Blood red moon.

I woke up in the wee hours this morning to experience the lunar eclipse.  One day I may have a camera worthy of capturing such a moment, but I managed to get a few ok shots with my reliable Canon PowerShot D10.   These are 5 shots, shown in order, as the Earth’s shadow passed left to right across the surface of the Moon.  1-April3

April 6 – Staying put.

Sunday, April 6.

After the marathon day we had yesterday, we’re taking it easy today.   We all dinghied over to Cistern Point and snorkeled for quite a while.

More swimming with the fishies.

More swimming with the fishies.

Between Cistern Point and our boat, a turtle was hanging out.  He was one cool dude – he didn’t mind that we floated close by to watch him for quite a while.   These are the best pictures I’ve gotten of a turtle of all my Caribbean trips.  I like how the colors get clearer and more vibrant as he gets closer to the surface.

Turtle dude surfacing - 1

Turtle dude surfacing – 1

Turtle dude surfacing - 2

Turtle dude surfacing – 2

Turtle dude surfacing - 3

Turtle dude surfacing – 3

The guys are headed back to Jost again today.   Tan-a-na’s crew leaves early tomorrow morning, so they are headed back to Tortola to spend the night at the marina.  After lunch we shopped ashore and enjoyed people/boat watching all afternoon, before hitting happy hour again on Cooper.

Cooper Island palms.

Cooper Island palms.

For sunset, we dinghied out to the mouth of the bay, beyond the anchorage, to get an unobstructed view of the sun setting over Tortola.

Sunset behind Tortola - viewed from Cooper Island

Sunset behind Tortola – viewed from Cooper Island

 

April 5 – A long day.

Saturday, April 5.

We headed out early this morning, by 7:30AM.   Winds are still 20+ knots.  3-5′ seas, very rough.  Luckily the rain seems to have passed.  We sailed it to Soper’s Hole, to go through BVI Customs & Immigration again.  We picked up a few more provisions there, but quickly headed back out to make Cooper Island by sunset, and join up again with Maggie and Tan-a-na.

The BVI Spring Regatta is in full swing this week.  We got a front-row seat of some of the races as we cruised across the channel to Cooper Island.

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We pulled into Machioneel Bay at 4pm, at exactly the same time Maggie did.  After a quick dip we all met up at the Cooper Island Beach Club for Happy Hour and dinner.  It’s good to have the gang back together.

Cooper Island has the best sunsets…..

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I ♥ Cooper.

 

April 4 – Just another day in paradise.

Friday, April 4.

Sunrise view from the v-berth hatch:

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The winds have turned nasty, 25-28 knots out of the east.  Here in Lameshur Bay, we are very protected, so you’d hardly notice.   We’re staying another night.   Tan-a-na is going to make a run for Road Town on Tortola to check back into the BVI, as they discovered an error with their visas – they expire today, instead of the day they leave.   The guys are heading back to Jost, I think, for the night.

So we look forward to a very relaxing day and night here.   We made the right decision, as Tan-a-na told us that they had a terrible passage to Road Town.  6 foot waves, 28 knot winds, rain.   Once in Road Town, the winds were so strong, they couldn’t get an anchor set, so they made a run to Norman for the night.

Nestled into Great Lameshur, we went for a long snorkel this morning.

Fan coral.

Fan coral.

A pair of cuttlefish.

A pair of cuttlefish.

Now, what is it they say about snorkeling among a school of baitfish...?

Now, what is it they say about snorkeling among a school of baitfish…?

Rugged beach at Great Lameshur Bay.

Rugged beach at Great Lameshur Bay.

In the afternoon Susanne, Laura and I headed ashore to hike the Lameshur Trail.  We got lucky and missed the rain completely.  We had gorgeous views from the hills along the trail.

View from the Lameshur Trail, overlooking the plantation ruin and Little Lameshur Bay.

View from the Lameshur Trail, overlooking the plantation ruin and Little Lameshur Bay.

View from Lameshur Trail.  Great Lameshur Bay in the distance, Little Lameshur Bay in the foreground.  That lone boat in Great Lameshur is ours.

View from Lameshur Trail. Great Lameshur Bay in the distance, Little Lameshur Bay in the foreground. That lone boat in Great Lameshur is ours.

Hermit crab on Lameshur trail.

Hermit crab on Lameshur trail.

Looking SSW from Lameshur Trail.  Reef Bay in the foreground.

Looking SSW from Lameshur Trail. Reef Bay in the foreground.

Another dinner aboard tonight and then we will head back to the BVI in the morning.

April 3 – New day, new country.

Thursday, April 3.

This morning we topped up the water tank, got some ice and emergency provisions (i.e., Dove Bars) before heading out from Great Harbour.

Dove Bar wisdom.

Dove Bar wisdom.

Destination:  St. John’s of the U.S. Virgin Islands.  Since we’ll be leaving BVI and entering USVI, we have to visit Customs & Immigration to check out before leaving here, and check in at Cruz Bay once arriving in St. Johns.   This is our first time to go to USVI by boat from BVI and deal with the Customs/Immigration thing.   I’ll let you know later if it’s worth it.

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We didn’t go ashore in Cruz Bay other than to clear customs.   We caught a ball in Caneel Bay and ate lunch, then waited through some rain showers for the other 2 boats’ crews to come back to make a plan for the night.   The original plan was to stay in Leinster Bay on the north side of St. John’s.  But we’re getting intermittent rain stroms, and the wind is really kicking up now.  So, the NE swells would make for a very rough mooring.  Instead, Monte suggested Lameshur Bay on the south side of the island.   Maggie stayed in Caneel Bay, since they were unable to anchor if it turned out they didn’t get a mooring ball.   But Tan-a-Na and Jim’s Dream decided to make a run through the rain for a very remote and unspoiled Great Lameshur Bay, and got two of the last remaining mooring balls in time to watch a beautiful sunset.

A rain shower in the distance, from Lameshur Bay.

A rain shower in the distance, from Lameshur Bay.

Sunset over Great Lameshur Bay, St. John's, USVI

Sunset over Great Lameshur Bay, St. John’s, USVI

 

April 2 – Sandy Cay.

Wednesday, April 2.

Today we took a daysail to Sandy Cay.   It was a beautiful day for it.   This is our 3rd trip to the BVI, and this is our first time to stop here.

Sandy Cay, coming from Jost

Sandy Cay, coming from Jost

Susanne and Laura are getting the hang of this sailing thing…

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We set an anchor and ate lunch on the boat before snorkeling to shore for a walk around.  Tan-a-na joined us.  Unfortunately, Maggie’s windlass was not working, so they had to sail on to Cane Garden Bay.

Tan-a-na and Jim's Dream anchored off Sandy Cay.

Tan-a-na and Jim’s Dream anchored off Sandy Cay.

We had intended to moor overnight in White Bay, but its been getting a bit stormy and the wind is really picking up and driving up big NE swells so it would be too rough in there tonight.   Instead, we all ended up back in Great Harbour for one more night.

Back to Great Harbour for the night.

Back to Great Harbour for the night.

We cooked up our first meal aboard tonight.   This is not roughing it!

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April 1 – Destination Jost van Dyke.

Tuesday, April 1.

We got up and headed out for our first snorkel of the trip at the Caves in Privateer Bay on Norman.

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Afterwards we sailed to Great Harbour on Jost and all three boats met up again.
We took the taxi-ride-from-hell to Abe’s in Little Harbour for dinner:  11 ginormous lobster, many painkillers from the honor bar, and nonstop stories and laughing.  :)

It’s a good thing we ordered “medium” sized ones, i’d hate to see the “large” ones!

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Afterwards we spent the evening dancing at Foxy’s – and seeing some of the more bizarre sights of the trip.

Some found objects from today:

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March 30 – Viejo San Juan.

Sunday, March 30.

We headed out to visit Old San Juan this morning.  Caught a bus right outside our hotel.  The old town is a beautiful place to see.  Here are some of the sights….

A guard turret in the old wall — called a garita.

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A view looking out at the sea from one of the garitas. 20140330-125342.jpg

The colorful building facades:

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A view of the stunning Castillo de San Felipe del Morro, built in the early 16th century.

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We went back to the hotel in the afternoon to meet up with Susanne and Laura.   Then we all went back to Old San Juan.    We ate dinner at a restaurant Irene recommended – El Jibarito, and I recommend it, too!  Great home cooked Puerto Rican dishes.  They also make a yummy sangria.

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March 29 – Road trip!

We’re on our way to the Caribbean for a sailing vacay!  Our flight itinerary takes us there via Puerto Rico.   We’ve decided to stay 2 nights in San Juan, since we never visited there before.  We won’t have (and don’t want!) internet connectivity while we’re away, so I’m drafting these blog entries as I go along, and am posting them in order, after I get back.

Saturday, March 29.

We are leaving on a beautiful day in Austin.  Here’s a great shot from the plane showing Lady Bird Lake, Zilker Park, the booming downtown skyline, the 40 acres, Longhorn stadium, UT tower, Erwin Center, the Capitol, Disch-Falk field, … What else can you spot?

20140329-115220.jpgAfter arriving in San Juan and checking into the hotel, we took a walk around the neighborhood.  We stopped into a pub nearby and I found one of my favorite brewskis from my misspent awesome youth!

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Our crew, Susanne and Laura, arrive in San Juan tomorrow!

The road home.

What a party!   John and Debbie were awesome hosts for the ball last night.   Dancing and merry making ensued til the wee hours.    Today we’re headed for home.   But first we drove around town one more time.

This is a shot of the lovely cathedral downtown: IMG_2927

One of the trees along the parade route, be-decked with beads:

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We met Asha & Shekhar, Maxia & Ralph, and Patrick and Rita for brunch at Blue Dog Cafe.   The food was absolutely DElicious.  If you are anywhere near Lafayette you should stop in for a bite.   The place is lined with artwork from George Rodrigue, a native of these parts, and who also co-owned the cafe until he passed away last year.   I took a shot of one of his many works in the cafe:

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We made it back home tonight, and were greeted by temperatures in the 20s!  Brrrrr.

On the drive home today I saw that the bluebonnets are already in bloom along Highway 71 (!)   Early, but hopefully a good year for them.

More later!

Here we go again!

I wish you a most happy, loving, and exciting 2014! I’m counting my blessings while reeling through memories from the year we just wrapped up. Here’s to the next lap ’round the sun. Cheers!

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Upriver.

It was another beautiful day. Clear blue sky, temps in the 60s. We went back out to the lake for a sail with Teri and Jim. The lake is at 628.23′. Up about 10 feet from our low this year. Not nearly enough, but I can tell the difference.
Keep it coming!
This is a shot of the breakwater in front of Lakeway Marina as we sailed past.

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