It's getting real up in here! - March 25, 2020
Good evening! So far, all of our updates have been sunny and fun, but there are some very real concerns here as well, that we are somewhat reluctant to bring to the table and that are most likely transparent to those who see our posts of beautiful vistas and sunsets. Let’s talk about those now so we don’t have to end the post with those thoughts.
Yesterday we learned that the Dept of Parks and Natural Resources visited several boats on St Thomas and inquired as to the status of their anchoring or mooring permits and let boats know that if they have no permit they need to leave the anchorage asap. Fortunately, we do have a mooring ball and a mooring permit in Red Hook on St Thomas, so we are safe to go back to our mooring ball in Red Hook if the need arises. If someone is squatting on it (which happens, unfortunately), we will have to fight that battle when the time comes. The good news for us is that if DPNR is requiring that the vessel on the mooring has the permit for the mooring, we are golden, as we hold the permit for that mooring ball. The bad news is that this is probably the first time in a looooong time we have seen DPNR patrolling so support from them is unlikely. We do worry for some of our friends who do not have mooring balls or permits through DPNR. It seems DPNR has set up a process to establish those permits, so that is fantastic, and hopefully that will progress smoothly.
The great thing about being on our mooring ball in Red Hook is that it’s familiar ground and we have a great community there. We know most of the boats there and we look out for each other. The not-so-great things are that it’s a little more confined that where we are now, and it’s easily accessible from shore by small boat or a by a not-too-vigorous swim if anyone is interested in doing harm or trying to commandeer any resources or possessions we have topside, or, heaven forbid, our tender. We lock up at night so we are not as worried about anyone gaining entrance into the boat, but sometimes we do open a hatch for ventilation, so all of these things are considerations. In the anchorage on St John where we are located right now, we are really pretty inaccessible by anyone with dark intentions. Or so we truly hope and believe. There is also a nice community of boats here that we are getting to know.
The best way to protect the tender is to raise her on davits, which we almost ALWAYS do at night but as luck would have it, the power winch that we use to raise the tender is out of service at the moment. We (read Capt Dirk) can raise her by hand, and we often do, but it is very manually intensive. We are eagerly awaiting our replacement winch motor, which we ordered two months ago, but was inadvertently shipped by the seller to CT even though we made a special request for it to be shipped to us in the USVI, to be re-routed and to arrive here. Another wrinkle is that we shipped it to our Clearinghouse’s office, which has now been deemed a “non-essential business” and shut down, so at this point we do not know when we will be able to take delivery of the part. On a somewhat lesser scale (but it’s really still up there!), our cordless vacuum also died, and the replacement is also en route to the clearinghouse’s mailing address. We are sorely missing our vacuum!
The BVI had its’ first confirmed COVID-19 cases today as well, so that’s another negative that is adding stress to the local landscape, but we can’t say that was unexpected, either.
On a more positive note, aboard Catatonic, we are very well stocked, so we aren’t worried about our food stores at this point, yet yesterday we had two angels come by offering spare provisions. They are vegan, and had charter provisions aboard that they would not eat so they were looking for homes for those goods so that they did not go to waste. We were happy to help give a home to many of their beautiful provisions, including duck breast, baby back ribs, ahi tuna, filet mignon, beautiful cheeses, yogurts, frozen conch fritters and much more. We had a paltry offering of three lemons in exchange, but we will work on a better offering as soon as we can come up with some vegan provisions (Capt Dirk has a plan in motion already! Stay tuned!)
We have full diesel tanks and a full gas tank on the tender, but we are still concerned on some level that fuel docks in the USVI could be closed to private vessels. While you may be thinking – it’s a sailboat, for heaven’s sake - they can SAIL. Yes, that is true, thankfully we CAN sail, but we still require diesel to run our generator in the event that we have a series of cloudy days and the solar panels can’t keep up with the electricity demand to keep our charging systems up and running. She is a high maintenance lady, after all. So far we’re OK on this front, so we won’t borrow trouble.
We have also had to postpone our annual haul out that we do for routine maintenance, which we were scheduled to do on March 30 in the BVI. THANK GOODNESS we did not haul only to find out that the BVI was closing non-essential businesses and to non-belongers, because we could have been marooned there with our boat on the hard for weeks at a time, with nowhere to live other than the hotel, assuming the hotel was still open to guests. Living on a boat on the hard is not something that is desirable but would be better than being homeless or spending $200 a night on a hotel for the indefinite future. So, very thankfully, we dodged that bullet.
Today’s post was long enough but there is MUCH more info coming, so stay tuned, and fair winds. We will see you all on the other side!
USVI Port closure started today, Wednesday, March 25, 2020.