Passage to Virgin Islands & Departure of Brian

The trip from Trinidad to the Virgin Islands went as smoothly as could be hoped for from an offshore sailing passage. We departed Thursday morning expecting the trip to take four days and were pleasantly surprised by consistent winds that allowed us to reach our destination in 3.5 days. Our new bottom paint and the other improvements implemented in Trinidad helped us to average 7.5 knots despite contrary currents.

Arriving in St. Thomas on Sunday afternoon, we were delighted to avoid an additional night of two hour watches and slept soundly at the rolly anchorage in Red Hook, St. Thomas. Brian was eager to return to the US in time to meet up with friends for Spring Break and quickly booked a flight that would allow him to visit most of the airports in the Caribbean and eastern seaboard before reaching Hartford, Connecticut on Tuesday evening. On Monday night, we had one last celebration before his departure and stayed up all night discussing the highlights of the past year, as well as the adventures that lie ahead. It was with a sleepy mixture of excitement and sadness that I saw Brian off at the airport in St. Thomas – excitement for the challenges I will encounter now as a solo sailor and sadness at parting with one of my closest friends.

Before Brian left, we were fortunate to meet several Americans living on and visiting St. Thomas. On Wednesday, I took four of these new friends – Kate, Keri, Scott, and Zach – on a short daysail to Jost Van Dyke. Jost Van Dyke is a small island that can only be reached by sailboat. Although it is famous for its New Year’s Eve parties, we arrived to find an idyllic tropical island with clear blue water, white sand beaches, and several beachside bars that are no more than dilapidated shacks with hammocks swinging from the palm trees on the waters edge. Despite being my first time sailing Audentes without Brian on board, the outing went smoothly with the good company and lively conversation allowing me to forget about any anxieties that I might have had. The rest of the week has been spent exploring St. Thomas. I plan to spend several more days here before moving on to St. John’s and the British Virgin Islands.

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