Brad, Dan and Scott's Sailing Adventure

"There she is boys! The SS More Powerful than Superman, Batman, Spiderman, and the Incredable Hulk combined." This space will be used to post updates of our odyssey.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Sneaking into town

After a week or so of cruising around the BVIs, we headed back to the USVIs to pick up Jen and Casey from St. Thomas. Once again, we decided clearing in and out of customs would be to big a hassle, so we didn't. We knew it would be tough to explain Jen and Casey's presence on the boat to a Customs and Border Protection officer, so we dropped them off on the US side of a ferry and picked them up on the British side once their papers were in order. At the same time, Kaleidoscope tried to get an extension on our already overrun cruising permit. Big mistake. We were sent on a wild goose chase, dealing with one officer in one building before being sent off to another to wait in more long lines. Lesson learned: we should have just skipped the whole thing. Additionally, pretty much everyone we talked to was, to put it bluntly, a huge asshole. Possibly because we didn't know that down here you MUST say "good morning", "good afternoon", or "good night" upon greeting someone. "Hello sir, how are you?" will get you treated like dirt.
Once all that was dealt with, we cruised around the islands. There was a lot of doing nothing for the next week. Many naps were taken. We did get to do a few things on our agenda.
The Indians, which Hal, Brad and I had done the previous week did not disappoint. It was some of the best snorkelling I've done in my life. There were hundreds of large and delicous fish, but it's a protected area so we could not fill our fridge.
The baths, the most famous of the BVI attractions were also cool. Some sort of geological phenomenon (I'd explain how, but I must've sleep through that geology class) caused enormous boulders to stack themselves on top of each other. Crawling through, under and over these boulders was a really good time, the only downside being the scores of tourists that you had to see in every direction.
The rest of the week was spent exploring Virgin Gorda and Tortola. Not much to tell here. We did a little snorkelling, some sudokus, and drank plenty of white russians.
We ended up in Road Town, Tortola where we sent Jen, Hal and Casey back to the US. After one final excruciating interaction with a BVI official for our exit we were happy to head out to St. Martin where the fee is $5 and they don't even have customs.
The overnighter ended up being an overnighter and all-dayer. We motored directly into the wind almost the whole way, making just over 3 knots (for those unfamiliar with nautical-speak, that's just over 3 MPH). If you walked the 85 miles, you would have beat us. When the sail did come out at the end, it ripped. The only upside of the crossing was a 10-pound tuna we caught early on. We've been eating it ever since.
I was pretty tired upon arrival, and went to bed around 5:30PM. The sun was still up. When I awoke to the voices of Aurora welcoming us, it was 8:30AM. 15 hours is a lot, even for me.
My initial impression of St. Martin is a positive one. It seems to be filled with friendly, laid-back people who speak a lot of English despite being half-French and half-Dutch. We sneaked across to the Dutch side in order to be nearer to the sail lofts. We took the sail in to be repaired and were told it would take over a week, but after a bunch of "pleeeases" and "pretty-pleeeases" they agreed to have it done by Thursday. Today is Wednesday and Brad and I are doing odd-jobs around the boat that we've been putting off, one of which is to write this blog entry for you people. Done.