Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year

The crew of sv Honey Ryder wishes everyone the best in 2014.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Maho, Francis and Cinnimon Bay Underwater

There are so many spots to snorkel around these three bays - amazing.

National Parks in USVI

We have really been enjoying hiking on the National Park trails. 

Francis Bay St John

Does anyone know a good termite guy?


Ruins from long ago

BIG plant
Given that over 40% of St John is National Park, most bays have mooring balls to protect the reefs/coral/bottom and such.  Anchoring is restricted.  However the moorings are reasonably priced at $15 a night - $7.50 if you are a senior citizen.  Not bad given the BVI side is $30 a night. 
Floating pay station

Tom getting an official pay envelope out of supply box

Tall column with slot is where you drop your pay envelop in

Floating self pay stations are set up to make it easy.


Molly on her SUP


Baxter and Kala going ashore
 sv Terrapin let us try their inflatable Stand Up Paddle boards (SUP's).  They may it look so easy.
Crew of sv Terrapin going ashore
It was sort of challenging but we did wait until there was a fair amount of wind to give it a try....D-oh.  We both started on our knees and then transitioned/graduated/ to standing.  SUP's are so kewl because you are up 5 ft or more the water level and thus can see fish, turtles, stingrays, and such a little better than in the kayak which is 2 ft above water level.  A budget meeting aboard s/v Honey Ryder has been scheduled to review the possibility of inflatable SUP's aboard s/v Honey Ryder.  Given we didn't try these until mid-afternoon Dec 23rd, it didn't seem fair to stress Santa with a last min. request like that.  Hee hee
Tom on a SUP
Sabrina on a SUP

Thursday, December 26, 2013

St Thomas

We sailed today from St John to St Thomas so we could connected with Dan who was set to fly into and out of St Thomas on a 24 hour work turn around flight.  We have not had Internet the last few days.   This afternoon late we got anchored across the street from the airport and found some internet so we could email Dan with our position for his arrival tomorrow...But honestly all he would need to do is look out the cockpit window as he lands the plane to see us as we were that close to the airport and runway!  But once we logged on, we discovered Dan's trip was cancelled.  Darn it!  Oh well.  3 mins after reading that email, we look up to see sv Terrapin in their dink casting off from the beach where they picked up new crew who just flew in and walked over from the airport. We waved them over.  They said they were moored just around the corner on a FREE mooring ball and that there was another right by them and we should come grab it.  What the heck!  Stay put and listen to flights coming and going the rest of the evening or go hang with sv Terrapin?  We pulled up anchor and motored around.  Soon we were moored and took our dinghy over to sv Terrapin for hh.  Bonus show for hh was watching the magnificent cruise liner Queen Mary Two undock and pivot in a very small area right by the mooring field and then silently glide by as she departed port for a new, unknown destination.  Wow!
Sv Terrapin will head out tomorrow to explore the islands with new crew.  We plan to explore St Thomas some.  We need provisions and such.  I tried to find an open wifi connection this eve but failed.  I have awesome pics from the last few days to share with you all.  Looks like we will probably have to take the laptop ashore and find open wifi tomorrow as we explore.  Stay tuned - updates coming with pics!!!
So that is the life of cruisers...plans changes (99% of the time this is driven by winds and weather) and so we adjust.
However.......Dan....if you are reading this.  Don't feel bad.  Don't you worry your head or lose sleep just because today was the worst weather ever!  Worse than our Gulf Stream crossing.  Our lives flashed before our eyes type stuff!  We braved horrific winds and waves today on our passage from St  John to St Thomas so we could see you for a mere 6 hours (maybe)!  Nope, don't you think twice about getting our hopes up only to have them crushed.  Just kidding.  No worries.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Very Merry To Everyone

I am not sure we will have Internet tomorrow - and that is ok...so we want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas / Happy Holiday today.  We hope it is exactly the type of day you want no matter what that might be.  For our first Christmas in the Caribbean we will probably swim, snorkel, walk along the beach and sit in the sand.  Perfect for the crew of sv Honey Ryder.

Vigin Island National Park St John

Over 40 % of St John Island is National Park.  Who knew!  Well, I guess its in the guidebook if you read that far.  Generally I focus on the piloting and navigation part so much I tend to forget the "ashore" stuff. Apparently the Rockefeller family understood the value of the beauty and uniqueness of this jewel called St John Island.  They bought land and then gave it to the federal government for a National Park.  How kewl is that!  We have been taking advantage of the various hiking trails each day.  For the past four days we have been in Maho Bay on the ne corner of St John Island for those following along with a map/chart.  We were going to move to another bay but sv Terrapin is here and we have been having fun hanging with them.  They have inflatable SUP boards (stand up paddle) that they said we could try.  We didn't get that done yesterday so we are staying another day.  Plus Tom hopes to finish a book he is reading to hand off to them.  We plan to head around the corner today to yet another bay for more hiking and snorkeling.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Caneel Bay Wildlife

Some of the wildlife in and around Caneel Bay USVI.
Below is from my snorkel yesterday morning. 
This fish was about 3 ft long and very big around.

This poor stingray had a fish hanging around on top of him/her that just wouldn't leave it alone.

This stingray didn't seem to have a stinger tail. It is the second one I have seen that has a stubby tail.  Hum?  Do/can they lose them?  Do they grow back? 

I think this is a really big sea cucumber but I am not 100% sure.  Still learning.  It was about a foot long.  Sort of reminded me of something off an old Star Trek episode the way it moved.

This flat fish (flounder?) changed color as his background changed.  Above he is in sand.  Below- can you see him?  He blends into the coral/rock but is basically in the center of the pic.  It was so fascinating to watch. 
Deer.  I have NO idea where they came from or how they got to St John but we saw deer today. It was sort of weird.  We also saw what are supposedly feral donkeys but they were on fancy Caneel Bay Resort property and seemed pretty content to munch straw that someone had put out for them.
Deer - not on golf course but manicured grounds

Deer next to water sports shed just off Honeymoon Beach
 As we hiked further  we saw a massive termite nest/mound.  *Sorry for the duel pic.  I hit some button on my new camera by accident and ended up with this special effect - double vision.
On our return hike we stumbled onto an amazing fight between a mongoose and iguana.  It was really something to see.  I took video for a good portion.  Spoiler alert - it didn't not end well for the iguana.  Sorry if it's shaky and such.  I didn't edit it down.  I know I should be it's late, the power on the laptop battery is running down and frankly I am lazy.  *I told you I would edit the dolphin video from earlier this fall in Charleston SC and have you seen it yet?  NO.  Best you suffer through the raw vs wait for the edited to come....never.   

Caneel Bay St John USVI

sv Honey Ryder on the right

It's a bit rolly but otherwise not a bad place.

Cap10 Tom after our swim ashore

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Back In The USA

Sunset in Caneel Bay USVI
Sort of....We cleared into the USVI (United States Virgin Islands) at Cruz Bay on St John around 4pm this afternoon.  Cruz Bay is an interesting place. We didn't stay long.  Just long enough to get the official paperwork done.  We headed back round the corner to Caneel Bay for the night.
Looking west toward St Thomas

Cruising Kid Fun

Check out these cruising kids making their own fun.  They played at this for over 3 hours.  And why not!  Looks like a blast.

Meet Sabrina

She works at The Pub at the Bitter End Yacht Club.  The Pub has free wifi so that is where you will find all the cruisers.  Seriously!  They are there for wifi NOT drinks.  Case in point, you can find cruisers there in the morning before The Pub even opens, using the free wifi.  Really! 

We connected because we both have the same name but clicked because she is genuinely a nice person.  I am very glad to have met her. 

North Sound Rainbow's End

Look what a couple of squalls brought to North Sound this past Monday!  So bright and full (end to end)- amazing!


I mentioned previously that as part of the Salty Dawg Rally we get one free night on the dock at Bitter End Yacht Club.  We decided to use our night this past Monday.  Check out some of our neighbors. 

Above is s/v Dorade a Olin Stephen's designed boat, launched in 1931.  Fascinating history and details here.  Such a beauty. 

Also on the dock with us was the sailing yacht Red Sky

Motor yacht Clarity occupied the spot across from Red Sky.
Sailing yacht Cookielicious - an Oyster 72 was on the T head of the dock.

A 55 ft Catana slid in next to us

 s/v Honey Ryder - Prettiest girl at the dance!