Days 74-80: Strolla gets a visitor

Trip Start Nov 10, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Virgin Islands British  ,
Saturday, February 12, 2011

For the next week as we island hop through the Virgin Islands, there's 5 of us on board. Our friend Jenny who worked with us out in Wyoming flew into Charlotte Amalie to test her sea legs. After breakfast at a cafe in town, out to sea we go. And in practically no time at all, Jenny's breakfast comes right back up, over and over again. Despite her feeling miserable, she did do us a huge favor. That egg sandwich on a bagel provided some excellent chum and sure enough we caught a mackerel. Delicious. Although she got seasick almost right from the start, in her defense, it was rougher than usual. Not long after we all hear a loud "Snap." The jib starts flapping out of control and Nate quickly takes it in. We're all looking around seeing what it was that broke than I spotted it. The forstay holding up the mast broke at the top. There was still the backstay and shrouds on each side but nothing other than some 5mm rope holding the mast forward. Luckily Strolla was prepared for this and the backup forstay is quickly put into place. In the meantime we can only use the main, no jib but we're still floating. After getting to our anchor we investigate what went wrong. Pete and I take turns climbing the mast and discover a steel bar that snapped in half where it was welded to the mast. We can either spend more money than the boats worth to get it professionally fixed, or rig something up on our own. Plan B it is. Since the boat is still intact and we can still motor and sail with the main we put this off till after our company leaves, so we don't have to spend her valuable time in paradise waiting for us to fix the boat.

The next few days we spend across the way in Cruz Bay in St Johns. We instantly took a liking to the town and spent more time on land than expected. I think the pour your own drink bar had something to do with our decision. One morning after an eventful night on town, Jenny walks out of the cabin to an unfortunate surprise. "Guys, the dinghy's gone!" Immediately we all jump out of bed to see where it could've possibly went. We spotted it a few hundred feet away floating out to sea and Pete practically sleepwalked right off the back of the boat and swam after it. He made it to the dinghy just before it entered the ferry lane and would've most likely met its demise to the ferries speeding back and forth between St Thomas and St Johns. We barely avoid another catastrophe.

One of the nights in Cruz Bay we met two American Pilots Scott and Cassie and decided to take them for a day sail the following day. Now with 7 on board Strolla was definitely crowded. We found some cool rocks to climb and jump off and also checked out Trunk Bay which is apparently "one of the most beautiful beaches in the whole world." I guess we're spoiled because to us it was just another beach.

We said our goodbyes to Scott and Cassie and the next day continued on East. On the eastern part of St Johns we found a cut in the reef which opened up into a perfect little private cove. We entered and everywhere looked very shallow. I jumped out with a snorkel and found a nice calm spot with just about a foot of clearance on the hull for us to drop the anchor. It also was high tide but luckily there wasn't big tidal swings so Strolla stayed off the ground for one more day. The whole bay was completely isolated perfect for the beach fire that Nate has been yearning for since we left Ft Lauderdale, or Jackson for that matter. His bonfire skills did not fail us and had it raging in minutes.

The following morning we left the US Virgin Islands for the British Virgin Islands. The first stop was Norman Island. There's not much to see on Norman Island other than the infamous Willie T's. It's an old fishing boat that's anchored in the bay and converted to a bar/restaurant. Sure enough it lived up to the hype and provided an entertaining and eventful evening for the crew of Strolla. We'll leave it at that.

Jenny's week was coming to a close and she still didn't have a flight home. A quick sail over to Tortola so we could get online and book her a flight home. We found a nice secluded anchorage near the airport where we could rest up and recap the eventful week. We dropped her off the next morning and then it was back to 4 of us on Strolla.
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