June 1994 - BVI to St Barts

1 June 1994 Norman Island to Caneel Bay, USVI
We motored across to the Indians and picked up a mooring. Brett and I went for a snorkel around the Indians. Brett swam through a tunnel and we saw a school of squid. We sailed to Soper’s Hole, picked up a mooring and Glenys went to clear out.

We sailed to Cruz Bay, St John and had to anchor outside in between two channels that ferries use. We went to clear in. I’ve been worried for days about our US Visas - both Glenys and I have indefinite, multiple entry visas in our old passports. The boys were on Glenys’ old passport, but we’ve all got new passports now. We’ve been told that the visas will be valid for us all even though they are in our old passports. Fortunately, they accepted the visas and cleared us in without any problems.

We bought some food and went to anchor off a beautiful beach in Caneel Bay. We did a bit of snorkelling while the boys headed for the beach on their body boards. A phenomenon of the Virgin Islands is the laughing gull which looks like a black headed gull. Flocks of them appear from nowhere if you throw out any food. They hover at the side of the boat catching bread and will actually take it from your hand.

2 June 1994 Caneel Bay to Great St James Island, USVI
The boys went to the beach first thing and I used up the remaining air in a tank practicing some diving skills. We motor-sailed over to Great St James Island and anchored in a very protected bay with good holding. We decided to spend the night here and so we had a lazy day.

I, of course, spent most of the day reading diving manuals. We went snorkelling on the south point of the island which was disappointing. The anchorages in the US Virgin Islands appear to be better than in the British Virgin Islands and there are no bloody buoys!

3 June 1994 Great St James Island to Charlotte Amalie Marina, USVI
We motor-sailed around to Charlotte Amalie and straight into the marina. It was a little fraught docking bows-to between pilings with a cross-wind, but we did quite well and didn’t bounce off anything. We sorted out the awning, ropes and assembled the gang plank, and went for a quick reconnoitre of the marina, hotel and surrounding district.

The hotel and marina looks well set up with a swimming pool, shops and restaurants. The surrounding district looks a bit grim with blocks of flats – the hotel staff say that we shouldn’t walk around at night and should use a taxi! I’m irrationally hacked off about this – we’ve been living in foreign countries for nearly two years and this is the first place where we’ve been apprehensive. Has it something to do with the American way of life and culture? Contempt and fear of people of a different racial background?

The best thing we’ve found so far is the supermarket – wow! We’ve not been in a really large supermarket for ages. We wandered around in a daze. We went to the swimming pool for a couple of hours and had a great time. Brett and Craig discovered chlorine and the effect that it has on your eyes! We’ve managed to survive for over 6 months without staying overnight in a marina. We are pretty used to being at anchor but it is nice to be able to just turn on the hose pipe and nip to the supermarket! Your convenience for only $18US per night!

4 June 1994 Charlotte Amalie Marina
I got a lift out to Bolongo Bay with Pam Balash, picked up our mail, paid out $1000 for the IDC Course and manuals and got a lift back to the marina, which was very nice of Pam. Glenys and the boys did school work in the morning and then retired to the pool.

I spent the afternoon wandering around town. The main town centre is very boring, catering for the cruise ships which come in each day. It was more interesting in the area around the marina, Woolworths, supermarkets, radio shack, etc. I bought a couple of things at Bargain Stores and joined the others at the pool. One of our mail envelopes is missing.

5 June 1994 Charlotte Amalie Marina
My 38th birthday, but no recognition for it because Glenys isn’t prepared and I’m starting my course tomorrow! My official birthday is going to be the 16 June which is the day following the Instructor exam and the day before Glenys goes to work on “Dabulamanzi”.

I spent the day repairing dinghies and bikes. I had to throw our big folding bike away because it would cost too much to repair it. Brett’s bike is just working but we will “dispose” of it ASAP because the decks are getting badly rust stained. We ran out of water and filled the tanks with water. “Oh, we’ve run out of water. Brett, could you just go and turn on the hosepipe” – great!

6 June 1994 Charlotte Amalie Marina
First day at Instructor’s Course - a day of lectures and course orientation. We worked from eight o’clock in the morning until six o’clock and then went home to prepare a theory lecture for tomorrow. I was dead tired when I got back to the boat. Glenys gave me a nice dinner after which I ignored everyone and worked until eleven o’clock to sort out this damned lecture – it’s only 10 minutes long. Glenys spent the day doing school work, tidying up and going to the pool (I think!)

7 June 1994 Charlotte Amalie Marina
My first lecture went OK. We did more course work and spent a couple of hours in the pool doing skills and skill instruction. Tonight’s homework was another theory lecture plus a pool session preparation. Glenys did school work and wandered around the shops – no pool (gasp!) I bought a new pair of fins today because I’ve discovered that we have to do an 800 yard snorkel swim in 17 minutes or less.

8 June 1994 Charlotte Amalie Marina
Lectures on PADI standards. I did a theory lecture (which was good) and a pool class session (which was OK.) Glenys had a school work and pool day. I’m starting to get the hang of what’s required for the exam and I’m not half as tired as day 1!

9 June 1994 Charlotte Amalie Marina
Theory, theory, presentation, theory. Eric and I did the 800 yard snorkel swim at lunchtime and managed to do it in 15 minutes – that was hard work but manageable! Glenys and the boys went on the Atlantis submarine today. Pam works there and gave us a ticket to get cheap rates – it was still $45US, but they had a great time.

10 June 1994 Charlotte Amalie Marina
We had a four hour pool session in the morning followed by theory presentations and then class work on the Advanced Open Water Course. I stayed in the evening to do a First Aid Course, which Pam kindly agreed to do for me and Zeno because our CPR was over two years old.