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From Go-Go-Go to Laid-back

After Mike’s passage with his three dedicated and skilled crewmembers from Hampton, VA to the British Virgin Islands, I joined him in St. Thomas, the largest and most developed of the US Virgin Islands. We needed to make repairs on the dinghy outboard motor and I was exhausted and burned-out from work-related stress, so we took a leisurely approach to adjusting to our new cruising lifestyle.

After a few days of getting used to our daily routine on the boat and stocking up at the grocery store, we discovered Water Island, a tiny island just across the bay from Charlotte Amalie, the capitol of St. Thomas. We anchored in Druif Bay, on the west end of the island, a small bay bordered by cliffs with Honeymoon Beach in the middle. It was a picture postcard beach, with palm trees along the shore and a beach bar at either end. One of the beach bars, a hangout for locals, had cheap food and drinks and a strong Wi-Fi signal, so we made daily trips to the beach to establish our “office hours” there.

It was the perfect place to transition from our “go, go, go” lifestyle to a slower, more relaxed pace. I was overwhelmed with the beauty of the impossibly clear, blue Caribbean Sea that surrounded our boat and I found myself staring endlessly at the horizon, unaware of how much time had passed. Several times a day, green sea turtles surfaced near the boat, sticking their little heads out of the water just long enough to get enough air for another long dive.

When it was less windy, we snorkeled and saw several different types of small fish as well as a few sea fans, crabs, and coral on the rocks. My highlight was swimming over a large area of sea grass one day, when I encountered a sea turtle just four or five feet below me. I slowed down and floated stealthily over him until I was within a few feet and could see him very well as he swam down to the grass to eat a few bites, then rose to the top of the water over and over. Each time, he was accompanied by a small yellow fish who swam just to the right side of his head. I’m not sure how long I watched them, as the two friends made their way across the large expanse of sea grass, peacefully eating along the way.

Soon, Mike completed his work on the outboard motor and we prepared for Christmas, when Lauren, Tristan, and Jenn would join us for the holiday.

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