Thursday, February 18, 2010
More on St Croix
This is just an update of the last post, but it stands alone.
Here is the entrance to the marina, note that it isn't a straight approach in.
We got situated in our dock and I took the opportunity to snap a photo of my favorite person, right before we left for Cheeseburger's. In the background you can see the open hatch representing some warm temperatures. The music playing was Mongoose FM. It was soooo cool to listen to American accents on there radio.
We went over to the Deep End Bar and restaurant that evening. We were kinda loopy from lack of rest but we were too excited to spend a quiet evening on the boat.
Got to the crowded bar in time for sunset G&T's, I muscled up to the bar and asked for a beer and chardonnay. The nice bartender did not recognize us so she asked where we were staying.
"Oh, we are the boat at the end of the dock, the one with the blue top."
"Where are you coming in from?"
That got a few people to turn around and acknowledge us.
An English gent and his younger, extremely attractive American spouse came over and introduced themselves.
"Say, were you a member of the 'Little Ship Club'? He asked.
"Why sure. Since 1996."
"I served in the Army with a member, perhaps you know Roy..."
We didn't let him finish.
"Oh, you mean Uncle Roy Aspinall!" She and I interrupted with excited relish.
Uncle Roy is infamous in the Little Ship Club. Very well known in the East Coast sailing circles of the UK. Oh yes, we knew Uncle Roy.
Well. That gave us the bona fides for full inclusion of the Deep End Bar and entrance into the sacred brotherhood of the "Get Drunk For Lunch Bunch".
There were Uncle Roy stories to be told and sea tales of our own little junket across the Atlantic. Before we knew it it was 11:00 PM, time for the bar to close. I weaved my way to the bar to pay my tab and was told that there was no tab. So I insisted on knowing how much I owed...
"There is no tab."
What a great time!
There were recuperative mimosas the next day as we endeavored to find a ride to the rental car place. Seems that St Croix has a... (wait for it...) K-Mart. Oh dear. After suffering with high prices and no stock from Basingstoke to Castries, we were officially in the land of the sorta big PX. Be still, my beating heart.
We got to K-Mart and began a 400 dollar spending spree that included such diverse goodies like a Blender, tee-shirts, food of all kinds (This was a "Super K-Mart") and a six pack of Cruzan Rum. Two bucks a fifth! We also got all sorts of fun nick-knacks like new plates, etc.
Did you know the speed limit over much of St Croix is 20 mph? They drive on the left side because the island residents are so laid back, they will stop on a dime to chat with a pedestrian! Driver side on the left facilitates chatting with your sidewalk friends.
There is about five miles of freeway, from Cane Garden Bay and the huge Hess refinery to Fredrikstad. Or something like that. My mind is addled from way too many Cruzan's and Coke.
One fine thing I noticed in St Croix; Very proud to be U.S. citizens. There were flags on most of the front yards and buildings. Even the radio station from Christianstad, 104.9 WMNG gave their FCC required call letters with "This is WMNG, Mongoose FM, Christianstad UNITED STATES Virgin Islands..."
View of Buck Island National Park
There were plenty of bored fellow sailors lurking around the Marina who were glad to help or give directions. We turned in the rental car because one nice fellow would carry us around the island any time we wanted. I think he was hoping we would stay. The Wife had been working for the NHS in London and I still held a current TS/SCI clearance with the government. It would not have taken much to keep us there, just jobs with real pay, and not any of that volunteer nonsense.
Anyway, we were regulars at the Deep End bar and we met quite a few of the locals who were very kind and welcoming to us. One night had us closing down the bar and we wound up getting a ride to "Cheeseburgers" for the after hours party. Man, we were there until 0400!
A nice acquaintance offered us a ride home (the taxi was missing...) I tried to wave off, this fella had been drinking with us since 10:00 PM at Deep End. I said we would pay for all of us to get a cab since I didn't want him to catch a DUI on our behalf.
He p'shawwed and led us to his car. We went back to the Wildebeest and offered him a night cap beer before sun-up. As we chatted about the island and he was definitely trying to talk us into staying.
I asked about why people insisted on driving after drinking, it is after all illegal.
"Well, of course, I wouldn't want anyone to get the wrong idea. We don't like lawbreakers, but the speed limit is mostly under 25 mph on the small roads. A person who has been drinking will mostly get a ticket if they don't have the seatbelt on."
We were both blown away. They really do things a bit differently out there away from the prying eyes of the local and federal gubmint. You could have knocked us over with a feather when he gave us a business card upon his departure for the night. He was somebody important in the Territorial Government.
The next day, Our driver buddy took us out to the local rain forest and introduced us to Cheech. Cheech was a California surfer who had come to St Croix in the Seventies and found a niche as a master carpenter. He had a little place where he carved mahogany trees into beautiful pieces of home furniture. For instance; a Dining Room set of Mahogany would only set you back about $12K. Wow. But this furniture would last two hundred years. He only used the best logs of aged wood. He called the really nice logs, "Boss".
"This is a really 'Boss' log..."
We had to reluctantly decline the purchase of his beautiful wares. I will try to get back someday to order some tables.
Among the various adventures we enjoyed was meeting people from around the world, especially Americans. Finally, a last interesting thing about our visit was the feller who ran/owned the marina. His last name was Corvinus, a rare name for sure. My father's aunt has the same surname and they were related by marriage. My father's aunt was born in 1904, and I think our host was acquainted with her, but maybe back in the thirties or forties when he was a youngster. Talk about a small world. If only I could have convinced this nice owner to give us a small break on the marina fees, we were in a transient slip and the price was set. If someone was to leave their slip, well we could get a rate half of the transient rate. We were paying about $600. for two weeks, so the time was upon us to be moving along towards home and jobs. Our credit card bill was heading for a place in orbit.
Again, wonderful new friends and the best time!