Sunday, March 29, 2015

Heading Down Island




Night Crossing


One hundred and twenty miles from Brewers Bay in St. Thomas Island in the US Virgin Islands  to Oranje Baie, St. Eustatia Island.
If we could hop in the car it would be a 2 hour journey. By boat , averaging 5-6 knots (that's Tom & Megs max speed) it will take 24 hours. Entering a new harbour needs to be a daytime arrival, so we up the anchor in Brewers Bay, say bon voyage  to our friends and by 1 pm we're off.

Sailing beside Alpha Crucis

Crossing at night with no moonlight is surreal, it's impossible to tell where the ocean ends and the skies begin. It feels like the boat is barrelling along into a totally black void at tremendous speed , we're playing Starship Enterprise. The swirling white wake coming off the side of the boat makes it look like the boat is going extremely fast when in reality we are travelling at just 5-6 knots. The weather is clear and the seas are relatively calm with swells of only 3 feet.
 Small twinkling lights appear, is it a distant vessel or a star? The only point of reference was Tom & Megs on Alpha Crucis and their mast light and stern light bobbing in front of us over the waves like she's having just a wonderful time dancing over the ocean and wiggling her butt in glee.
Cruise ships were out in great numbers and went by us like small lit up cities. One such ship coming toward us, intersected our path, but we could see no red or green lights and found it almost impossible to figure out in what direction she was going until we had to make a mad dash to starboard to get past her. Those captains must sleep at the helm as when we called her on the international hailing channel, they did not even have the courtesy to reply with their intentions.  We only knew it was the  Royal  Caribbean Line. I guess they feel that the laws of the sea do not apply to them.
Cruise ship in our path

Dawn broke through the clouds just as we were coming up to Saba Island, which has a prehistoric look, rising out of the sea and reaching up to touch the clouds.
Sunrise as we approach Saba


Saba

Our destination, St. Eustatia is tucked just behind Saba, but still 5-6 hrs away at this speed. We reach Oranje harbour at 12:30pm - 23 1/2 hours after leaving St. Thomas and moor off the cliffs, looking up at a very well preserved stone fort. We could almost feel the cannons pointed our way and the whispers of pirate ditty's in the air.

St Eustatia, Oranje Baie




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Sailboat owners Gord and Sue aboard their 55' Whitby Ketch "Ocean Wings" share their adventures and travels as they start their retirement, living their dream of seeing the world from oceanside.
Ocean Wings is a recent purchase and our first foray into the Sailing Lifestyle. We're excited and a little scared. Join us in our adventure.