Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Back on familiar ground


Charter boat central - Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas

It seems weird to be around so many Americans.

From our leather back turtle egg laying trip back in Grenada (we haven't taken many pictures lately). This was the smaller but better lit of the two turtles we saw.

The U.S. Virgin Islands has a lot of Americans, for obvious reasons. If anyone here were to ask us where we were from, they would mean which city, not which country. But no one has--maybe because as soon as they hear us speak, they know we're American.

Normally, the most common question we get on our travels is, 'Where are you from?' And being from the U.S. has usually garnered at least a little interest in places like The Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Southeast Asia, and South Africa. Once we left the Caribbean, the nationalities of our fellow cruisers got a lot more diverse.

Now that we're back on this side of the world, we're just one of the crowd. And the U.S. Virgin Islands is the U.S. There are multiple McDonald's here in St. Thomas. There are K-marts, Wendy's, Pizza Hut and Home Depot. It's the same, but different (they drive on the left side of the road in left-hand drive cars, McDonald's doesn't have soft serve cones, and you can hear a Caribbean lilt in a lot of voices).

The red light supposedly doesn't disturb the turtles as much as white light.

We're here waiting for the effects of tropical storm Alex to pass. The storm itself is long gone but it took with it our wind and we have been waiting for it to come back before leaving to head to Florida.

We picked up the mainsail battens that a cruiser on one of the Caribbean Facebook pages was giving away. Our friends Paul and Chris on Georgia were kind enough to pick them up for us, since they had just gotten to St. John as the batten gifter was leaving. When we were delayed in Trinidad and then Grenada, Paul and Chris had to leave and found a sailor in St. John to hold them for us until our arrival. We picked up the battens and the longer one fit almost perfectly. It was the kind of coincidence that leaves you worried that you have used up all your luck and will pay for it at some point. But we're not superstitious (just a little 'stitious').

Researchers measuring the 'smaller' turtle. One of the volunteers was told to put her hand under the eggs as they came out of the turtle so she could count them.

We were able to catch up with our friends Tim and Steph, who also own a Privilege catamaran, but were in St. Thomas about to run a charter on a beautiful Fountaine-Pajot Victoria. It's the kind of boat that makes it hard to come back to your own modest vessel without feeling that you're actually living in squalor. We last saw them eight years ago in Grenada and even though our paths have been different, it felt as if nothing had changed.

We haven't seen any cruise ships since we arrived, but that is about to change. Three cruise ships are scheduled to arrive in Charlotte Amalie within the next couple of days. We don't know how full the ships will be, but when we were here eight years ago, the town changed drastically when the passengers descended. They're the bread and butter of the area and sorely needed.

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