Returning to the USVI & Planning Our Next Boat Project

A Week Aboard S/V Sabado: 1/22/2023 – 1/29/2023

Good morning! I hope you’re doing well. ❤️

We fell behind on editing, so here is the video from our BVI adventures I wrote about last week!

Anyway, last Monday morning, we moved Sabado one bay over to be closer to our friend’s boat. They had lost their ability to reverse on one side of their catamaran the day prior, so Ray went over to help diagnose the problem. It ended up being an issue with their propeller. Once they were safely underway, Ray and I ate breakfast and chatted about our next destination.

We decided to check out Great Harbor, so we motored on over. It was quiet and far less crowded than the places we visited last week, a welcomed change of pace, and we were on a mooring ball next to the founder of BlackBerry’s yacht, Artefact!

We lounged around all afternoon, then headed to shore to meet up with two other couples for dinner. We went to the restaurant at Oceans 7 Yacht Club and had a lovely meal, despite them being out of half of the menu items. 🤷🏼‍♀️ After dinner, we dinghied to one of their boats for a few cocktails before bed. 

We had steady wind all night and woke up to fully charged batteries Tuesday morning. We turned on Starlink and had a productive morning of internet access. Ray spent his time communicating with a marine electrician about our potential lithium battery conversion while I caught up on editing and finally got around to setting up our Amazon Storefront

Later that day, I was recruited to use a charter boat’s newest toy: a clear paddleboard! It was so cool to see as if you were snorkeling without getting wet; I even saw a squid! I paddled around while they followed me with a drone for their website/social media: 

Ray and I had lunch on their boat, then continued our computer tasks while our batteries were behaving. I’m embarrassed to admit we didn’t even eat dinner that night because we fell asleep before 6 pm. 😂

The following day we woke up extra early, feeling very well-rested. We discussed the details of our upcoming battery upgrade over coffee: to keep the wind turbines or get rid of them? To install two new batteries or three? Under our bed or somewhere else? Should we do a solar upgrade as well? Ray always makes sure to get my opinion on these things, which, when it comes to batteries/power/wiring, requires an hour or two of me reading articles and asking him questions before I can make an informed decision, so this was a long process.

Once we had a better idea of what we wanted to do, we were eager to get moving. We conducted engine checks, then headed over to West End to check out of the BVI. Overall we had a great time in the BVI- and we’ll head back again later this year to hit the spots we missed- but it is expensive to stay, and there are sooo many boats! If you have any roomy anchorage recommendations, though, please let us know. 🤞🏼

We checked out and wandered over to Omar’s for lunch. Omar’s has an Indian menu with a Caribbean flair. We ordered a paratha, vegetable samosas, and palak chicken with basmati rice- all delicious- and had plenty to bring home and reheat for dinner that night! We left the next morning and motored back to St. Thomas. We hardly had any wind, but the calm seas allowed me to do some much-needed cleaning inside while we were moving. 

We arrived in St. Thomas, checked in electronically, and dropped anchor back in our usual spot…

We took the dinghy to shore to get our mail. We received an exciting package: an Igloo cooler! 

We plan to use it as a bench for our cockpit table (hence the cushion on top) and storage for our snorkel gear. It’s the perfect size! We’ll need to reupholster the cushion with sunbrella at some point… but we’ll see how long the vinyl holds up. Gladys, if you’re reading this: thank you! This is the perfect addition to our cockpit! We love it!! 

Later that afternoon, we pulled up the anchor and moved onto a mooring ball owned by the marine electrician we’d been chatting with about our battery install. The ball had a bridle setup for catamarans (two long lines from the top of the ball). This sounds nice, but the lines were tangled when we arrived. I picked up the first one and brought it to our cleat before realizing both lines were knotted around the base of the mooring ball. We dropped the line, and Ray maneuvered Sabado back up to the ball. I attempted to untangle the lines with the boat hook, but I couldn’t get the leverage I needed to make any progress. Ray and I debated putting the dinghy in the water. I even volunteered to jump in with goggles and untangle it by hand. We decided to give it another go with the boat hook first. At this point, I was frustrated. I hooked the first line and pulled it up into my reach. I yanked it up with my hands, pulling the entire ball out of the water to see what was happening at the base. I lassoed the ball a few times and looped the first line around the second to undo the knot, then pulled as hard as I could until the line came free. I was sweating and was now covered in smelly slime from manhandling the line. Ray clapped for me. 😂 I repeated the same process for the other line. Ray rinsed the residual grime off the bow while I changed clothes. 

The electrician came over shortly after that. We showed him what we were working with and discussed our options over beer in the cockpit. Once he left, I made a quick dinner before meeting up with friends for a drink. The first thing the following morning, the electrician was back aboard Sabado, this time with a carpenter. We all crowded around the chosen installation location and devised a plan. I promise I am not being deceitfully vague about our battery install. We are waiting to see the estimate before we publicly discuss the details because we’ll likely make some changes to fit our budget. Once everything is finalized, we will be posting about the batteries we chose, our installation plan, modification details, and the professionals who will be doing the work. Our updates are all real-time, so you’ll know more when we do! 

That afternoon we got annoyed with the sea state in the mooring field, so we ditched the ball and moved over to Frenchman’s Cove, a quiet, calm, empty anchorage with clear water and a lovely beach. We spent the afternoon swimming and relaxing. 

Saturday morning, we dinghied over to our friend’s boat. They needed a hand making some changes to the lines at the top of their mast. We boarded their boat and talked through a diagram they had made depicting what needed to be done. Once everyone understood the plan, we sent Ray up the mast to execute it. 

We were paid in coffee and compliments after the job was done. ❤️ One of our favorite things to do is help other boaters. Ray gets to flex his engineering muscle, and I always learn something new! 

That evening we grilled some steaks and watched the sunset. 

Today I’m planning on catching up on chores. I need to polish some stainless, scrub the nonskid in the bathrooms, and do some reorganizing- exciting, I know. 😉 Hopefully, we’ll get the estimate for our battery project in the next few days, and I’ll be able to fill you in on our final decisions next week. 🤞🏼

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