24 January 2008

Historic Christiansted, St. Croix, USVI

January 24, 2008

This week started out on a tragic note: the loss of our first Whisper-caught mahi-mahi. Yes, this is a “fish that got away” story. On Sunday we sailed from St. Thomas to St. Croix. Approximately 40 miles. The weather was squally and blustery and Whisper and her crew performed exceptionally well. The wind was blowing consistently between 20 and 25 knots and during one squally gusted up to 35 knots. We set up the windvane self-steering and averaged around 5.5 to 6 knots. Yee haw! What a perfect time to fish!

We threw a lure overboard and soon enough there was a tug on the line and we had hooked a HUGE mahi-mahi. Exaggerations aside, this guy was at least 4 feet long and looked to have weighed around 40 pounds. He was fluorescent blue and green with a silver belly and he thrashed around like crazy. Hans sat on the coachroof and slowly pulled in the handline. Kristen positioned herself in the cockpit with the gaffing hook ready to gaff him and pull him aboard. Alas, we forgot to think about the dinghy which was being towed behind on a 20 foot line. The smart mahi jumped the dinhgy line, tangled the fishing line with the dinghy line and the fishing line broke. ARRRGHGGGHHH!!! And SH&*&*%$& AND FU*&#(*$^!!!

To console ourselves we wandered ashore that evening in search of dinner…what luck! We found a bar with a live blues band, reuben sandwiches and the Patriots game. GO PATS! See you at the superbowl!

A view of Christiansted from the fort.

Touring historic Christiansted.

A typical street in Christiansted.

Since then, we’ve been reading a lot (it’s been pretty squally and rainy), successfully snorkeling for lobster and conch, hiking around the historic town of Christiansted and touring the island by car. We are here with our friends Becky and Joe from the boat Half Moon. Yesterday we rented a car and drove around the island to see the Point Udall (the eastern-most point in the US), the Hovensa oil refinery (largest in the western hemisphere, ugh), the Cruzan rum factory and we went snorkeling in Fredriksted with the hope of seeing sea horses. No luck.

A successful lobster and conch harvest.

At Point Udall.

The main economy of St. Croix was sugar...the ruins of sugar plantations can be found all over the island.

Hans looking for coconuts.

Hans sniffing the fermenting rum.

Barrels and barrels of rum..

The island-touring crew.
We’ll be in St. Croix for a couple more days and then we’ll head north again to the BVIs. We’ve been having many problems with our dinghy, but the excellent warranty and customer service of Achilles is shipping us a brand new dinghy from Japan. It is being shipped out today to St. Thomas so we’ll be back in St. Thomas to pick the dinghy up and also to meet up with friends Jerry & Laurie from MA who will be in St. Thomas for a night as part of their cruise.