Sink or Swim

It was about two months ago that I broke the news to my parents about our upcoming journey to move aboard our 37′ Cruisers Yacht, and take a year to cruise the Caribbean, ending up in St. Croix. Had I been able to make the two calls to my Mom and Dad at once they would have both replied in unison, “You had better get the kids into swimming lessons, yesterday”.

Sink or swim

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Christensted, St. Croix, US Virgin Islands

Saint Croix USVI

We took pictures of this sailing yacht at night and we decided that the image was “wall worthy.”  This is the un-edited image.  We were told that this boat spends the summers in Massachusetts and the winter around St. Croix.  It had a very large crew and they all had busy jobs, from what we saw in a couple of days of it being in port.  Christiansted was one of our favorite places on the island of St. Croix.  It had a very laid back feel and it was quaint.  The streets weren’t busy and there were more local people than tourists.  I have been all over the world and I can say it felt just like the hometown I never had.  The fort guards the harbor as it has since the 1700’s when the Dutch built it to guard against pirates.  It is ironic that the US Park Service maintains the Dutch fort and it is open to the public.

There were a lot of great shops and restaurants in town.  We dined at a place named Savant.  It was walking distance from our little Cay.  There was a shortage of fish because of the storms that surrounded the islands.  The owner said that he bought only one thirty pound fish for the night and was lucky to get it because nobody was fishing.  We were lucky to get a private table in their courtyard.  It was an interesting evening and we dined with some people we met on our Cay.  Our new “friends” were from North Carolina and the matriarch of the group invited us to dinner.  She was a really flamboyant gal who had done a lot in her time and we thought she would be good company.  Her friend who lives on the island was planning to join us and she said he had authored six books about the Caribbean.  We arrived on time and she chose our seats for us.  Have you ever met people like that?

We learned that she nicknamed herself “Catherine the Great.”  Seriously.  Cathy turned out to be obnoxious and one of the most condescending people I have ever met.  I guess she could command the room, in her mind, because she insisted on paying the large price of dinner.  Her Highness said that she would come and visit us when we moved to the island.  Luckily for us, her friend was worse.  He was a pompous man who seemed to think he was gracing us with his presence.  He had a very colorful life and probably had a lot to share but he didn’t.  He drank rum like it was free (actually it was) and didn’t speak to me about anything substantive except how he thought my wife was beautiful.  He mentioned to her that she was older than his girlfriend, which would’ve made that girl his granddaughter’s age.  Life is funny but at least we had something to laugh about.

I am so thankful that I married the woman who is my best friend and confidant.  I know that many people say that about their spouse but I know it to be true.  I spend all of my waking time with my girl and our kids.  We are so lucky that we don’t really fight or become irritated with each other.  It is rare.  She is the only person whom I could dream of spending a year aboard a boat with me.  I feel so lucky to have her and our kids.  It is my dream to get the opportunity to raise two little children.  I have three older kids and I love being their Dad.  The littles haven’t seen the Caribbean and I can’t wait until they see their first unspoiled island.

I saw a lot of people who were content with what they had on St. Croix.  People seemed to be happy with less.  We are spending a lot of time de-cluttering our own lives in our preparation to move.  I spend the good part of my day going through my training gear, gun stuff and bullets.  I can’t take it all and I don’t need most of what I have.  I spent a lot of time being a firearms instructor and it amazed me at how many stashes of bullets I had in my garage.  I think it has hit the hundred thousand mark or so.  It is a good thing that bullet prices are high and I will make a bundle selling what I can’t shoot, take or lose in the remaining months that we have in Austin.  I spent two hours separating varieties of bullets I had in one bucket.  I felt like a big squirrel counting my nuts.  I’m not sure what I needed with thirty holsters but I’m sure someone will be happy to take them off my hands.

I ended the day with a nice motorcycle ride to see our boat docked in the local lake.  I love to ride in nice weather.  I am really happy that my Harley is the only vehicle that we will take to the island.  I found myself dreaming about riding it through the rain forest of St. Croix.

Sometimes I Just Want to Throw Them All in the Sea..

St Croix US Virgin IslandsTourists can be jerks, especially Americans.  We downed a pot of coffee and ate breakfast by the beach at a nice little spot.  It is hard to believe that people can complain in paradise.  I heard a man fussing about his sausage and the poor woman fielding his complaint was beside herself.  Caribbean women have such a good sense of humor.  She came towards us and I asked her if she was getting fussed at and she acknowledged.  She said, “sometimes I just want to throw them all in the sea!”  I laughed, still in disbelief.  Our food arrived and it was horrible.  Undercooked eggs are not Aubrey’s cup of tea.  We served ourselves several refills of coffee and I cleaned up our plates.  We left quietly after she charged us only half price for breakfast.  I surely don’t want to get thrown in the sea.  I’m no dummy!

We awoke to the sounds of crashing waves and a light breeze blowing.  It is delightful here in St. Croix.  We missed our flight from Miami and we arrived after dark.  It was exciting to have new scenery when we awoke.  The winds blew us to the east side of the island and a mile long, uninhabited beach.  Aubrey enjoyed terrorizing all of the cute little creatures of the sea while I snorkeled.  The water is clear and warm.  The creatures are plentiful.  We are both happy clams.

Our Jeep took us to many great places today, all of which we photographed.  It was a success all in all.  We didn’t get lost or stuck on the beach.  No wrecks or rooster fatalities.  Chickens cross the roads here on a regular basis.  We ate very well at a lovely seaside spot in a deserted area of the island.  We were the only people eating in the restaurant.  We went grocery shopping and paid $8.00 for a cube of butter that costs $2.50 in the states.  We paid $19 for a $50 bottle of wine so the way I see it, we are way ahead.

Relocating to St Croix USVI

We are staying on Protestant Key in Christensted.  A ferry carries us to the town that is filled with chickens and beautiful roosters.  The locals affectionately refer to the town as “chickensted.”  We really enjoy the place and it is really slow-paced.  There are few tourists and we haven’t heard any loud music since we arrived.  I don’t think there is much to do in this town, save the back alley strip club we noticed when leaving town today.

Aubrey is going full “Rambo” on me and adopted my combat knife today.  She wears it on her hip held up by her bikini.  Black steel goes well with pink; that’s what I always say.  We don’t have any firm plans for tomorrow but I expect that we will find lots of interesting sights to see.