Tuesday, December 18, 2007

St. Martin to St. Thomas December 2007
Picture: Megas in Simpson Lagoon
The nasty weather that Chris Parker had been warning us about turned into Tropical Storm Olga, surprising everyone. Olga passed just north of us, giving us some rain, and lots of gusty winds. We are anchored in Simpson Lagoon, completely protected, but even here, there have been some waves in the 35 knot gusts. Unfortunately the lagoon bottom is weed covered and the anchors tend to fill up with weeds and become big balls of dirt, instead of doing their job. We dragged a few times when we first got here, but then we put out our second anchor, the CQR, one that likes weeds better, and now we seemed to be okay. Problem is that there are many other boats in the lagoon, and every day someone else is dragging near us. This means that we don't go too far from RAFT and that we don't sleep too soundly at night.
The Big Atlantic Rally boats arrived in to St. Martin while we were there, Some of the boats made the crossing from the Canaries (2600 miles) in 10 -12 days. Every day there is a parade of the multi million dollar plastic megas, trekking in and out at bridge openings. The marina guys with divers, really have to work hard to shoehorn them into the med moored docks, especially with the wind. Gives us a new "show" to watch from our cockpit everyday.
We ended up paying for another week, as we waited for the 9-12’ seas to come down. However, we had to get out of there, boats just continued to drag onto us regularly. Our boat neighbours were disappointed to see us leave, we were such good goalies. During the time we were in the lagoon, 12 days, we dragged 3 times, stopped with second anchor. We were endangered by six boats, Ross helped reanchor 3 unoccupied boats, and woke up one sleeping sailor as his boat approached the mega boats on the dock. Note to anyone considering anchoring there....don't anchor close to Shrimpy's. That's were all the boats try to, and then the owners jump off their boats, leaving others to tend to while they are off enjoying St. Martin.
We moved out of the Lagoon on the 1130 bridge and anchored in Simpson Bay, planning an afternoon departure. We calculated that with the predicted NE winds 15-20, we should have a fast downwind sail, and if we left too early we would arrive in St. Thomas before dawn. Not that it would really be a problem, given how large and well lit Charlotte Amalie harbour is. But as usual, the winds did not perform as predicted, instead we had light east winds, directly on the stern. We were able to sail, the main securely tied off, the foresail flogging, furled, wing on wing, averaging 4knots, instead of the expected 6. As a result our anticipated 18 hour sail, took over 24.
We were pleasantly surprised to find "Off Call", friends from Trenton Ontario we had not seen since Luperon. They were heading off to St. Martin but had waited for us, knowing we were coming in. It was great to see Joe and Wendy, even if it was only for a few hours.