Tag Archives: Francis Bay

Jon & Cathy Visit Us in the Virgins — Feb. 24 – Mar. 3, 2014

Chuck’s niece Cathy and her husband Jon arrived in St. Thomas late in the afternoon of Monday, Feb. 24.   We barely had time to drop off their luggage on Tusen Takk II, anchored in Elephant Bay, before jumping back into the dinghy to proceed to the ferry dock on Water Island, from which we walked over the hill to Honeymoon Bay.   Yup, we were there to watch the movie shown on a screen fashioned out of two sheets strung between two palm trees.  The movie?  Rush.  The meal?  Chicken sandwiches and/or cheeseburgers, washed down with beer and followed with popcorn.  (Except for yours truly, embarked on a month-long experiment of total avoidance of all things gluten, in the hopes of a further lessening of arthritis symptoms.   So no beer or buns for me.  I miss the beer more than the buns.)

That “quick start” set the pattern for their entire stay; we visited, in order:  Great Harbour and Diamond Cay on Jost Van Dyke, Pirates Bight, the Indians, Soper Hole, Cruz Bay, Cinnamon Bay, Francis Bay, Waterlemon Bay, Hurricane Hole, Great Lameshur Bay, Salt Pond, and Drunk Bay before returning to Charlotte Amalie after a week of fun in the sun in order to send our guests off to the frozen north of Bismarck, North Dakota.

We did a lot of snorkeling during their stay, but also played some cards and watched a movie on-board and did some boat projects, including installing new gas struts under the master bed and fashioning a new dinghy seat when the original finally gave up the ghost.  Jon felt responsible for the seat breakage, but the truth of the matter is that the seats provided by AB are notoriously vulnerable to breakage; a number of years ago we had one break from the weight of a slight pre-teen girl who was sitting in the middle when the dinghy hit a wave.   (Of course, Jon is no slight pre-teen girl 🙂 , but the breakage really wasn’t his fault.)

Jon and Cathy make lovely guests.   Easy to get along with, easy to please, and always helpful.   Watching Cathy help Barb thread our yoke through a mooring pennant eye is a joy:  Barb uses a long boat hook to grab the mooring painter.   She pulls the painter up to the high Krogen bow and hands the boat hook off to Cathy, who sets it out of the way and then immediately grabs the other yoke line, feeds it around and under the bow roller, and then hands it to Barb, who by this time has secured the first line through the eye and up snuggly to the bow so as to keep the eye within reach for the second line.   Barb feeds the second line through the eye and lets out some of the first line while Cathy adjusts the length of the second line.   Pure poetry in motion.

Meanwhile, Jon is pinning the stabilizers while I am closing down the electronics.

What a team!

Thanks for coming, Jon and Cathy.   See you next year.

USVI — Grandkids’ visit, Feb 12-18, 2013

As we mentioned in the previous post, Granddaughters Kristen (18) and Abigail (9) arrived on Feb 12.  They almost didn’t come, because in the days before their departure, Kristen developed a sore throat.  Several trips to several doctors later, the initial diagnosis of strep had been eliminated and replaced by tonsillitis and mononucleosis.  At least three different antibiotics had been tried.  At the last minute, a final doctor’s visit led to the conclusion that she could come but should avoid strenuous activities.  (Scratch the planned lengthy hikes on St. John.)

Since it was blowing stink when they arrived, we decided to give them on their first night a relatively non-rocking boat, so we delayed departure from Crown Bay Marina until about noon on the 13th.  We then moved the short distance to Charlotte Amalie, where we did some last-minute shopping, including purchasing a pair of fins for the Abby, and a trip to a doctor for Kristen, who had developed an alarming rash.  Turned out one of the idiot doctors back home had prescribed amoxicillin.  The doctor at Charlotte Amalie was horrified; amoxicillin is well known to cause a rash in patients with mono.   (The prednisone he prescribed has subsequently worked wonders.)

Next morning, Valentines Day, since the wind was still howling, we decided to put the dinghy up on the deck for the trip over to Christmas Cove.  Oh-oh.  The powered davit would not work.  First just a click or two, and then nothing.  So I cranked the dinghy up by hand, using the hand winch that we had installed in Grenada way back in 2007 for just such an eventuality. Very slow process, since we only installed one winch.  Both the height of the end of the boom and the length of the line down to the dinghy must be alternately adjusted several times to get the dinghy up over the deck rail and then down into the proper position to the dinghy stand on the deck.  The problem is that the boom arm must be relatively low to reach out over the rail, but must be raised very high in order to position the dinghy over its stands.  Raising the boom raises the dinghy up so high that it cannot be controlled, so the dinghy must be periodically lowered some before the boom can be additionally raised.  Unforgettable memories of the first time in ’07 we tried that process:  removing the boom-raising line (say) from the winch so that the dinghy-lifting/lowering line could be wrapped around the winch.  And vice versa.  Many scary moments, and lots of peeled skin, pinched fingers and cursing.  Our next trip to the chandlery was to purchase line clutches for the two lines!

So by the time this latest crises raised its head, we had the routine down pat, albeit a very tedious and slow process it is. But with the admiral and the grandkids helping to stabilize the dinghy, we eventually got it onto its stands. When we arrived at Christmas Cove I dug out the spare solenoids and installed same, although that short phrase doesn’t do justice to the inevitable complications that arose due to frozen and/or inaccessible nuts.   While I struggled with the repair, Hunter (Arctic Tern) and Barb took Abigail ashore for her very first snorkel experience, during which she very reluctantly and briefly put her head into the water.  Hunter made a game for her to find things under the water and she eventually got more comfortable. Kristen stayed on board, for at that point she was still very much under the weather.

The Terns joined us for dinner that night, and we all (even Kristen) enjoyed a rousing game of Mexican Train.

Next day (Feb 15) we all (the Terns and Takks and both girls) snorkeled at the point between Maho and Francis beach.  By the end of her second training session with Hunter, Abigail had become an enthusiastic snorkeler, well on the way to becoming an obsessive one.  Thanks to Hunter for his invaluable help.

On Feb 16 Barb’s son Jeff flew in to Charlotte Amalie, where he took a taxi to Red Hook where he took a ferry to Cruz Bay, St John, where he took another taxi to Maho Beach, where Barb and the girls were snorkeling. I got a call on the cell phone and took the dinghy in to get them all. While awaiting that call, I attempted to solve the problem of the generator not starting.  I replaced the glow plugs, since the symptoms seemed to indicate that one or more was faulty.  No joy.  Next day we stopped in at Waterlemon Cay so everyone (else) could snorkel while I poured over the generator manual.  Rather than swap out the injectors, I decided to seek professional help.  When the gang arrived back at the boat, Abigail was ecstatic.  They had all snorkeled all the way around Waterlemon Island, and Abigail had seen a sting ray and a spotted eagle ray.  Tremendous progress in just a few days!  We decided to move on over to Christmas Cove, with the thought in mind of snorkeling there as well.  But when we got settled in to our spot, we all felt too comfortable to reenter the water. Shortly after we arrived, friends we had met and spent time with in Grenada and Trinidad, Roger and Pat (Iriana), pulled up beside us in their Nordhavn.

Next day we moved back to Charlotte Amalie, where Barb would take the girls to the airport while I put in a call to Tracy at All Points Marine.  We attempted to solve the problem by telephone, but after a few calls and tests had pointed to the problem being electrical, he decided he had better come to the boat.  After several blind alleys he finally tested the stop-solenoid.  Bingo!  I had a spare; we installed same and soon had the genset generating like a good generator should.

We had a great time with the girls and hope they will join us again next year as “Chuck and Barb go cruising”.

United States Virgin Islands — Feb 5-12, 2013

On the afternoon of the Feb 4 we moved from Salt Pond back to Great Lameshur.  There we hatched the plan of hiking out to the Cabritte Horn Point the next morning.  To do that, the Terns and the Takks took the dinghy in to the dock and walked east along the road until we were at the top of the first steep hill.  There we left the road and entered the Tektite Trail, which climbs southeasterly until reaching the ridge top and then zig-zags south along the ridgeline.  Eventually, the trail forks with the right branch heading west down to Bee Hive Cove while the left branch continues along the ridge on the Cabritte Horn Point Trail to the Point.  There are some spectacular views along this trail.  When we reached the Point, Barb commandeered my camera and took some portraits.  That evening, Barb stayed back at the boat while the Terns and I did a night dive on Tektite Reef.  On the dive we saw a lobster out in the open, which surprisingly made it  more difficult to snare, since it would not sit still.  Each time a snare would touch its tail, it would zoom off, but then stop in the open.  Again and again.  Our actions reminded me of my childhood, when I was assigned the task of catching a rooster for slaughter.

Finally, Hunter caught it with his snare.  Quick as a wink, the lobster was deposited tail first into the Tern’s lobster bag.  I immediately resumed my journey back toward the boat.  When I looked back, Hunter and Devi were again “chasing a rooster”.  Another lobster?  Nope, when I rejoined them I could see that the bag was empty!  (Learned later that the Tern’s bag has a velcro bottom, and that the bottom was not closed!  So the lobster went into one end of the bag and out the other.)  After many more minutes of futile pursuit, the lobster backed into a small hole and Hunter, frustrated with his lack of success with the snare, grabbed the “rooster” with his gloved hands!  This time, it was put into my bag, which has only one exit/entrance.   It was late when we returned to our vessels, so we decided to suspend the bag in the water until morning.

Next morning, a big surprise.  When the lobster was removed from the bag, the “rooster” was seen to be a “hen”!   Oops!  (We set the female free so she could go off and deposit the eggs that graced her underside.)

On Feb 6 the Takks and the Terns moved over to Hurricane Hole, where we snorkeled along the mangroves.  Since mooring overnight is not permitted there, we then moved to Round Bay where we anchored for the night.

Next day, we moved back to Francis Bay, where we got our scuba tanks refilled and made plans to dive Johnson Reef.  Early in the afternoon of Feb 8, despite the high waves washing over the reef, the Takks set out in our dinghy and the Terns in theirs.  As we approached the reef, our dinghy sputtered and stopped, clearly overheated.  Since we were so close to our destination, we decided to dive anyway before returning to Francis.  The Terns towed us into position and we had an uneventful dive, punctuated by the discovery of a lobster so well ensconced that it could not be snared.

Feb 9, we both moved over to Charlotte Amalie.  Devi was turning 60, so we all went ashore and walked up to the restaurant “Room With a View” for a celebratory dinner.

Anticipating the arrival of grandchildren Kristen and Abigail on Tuesday, and needing access to shore in order to complete provisioning, we took a slip at Crown Bay Marina on Feb 10.  Early on the morning of Feb 11, Hunter gave me a tow over to the Yamaha Dealer at Substation.  I spent the day rebuilding two leaky raw water pumps:  one for the genset and one for the John Deere propulsion engine.  Late that afternoon we walked over to the dealership and retrieved our oh-so-vital and ever-so-beloved dinghy, which vehicle now purrs and cools nicely after an acid bath for its sinuses.  (Dinghy engines almost never get flushed with fresh water if they are owned by full-time cruisers that almost never visit docks.)

On Feb 12 I replaced the non-functioning horns on the flybridge while Barb went to the airport to gather up Danielle’s daughters Krissy (18) and Abber-dabber (9).  I was just finishing the installation when we had a surprise visit.  Roberto and Maria Rosa stopped in to say “hi”.  Passengers on a nearby cruise ship, they had been surprised to look out and see a Krogen.  They recognized the shape immediately, since they are themselves owners of a 2010 Kadey-Krogen 48 named “Gratitude”.  One can read about their experiences as relatively new owners by going to www.kadeykrogen.com/newsletters and clicking on “Winter 2013”.  See page 6.  Faithful readers of this blog may also be interested in the contents of page 16, where the winners of Krogen’s Seventh Annual Photo Contest are announced.

But I have digressed.   Our granddaughters are indeed with us.  To learn about their visit, the gentle reader must tune in to the next exciting episode of “Chuck and Barb go cruising”.

Virgin Islands, Jan 17 – Feb 2, 2013

On Jan 19 we left Charlotte Amalie and traversed over to Salt Pond, St. John, where we snorkeled, harvested some lambi (conch; later prepared by Devi and served to the appreciative crews of Tusen Takk II, Awakening, and Arctic Tern) and attended Sunday brunch at Concordia Resort.  On Jan 21, back over to Great Lameshur where we dove Tektite Reef and I caught a lobster.  Next day, back over to Francis Bay to refill our scuba tanks and dive Johnson Reef and Whistling Cay, where I again caught a lobster.  Our stay included a Friday evening, so of course we hiked up the stairs to Maho Bay Resort where most of us (Liahona and guests, Nirvana and guest, Persephone and guest, Arctic Tern and Tusen Takk II) ordered their world-famous prime rib.  We also attended several sundowners on Nirvana. On one such the moonrise was spectacular; Morgan’s guest (Lindsey, on Nirvana) let me use her camera to catch the moment and later emailed the pictures.  Thanks, Lindsey!

Our water maker ceased production yet again.  Hunter (Arctic Tern) and I removed it from TT2’s Holy Place and disassembled the beast up in the cockpit.  We managed to break an elbow, but were told that a repair facility was available at Nanny Cay, BVI.  Three trips: the first to pick up the wrong seals, the second to get the correct seals, and the third to deal with the broken elbow, which required retapping the threads.  Since we were already in the shop for the retapping, I let the tech put the ETD back together while I watched and was gratified to see that he didn’t do anything that I would not have done.  Back at the boat, the ETD was installed back into its frame and the whole unit reinstalled back into the Holy Place.  Yippee!  It worked (and is working)!  Not only working, but working at the advertised full capacity of the unit!

While in the BVIs, we spent a night at The Bight on Norman Cay, where we snorkeled the caves, and two nights at Cane Garden Bay, where we had never been before.  Nice quiet little bay, with a number of beach bars/restaurants, and a very old and small rum factory whose entire annual production is consumed on the island of Tortola.

Then, on Jan 31, back to Cruz Bay to check back in to the USA and to get our mail and then double back to Francis Bay, where we got an email from Arctic Tern suggesting that we get together for a dive on Tektite Reef.   So next day we swung around the island to Great Lameshur, where we had a very nice dive.   Saw lots of fish and each couple snagged a lobster, some of which Barb turned into two delicious pizzas.   On Feb 2 we moved over to Salt Pond, where we hiked out to Ram Head and then harvested five conch, some of which Devi turned into delicious curried lambi.

For more news of more hikes, tune in to the next exciting episode of “Barb and Chuck go cruising”.

USVI, Dec 31, 2012 – Jan 16, 2013 – Visit by the Ringens

Jon and Cathie Ringen recently spent some time with us aboard Tusen Takk II in the USVI.  Jon and I have been friends since we were undergraduates at the University of North Dakota.

Cathie arrived first at St. Thomas, and joined a bunch of us cruisers for dinner at the Green House in Charlotte Amalie on New Years Eve.  By the time Jon arrived shortly before midnight, Cathie had retired to the Galleon B&B, and we had returned to our boat.  The next morning they took the ferry over to St. John, where they had reservations at the campground at Cinnamon Bay.  After several days of camping, they were ready to join us but the seas were large and the wind blowing hard, so we couldn’t land our dinghy on the beach to pick them up.  They took a taxi in to Cruz Bay where we picked them up at the dock. They spent the remainder of their vacation with us on the boat.  We had a grand time, with days spent snorkeling and/or hiking and/or exploring and nights spent playing cards, playing Mexican train and watching “Downton Abbey”, which we all found to be addictive.  We all also got in a fair amount of reading.  We visited Francis, Cinnamon, Waterlemon, Greater Lameshur, Saltpond and Drunk Bays in St. John, and Christmas Cove and Honeymoon and Elephant and Charlotte Amalie Bays in St. Thomas.

Alas, Jon and Cathie have not yet retired from their  university professorships, so when they left us they were returning to teaching and scholarship duties — Jon as a philosopher of science and Cathie as a linguist.  Let us bow our heads for a moment of silent sympathy.


US Virgin Islands – Dec. 19-30, 2012

Shortly after our arrival in Francis Bay, St. John, USVI, we had an extended period of high swells sweeping into the northeast Caribbean. We were well protected from the weather, but we paid a price for our location: we could not get a useable connection on the unprotected wifi that we had used the year before. So we hitched into Cruz Bay and purchased a Choice 3G/4G cell modem/router that we hoped would solve our problem. Alas, no joy.  Friends Devi and Hunter (Arctic Tern) had acceptable reception on their 3G AT&T router, but our vendor’s signal was not visible in Francis Bay – at least from our extreme NE corner.  We were not totally isolated, however, since our iPads could receive AT&T 3G signals.  Marvelous instruments those iPads, but there are certain functions that cannot be performed on them, or that are awkward.

Nevertheless, we enjoyed our stay in Francis Bay.  We got down the kayaks from the upper deck and did some paddling in the bay.  We went for walks on the island.  We had a number of sessions of Spades with the Terns, during which the women unaccountably mostly won.  There was a repeat of last year’s dinghy float on Christmas Eve, and a large contingent of cruisers attended dinner at Maho Resort on Christmas Day. On Boxing Day there was a cruiser-initiated ugly T-shirt contest on the beach.  Barb attended (getting ashore via kayak), but I stayed on board and completed the nth rebuild of our water maker “energy transfer device”, known to Sea Recovery owners as the ETD, of course.  How did that go?  Well, the rebuild improved considerably the production rate, but there is still evidence of malfunction.  My guess is that there is a seal that looks ok but that is really not working properly.  I think Sea Recovery is a fine water maker, but I must repeat something I have said before:  if one is considering purchasing a water maker, do install a modular unit; DO NOT install a “compact” unit that is totally encased in a frame, at least not if the frame is then tucked away into an inaccessible location.  Pickling should be easy, but the attachment points are not accessible if the water maker is inside a “compact” frame.  Removing the ETD should be easy, but it is not easy if the water maker is inside a “compact” frame.   Attaching/unattaching the power and control wires should be easy, but it is not if the water maker is inside a “compact” frame.  Go modular; eschew “compact”.

On Dec. 28 we moved from Francis Bay to Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas.  Our 4G modem could see a signal, but kept going blank.  We took it in to the local Choice shop, expecting to be told that there was a problem with the power connection. Nope.  The young clerk took the unit to a back room, and returned in about ten minutes with same, but with a firmware update.  Did that help?  Yes!  Hurray!   We now have super-fast wifi on our boat!

As we were returning toward our dinghy from our visit to Choice, we ran into a large group of cruisers heading over to Shipwreck Tavern to take advantage of “hamburger night”. We reversed direction and joined them.  Huge burgers at reduced price.  Barb, ever faithful to her almost-totally vegan diet, had a veggie burger.  I didn’t.  (Her diet has been a tremendous success, by the way.  She has lost a bunch of weight and has reduced her cholesterol by 100 points to a now-acceptable level.  She is pleased and proud, and so am I.)

Next day (Dec. 29) we caught a bus and saw a movie at Caribbean Theatres.  Django Unchained.  Afterward, Barb asked me to remind her next time to never see another Tarantino movie.  The movie was done well, but extremely violent and bloody.  Is it any wonder that the USA is so plagued by massacres.