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Easter and Easter Monday

Apologies for lack of blog yesterday. The sail to St Thomas was a beat all the way but not an unduly unpleasant one. I had decided to stop at one of two anchorages in St Thomas, islands off the North End close to St Johns where I was heading to clear out, the first one appeared pretty full so I headed for the second where I anchored in the mid afternoon. I couldn’t go where I wanted to because there was a raft of about 30 speedboats  with the loudests, awfullest, music, or noise coming from them. I reckoned that they were all day trippers from St Thomas and this proved to be correct because at about 1800 the raft broke up and they all pushed off leaving myself in peace. I moved to my favoured anchor spot and spent a peaceful night.

Yesterday I headed off at about 0700 and went to Cruz Bay, St Johns to clear out. Nosing into the harbour the designated anchorage appeared tiny, close to the beach and channel and too shallow. My bloody instruments- not only does the wind not work the depth now is intermittent - it only works when you don’t need it. So, a couple of times I had to turn the system off and on again to try to get it To read. In any event there was another boat in the area which might have been possible for me but I gave up as, although there isn’t much tide, what there was, was falling and I didn’t want to be beached. I had a nosy around outside to the North, but it looked rocky and or corally, to the South, almost in the way there was a patch of sand I was about to anchor in when a Catamaran went past and said that there was an anchorage inside. I knew this, I’d already looked but decided to have another look. On arrival this time the other boat had gone and I managed to anchor, just outside the channel, with about 20cm showing under the keel. I rowed ashore to the Customs berth. An angry fat local woman, the harbour master, told me where to go and I found the customs and immigration. They were very friendly and said I didn’t need to clear out to go to the BVIs, but I could if I wanted to. I said I’d prefer it, so they gave me piece of paper to fill in, which I did,, they stamped it, copied it and that was that. I had to leave via a different door and the angry, fat, black woman told me to report to her window. I did, she asked various questions, like ‘name of boat’ ‘what flag you wearing’ ‘how big tender’ which I answered as politely as possible, on hearing my tender was only about 5 ft long she obviously didn’t believe me and had to go and have a look. After some punchiing into her tablet she said ‘8 dollars’. I asked what it was for and she said it was for use of the tender dock. Anyway I tried to give her a 50 dollar note but that was no good, she had no change and i paid on my credit card. As there had been no charge for clearing out I thought it wasn’t too bad really but thought that a tourist facing person like her maybe ought to be more friendly.

Anyway, I’ve just looked at my passport and, as expected, I was stamped into the states, but don’t seem to be stamped out. I’m not sure if this is important, probably only if I want to go there again on this passport. I’ll take a photo of my outward clearance.

I then motored around the corner and to the North against the wind, before setting some sail and heading for Road Town Tortola., upwind of course.  I arrived at about 1400. Had some lunch and pottered around a little before rowing ashore, locking, for the first time, the dinghy, and going to the cruise terminal to see if Customs and Immigration were there. They weren’t. I then went to the Ferry terminal, where they were but were checking in a ferry full of passengers. After about an hour this was completed and I got to see a nice customs lady who said, have you filled in the ‘Sail clear’ or something form. Obviously, I hadn’t, but a nice skipper doing the same thing managed to get it to work on my phone and I went through the rigmarole of getting it downloaded and filling in the various bits of it. Obviously it didn’t work, completely,  on my phone so I ended up having to go to a computer in the lobby to get it to accept dates. On that note, please can crew D let me know their full names, dates of birth, passport numbers with date of issue and expiry so I can get incredibly cross trying to fill in a form on the telephone - thanks.

Once I’d managed all that I went back to Customs who sent me to immigration, where I had to fill in an arrival form, leave my passport with them, go back to customs, go to a pay desk, back to customs, back to immigration and pick up my passport. All fairly  friendly and costing 41.24 dollars including 10 dollar conservation contribution, compulsory, not bad I don’t think.

I then went for a wander, bought some onions, ginger and cheesy wotsits, had a meal ashore of Jamaican style curried mutton, which I think was goat and fairly expensive but very tasty before returning to the boat for cheesy wotsits and a beer before bed. Today I’m  going to potter before heading somewhere else, not quite sure where yet, but tomorrow will be beef Island where the airport is for meeting up with Crew d  at about 1200 once they’ve cleared in off the plane which I think we’re all looking forward to quite a lot.

Slainte Jock and Yemaya

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