When Joel talked about coming out my original plan was tospend a week or so exploring the Turks Island group with him and then making a passage to the Virgin Islands during the second week. That plan seemed in jeopardy when the winds would not leave the southeast for at least the last two weeks, but just 2-3 days after our ballpark departure date the weather moved in our favor for a brief time and we took advantage of it.
Before we headed out we took a nice long walk to the northern point of the island and viewed the lighthouse responsible for warning ships of the reef extending to the northeast.
We also visited the Salt Museum, which consisted of some nice displays arranged to one side of a store. The museum was nice, but it did feel like it was there only to bring people into the store. The last thing we did was snorkel in the amazing water again. We picked up a dive buoy behind the boat and swam around the wall. The Turks Bank is a shelve about 20 feet deep and then it drops off to 1000s of feet within swimming distance. I swam down and followed to drop off to a depth of around 40 feet. We loved this area and spent a good hour or two in the water before being exhausted and going back to the boat.
After taking care of all our preparations for the passage (getting a ditch bag ready, topping up fuel, stowage of gear, ect) we left Grand Turk Island at 7am motor sailing with light and variable winds. I expected the 400 miles passage to take 3-4 days and we completed it in two days and 17 hours. This was due to a northern we expected being a bit stronger than expected giving us 25-30 knot winds for 36 hours. We tripled reefed the sails and flew south before having the front putter out and motoring the last 12 hours. Except for the winds being 5-10 knots higher than predicted (which I expected) the weather followed the forecast almost to the hour with the arrival and departure of the front. The trip was bumpy to say the least and we are happy to be back in the boats home waters (remember I picked it up in the British Virgin Islands).
After we completed the customs and immigration formalities we walked around Charlotte Amalie and took care of laundry (we may be in paradise, but we still have to take care of the everyday mundane tasks) before ending the week at St Johns visiting the National Parks Service headquarters and walking around the town of Cruz Bay.