This next friend, was well acquainted with St. John in the Virgin Islands. Matt, who we endearingly call Red, lived in St. John just after he finished college. So it only seemed fitting we meet him at a bar in St. John …Coral Bay, Skinny Legs! Burgers and Beers. What more does a cruiser really need?
We made a few stops to favorite places like Normans Island, the Willy Ts and to the northern section of Francis Bay, St. John. It was a genuinely beautiful time, Red with his puns, Mike with his computer programing talk, Kirsten with her music and every day we’d drop that and go snorkeling. It wasn’t until our passage from St. John Virgin Islands to Puerto Rico we saw any drama.
Red was behind the helm sailing at a run (the wind was directly at our stern), all sails in flight as far as they could reach. Mike and I were leisurely sitting with the fishing poll stuck in its nook towing a fake plastic squid to catch a tasty fish. All was boring and calm and then ZZZZZZZIIIIING. In light air I brought in the main and tried to furl in the genoa to slow the boat and get the sails out of the way…. This was a lot easier in thought than action. We lost too much speed, the sails backed and the fish, that dang fish, which Mike was reeling in decided to swim right underneath the boat and wrap around something down there. All of a sudden turning on the motor looks like a bad idea…. What if the fish wrapped the line around the prop? Turning on the engine would mean cutting the line to our dinner – BUT if the fish somehow got the line stuck on the rudder, it would fine…. Instead of taking down the boarding ladder and diving in… we opted for continuing on our trip to the island of Culebrita where we would anchor under sail. But not before flogging the sails for another 20 minutes. The furling line on the genoa was caught and had to be manually rolled-in then out and untangled with pliers… ah the joys of sailing.
We had a beautiful sail into Culebrita where there’s a protected sandy bottom bay – excellent holding. We anchored under sail like pros; no engines used all day! What an accomplishment. We found Culebrita to be absolutely pristine and Red needed no coaxing to dive immediately into the water to check if the fish was still ensnared under the boat. To all of our dismay the fish got away but we still had the lure and hook so there’s always next time. On the bright side, I woke up the next morning and watched turtles come up for air and dive back down. It was the largest amount of turtles in one bay I’d ever witnessed and was wonderfully serene.