Audentes Invaded by Southerners

My final week in St. Thomas was spent preparing the boat for the trip to St. Martin and spending time with the friends that I was fortunate enough to meet in Red Hook during that past two months. One addition to the boat that I acquired this week is a 15-foot two-person kayak. On Wednesday, two friends, Zach and Scott came out to the boat for a sushi dinner. Using smoked salmon due to our failure to catch any fresh, edible fish, they learned the art of making sushi while gaining the valuable lesson to go light on the wasabi.

On Friday night, a terrific thunderstorm blew through Red Hook harbor. Lashing rain, strong winds, and frequent lightning hammered the anchorage for two hours. During this time, at least four boats dragged their anchors. Two of these boats narrowly missed my boat and somehow managed to slide through the mooring field full of boats without hitting any other other yachts. Fortunately, all of the owners of these runaway boats were still aboard and eventually had the good sense to kick on the motor and power to safety. On Saturday morning, Zach, Scott, and two of Scott’s friends from North Carolina, Danny and Margy, joined me as we departed St. Thomas and headed for one final visit to Jost Van Dyke. After clearing in, we asked the bartender at Foxy’s how far the walk was to Foxy’s Taboo, their sister establishment on the eastern side of the island. The bartender instructed us that it was a half mile walk that would take five minute. Despite Margy being five months pregnant, we decided to take the short stroll to work up an appetite for lunch.

An hour later, we flagged down a pick-up truck that drove us the last couple of miles. Our return trip was also in a pick-up truck, where we crowded into the back with about six locals. The weighed down truck was too heavy to make it all the way up the hills, so we had to disembark a couple of times to allow the truck to struggle up the rest of the hill. Unfortunately, the kindness of the gentleman who gave us a ride in the pick-up was rewarded later in the night when, in a taxi returning from dinner, we slammed into the very same pick-up truck. Considering that there is only one road on Jost Van Dyke that is only about 6 miles long, we were probably privileged to be in one of the few traffic accidents that has ever occurred on the island.

In the evening, we went to the Soggy Dollar Resort, which includes a bar famous for having boaters swim in from their yachts to pay for their drinks with wet currency. We arrived on a night when a party attended by nearly the entire island was taking place. The proprietor of the past 10 years had sold the resort, reportedly for $3 million, and is moving to Kennebunkport, Maine. The farewell party featured free food, dollar beers, and $2 painkillers, a drink that the establishment claims to have invented. On Sunday, Danny and Margy took the ferry to St. Thomas to catch a flight back to the U.S. Zach, Scott, and I proceeded on to Cane Garden Bay, Tortola where we were poised to experience the notorious Full Moon party at Bomba’s Surfside Shack.

The full moon party is famous for serving free psychoactive mushroom tea, which is legal to possess and consume in the BVI’s, but illegal to sell. Of course, I would never experiment with mind altering substances, but, if I did, I expect that the process at the Full Moon party would proceed as follows: (1) buy required $10 mug, (2) walk to a makeshift grass parking lot where an old man is boiling a kettle over a fire, (3) get served scalding hot mushroom tea, (4) stand in crowded street drinking tea. I imagine that I would be disappointed by how terrible the tea tastes and might even leave the party early and dump the rest of my tea in water. Naturally, this is all hypothetical; I would never engage in hedonism of this sort, especially if I realized how disappointing the entire experience would be.

Monday morning, Scott took the ferry to St. Thomas, while Zach and I moved the boat over to Virgin Gorda. We are currently awaiting a weather window to make the overnight passage to St. Martin. This will be Audentes’ first passage in two months, so I am hoping that I still remember how to sail.

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