Nightingale Tune moored in Caneel Bay, St. John, USVI
We sailed Nightingale Tune 2,900 nautical miles and ended up in the US Virgin Islands. For us, this is way more than just another landfall, it’s destiny fulfilled. Let me explain:
Ten years ago, Brian and I attended the wedding of friends in St. John, USVI. We fell in love with the island, rented a house, and came back for vacation. In all of our travels, we’ve never visited a place we love as much as St. John.
Two years ago, we returned, this time to travel the USVI and BVI by boat. We lived aboard an Island Packet 40 for a week-long cruising lesson with an instructor, and loved everything about it.
Last year, we came back and chartered the same boat for a week, this time all by ourselves. We met young couples and families living the lifestyle (this one, this one, and this one), and made a decision – the next time we returned to the Virgin Islands, it would be aboard our own boat.
Just five weeks after that trip, we made an offer on a Whitby 42, sailed her from Annapolis to New York City, and moved aboard.
Earlier this week, we sailed into St. Thomas, USVI from New York City on that very same boat.
All of which explains why tears welled up in our eyes when we spotted St. Thomas from out at sea earlier this week, en route from Puerto Rico. It felt like coming home.
It also explains why we’re in vacation mode a bit (i.e. spending more money than we probably should while avoiding chores and projects) enjoying our favorite stomping grounds with Bo and Allison before they leave for hurricane season. We’ve been ordering pizza from a floating pizzeria in Christmas Cove, swimming with the enormous sea turtles in Maho bay, beach bumming on the white sands of Caneel Bay, having a lime (chilling out with friends and a beverage) in Cruise Bay, and took in the spectacular underwater vistas of Waterlemon Bay (Brian’s all time favorite spot on St. John) while playing with Bo’s GoPro underwater camera.
These days, I wake up with the sun, drink my coffee in the cockpit, and think about how lucky we are.
With our buddy boat, s/v Selah (pictured), anchored in the chaos that is Charlotte Amilie in St. Thomas, USVI. The harbor is filled with cruise ships, sea planes taking off and landing, ferries, floating party bars, and US Coast Guard boats. It’s neither idyllic nor peaceful. We did hget to spend a very fun evening with Joanna and Marc of s/v Discofish, who sailed here and have settled down on St. Thomas.
Pizza Pi, moored in Christmas Cove. This floating pizzeria is the brainchild of a couple who left their jobs as a computer programmer and a teacher to work in the islands as a charter boat captain and a yacht chef. Together, they opened Pizza Pi, making the best pizza in the Caribbean. It can only be reached by boat.
You call in your order via VHF radio. They offer dinghy delivery straight to your boat, or pickup at the window. Delivery was tempting, but we couldn’t resist the opportunity to check out the boat for ourselves.
They hand you your pizza through the window in the stern.
The pies at Pizza Pi are rather unusual. The Carbonara, a white pie with artichokes, peas, leeks and bacon, was the first pizza we’ve had that I haven’t made myself since we left New York in October. It was awesome.
The amazing beach at Caneel Bay
In almost 4 months of cruising warm, beachy places, we’ve never once taken a blanket to the beach for the day. We made up for lost time here.
St. John’s metropolis is Cruz Bay, has a hippy, casual vibe and is home to many popular smoothie and juice joints, as well as a ton of bars and restaurants.
We loved the look of this relatively new addition to Cruz bay, Longboard. Their happy hour sign drew us in – it’s not often you see a dark and stormy on happy hour (at least not where we’ve been so far).
I ordered a smoky, tart Paloma. It was perfect.
The windward cut with Tortola, BVI in the distance
Moored next to Waterlemon Cay
Bo on the bow of Selah with a boat hook, picking up a mooring. This process is a bit more of a production – we all miss anchoring (it also costs $26 dollars a day in the USVI, so we wish we didn’t have to do it).
Our lines rigged up to a mooring painter
It’s getting hot hot hot down here! Luckily, we have a windscoop aboard, which we fly like a chute from the hatch above our bed for natural, sustainable air conditioning.
Brian, snorkeling at Waterlemon