We arrived in St. Croix mid day on Saturday. The passage was nice and fairly uneventful, the winds were consistent, the nights moonlit. It did get really hot during the middle of the day. The boat had to be closed while underway since waves were breaking on deck. And the fact that we couldn’t get out of the sun as much as we usually do in the middle of the day made the heat more noticeable. We did have a little bit of excitement when we were intercepted by the US Coast Guard about 10 nm from St. Croix. We thought we would be boarded and inspected for sure but were told to have a nice day after a bunch of questions. Guess we didn’t meet the profile they were looking for.
We’ve noticed that the nights are cooler now that we are farther north. We were as far south as 11 deg N latitude in Grenada, now we are 17 deg N. (For reference Boston is about 42 deg N.) We actually used covers last night as the temperature dipped into the mid 70’s. Albeit it was only a sheet but still chilly enough to need covers at night. The last time we used covers was about three months ago.
The water is incredibly clear here. We can see the bottom in over 70ft of water. We look forward to snorkeling on some of the many reefs.
So far St. Croix is a pleasant surprise, the pace is very low key and in general things are understated compared to our expectations. We decided to stop here for inexpensive clean fuel and because it was a convenient intermediate point before meeting friends in Culebra, Puerto Rico. We assumed that it would be similar to the other US Virgin islands, which we’ve heard are over run with cruisers and charter boats. There seem to be no charter boats here and only a few cruisers. The prices for food are the least expensive we’ve seen in the Caribbean, similar to home. And we seem to be able to get anything we can dream of. It is a little shocking, though, to see huge American pick-up trucks everywhere and we were told that it was WAY too far to walk to the market a mile away. We were a bit surprised not to find efficient public transportation (another indication we are back in the US). In general we have been very impressed with public transportation in the Caribbean. Buses for the most part are privately owned and operated with only fares being regulated. This makes for an incredibly efficient system, which we’ve found on most other islands. For example in Grenada the buses are vans (about the size of a mini van at home) that are packed FULL of people, 21 was the most we counted on one van. Though comical at times, the efficiency of moving people from place to place is unbeatable. It is hard to walk more than a block without a bus or two trying to compete to get you aboard.
As we were returning to the boat yesterday, a couple of guys from a sport fishing boat offered us some of the wahoo they had just caught. I thought he was joking when he handed me a 10 lb bag of wahoo steaks. I packed as much as I could into our tiny freezer compartment and cooked four big steaks for dinner. There was still quite a bit left over so we offered it to fellow cruisers. It was delicious, what a treat!