Feb-June 2021: Spring in the USVI

Being back in the USVI for a second season means time to find new favorite spots and of course sharing them with friends and family. There is so much to explore and do in St. Thomas, St. Johns and St. Croix. One of our favorite new areas of St. Johns is Coral Bay on the southeast end of the island.

We love visiting Limeout the floating taco bar and getting pizza at the Salty Mongoose. Then we spend the night in Hansen Bay, where we have great snorkeling and keep some very high class company…

This end of the island has some great hiking. We made our way to salt pond and then on to Rams Head.

Another chill place we discovered and went back to many times this spring was Cannel Beach, very close to ZoZos.

And of course we spent more time in Maho Bay. Turtles galore.

We got to meet and spent time with Kathy’s sister, Barb and husband Jeff. Music teacher, Kathy taught us to play Cups.

Time to move

Time to Chill

Took Addie to Dinghy’s Beach Bar to get her french fry fix!

Then we met Parker!! Our friends on Dreamcatcher have a new crew member! Parker is a Portuguese Water Dog (same as Caper and Chance). These boys are smitten with each other. We got to babysit him one day and I was truly surprised they got him back.

Parker loved Addie. Even helped her with her school work.

Having Parker over wore Chancey out!!

Early March we got the opportunity to get vaccinated and we jumped on it. It was super easy. They were giving the shots at the University which was only a five minute walk from Brewer’s Bay.

Addie began collecting sea treasures and started making jewelry.

The dogs love to dry off with us after a swim.

Our dogs truly think they are people, as they practice their driving skills.

Our new batteries finally arrive!! YEAH!! A week in the marina to get them installed was well worth it. Aventis is much happier and Shannon can finally sleep through the night. No more alarms in the middle of the night.

Time to celebrate and enjoy the sunset.

Really cool learning thing happened while at the marina, dock hands were cutting coconuts out of the trees. They showed us how they open them to drink the water and then eat the inside. We are ready for Survivor!!

This is an uncommon sight in the USVI right now, a deserted beach bar with picnic tables and beach chairs. This little slice of heaven is located just outside of the main cruise ship bay for St. Thomas and we were lucky enough to have it all to ourselves on this particular day.

Time for another trip around St. Johns. This time we hiked to the petroglyphs with Kent and Kathy.

New batteries working beautifully!!!

Second vaccine, wiped Ashley out for a day! Addie and Shannon fared much better.

We had been talking about going to Chicken’n Bowlin since we got to the VI last spring. It was finally safe to go! The wings and fries were yummy and the bowling was super fun!

April got here and we were super excited to have Don and Mel back for another visit.

Mel celebrated her birthday with us. This is a tradition for us. We have been friends for 25 years and have celebrated all but a handful of her birthdays together.

We snorkeled and beach it.

Sailed around to Maho Bay and Sunchilled in Ashley’s new toy.

We visited body beach.

Shannon and Don hiked to Ram’s Head.

We all hiked to the sugar plantation and the petroglyphs.

We all four got a tattoo of the petroglyphs!

We showed them some of our other favorite spots. Sunset Grille at Secret Harbor Resort.

Duffy’s Love Shack

Taphus Bar

It was a really fun and memorable visit!!

The dogs agree.

With a few days between visitors we decided to head to St. Croix. We had one week to check things out.

We anchored by the pier in Frederiksted. If the cruise ships were coming, we could not be this close. Water is crystal clear and the sea life under the pier is amazing. We scuba dove the pier by going right off the back of our boat. Super cool!

Amazing sunsets over the water.

Ready to explore St. Croix! Aventis is directly behind us.

Visited Fort Frederik and found a sea glass museum.

Very neat art made with sea glass and chainey(broken pottery found in the sea).

Moko Jumbies

Addie pretending to be 18 so we could be at the Fred for a pool day.

Sun dial east end of the island.

Botanical Gardens

And of course a visit to the original Leatherback Brewery!

One last sunset

A proper turtle island farewell!

And off we go headed back to St. Thomas. This drone footage is courtesy of a gentleman on St. Croix who happen to be taking video of a boat near by and got this image of us.

And just like that we are back in Long Bay after a peaceful 7 hour sail.

Ready for round two of Chicken’n Bowlin.

Stocked and Ready! School is out and Makenzie, Gavin(boyfriend), Anna and Alex are headed our way for a week of fun in the USVI!!

First stop: No Passports Required for adult slushies

The gang is here!!

Second stop: straight into the water!

Next day we made our way to Maho Bay on St. John’s for some turtle spotting, sun chilling and sunset cruising.

From there, Limeout for drinks and tacos!

More water fun! If the sun chill is out, Caper is in it.

So many smiles and laughs…

Life is Good!!

So many fun things to explore above and below the water.

What an awesome week! We were sad to say goodbye to Gavin, Anna and Alex, but so glad we got to have this time together!!

The dogs are pooped from all the fun.

But then they perked up because Ella got here! This week is all about some family time!

Luckiest mom in the world getting to spend Mother’s Day with all three of her beautiful daughters!!

As part of our new tradition when the girls visit during the month of May we celebrate all the upcoming birthdays and Father’s Day.

Happy 21st Mak!

Happy 19th Ella!

We explored St. Thomas from a whole new perspective. Taking the Skyride up to Paradise Point.

Aventis is down there in the bay, close to the front of course.

Happy Father’s Day!

This was cute! Chance loves his toys and he carries them all over the boat to play with them. On this afternoon not sure exactly how it happened but this toy got knocked into the water. Chance never, ever jumps off the boat into the water, but today he was seriously thinking about it. The current was moving pretty good, so Capt. Shannon saved the day by taking the dinghy to get the toy.

We sadly said goodbye to Mak

And enjoyed a few extra days with just Ella.

We said goodbye to Ella!

And welcomed our friends Lisa and Lenny Cottom.

We day cruised around St. Johns by boat visiting Hawksnest Beach, Cannel Bay, Maho Bay, Hansen Bay and even got a bonus sail from the east end back to the west end of the island. We did lots of chilling.

Best memory was of the hike the we tried to take to Rams Head during what seemed like a tropical storm. This was something we knew we wanted to do with Lisa and Lenny so we did not let a little light rain stop us. No joke we stood under the trees half way up for the good part of an hour while it poured rain and the wind picked up. Rained all morning. At some point we gave in and tried to keep going, but it was really not safe, so we headed back. Got over 2 inches of rain while we were out there.

Consumed just a “few” beverages at the Beach Bar in Cruz Bay.

On one of our visits to the Beach Bar Mak was celebrating her birthday with family back in Boone.

Lisa, Henry and Jack are looking at the us on the web cam from the Beach Bar.

Happy 21st birthday Mak!!

We said goodbye to Lisa and Lenny and headed back to St Thomas.

We got to have a fun reunion with our friends Jake and Stephanie (Dreamcathcer) as well as David and Shirley (Maeva). Was super fun to catch up with David and Shirley as we had not seen them since Grenada.

Very exciting night for the three of us! Our first movie in 2 years. Movie was good but popcorn was amazing!!

Goodbye for now to St. Thomas, we are headed to the Spanish Virgin Islands when the sun comes up.

First stop is Culebra. Interesting place, very green, town was a little disappointing because not much was open. We did manage to find a place, just had to wait until they opened at 2pm to eat lunch.

Neat remains can be seen on Flamenco Beach from when the US Navy used Culebra for bombing practice. This lasted until the residents of Culebra protested and the Navy left the island in 1975. You can see from the picture too how bad the sargassum is right now.

But then we found a whole other side to Culebra and it became my favorite place we have been so far. On the northwest side, we grabbed a mooring ball and we found a little beach called, Carlos Risario. Most people would not come here by car it is a boat only beach. We could jump in the water and dive or snorkel this amazing reef that was right under the boat. The dogs had the run of the beach. For the first three days we were the only ones and then the day boats started to show up each day about 10 and stay until 4 or so. No big deal we just started our day drinking earlier!

Made a new friend. He came and swam with us most most mornings.

Had a great time meeting and hanging out with Kathy’s sister Susan and her husband Robert.

Completed our circle around the island and got back to the much smaller island of Culebrita. Beautiful spot with amazing water and a white sandy beach. Spent two nights here swimming and hiking around the island.

A nice welcome back to Long Bay, St. Thomas. Time to get the dogs checked by the vet, grab some provisions and ready the boat for the 3 day passage to Bonaire.

But at last it is Father’s Day and we got to enjoy such a nice celebration at brunch with our friends Kent, Kathy as well as Ron and Patti from No Passports.

Finally time to crash!!

Goodbye for now USVI!! See you soon Bonaire!

Addie’s Take: May-June 2021

We took the boat to Long Bay to be able to pick Makenzie, her roommate Anna, boyfriend Gavin and Gavin’s frat brother Alex. When they arrived we were happy to see them and meet Gavin and Alex. We went to eat at Tap’n Still: it was good. We took them to Caneel Bay and let them have day at the beach bar while me, mom and dad stayed on the boat. We went to Maho Bay the next morning and swam and snorkeled and checked out the beach bar. We went to Coral Bay and did Limeout. I went to Skinny legs but stayed on the boat while everyone else did Limeout. We hung-out swam with Caper and stayed the night. We stayed the night at Hanson Bay.  We went to Secret Harbour and lunch there it was delicious we hung-out at the beach which was nice. We anchored at Ditlyff and stayed the night. We went to Saltpond and hiked body beach and then I stayed on the boat while everyone else hiked Ram’s head. We snorkeled to the beach. We went to Ditlyff and had a beach day with Caper and Chance. We anchored the boat at Long Bay. We went to town to go shopping and also went to Taphus to get something to drink, I had root beer. We then went to Stonehouse to eat: it was good. We then had a bonus day because their flight got messed up and spent the day at Dinghy’s. It was a fun day. We then said goodbye to Anna, Gavin and Alex. Makenzie stayed on the boat. While they were here we played Fibbage which is where you come up with a lie to answer a question and if you by any chance say the truth then they don’t let you put in your answer. You then have to find out what the truth is. It’s a really fun game to play if you have more than one person over so basically a party.  It can be any size party. You have to play it to really understand it.  It’s on Jackbox TV.  It’s a really funny and cool game.We also watched New Girl. It is a show about this woman who is living with three guys and she is a teacher. She is trying to figure out her life. She broke up with her boyfriend. It is a really good and funny show. 

Paddle board ride at Maho

Coral Bay day

Lunch at Skinny Legs. Capt. Shannon is buying.

Makenzie and Ella on boat for the week to send sometime with just me, mom, dad and the dogs.

Ella’s new bean bag chair, Caper photo bombing wishing he could get in the chair.

Chairlift ride to a bar called Tasty, in St Thomas.

Breakfast at juice bar before a fun day.

Hanging at Frenchman’s Bay, dogs on paddle board.

Lenny and Lisa came to visit. We had fun hanging out on the boat.

We went to the Spanish Virgin Islands and checked those Islands out before we left for Bonaire. First we went to Culebrita but because it was too rolly and the weather was bad so we decided to go to Culebra and spend the rest of the day there. The next day we went to the Culebra and explored. Unfortunately, there weren’t very many restaurants and shops opened or many activities to do. We went to the beach to wait until 2 o’clock when the restaurant would open. We went to Flamenco Beach. It was a turtle nesting beach. Fun Fact, there is very little crime in Culebra because it is the second home of the Puerto Rican Mob, so it is a mob run island. They do not want to have any need to have police on that island. There is much more crime over on Vieques. We ate at MamaCita’s. The food I ate was good. I had coconut shrimp and fries. Mom and Dad had something different. They did not like it. We didn’t bring a water bottle. The only drinks that me, Mom and Dad had were at the restaurant. Mom and Dad had beer and I had Diet Coke. The Diet Coke was expired. It was awful!!  It was still a fun day. Then we found an anchorage on the north side of Culebra and spent a week. There was a private beach that we took the dogs to each morning. We also spent one morning with our friends Kent, Kathy, Kathy’s sister Susan and her husband Robert. We met Susan and Robert on Kent and Kathy’s boat when they had us over for dinner. We went back to Culebrita and hiked to the Tidal Pools. We were going to get in but then there was a bunch of sargassum which is basically seaweed that has come from Africa. We were not happy. We hiked up to the lighthouse the next day. The lighthouse was pretty cool. Here are some fun facts about the lighthouse: The construction began in 1882 and ended in 1886. The lantern room housed a four order lens in1901 and by 1908 a three and a half order lens had been installed. At the end of the Spanish-American War, it fell under control of the United States.  It is a t-shaped stone structure with a thirty-seven foot tall tower being centered in the vertical portion of a T. In the oil and the storeroom at the bottom of the T there were pairs of identical living quarters. One to the left and one to the right, that each had three apartments that people stayed in. The rooms measured 10 x 12ft and the kitchen/dining room measured 13 x 15ft.  We had a great time in the Spanish VIs and were glad we got to see them before we headed back to St. Thomas. We had to head back to St. Thomas because we needed to take the dogs to the vet, so that they can get checked out and be cleared to enter Bonaire.

Rainy day at Culebrita

MammaCita’s

Morning beach day

Beach day with WE, Kathy’s sister Susan and brother-in-law Robert. Caper and Chance photo bombing.

Lighthouse on Culebrita

Bonaire here we come.

Addie’s Take: April 2021

We had Don and Mel stay on the boat.  Mom and Dad picked them up from Havensight and took them to No Passports, which sells adult slushies (I stayed on the boat with the dogs). When Mom, Dad, Don and Mel arrived on the boat the dogs and I were so happy to see them, especially the dogs. The dogs were all over them when they arrived. After Don and Mel got settled in we went out to eat (we ate at Tap’n Still). We then decided to go back to the boat and chill for a bit. After some chilling and relaxing Mom, Dad, Don, Mel and I went to the Leatherback Brewery. We got pizza from a place that’s right by the brewery. The next morning we got up and motored over to Frenchman’s Bay. Once we got settled in, we decided to have a beach day. Dad and Don paddle boarded, while Mom, Mel and I swam to the beach. The dogs swam with us. It was great because Don and Mel got to throw the ball for Chance and watch Caper swim and play defense.  When we were at the beach, Caper tried to grab the ball from Chance. He was aggressively fighting Chance for the ball. Like two men/pirates play tug of war over treasure. We had a great dinner at Lanai.

Celebrating at Lanai

We left Frenchman’s and motored over to Lovango to celebrate Mel’s birthday. Before we left Mel got to open her birthday presents. It was exciting watching her enjoy them.

When Mom and Dad brought me home a Crab Cake from Lovango, I was so happy. On Easter Day, we went to Cinnamon Bay and hung out and sat on the sun chill. It was a great day.

The next day, we went to Coral Bay and ate at Salty Mongoose. It was fun. At some point we found out that Don used to be called, Little Donnie because his Dad’s name is Don also. Dad called him Mr. Lightweight because he hardly drinks beer. I came up with a nickname called, Little Donnie Lightweight and with the help of dad another nickname came to be, Little Donnie Lightweight Fu Fu. He was also nicknamed, The Butter King because he really likes butter. It was a silly and fun day. In the morning, we went over to Lameshur and got on a mooring ball there. We had to get up really early to make sure we would get one. Dad and Don went hiking over at Ram’s Head while Mel, Mom and I had a girl’s day, that was so much fun. On the next day, we went over to Drunk Bay, but we call it Body Beach. It was so cool that Don and Mel got to see all the bodies and make one out of coral. It was also nice to cool off at the beach at Salt Pond. We motored over to Reef Bay. We could only stay on the mooring ball for an hour, we unfortunately could not anchor. We had to do the hike and then leave, so that others could do it too. It was fun to do the hike with them though.

Saw this on hike at Lameshur.

We got to stay at Ditlyff that night and let the dogs play on the beach, so that was good and fun. We got up in the morning and motored over to Secret Harbour, which was a lot of fun. It was so nice and the restaurant was really cool and had a nice atmosphere, good food and good service. It reminded me of a restaurant in Grenada called, Aquarium.

Fun day at Sunset Grille.

In the morning, we motored over to Long Bay to anchor the boat. Mom, Dad, Don and Mel went to town to get tattoos. I had to stay on the boat with the dogs. It was a great day though because we got to get off the boat and go into town and play tourist.

A quick stop at Duffy’s

It was also great because Don and Mel decided to stay an extra day. To celebrate Mom, Mel and I had a girl’s night. We watched a movie called, Pitch Perfect and had our own snack bowls full of popcorn, chips and lots of different kinds of candy. It was so fun. We took Don and Mel to Brewer’s Bay which was fun because they were exploring it for the first time. Unfortunately, it also had a lot of noise going on because of the planes going in and out. On Don and Mel’s last day we took them to Salt and Vinegar, which is this restaurant we really like. The food there was really good and it was a fun day except for Don and Mel leaving. It was sad to see them go but hopefully this won’t be the last time we see them. On their last day we talked about what everyone’s favorite meals and activities were:

Dad’s favorite meal was Agave tacos and his favorite activity was going to Red Hook.

Mom’s favorite meal was Dad’s flank steak and her favorite activity was snorkeling the point from the dingy at Reef Bay.

Mel’s favorite meal was Agave her favorite activity was going to Red Hook.

Don’s favorite meal was sausage gravy on Mom’s sausage and cheese biscuits and his favorite activity was hiking Ram’s Head.

My favorite meals, I don’t just have one favorite meal. I liked Agave’s queso, salsa, guacamole,  Lovango’s crab cakes, Salty Mongoose’s pizza and whatever Dad cooked on the boat.  

We motored over to St Croix, there was no wind. The trip was 37 nautical miles. It took us 6 and a half hours to get there.  When we got to Frederiksted, we had dinner with Kent and Kathy. It was great to see them again.  One day we went to this hotel called, The Fred, which was for adults only. I had to pretend to be 18. It was good though and we had lied about my age before, so I was used to it. It was fun because we got to go in their really nice pools.  We live on the water, but it’s not the same as a pool.  We ate at the restaurant there which was really good. The next day we drove around the island and went to Christiansted.  Before we got the car we ate at Polly’s at the Pier which was just ok. I couldn’t enjoy the food because I didn’t feel very well at the restaurant. I felt better for the rest of the day though.  We went to Gallows Bay Marina which was amazing because it has snacks and drinks. Mom and Dad were disappointed because there was no bar this time. We also went to Nate’s Boathouse. The food was fine, but the service was terrible. We tried to go to the Tidal pools but we didn’t have the right vehicle for the dirt roads. We had a van and we needed a jeep. It was exciting exploring St. Croix, it’s a wonderful place.  I was glad to be on land again.

The pier, very calm on our first day

Beautiful art at pier

Art by pier 2

Cannon at Fort Frederiksted

Sea glass display at the Fort

Sea glass art

The Fred

So many lovely things to see and explore in St. Croix.

Addie’s Take: Feb 23-Mar

We got to babysit Parker because Stephanie from Dreamcatcher hurt her back and Jake was on a trip visiting his sons  and their nephew. We took Caper, Chance, Rosco, Daisy and Parker to the beach and let them run around and play to  get their energies out.  We took Rosco and Daisy( Parker’s brother and sister) back to Dreamcatcher and Parker back to Aventis. Chance was extremely jealous because we gave Parker a lot of attention.  It was fun watching Parker though it was also kind of a distraction. It was hard to get schoolwork done with him on the boat, because he kept getting up on my lap and messing with the computer; he kept asking me to play with him. We were doing a favor and helping out a friend, so it was worth it. Parker is a Portuguese Water Dog like Caper and Chance. He is just a puppy who is 11 weeks old. It was also fun taking all five dogs to the beach because they all got to play and swim and we got to play with them. I called it Aventis Doggy Day Care, a private free business. 

Me, Mom and Dad got the Covid-19 Vaccine here in the US Virgin Islands.  There was a community vaccination center at the USVI University. We got the Pfizer Vaccine. There are three companies that make the vaccines, Pfizer, Modernara and Johnson~Johnson. The  Pfizer is 95% effective. Here is some information on the messenger RNA Vaccine, it is a new vaccine that is meant to protect against infectious diseases. Most vaccines like The flu vaccine puts in weakened germs in our body’s. This Vaccine teaches our body how to make a protein that triggers an immune response to our bodies. The protein is called the Spike Protein, it is found on the surface of the virus that causes Covid 19. The cell gets rid of the instructions once the protein is made. It is given in the upper arm muscle. The vaccine never enters the nucleus of the cell where our DNA is. The vaccine does not use  the live virus. When you have the vaccine you can still get the corona virus, but it should help you fight it off faster (spoiler alert, we find this out first hand). You should not get sick. Your immunity does not begin until 12 days after you get the shot. It was fun getting the vaccine I felt good. I did not have any reactions or get sick. I did have a sore arm and was very tired. Dad also had a sore arm. Mom didn’t have a sore arm but she was tired, we were all tired. Kent and Kathy, our friends from Wind Ensemble also got the vaccine they got right after us. It was a fun and memorable day.

We went on a hike at Lameshur Bay with Kent and Kathy, Caper and Chance got to come on the hike with us. It was their lucky day. We passed little Lameshur which had a beach. Our friends Kent and Kathy wanted us to check out Lameshur Bay. We hiked up  a big hill and saw ruins of an old mansion that belonged to a plantation owner. It kinda looked like what I thought it would. It was built in the mid 1700s. We then hiked down another trail and saw more ruins. We think these were slave quarters. We then got to the Petroglyphs. They were beautiful and there were sacred  drawings on the rocks. The trail was 5.3 kilometers. The petroglyphs are a lost culture from the Islands past. It is located at the base of the valley’s highest waterfall. There wasn’t any water there not sure if it was because it is all dried up or because it’s the dry season. A spring fed pool reflects a 20-foot wide panorama of carvings year round with others nearby. When we headed back to the boat we were all tired and thirsty. We drank all our water on the walk. Caper and Chance were so tired they kept stopping in the shade, so Dad had to drag them to get them to keep going. It was a long walk. It was an excellent hike and we all had a lot of fun.

We got our second Covid shot. We made an appointment and walked to the University of the US Virgin Islands to be able to get it. We got it at the community center there, like last time. Our friends Kent and Kathy came with us and got their second shot as well. Mom, Dad and I were in separate stations for the shot.  I asked for the shot on my right arm because I’m left handed. I bled a little bit, but that’s all good. We felt fine afterwards and even went swimming. Later that day, we all had sore arms.  During the night we all had chills.  Mom and I had chills in the morning too. We were  all tired the day after. It’s great that we all got the vaccine.  On April 6th the vaccine will be fully effective.  I was able to get it as well even though I’m 16 and most places are not vaccinating people my age. This was a big deal for us to get vaccinated because we can travel easier into new countries, Caribbean Islands and hopefully I’ll even get to visit my grandma.

We went to this place called, Chicken’n Bowling. It’s the Virgin Island’s version of Bo’s in Lenoir, NC. Our friends, Kent and Kathy really wanted us to try this place, so we finally tried it. It was a lot of fun. We haven’t bowled in a while, so we kept trying different strategies. Mom ended up winning the games because she got a turkey and didn’t roll between her legs or use bumpers. Kent never let her forget it.  He nicknamed her, Turkey. He was not happy. He was a good sport about it though. We ended the day with a slushie from a place called, No Passports. We saw Jake and Stephanie and said “hi”,  but then they had to go because their charter guests were coming. We were Celebrating Mom’s big win. 

January 2021: Addie’s 16th birthday in the USVI and friends visit

January was a fun, easy going month for us. We got to celebrate Addie’s sweet 16, hang out with our friends on Wind Ensemble, and have our friends, Don and Melissa Marlett, on the boat for a visit. Once our battery testing was done at the marina it felt great to get back out on the water, even if we had to run the generator a lot since our batteries were shot. We spent the first two weeks in January hanging out in Brewers Bay on St. Thomas and in Rendezvous Bay on St. John. We love these two spots because the dogs can go to the beach in both spots.

Date lunch! We do not get as many of these now with the new Addie, who for some reason loves spending time with her parents. Go figure… But today, it was just Shannon and Ashley at a the beach bar at Honeymoon Beach.

Smile!

Dittlyf (at Rendezvous Bay, St. John) really is Addie and the dogs happy place!

More sunset pics but only because we are reminded everyday how lucky we are to have experienced the day that we did. We say goodbye to the sun and look forward to seeing her again the next morning.

Time to sail back to St. Thomas to get Don and Mel.

We checked into Yacht Haven Grande Marina for easy pick up and provisioning. This place lives up to it’s name. We are the smallest boat at the dock. This is where David Geffen’s yacht, Rising Sun, the Jobs’ family yacht, Venus, and Nancy Walton’s (Walmart heir) yacht, Kaos all dock sometimes. These yachts are all around 300 feet.

Even the chairs are mega!

First things first, a visit to Leatherback Brewery!

First night on anchor with the Marletts, we made our way to St. John and stayed on a mooring ball at Caneel Bay. We spent the afternoon snorkeling from the boat to shore, then got all fancied up and took Addie out for the first of her Sweet 16 birthday celebrations.

If you are visiting St. John, we can highly recommend ZoZo’s. It was a memorable experience. The food, staff and atmosphere are wonderful.

Next stop, Maho on St. John. Addie and Mel’s favorite spot for paddle-boarding and turtle spotting.

It is hard to put into words all the feelings surrounding Addie’s birthday. It has been an amazing journey watching her grow and mature. As we remember back to her first birthday, which we spent in the hospital, watching her have seizure after seizure with no answers. We worried for her life. It is such a gift today to see the beautiful, smart, happy young lady who shares this adventure with us.

We had lots of fun celebrating.

Off we go, sailing around St. John, looking for more trouble to get into…

We found it at Skinny Legs bar in Coral Bay. The Leatherback beer was calling our name!

More food and drinks needed, no problem. We just happen to know a floating taco bar with craft cocktails, Limeout. This was a “have to” with Don and Mel!

Next stop, Dittlyf Beach, Rendezvous Bay on St. John. A good quiet place to hang while Don did some work and the rest of us enjoyed the beach and the water.

Another VI treasure, Pizza PI, this is a pizza boat. You order you pizza over the VHF radio and pick it up by dinghy.
Very cool.

Another amazing day!

So funny story here. Let us start with Addie is babysitting the dogs and she is the one who took these pics! Our dogs do have manners and rules. This is not typical behavior, but having said that, with Caper anything is possible!

I do not think Chance had a clue what Caper was up too.

So glad Don and Mel got to come see us. It was a great week!

Addie had birthday celebration number 3 with Kent and Kathy. Lucky girl!

We spoiled her even a little more by taking her out for one more fancy dinner with just Mom and Dad.

There might be more pics of us drinking than sunsets this month.

This is a cool little place tucked away off the main street in Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas. You would have to be looking for it to find it. Story goes that 300 or so years ago there was a well known beer house or a Taphus in this same spot and all the Caribbean sailors knew to come here. One day a nobleman with plenty of money showed up and bought the whole area for his bride and renamed it Charlotte Amalie in her honor.

A momentous day on the Thompson boat. Addie’s first time shaving…

Back to Dittlyf for some more R&R.

Where we share the bay with Eos. One of the largest sailboats in the world at 93 meters.

And with our good friends Kent and Kathy on WE.

Family paddle-board ride in Maho looking for turtles!

Ashley’s craft area is becoming unruly – might be time to find a use for all these treasures she has made.

Especially since she collects more sea treasures everyday.

Addie and Ashley have their hands full trying to keep Shannon out of trouble!

So long for now from the USVI.

Chance’s Favorite Activity

Chance does not swim as much as Caper. However, he is nuts about fetching a ball thrown out into the water as long as we are on a beach. He asks non-stop for us to throw the ball while on we are on the beach. At some point he does eventually tire out. When that happens he takes the ball and jumps into the dinghy or jumps onto the paddle board, sits down, and waits for us to head back to the boat! Crazy doggy, right?!?

If you remember, Chance had surgery on both of his hind legs (tore the CCL’s in both legs – same thing as ACL’s for people). We believe he has bionic legs now! You’ll see what we mean in his video, which is less than 3 minutes. You’ll see how much he loves this activity, which is why we try to take him to the beach everyday.

Addie’s Take: Jan 1-Feb 17

Recently I was on the paddle board and Mom said it was time to come in and do school work. I said there is more to life than just school. For example, there is the environment and spending time with family.  What I meant was I wish I could have more time to do other stuff that doesn’t involve school. Things like playing with the dogs, swimming, paddle boarding and connecting with friends on Snapchat, Instagram or in person. I also like to collect shells, swim off the back of the boat with Caper and go into town because it means I get to get off the boat and be on land for a while.  I will keep doing school because school is very important. I also want to go to college someday, get a job, and go off to live with a friend or on my own.

PS: This is not the original version of this entry. When I first wrote this blog entry my interests were not as wide as they are now. For those of you who know me, you can appreciate that I did not mention time on my IPad. My Mom and Dad say maybe I am coming out of the teenage funk?

Me, Mom, Dad and Caper on the paddle-board.

Don and Mel came to stay on the boat for a week in January. This was my Birthday week. I turned 16. We picked them up from this really cool fancy marina called Yacht Haven Grande. It had a really nice pool and shops. Mom and I got to have a “girls day” before Don and Mel came on the boat.

Girls Day

On their first morning we went to the pool before we left the marina. The water was really cold. They said they needed it because of the night before? Our first stop was Caneel Bay, where we went snorkeling and sat on the beach. For dinner we went to ZOZOs and had a progressive fine dining meal. It was great having Cheesecake again. I missed having Cheesecake.

Me eating Cheesecake.
Me,Mom and Dad at ZoZo’s

Next, we went to Maho Bay. I went paddle-boarding with Mel, where we were looking for turtles. We did not see many turtles though, or sharks. We did have a lot of fun.

Me and Mel on turtle spotting.

We went to Coral Bay for my birthday. Dad made me a big birthday breakfast. I got to have a day off of school and play on my IPad instead. When Mom, Dad, Mel and Don went to the taco boat, Limeout, I stayed on the boat and watched the dogs. I don’t like tacos and that’s all they have. Dad made my favorite for dinner – Shrimp Fried Rice.

My Big Birthday breakfast Dad made me.
Birthday Dinner
Vanilla cake with chocolate mousse

We went to Hanson Bay for the night. The next day we went to Dittlyf. When we were at Dittlyf we went snorkeling and had a beach day twice because Don was working.

We then went to Little St. James and had pizza from Pizza Pi (it is a boat where they make pizza). The next day we went snorkeling in my favorite spot for the week which is on Little St. James.

Enjoying a day at the beach.

Then it was back to the marina. The four adults went out and I watched the dogs. When I was watching the dogs, Caper got up on the table even though I was sitting on the couch beside him.

The next day we had to take Don and Mel to the airport to say goodbye. We were sad to see them go, especially Caper and Chance. They really enjoyed the extra attention from Don and Mel.  We are looking forward to seeing them again.

Caper enjoying the table.
Chance enjoying the couch.
Me and Mel enjoying our time together.

We had dinner with Kent and Kathy who made Chinese food from scratch. We had Egg Drop Soup, Egg Foo Young and Fried Rice it was a treat for me because we were still celebrating my birthday. Kent’s secret ingredients for his fried rice are bacon and ham. It was really Good! I had not tried Egg Drop Soup or Egg Foo Young before – it was great getting to try new things.   I also liked getting to celebrate my birthday with them.

Me enjoying my new Kava bag Kathy gave me.
Me, Kent and Kathy at Yacht Heaven Grande.

Recently, Caper and Chance met their long, lost cousin. Mom and Dad’s boat friends, Jake and Stephanie (Dreamcatcher), adopted a puppy. Parker is a Portuguese Water Dog. He is 11 weeks old. When Parker came on our boat Chance was jealous of him because he was stealing all the attention. When Chance got jealous of Parker, Caper was having a deja vu moment. He was  remembering when we brought Chance home and how he felt when he first came into his life. Caper was like, Whatever, about Parker and didn’t care or notice him as much as Chance did. Caper is not as threatened by other dogs and knows how to find his own spotlight.

Chance trying to ignore Parker.
Dad petting Parker while Stephanie is telling Chance, “It is ok, Parker will be leaving soon.”

One night before I went to bed I thought of five things that make me happy. I wanted to share with you the 5 things that make me really happy. They are: 

1. Playing with the dogs especially swimming with Caper

2. Spending time with Mom and Dad and their boat friends

3. spending time with my boat friends and mountain friends

4. Eating my favorite foods which include bacon, eggs, sausage, any type of potatoes, pancakes and orange juice

5. Diving into a different world by book or by screen. 

It was really interesting to think about five things that make me happy. I challenge you to do the same.

Swimming with Dad and Caper is wonderful.

I went to Kent and Kathy’s boat, WindEnsemble, for game night. Kent and Kathy had Kathy’s sister Barbara and brother in-law Jeff visiting on their boat.  I am trying to do other stuff besides getting on my iPad like interacting with other people, trying new hobbies, learning new tricks, getting involved in more boat chores, projects and spending more time with the dogs. We played Mexican Train Dominoes. Kathy didn’t understand how to play Mexican Train Dominoes; so I figured I would make a version called Mexican Boat Dominoes where the playing pieces are boats and the dominoes make their way to different anchorages. Turns out I can have a really good sense of humor, can get drunk on life and I am really fun to be around.  I had a fun time last night playing Mexican Train Dominoes.

I also learned to play the Cups game. Thanks Kathy.

December 2020: Fun Times in Florida and Christmas in the USVI

December has been awesome! So many wonderful adventures!

We are so very lucky to get to spend almost 4 weeks on the boat sailing around St. Thomas and St. Johns with all three of our girls. But before we could get to the boat, when we left NC, we made a pit-stop in FL for 2 days to get our COVID tests, shop, and see friends.

Our first stop after landing in Ft. Lauderdale was the covid testing center. After our tests, we made a mandatory stop at Coconuts on Fort Lauderdale Beach for Scooby snacks (crab claws soaked in a bowl of garlic butter). YUM!! Addie’s request!

After lunch we went to the beach. Much colder than the USVI!

After the beach we went to Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlor for another treat.

We enjoyed our time in FL by staying at the Margaritaville Resort in Hollywood.

Margaritaville Resort is a tall building located on a small strip of land allowing for you to see the sunrise on one side of the building (picture taken from our balcony) and the sunset from the other (picture taken from Mak and Ella’s balcony).

Super excited we got to see our good friends Joffry and Diana. They even threw a party for us at our old marina with great food, drinks, and friends!

Our trip to Florida had to include a stop at the Taco Spot on Hollywood Beach before leaving for the USVI.

The flight to St. Thomas was a short 2 hours. Once we landed and arrived back to Aventis at the marina, it was off to get provisions which of course included coffee and ice cream from Scoops and Brews. Priorities!!!!

Then, it was time to pick up Caper and Chance from the doggy hotel.
Not sure who is more excited to see who…

Before sailing off, we had a great brunch on St. Thomas.

It was then time to leave the dock and explore St. Thomas and St. John by boat.

Our first stop was Brewers Beach. Caper and Ella love to go paddle boarding! On this day, they were dolphin spotting.

Caper loves to do tricks off the board for Addie.

And of course just chill with Ashley.

Chance is happy watching from the comfort of the boat!

Time for a family zoom with Ashley’s family!!

Because the girls had been to the USVI last spring, we planned some new stops for this trip. The first new stop was Buck Island off of St. Thomas. Very cool anchorage – we had a sunken ship directly under our boat! We hiked around the island too.

We never get enough of the amazing sunsets…

And Rainbows…

After leaving Buck Island, we made a pit stop for some snorkeling…

We then sailed on to St. John, where we had to dinghy to shore and visit some of our favorite places there too.

Ashley and the dogs are worn out from all the fun!!!!

“Look Mom and Dad, we are keeping your bed warm for you!”

Continuing around St. John, we made our way to Water Lemon and hiked up to the Annaberg Sugar Plantation. Addie loves sharing the history of the plantation with others.

Another great day! So much FUN having the girls on board!

We made our way to Coral Bay on the east end of St. John. Coral Bay is a quaint, artsy, quirky town. We love it!

We dinghied over to Lime Out, a floating Taco Bar with craft cocktails!
Can you say, Yummy!!

Ashley’s best birthday present – celebrating with all her girls!

And of course getting to be on this incredible adventure with my soulmate!!

Our friends, Kent and Kathy on Wind Ensemble made this video for Ashley’s birthday:

We left Coral Bay and sailed around the corner to Salt Pond where we hung out on the boat, swam with turtles, sunbathed on the beach, and took a hike.

Chance is sure he is a lap dog!

In another life, Caper was definitely a life guard.

Everything stops for sunset!

Salt Pond is this very unique anchorage on St Johns with great snorkeling, very tame turtles, and two distinctly different hikes. One of the hikes takes you to Drunk Beach. When you visit this beach it is tradition that you leave a body…

We did lots of swimming.

Even found a 6 legged starfish. The savage was good and put it back.

Ella, Addie and Caper practiced, downward facing dog.

Cuddle time!!

It is going to be a great day!

Christmas on the boat! Our tree is a bit smaller than in previous years.

A few new decorations. Ashley has been crafting again.

We had Christmas Eve dinner at Lovango Resort.

Santa found Aventis!

Mak and Ella were very creative in their wrapping, hence the raincoats and tee shirts.

We were super excited to get to see Grandma open her AI kitty that we sent her. Thanks Uncle Shawn!!!

Christmas Day was a real treat!
Santa treated us all to a day at the pool at Lovango Resort!

We sailed back to St. Thomas, rented a jeep, and took a road trip around St. Thomas. The view from Drake’s Seat looking out at Magens Bay.

We then checked out Coki Beach:

And after Coki, we made a pitstop at the Margaritaville resort for some cold drinks. They were having a cool bird show!

Our last sail before the girls have to go.
Ashley and Caper just needed some alone time on the bow.

Having the girls home with us for December was awesome! We had some great adventures sailing around St. Thomas and St. John. We will miss them!! Not sure when they will get to come back, fingers crossed in May.

With Mak and Ella on their way back to enjoy the cold and snow in Boone, there is only one thing for us to do, drink our sorrows away at Leatherback Brewery!

Unfortunately, it is not all fun and adventures. Just like any home, ours needs a little/a lot of attention and repair. Her year old batteries are giving out. They should have lasted for 10 years, so this is not right. Luckily, Jesse and Mark are helping us figure things out.

That is our bed…

While that is going on, we also have an exciting new addition to our deck –
4 new dive tanks! Yeah, now we can go diving anytime from the back of the boat or from the dinghy.

What a fun month! Boat life has changed how and when we get to see our family and friends. We are grateful for the opportunity to share our new home with those we love.

Coming up next month: Addie’s birthday in the USVI and hanging out with friends!

Swimming with Turtles

One of our favorite things to do while in the USVI is swim with sea turtles! Most of the time, when we sail into any of the bays around St. Thomas and St. John, there are sea turtles there to greet us. We often throw on our snorkel gear and jump in to swim with them.

We put together this short (less than 3 min) video of some of our times with the turtles. It is so relaxing and fascinating to observe them. Turtle spotting is one of our favorite activities on Aventis for sure!

Caper’s Favorite Activity

We put together a short video (3 min) of Caper’s favorite activity while living on Aventis. Most dogs don’t realize they have back legs – they are just kind of along for the ride (Chance included). However, Caper is sort of unique. Watch until the end to see what we mean. He loves, loves, loves this activity and does it everyday for as long as we let him.