That’s Nightingale Tune – the blue boat in the center of the bay. Photo: Mike McLean

Hello, US Virgin Islands! It’s oh so good to be back.

The first time we landed here aboard Nightingale Tune, I waxed poetic about the special significance these islands hold for us. Returning to the USVI after sailing down island for the past nine months, felt like coming home.

Unfortunately, our home is quite crowded with chartered boats, now at the height of tourist season. When we arrived, zonked out from our overnight passage, we were frazzled looking for a comfortable anchorage to lay our heads. Caneel Bay, where we stopped to clear customs, was too roll-y. Christmas Cove was a scene and a half. Even our beloved Maho Bay was filled with sleep-killing north swell. It was frustrating. Luckily, good ol’ Waterlemon Cay had one mooring left, and we got down to the business of some serious relaxation.

BTW, it’s WaterLEMON not WaterMELON. Cute, right?

We’ve stumbled across boat friends we’ve met in our travels from Annapolis to Grenada. After clearing Customs in at Cruz Bay, we ran into MickBeth, our friends and former dock neighbors, at the dinghy dock. They joined us for a few days of fun, and helped us introduce the pups to the concept of hiking along beautiful park trails and historic ruins.

Cole and Marigot continue to amaze us with their ability to adapt to ever changing environments. Since they are not allowed on the beaches within the national park (most of St. John is part of the park system), we’ve been making full use of the trails instead – I’m not sure who this is better for – us or them. Both parties are getting more exercise these days and that is a good thing.

We’ll be hanging here in the USVI for a month at least, catching up with friends, getting the dogs their first course of heart worm treatments, and enjoying our favorite place.

Solo snorkeling while Brian watches the pups

The reefs here used to be so lush, now it’s mostly dead coral and very few fish

lone parrotfish

impossibly blue day

MickBeth crew: Gwen, Mike, Robin, and Beth, our dock neighbors in Grenada

Cole at the ruins of a sugar mill. They were technically not supposed to be in this part of the park, but the volunteers thought they were so cute that they let us bring them in anyway.

Hazy morning hike

It’s nice to be back to cooking boat meals on the regular