Friday, January 27, 2012

Jost Van Dyke

After a week of staring at Jost Van Dyke from Cane Garden, Al thought that we should see it after all. On Saturday, 21st of January, we checked the chart and read the bit about the island in the sailing guide. To our amazement, we saw that the markers for the Great Harbour were placed on the west side of the harbour entrance for an unknown reason, which puts the traffic dangerously close to the reefs. The guide says sailors come into the bay staying right in the middle where it is deep, they ignore the red and green markers that lead to the government dock, and anchor or take mooring ball on the east side.

We decided to sail there, since the island is almost straight to the wet of Cane Garden, and the wind was mild, and straight at our backs. It took us about one hour to reach the harbour. It is always very hard for me to ignore any marker, but I did not become hysterical this time, because it was plain by naked eye / depth sounder that the water all the way into the harbour was really quite deep. Most of the space was littered by moorings, so we caught one not too far away from the dinghy dock, and settled down.

It was quite early, so we swam a bit and went ashore to check out the fresh produce grown locally, which was promised in the guide. Well, we only saw a lady and her two young daughters, selling some home-made baked goods at the roadside. The lady claimed that she was raising funds to send her daughters to a youth conference at St Martin / Sint Maarten, which of course prompted us, and another couple, to buy different kinds of breads, which turned out to be quite good. The owner of the produce store decided to close it for the day, so we were out of luck. While walking up and down the short street, we saw an herb garden, and a banana orchard, so there must be some truth about the vegetables and fruits grown there. I can never understand why the islands cannot produce their food, although every inch is covered by lush vegetation. We know from their history that all of the islands that we had seen so far used to be sugar plantations. Their soil or climate seems to be wrong somehow for the food crops that we are accustomed to. It is possible that growing them might require some extra effort. I guess it is easier to buy the vegetables form Florida, USA. On all the islands we visited so far, we found in the grocery stores, the pale orange colored tomatoes that taste more sour than their real flavor, but hey, at least they exist in winter. In Canada, once in a while one can find real tomatoes that come from Mexico, but they are rare, but cheaper, go figure. But I remember somebody badmouthing the Mexican tomatoes, blaming them by being dirty and not safe to eat . More organic may be, but how could they be dirty. Of course Ontario tomatoes are the best, when picked ripe, but their season is too short!

Anyway, when we came back to the boat, after having lunch at the “famous“ Foxy’s Bar (according to the guide), we started to watch the other boaters flocking into the bay. That is an interesting pursuit. We saw a young couple in a chartered boat, who approached a mooring ball, but seeing that the eye of the pennant was broken, left for another. Sometime later, another boat came there, and the older guy, who seemed to be the grand-father of the family, crated a solution, and made a loop on the pennant rope and used it to secure the boat ropes. One can see that experience makes a difference.

After a rolly night, we high tailed back to Cane Garden around 9:00 am. The seas were much higher than promised, and the wind straight up, but an hour was not unbearable. It is hard to believe how tranquil it is in the Cane Garden bay. I am very glad that we found this place to wait for a window of calmer seas to make our passage to St Martin. I am not looking forward to it, but it has to be done, so be it.

After we dropped our anchor, three more cats came along to anchor. One of them was so close to us that, he came along and asked if we minded them next to us. Of course Al being so gallant, said he did not; but I wondered if it would swing in the night and hit us. Then we saw the skipper putting a single fender at the back of the boat, probably thinking the same. How was one fender going to help I did not understand, but what do I know.

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