After a quick tour of the harbour, looking for a place to anchor, I chose the area opposite the Altona Lagoon. Plenty of room and a bit away from the crowds. The slightly better protected anchorage behind Protestant Cay is really crowded with moorings and there is a lot of traffic, including seaplanes taking off and landing. The only snag was that is was a long row to get ashore. The most convenient place for me to use was nearly half a mile away at the small beach in Gallows Bay. A local fisherman showed me the best place to land the dinghy. It worked well for me. No big inflatables to overwhelm my little craft.
One morning, as I was about to touch down on the sand, my oar narrowly missed an enormous tarpon which was foraging about in the shallows. There are lots of these beautiful fish in the harbour and I loved watching them from the board walk that runs along the waterfront.
Walking round the historical part of Christiansted is like stepping back in time. Graceful old buildings, well preserved but not to the extent that you feel you are in Disneyland. The Danes, who were responsible for most of the early construction, appreciated the need for shelter from the tropical sun and rain and most of the walkways are shaded. It’s the dry season now but they must really come into their own when the rains start.
My visit happened to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the transfer of the islands to the US after they were sold by the Danes for $25 million in 1917. I had a good view of the impressive fireworks display on the night of the 31st March.
I took a tour around the big fort which gave good views of the harbour, and was fascinated to read an information poster in one of the cell-like rooms, about the mother of Alexander Hamilton who was incarcerated there (the mother, that is) by an irate abandoned husband. She sounded like a very interesting woman. More here if you are interested.
My water tanks were getting low and I was thinking about taking on some water at the marina. With perfect timing a heavy night-time downpour filled all my containers plus the dinghy. No more worries and all the washing done.
The plan is to spend the coming hurricane season in the Western Caribbean exploring the coast of Panama. I had been putting off buying the essential guide book by Eric Bauhaus, assuming I’d be able to get one in the Virgin Islands. Unfortunately it was not available in St Croix and one that I found via Amazon had an expected delivery time of 3 months. Ouch! So I will have to backtrack to St Thomas and try there.