The sun has just begun to light the sky over Tortola BVI and St John USVI to the east of Red Hook this morning. The breeze is light and is just enough to take the edge off the humidity. The sounds of the marina in the morning nearly compares to the scenery. There are the roosters crowing, the rattle of halyards from the sail boats anchored out, the occasional three blasts of a horn signaling a ferry boat backing out of the Ferry terminal, the drone of a dingy idling by... Its why I enjoy getting up early and sitting on the dock with my coffee. Slowly the marina comes to life. The Cat sailboat next door is readying for their next charter. The second floor of red hook is a buzz with people visiting the coffee shop. A charter boat slides into the marina with the mate on the bow ready to throw the cast net on some pilchards to be used as bait for todays charter. But best of all is looking east from the marina and seeing that sun break through the morning haze and light up the Virgin Islands to the east of us. Yep we are back in St Thomas.
We departed the Dominican Republic about 10 days ago. The crossing was typically rough. I really do not like heading east along the north shore of Puerto Rico this time of year. The winds always pick up midday and seem to always oppose the current, making for rough ride.
Once in San Juan at Club Nautico Marina, Dan and I rented a car and drove all over San Juan to do our re-provisioning. We went to West Marine, Costco, and a tackle store. It was nice to be able to get good supplies again. And YES... We bought four gallons of USDA milk. Between one of our store runs, I took Dan out to Old San Juan and did the driving quick tour of the area. I was quite impressed with the renovations being done all over old San Juan. The area had been a bit run down in past visits but was quite clean and very busy.
With our repairs done and the boat restocked, we left the next morning for St Thomas. We had an uneventful trip. As we idled back and made the turn into Red Hook I was shocked to see that we were the only sport fish in the entire marina. Even the Marlin Prince was not there (in the boat yard). Being the first sport boat of the coming season to arrive was pretty cool. As Dan and I walked around the marina and to the bars and shops, there was a genuine joy on the faces of friends and businesses. They really like the summer when all the visiting sport-fishing boats return. We were welcomed with open arms.
Red hook has not changed much but the changes that have occurred are for the better. There are a few more places to eat and the grocery store is over the top nice now. There is little need to venture to any other stores on island for provisions now. Stewart can still be found busy at his desk at Neptune Tackle Store. While he has all the talk you could ever need, He seems to be able to get anything else you need as well. Glad to see him still there. I did run into Jimmy Loveland (Stewarts brother) at OX bistro. He has not changed a bit. He bought me a drink and we settled into the same conversations we were in two years ago. I always enjoy chatting with Jimmy.
When one travels as extensively as we do, Inevitably things are going to break. I pride myself in being able to fix nearly anything on the boat. But at times I need just a little help. I had to make two phone calls over the past week for help. One was to Hank Borek with Galati. He helped me figure out a way to patch our steering and helped me diagnose an issue I was having with our cable master. I have to say that Hank has helped me through many a tight spot over the years, he is an invaluable contact and I hope Galati Yachts knows what a great employee they have. The other phone call I made was to Ralph Howell with Middleton Marine. I had a generator issue that I could not figure out to save me. I looked it up in the online manuals and it just lead me to call Ralph. With in 3 minutes of diagnosing on the phone, Ralph knew what the issue was and talked me thru the fix. Its good to have a mechanic on speed dial the likes of Ralph.
Three days after arriving in St Thomas, I called the boss and asked if we could run the boat over to St John and tie off to a mooring ball for the day. The bottom of the boat had quite a bit of growth on it and needed to be cleaned. Yes I could have paid someone to come to the marina and clean the bottom but we wanted to have a fun day as well. The boss sanctioned the day and we took the boat a couple miles over to St John and tied off in Maho bay. The water there is 10 to 60 feet deep and really clear. It is nicely protected and makes for a great place to just sit for the day. The shores are line with pam tree and nice beaches but the best part of anchoring there is just floating behind the boat. It is a very pretty place.
With the marlin season just coming to St Thomas, I do not have anything to report other than a few scattered reports of Blue Marlin being caught. But mostly all the local boats are fishing the South Drop as it is closer and there has been a consistent bite there as well.
Originally Published By Capt. Ed Thompson on the "Blue Heaven"
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