Snorkeling Adventures, Boat Projects, and Fun with Friends

A Week Aboard S/V Sabado: 3/26/2023 – 5/2/2023

Good morning! Happy Sunday!

Last Sunday, we cleaned, worked on a couple of projects, and swam off the back of the boat. We were anchored at Frenchman’s Cove in St. Thomas, USVI. The anchorage was a bit rolly, and the water was murky from the swell, but we were happy to be there nonetheless! That afternoon we heard from our friends: they had a few days off from work and were nearby, so we made plans to meet up the following day in Brewers Bay: a bigger, calmer anchorage by the airport that is supposed to have a spectacular snorkeling spot.

We spent the day playing in the water. The guys had an epic E foil booze handoff (which ended with one person fully submerged, but he saved the booze!!) while the gals went for a nice, long snorkel to the airplane runway and back. 

I wouldn’t say it was a particularly great snorkel; the most coral we saw was growing on a skillet we found on the ocean floor… 

My guess is someone had a galley fire, panicked, and threw their pan overboard. By the looks of that growth, it must have been sitting there for quite a while! 😂 We didn’t see much else, but just after we decided to turn back, we saw a spotted eagle ray swimming below us!

That night Ray and I decided at the last minute to host everyone for dinner on Sabado. We dug through our fridge and turned groceries for two into dinner for five. Ray grilled up the tuna steak and cod filet we had, and we served it with rice and veggies. 

If there’s anything we can do on Sabado, it’s make something out of nothing! Our friends stayed over for a while after dinner, drinking and reminiscing about when we all used to live together. It’s been so nice to be in the same area again after two years of opposite cruising grounds! ❤️

Tuesday morning, another one of our friends arrived in the USVI. We hadn’t seen them since November in the Bahamas, so when we looked out our window to see them dropping their anchor behind us, we were shocked! We ran out to our stern to greet them, cheering and jumping up and down. Unfortunately, they had some prop/engine issues on their trip over, so Ray climbed aboard to help them get on the dock nearby, and we all promised to meet up again once they were settled. 

The next day Ray and I went for a morning swim off the back of the boat. The water was calm and cool, a perfect way to wake up. We sipped our coffee, made breakfast, and did some boat work. Ray redid the monitor at our nav desk, so now we can see the status of all our systems on one screen!

He even color-coded it, so the values will be yellow or red when not in their preferred range. In the photo, our top loader fridge is turned off (hence its high temperature), and our friend’s boats are away! This makes it easy to determine when we need to run the generator or make water, and helps us identify potential issues quickly. 

I polished some of our stainless before our friends picked me up for a second snorkel attempt. We dinghied out to a rocky point opposite the runway, and I was instantly excited. This spot had way more coral than we saw on Monday! Within the first few minutes, we saw a lobster (not one big enough to eat, though), a starfish, and a multitude of reef fish and coral heads. 

There were 5 of us in the water, swimming upwind. We all drifted in different directions but continuously kept an eye on each other. At one point, I guess I snuck up on something because 15-20 little blobs raced around me out of nowhere! I followed them for a while, studying how they moved. I couldn’t see any fins, but they were moving faster than jellyfish… the sun came out from behind a cloud just as they swam into shallower water, and I could finally see clearly- they were squid! I’ve never swum with squid before; I didn’t know they moved in groups like that! I followed them around for a while in awe. How cute are they?! 😍🦑

To top it all off, I saw a turtle before climbing back onto the boat! 🐢

What a perfect afternoon! It ended up being just over a quarter mile of a swim, but it was against the wind and current, so we were all pretty spent. I showered and changed into pajamas immediately after. Ray and I had dinner together, watched a movie, and went to bed early that night. ❤️ 

Thursday morning, we woke up to the sound of singing from shore. Every once in a while, the local church performs baptisms on Brewers Bay Beach at sunrise. I watched from the bow as several dolphins swam through the anchorage towards the men singing. Can you spot the dolphin fin in this photo? I am not the best camerawoman that early in the morning, but I tried. 😂

We moved Sabado later that afternoon to be closer to town, then met up with our friends. The ladies got dropped off at the spa for facials while the gentlemen enjoyed cigars and cocktails at the nearby bar. We all reunited for our dinner reservation at Oceana. I’ve never had a bad meal there, but the branzino I got this time was out of this world!! 

Friday morning, we made some water, did some laundry, and edited our latest YouTube video. I’ve been a little bored with YouTube lately, so I ordered two new tripods that arrived this week. I love editing our videos, but I hate filming, so I’ve been searching for anything that might make filming easier so that I’ll have more footage to play around with. I experimented with my new toys this week. Did you notice some new angles? I think the audio was a bit unbalanced, but I’m excited to work on solutions for that this week! 

Anyway, we were fresh out of groceries, so we went to shore that afternoon for a lunch date at our favorite sushi spot, then swung by the store on the way home (you shouldn’t shop on an empty stomach!😉). We’re due for a big reprovision- like, paper towels, toilet paper, rice, the whole shebang- but navigating the grocery stores in St. Thomas on the weekends is a nightmare, so we picked up just enough to get us through the weekend. We’ll do a bigger haul during the week.

That evening we got a message from our friends asking for help on a project. We dinghied over to their boat. Ray helped them hammer out a plan, then went up their mast to execute it. 

Unfortunately, as boat projects tend to go, it became twice as complicated and took five times longer than we thought. By 10 pm, Ray had gone up their mast five times. I’m happy to report that they sorted it out in the end, though! 

Yesterday I posted our video and caught up on some chores while Ray helped another boat in our anchorage diagnose a problem with their watermaker. Since our arrival in the USVI, word has gotten out that Ray loves puzzles, so it’s not abnormal for him to get a text from a stranger, grab his tool bag, and dinghy off. Usually, I like to tag along to help however I can and learn along the way, but after all the socializing we did this week, I opted out of this one. 😂

Our friends dropped by that evening to say hi, and downright twisted my arm, forcing me against my will to join them for another snorkel! 😉 I threw on a suit and climbed in their dinghy. My GoPro was dead, so I can’t show you, but there were some beautiful larger fish and colorful coral. I might go back today for another look! What are you up to today? ❤️

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