Thursday, December 29, 2016

Final Christmas aboard S/V BeBe

Sunset viewed from Francis Bay
Christmas day was an ultra-quiet celebration for us this year.  Ten years ago we spent Christmas day anchored in nearby Christmas Cove on the eastern side of Great St. James Island.  There, we enjoyed watching boats come and go all day as Christmas Cove is sort of the traditional place to spend Christmas day in the USVI.  This year neither of us felt the urge to go the short distance there -- and then have to deal with coming straight back into the wind to return to Francis Bay.  And we have come to really enjoy being in Francis Bay on St. John.  

Foxy and Judy

For a change of scenery a few days past we sailed up to Great Harbour on Jost Van Dyke. The first day there weather was lovely.  On Christmas Eve day we went ashore for lunch at Foxy's -- a 'must do' anytime one stops at Jost.  Foxy chatted with us and bought us a drink on the house to honor our having sailed around the world since last seeing him.  Foxy told us that when his youngest daughter graduated from university that he wanted to give her a trip around the world in 80 days -- as the classic Jules Verne book was entitled.  But he found that this was not possible.  Instead, his daughter and her mom enjoyed a trip around the world in 90 days.  A fabulous graduation gift!  

A charter boat moored next to us.  The guy
would lay in that swan & drink beer.
By the way, years ago we chatted with Foxy's wife one day while Foxy was singing and joking with the band.  She told us Foxy had no idea how much money he has; money means very little to him.  That sure appeared to be the case as we watched him and saw how much he enjoyed telling stories to the audience and singing with the band while sipping rum in his world-famous beach bar and restaurant.  Mama was the money person.  Thanks mostly to her, each of their children has graduated from Ivy League universities in the USA.  We did not see her this time and I was hesitant to inquire because feared she might have passed away.  After all, they are getting up in years!  I hope she is well and that we just missed seeing her that particular day.  Foxy remains as always, full of life and joy, and completely unpretentious, while being one of the wealthiest (if not THE wealthiest) person in the British Virgin Islands.

A house called Steele Point.  My favorite house
in the BVI.  Looks like they have added onto it.
It is located on NW tip of Soper's Hole and is
available to rent for a nice relaxing vacation.
Within minutes of returning to the boat after lunch Bill decided it was just too rough to remain in Great Harbour.  He went back ashore to clear out, but found the officials were out to lunch and about 20 people waiting in the office to clear out.  We upped anchor and motor-sailed over to Soper's Hole and cleared out there.  That was faster than waiting for the officials to return in Jost and then waiting our turn in queue.  Winds were solid over 20 knots and forecast to go higher and remain high for days.  Francis Bay on St. John was looking better and better by the minute.  That bay provides the best shelter from NE winds and swell.  We were back on 'our' mooring before 4 pm.  Next to us was S/V Allegro with Lee and Sharon aboard; this was the boat moored next to BeBe for the final 2 or 3 weeks in Trinidad. 

Christmas carolers
Just before dark several dinghies arrived at the stern of BeBe singing Christmas carols.  These folks were Salty Dawgs.  I do not know if they arrived in the Virgins with the Salty Dawg rally from mainland USA or if they arrived with the Salty Dawg North rally which sailed up from Bequia.  
Christmas carolers
That rally was in Bequia when we stopped there on our way north, but we moved on and did not attend their party.  This was the first time we had heard of the northbound Salty Dawgs. I do not know if this is an annual organized event or if people who had participated in the southbound Salty Dawg rally the previous year got together and sailed north in an unofficial group.  The Christmas carolers visited all the boats moored in Francis Bay on this Christmas Eve; then they gathered on one of the boats to party.  They invited us to join them but I did not want to intrude on their party since we knew none of the folks except Lee and Sharon.

The wind instrument which we thought again was working properly has continued to give us grief.  Intermittently the readings go very low, indicating like 2 knots of wind when we know it is more like 20 knots.  Most of the time it appears to be accurate but every once and awhile it indicates low readings.  Bill has been to the top of the mast to work on this 6 or 7 times already.  We now have 2 complete masthead units and each exhibits this identical intermittent low reading problem.  We have a new mount with attached cable and want to have that installed.  Since this is installed with 4 stainless steel bolts into the aluminum mast, we are positive that the 14-year-old bolts up there are seized.  So it is time for a professional to do this replacement!   Both BVI riggers we have contacted are booked solid until after 1 January, as is the B&G distributor.  We are on the 'call list' for all of them and will give the job to whomever can get to it first.  I find it difficult to understand that hiring someone for this job is so hard!!  We would like to have the wind instrument in proper working order before the new owners arrive 11 January, but it looks like that will not happen.  The rigger we spoke with in St. Thomas said he cannot get to this job until 26 January!

Today we went into American Yacht Harbor in Red Hook bay on St. Thomas to have batteries delivered and installed.  It was that time again!  Only 3 batteries actually tested bad; the other 9 house bank batteries still tested fine.  We were going to replace the 6 batteries that we bought in Montenegro since 3 of those are bad, and we were going to leave the 6 purchased in Turkey because all those are still fine.  But the purchasers of BeBe wanted us to replace all of them (including the starting battery, which also still tests fine) and they will split the cost with us.  We ordered the 13 batteries a couple of weeks ago and the shipment arrived in St. Thomas yesterday.  Each battery weighs nearly 100 pounds.  That would be 1300 pounds lifted up out of the battery compartment; moved up the companionway steps into the cockpit; moved up over the cockpit seats to the deck level; lifted up over the life rail and then down onto the dock.  And then another 1300 pounds reversing all those steps!  Bill and I have done this job ourselves in the past but decided we are too old to do such physical work anymore.  Don't get me wrong -- we could do it -- but we would ache for days afterward!  Time to pay someone else with stronger backs and more flexible legs for this heavy work.  Batteries were delivered right on schedule and all tested fine.  All installed and are charging as I type this blog posting.

We are spending the night at this marina.  Not sure where going tomorrow.  What you want to bet we end up right back in Francis Bay again?

A bright rainbow very close to our boat in Francis Bay on St. John, USVI.

1 comment:

  1. Hi! Your journey is almost over. it's been fun virtually traveling with you. I enjoyed the stories about Foxy's. 20 some years ago my company (Compaq) had a sales contest which resulted in our chartering a Wind Star 440 ft sailboat. We wound up anchoring off shore of Foxy's and spent the afternoon there. We actually all signed a big Compaq flag and fastened it to the ceiling! I suspect it's not there anymore, but I'll never forget it. Wecome home.


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