The Picton Castle
What a week we had in Jost Van Dyke, BVI. It actually all started in St Thomas, USVI. We anchored in Red Hook, which I would advise you not to do as various ferries travel from Red Hook to St. John about every 15 minutes, and they have no sympathy for anchored sailboats. I think they secretly live to throw as much of a wake at us as possible! Anyway, we got ourselves anchored in a crowed, rolly anchorage at about 2:30 pm and went off to find customs , which closes at 4:30pm, and then meet our two friends who were flying in.
We had agreed to meet Deeana and Dustin (aka D-Bo) at Molly Malones, an Irish pub in Red Hook sometime between 3:00 pm and closing. Now, Red Hook, although it is one of the larger anchorages in St. Thomas, does not have a customs house. No problem, I have a US cruising permit and everyone on board is a US citizen, right? Wrong. Evidently, you can’t just call up and report your cruising permit number and passport number, at least the lady I spoke to on the phone said you couldn’t. Nope, we had to take a cab half way around the island. Okay, no problem, we have about an hour and a half at this point. So, off we go to find a cab…which we did, and he volunteered to take us for $60. Whoa! Or, he said, we could hop on the “safari” for $1. A safari is basically a pick-up truck with its tail down and rows of bench seats welded in the back, all under a hard top for shade. Ingenious idea. Maria, Scott and myself hopped on one of the safaris, told the driver we wanted to go to customs, and thought we were golden, as we had about an hour at this point after all. There is alot of traffic in St. Thomas, and the safaris are more like buses that have a specific route…up around one hill, down another, swing by K-Mart, you get the picture. At about 4:25, I started to get nervous. At 4:35 I knew we weren’t making customs and started preparing myself to do this trip again in the morning. At 4:45 we got dropped off in front of the customs house, tried the door, and of course it wasn’t open. So what do you do? Look dumbfounded, surprised and disappointed in the parking lot. As we were doing this, a very nice lady approached us and asked what was wrong. We explained our situation, and she said ” you have your cruising permit, you are all US citizens?”. ” Yes ma’am”, we replied. “Well, you are fine then. Consider yourself cleared in. I am officer Glasford. I clear in the boats and if you have any problems, tell them to ask for me.” And so, we were cleared in while standing in the parking lot!
Frank and D-Bo sailing from St Thomas to Jost van Dyke

We hopped back on the safari, went to the Irish bar, met up with D-Bo and Deanna and caught up over a nice pint of Guinness.

The next day, we all hoped back on the safari, went to the grocery store to provision for the upcoming week, did some laundry and waited at Molly Malones for our other friend, Frank to meet us. Frank, D-Bo, Maria an I all sailed together on the Picton-Castle, which was scheduled to be in Jost the next day. Two of our old shipmates, Mike and Rebecca were now the First and Third mates on the PC. Frank’s girlfriend, Suzanne is also on the ship, and of course, the Captain was still there. Needless to say, we were all excited.

The next morning, bright and early, we heaved up the anchor and sailed the 10 miles across to Jost. We were there before the PC, so we relaxed, made some rum drinks, and sat there eagerly awaiting their arrival. About 2 rum drinks later, the PC, with all 16 sails set, including 10 square sails, appeared on the horizon. About 3 rum drinks after that, she was close enough for us to greet her by skiff. All 6 of us, plus Niko, jumped in our 11 foot Boston Whaler named the Minnow, which doesn’t have much freeboard to begin with, and sped off toward the PC with someone al the helm who shall remain nameless but was NOT one of the Joana crew!

In the skiff just before the “Incident”

We were all hooting and hollering at the PC, and the helmsman was looking not just at the ship, but rather at who was on the ship, when everything went horribly wrong. The PC was not quite anchored yet and was still making way. A large wave came from her stern wake toward us. Time slowed. I could see hands go on to mouths from our fans on the PC who have not met us yet but who have heard great things about us. I saw arms flaring from everyone inside the Minnow and people yelling “noooooooooo”. The first wave hit. The bow dug under, and I’m pretty sure the stern was sticking out of the water at a 90 degree angle. Lucky for us, Boston Whalers don’t sink, as the only part of the boat that was still above water was the rub rail. Then we got hit by the second wave. The boat lists heavily to one side and then slowly to the other, as everyone inside is scrambling to stay in the middle so we don’t tip her anymore than we have to. The dog was barking. The gas tank was floating. We are up to our chests in water as we float above the seats. I look up to see our old Captain and teacher bow his head, close his eyes, and slowly shake his head back and forth. Maria sharply pointed her finger back to our boat, and the PC alumni limped back to Joana, the only damage being to our egos.

Captain Moreland

The following days were spent hanging out with our old friends, swapping PC stories with the current crew, lounging in hammocks at Ivans stress free bar ( which was stress free for Scott as he slept in the hammock until Maria put a hermit crab down his shorts to wake him up) and dancing to reggae at Foxy’s. Frank had gotten a house that overlooked White Bay and he hosted a bar-b-que one night. 

Typical Marlin Spike gear

The next night, we had everyone on board for a party and to check out Joana. Everyone loved her, but most importantly, Captain Moreland loved her and told us how proud he was of us. That’s quite an “atta boy” from him! The party ended up as a marlinspike, with crazy shirts and hats being sported, including someone wearing my old Columbia basketball uniform. The night ended very serenely with Mike Moreland playing the guitar and singing Bob Dillon songs as Maria joined on the tambourine.

Going for a day sail

The next day, everyone went for a day sail on the Picton Castle and Scott just kept saying, “wow, that’s a lot of work. Now I know why you guys are like you are!” The following day, Frank had to leave, so we took Joana on a short day sail over to West End to drop him off at the ferry, sailed back, and had waterspouts day. We broke out all of our swim floaties, paddle board and wind surfer. It was a great way to spend the last day with our old and new friends.

We had to say good-bye the next morning, motored over to St. John, USVI, said good-bye to D-Bo and Deanna, and promptly fell asleep.