St. Thomas with the Armstrongs

St. Thomas with the Armstrongs


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I usually drive us into the anchorage while Trent gets the anchor ready.

We finally made it to St. Thomas! And just barely in time to meet up with the rest of Trent’s family who’ve got a condo on Sapphire Beach for two weeks. Reunited and it feels so good! I think salty ole’ Steve, who’s been crewing on Vagabond for the past 3 weeks, was good and ready for a hot shower. Can’t say I blame him. It feels incredible to be with family again. We’re so blessed!
We spent a night on the hook in Amelie Charlotte before sailing around to the east end of the island where we set the anchor in Red Hook for the duration of the Armstrong family vacation. All the big cruise ships pull into Amelie Charlotte and dump tourists off by the thousands. That place is a total tourist trap. It’s the kind of place we normally try and avoid because we can’t afford it. Never-the-less, Steve managed to find some cheap beer and nachos at Coconuts, which could only be found a couple blocks off the main drag. We in fact had such a good time with the bartender that I invited him over for dinner on Vagabond. Trent picked him up off the dock after his shift and dinghied him out to the sailboats. Our friends on Sailacious gave us some generous portions of marlin and dorado that we intended to cook up into fish tacos that evening. Trent caught a pompano leaving Puerto Rico so we had a very nice trio of fish to fill our tummies. I wasn’t until I wrote this post today when I was researching the pompano that we realized it was actually a jack crevalle. Hands down, we all agree, the marlin was our favorite. We intend to throw the pompano/jack crevalle, whatever it was, back should we ever hook another one. The white meat on the fillet was certainly deceiving.

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He’s fighting a fish, probably a barracuda. We caught 5 big ones in about 2 hours and quit fishing after that. It was beginning to get annoying. Sails down, sails up, sails down, sails up…

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Jack crevalle, it’s what’s for dinner.

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The far left fillets are Pompano the next two are mahi and the bottom is the marlin. I just threw in a slab of butter with some seasoning.

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Drinks at Coconuts to celebrate our arrival. Dan’s on the left and Steve’s on the right.

Red Hook as an anchorage is not recommended, unless you can sleep through anything. The bay is open to the east and the wind is, guess what, still blowing from the east. That we can deal with but it’s the ferries and fishing boats that fly across to St. John for 14 hours of each day. That’ll throw you around. It’s not the kind of place where you can leave things out on the counter and you must always secure your drink. I wouldn’t dare attempt to cook anything either. I wake up around 5 a.m. when the first title wave rolls me around the bed and then I’m up for the day. Bed-time comes much earlier for me in St. Thomas. I can’t complain too much because we’re one of the lucky ones who can escape the anchorage during the day to enjoy the condo and play with the Armstrongs at Sapphire Beach. It’s only about a 10 minute dinghy ride across the ship channel to Sapphire Beach, which isn’t too bad in light winds.

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Snorkel tour here we come. Luke’s leading the way.

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These ducks were so cute and always ready to snack.

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Irmgard, Steve and my love are entertained by the duck.

The last time we were able to swim in the ocean was at Turks and Caicos; that was hundreds of miles ago. I was anxious to get my snorkel on and mission accomplished. Sapphire does have some nice reefs, I must say. We took them on a dingy snorkel tour and had a blast; Luke just loves driving the dinghy. I sort of expected the Virgin Islands to look like the Bahamas but they’re mountainous and the clarity and brilliance of the water and beaches just doesn’t compare. Mountains equal less sandy beaches. Yes, we live on the water but we don’t spend a lot of time laying around on the beach like you’d think. The Armstrong family vacation on Sapphire Beach sure has been a nice break from Pepper. Tomorrow, Dan wants to take everyone out on Vagabond for a day sail over to St. John. Looking forward to it!

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Steve, Luke, Dan and us after one too many drinks thanks to $1 wells at Melt. Should have stopped there!

8 Comments

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  1. Mike

    Congratulations! You have made it down to my old stomping grounds now. Jost Van Dyke is a favorite and Foxy’s does a weekly barbecue in Great Harbor. Last Tango is currently at Rum Cay being battered by the storms that came out of Florida, and we are looking to ride south on the change in winds behind this front. Right now the winds have clocked around to NNW but tomorrow are predicted to originate out of the north for a few days.. We’re hunkered down and ready to move on.

    • Monica

      Hi Mike! Yea we’re stoked to be here and I’m doing all the navigating. Jost is our next stop! Have you been to Foxy’s Taboo on the East side of the island? Is it worth it and have you anchored there? What about Bubbly Pool? We just talked about Rum Cay and how terrible that anchorage is even in good weather. We only had to do a day but it was rolly so I can’t imagine what it’s like in bad weather, yikes. Sorry to hear you’re having a rough time. Wish you guys were here to show us around. There is so much to plan it’s overwhelming. Glad to hear from you. Hugs to you three!

  2. Lorrie Hess

    Marc and I spent time at Sapphire Beach a couple years ago with friends who have a walk-out condo there. It was so beautiful! I spent half a day trying to windsurf and failed, although many people randomly came up to me and helped. It was great to have such good encouragement, although lessons were needed more. This is one of the few places on your voyage where I recognized the scenery in the background of one of your photos, which made it even more fun!

    • Monica

      If I would have known about your friend’s condo I would have loved to talk to them about renting it for the Armstrongs. We found a great place nevertheless. It’s so cool that you recognize the beach and condos! I wish you were here to show me around for once! You would have loved the Virgin Island National Park we sailed to on St. John yesterday. It was like a postcard! Oh, by the way, I’m dying to learn to windsurf. It looks so easy but I hear it’s actually quite difficult. That would have been a fun thing for us to learn to do together I think.

  3. Philip Hawkins

    This is fantastic. Love your blog. You guys are living the dream. I’m pretty sure my wife gets annoyed every time you write a blog because I bring it up at random times for days. Plus I spend an hour looking at sail boats online each time you write… Kids can wear life jackets all the time, right? 🙂

    • Monica

      I just love hearing that! I hope maybe your wife will be inspired to take a leap of faith with you one day, even if it’s not in a sailboat, rock the boat 😉 Boat shopping is fun isn’t it? A nice break from reality! And…you never know what will turn up as an opportunity for your family. I’ve become close with several families with young children living on sailboats. Homeschool. The kids are all so well behaved, smart and well rounded, cultural…the list goes on and on. The down side is, they don’t get to spend a lot of time with kids their own age which makes it hard and I think it’s important.

  4. Benjamin Moore paint mogul and blow-boat buddy

    Thank you again for continuing to share your adventure. I’ve caught quite a few Jack Crevalle but had always been told you couldn’t eat them. Same thing for the barracuda! How did that go??? were they tuff, bloody, bony??? What is you next destination? Have you decided? What are your plans for hurricane season?

    • Monica

      Hey Benjamin!! The Jack was tough but we ate it anyways. It just didn’t compare to the marlin and mahi. The meat was white. It looked quite nice, actually. We know a lot of people eating barracuda and Jacks and they’re just fine. The toxic fish poisoning isn’t likely to come from eating one single fish. It builds up in your system and then it’s one fish that puts you over your limit, then you get sick. Jost Van Dyke is next, I do believe! I’m in charge of planning the next few weeks and there is LOTS of options. Hurricane season…considering Granda because we also need to do some bigger repairs. You know how that goes! I hope you see this!

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