relieve Dad of his watch. We stopped when Phil sighted a large Barracuda, . . . we knew it was time to go. Our bounty: 40 Conch of various sizes, which we then cleaned on a nearby beach. I learned that one must beat a hole into the upper part of the shell so that a knife can be inserted to cut the muscles that hold the animal in its shell. Then, the slop (the guts) must be cut away, and the claw removed (these are predatory snails!!). This took about 90 minutes to do, and we dined on Conch salad for lunch. Other than that, I worked out a bit (which is a real pain in the neck to do on the boat), and just relaxed.

Here are Phil and I carbo-loading on the dock after the workout.

Right now, Phil is cooking noodles for dinner, after which we will watch Jurassic Park. What a night this will be! Hopefully I will be able to mail off my post-card tomorrow and finally be rid of it. A postcard from Anguilla with postage from St. Croix, that’s nice. I hope that it’s sunny tomorrow, and that I can get some sun, buy some $3.00 bottles of Cruzan rum, and get some more exercise. Maybe I can be productive…

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Anguilla and St. Croix - Sue's View

Neuta Time! Every evening we headed into the beach to play Bacci ball. It wasn't long before the local kids joined in. They loved it so much we left the game behind for them.

We planned to leave earlier in the week, but then heard about Anguilla Day and decided to stay for the Regatta and the festivities. Sailing is the national sport. The entire island tracks the island circumnavigation regatta either by following by boat or driving around the island in a car and viewing it from land.

Or they hop on a barge with a band, bar and port-a-potties to follow the race boats.

On June 1st we sailed to St. Croix and it was great to be sailing with the wind for a change. It was idyllic. The sun was shining. There was not a cloud in the sky. The waves were almost non existent and the wind was moderate which translates to "a perfect day for sailing". We were even able to use all four sails which pushed us along at 8mph. When we arrived we were almost out of water, beer, wine and rum! Ahh! So we decided to treat ourselves to time at a dock...meaning unlimited showers, laundry, electricity, and air conditioning! As well as, close proximity to re provisioning! I, being the only woman on board, am sooo thrilled. Luxury at last!

On the sail here the boys caught two huge wahoo and two big eyed tuna (sushi!).

Our freezer is stocked. We have learned to cook fish in many ways...fried fish, broiled fish, fish gumbo, fish scampi, steamed fish, fish chowder... mama always said, "life is like a box of chocolates..." Anyways, everyone's happy!

We are so happy, in fact, that we are turning around and heading south again! We decided that hurricane season was approaching too fast to make it out of the box and that we just aren't done with our adventure. So, we are awaiting the arrival of Phillip's best friend, Ben Dunn Jansen, "his brother from another mother", who will be spending the summer with us. Then we will head south to Montserrat to see the live volcano.

St. Croix once again is great as our cell phones work and we have Internet connection. It is good to be in touch with everyone, but the sound of the phones ringing is not one that pleases the ear.
We have been able to go to a grocery store, hardware store, and the many shops in Christiansted. Mike even applied for a job here, but the firm will be hiring in 2 years! Oh well ,maybe on the way back! Most importantly, we visited the brew pub, and yes mom, the rum punches are the best in the Caribbean so far!

I will also be flying back to the US to deal with our house. The renters decided to leave early so I have to take care of re renting... Also, we have 2 cats that we need to find homes for. Fatty has been with Damon and Melanie and they love her but a year is a long time. Blackie Chan has been living in our house with the renters so now he needs a home, too. The logistics of cruising can be overwhelming at times, however, it usually works out somehow.

In August, both Andrew and Doug will leave us. Andrew will return to UF, Go Gators! Doug will go to live with my wonderful mother and Daddy Eddie where he can attend high school. Phillip will get his wish to be an only child for a time.

While here we have spent time with Bruce, a friend of ours from Ozona, who runs St. Croix Marine. He has been awesome and lent us his car and even his laundry machines! We went out to a nice restaurant for dinner the other night and then he took the guys fishing this morning. We were invited to a fish fry/party tonight and are looking forward to meeting some more people here. Other than that we have been doing a lot of repairs on the boat and she is looking good!

All in all, it's just another beautiful day in paradise! Cheers!