Posted by David Goodman on Friday, March 4, 2016
Polar opposites attract. One of those laws of nature, and for Susan and Donny, its been going on for 40 + years! Susan is laid back, into rest and relaxation, early to bed, late to rise, read a book in the corner of the cockpit and be totally content to listen to the splashing of the waves. Donny is like the EverReady Bunny (like me!), jumping around the deck, snorkeling, paddelboarding, constantly active…can actually keep up or pass me by in the energy department. We had the good fortune of hosting these two opposites onboard Bel Ami for an extended 9 night/10 day voyage. Unfortunately, the trip got off to an uncertain start with Bobbie Rae bowing out due to a nasty viral infection, so I captained the voyage solo without my Admiral. Day 1 got off to an afternoon start of beautiful weather, and our first overnight at Christmas Cove. Day 2 was downwind to the north side of St. Thomas and the anchorage in the lee of Hans Lollick, which was a first for me…just beautiful. Day 3 was a short sail to Megan’s Bay, where we were joined by Bobbie Rae who had made a good recovery. We tucked into the south end of Megan’s (officially pronounced Mogan’s —rhymes with login) and had an adventurous day and night subjected to a big northwest swell, rocking and rollin and breaking the anchor snubber! Day 4 was a gorgeous sail to Isle Calabrita in the Spanish Virgin Islands. Bahia De Tortuga was a fine lunch stop and Donny and I hiked up to the lighthouse on top. Unfortunately, the lighthouse must have been finally condemned, because to spiral stairs to the tower was blocked off. Still, the views from the top of the island were terrific. Upon our return to Bel Ami we shoved off for a sunset sail into Ensenada Honda, tacking several times against a strong current and finally dropping the hook off Dewey at dusk. After dinner we took climbed into Bel Adinghy and did a mystical evening tour under a fingernail moon of the canal through the mangroves. Day 5 greeted us with an aircraft taking off at about 7:30 AM from the nearby Culebra airport. Nevertheless we enjoyed a leisurely morning, then spent the day in a rented Jeep exploring Culebra, taking in Tamarind, Flamingo and Zoni beaches—each more breathtakingly beautiful than the next. At Mamacitas in beautiful downtown Dewy we enjoyed drinks and dinner, then back to the boat for an early night. Day 6 began another beautiful day in Paradise as we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast then shoved off for an ultimate snorkeling adventure. Leaving Ensenada Honda, we made way up the Luis Pena channel towards Playa Rosario on the northwest side of Culebra. Alas, the visibility was not so good and the reef was in bad shape. Not what I remembered it to be a few years ago. We eventually picked up a mooring in a beautiful spot on the southwest corner of Luis Pena Island. Day 7 found us heading back to St. Thomas to avoid the strong winds that were heading our way, and we had a wonderful sail into Brewer’s Bay where Donny explored with the paddleboard. Day 8 we sailed to Turtle Cove off Buck Island and swam with the turtles. Then around the point to Shipwreck Cove. Day 9 we set sail early, hoping to make Leinster Bay on the North Side of St. John, but decided to head into our slip to reconsider our options because of the strong winds that had blown in. After much consideration and consulting the latest weather, we decided to head out again and made it to Leinster Bay in record time because of strong yet favorable winds. That afternoon Donny and I hiked up to the ruins of the Murphy House overlooking Watermelon Cay. The evening finished with an accordion concert by your truly. Day 10 had Donny and Susan doing an ultimate snorkel around Leinster Bay and Watermelon Cay, with Susan finding her mermaid roots. Then it was back to St. Thomas and Secret Harbor, where Donny and Susan ended their vacation at Two Sandal’s guest house. Another incredible voyage aboard Bel Ami completed in style.
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