Returning from Nevis to South Frigate Bay in St. Kitts, we found that our formerly calm anchorage now had a swell from the south crossed with wind-driven chop from the east.  The trades were finally back and it looked like a wet dinghy ride to get to shore.  By splitting the ride in into two trips, we were able to get people and luggage ashore at idle speed without getting too wet.  There was time enough for one more tourist stop before our last dinner, so we caught a taxi into town, enjoyed a great local lunch, and then visited the batik factory.  Batik is a technique for making patterned cloth that involves creating a sort of stencil with wax put directly on the cloth and then soaking the fabric in a dye that will take where there’s no wax.  By repeating the process several times with several different colors, you can end up with some cool looking designs, although the days of batik being a cost-effective production process are clearly long gone.

DSC_0145 Demonstrating the wax-application stage

DSC_0152 An example of the finished product

After a Barbuda lobster dinner courtesy of chef Lauren, we said goodbye to Lauren’s parents who were leaving on an early morning flight.  We’ve enjoyed their visit and it’s made us a little anxious to get home and see more friends and family.  The next day we did absolutely nothing worth blogging about.  We didn’t even make it off the boat.  The goal for the day was to decide where to sail to the next day, but we didn’t even manage to come to a final decision on that one.  Oh well.  You gotta have some lazy days, especially when you’re as good at it as we are.

Friday morning we decided to head for St. Croix on the way to St. Thomas, thinking we’d be able to check in on Saturday morning and save ourselves the hassle of checking in and out of the BVI.  The conditions for our overnight sail were great, and we arrived at the bank that stretches east of St. Croix right around sunrise.  We picked up a mooring and headed ashore, but found out that we couldn’t check in unless we took a taxi ride to the airport on the other side of the island, so we started exploring Christiansted a bit.  It didn’t take long it find some action.  Christiansted is a beautiful little town with old Danish buildings and a fort that are nicely painted and seem to be reasonably well preserved.  There’s a waterfront that reminiscent of Key West, and a half ironman triathlon was scheduled for the next day, so the place was bustling with a strange combination of your average US tourist and ultra-fit ironman race participants.  There was a definite island flavor to the place, but it also felt a lot like the states for us and so we had to take advantage of the opportunity to have real “American” breakfast and some authentic cheap, fresh Mexican food for dinner.  Maybe this fitting back in won’t be so hard after all.

DSC_0191We passed the island of Saba off to starboard late in the afternoon

DSC_0203A bit of Christiansted from our mooring.  What ever happened to yellow forts?

Just after the last of the triathlon swimmers swam by the mooring field, we headed north for St. Thomas where our good friends Brian and Julia are going to meet up with us tomorrow for a week here in the Virgins.  St. Thomas doesn’t seem to have the incredible reef and that borders St. Croix, but it’s beautiful and verdant and we’ve already seen some great beaches.  As we approached Charlotte Amalie, we could easily see St. Johns and the islands of the BVI right next door.  As long as the weather cooperates it should be another fun and active week.