Thursday, August 8, 2013

Toasting Coconuts

We had the entire island of Hans Lollic to ourselves for the day. We beached our boat on the far left of Coconut Bay pictured above is the large beach on the left hand side of the large island.

M and I set sail yesterday after outfitting our little boat for adventure. We purchased a handheld VHF Radio so we can radio for help in an emergency, a soft cooler we can bungee to the trampoline, an anchor and 100 feet of line, a chart of the area and other various odds and ends.

We set sail around noon yesterday from Red Hook and enjoyed amazing conditions as we reached along the eastern shore of St. Thomas. Our destination was the uninhabited island of Hans Lollic located about 2.5km off the North Shore of St. Thomas. We look at this beautiful hunk of rock every day from our house and have dreamed of visiting it since we moved in!

Along the way. we took a lunch break and pulled up on the beach at Sugar Bay and had lunch at the resort there. Nothing special, but a quick easy meal. As we were leaving a small rain squall came in and the breeze helped us get back off the beach.

It was very warm, and we opted to sail naked for the rest of the trip! There is nothing like taking in nature naked! We decided to circle the island as we had not seen the backside or the little Hans island behind it.

The wind was blowing steadily around 15kts and we were broad reaching nicely. As we approached little Hans we decided to sail between them and moments later, a squall overtook us and we were pounded by a downpour. The sea flattened around us and turned a strange dark blue with a layer of mist and from horizontal splashing rain as the wind pipped up to around 20-25 knots.

I eased the sail but we were rocketing between the islands with only a 100 yards of visibility. The rain chilled our naked bodies, the sound of the pounding rain drowned out all other sounds as we zoomed past the rocky cliffs of the islands. This was one of the best 10 minutes of my life!

Predictably, after the storm and in the wind shadow of Hans Lollic, the wind died and we decided to take a break form sailing to make love and warm up! It took us an hour and a half to get wind again, but we finally beat around the windward side of the island and beached our little cat in Coconut Bay.

The island is uninhabited so we didn't bother with clothing for a while as we secured the boat and setup camp. We explored the ruins of an old building and hiked an ancient road all along the eastern ridge. The views were amazing and we encountered about a dozen goats along the way. We found the beach is home to thousands of hermit crabs! We watched them scuttle and hide about. We found lots of interesting creatures there!

We went about the task of building a fire for dinner. I felt a bit like Tom Hanks in Castaway burning palm fronds, driftwood and underbrush. Oh yeah, sadly, I forgot kindling back in St. Thomas so I resorted, after exhausting every other option, to burn a book we had brought with us ;-( The resulting fire however, was worth the sacrifice and we enjoyed an intense blaze which pierced the blanketing darkness of this lightless island. The orange glow of which danced on the ripples of sand long the beach which is something I have experienced nowhere near enough in my life. After dinner, we toasted a few more coconuts from the beach and hung out by the fire.

The evenings sleeping arrangement were to be done in the open air on the trampoline of the boat. As we turned in, we fired up our new VHF radio to get a weather report. "Scattered thunderstorms".... Then we thought about it, and indeed, it rains here almost every night. So we formed a plan, we would unroll the sail and cover ourselves in it in the event of rain. Well, this seemed like a great plan. The trampoline it turns out, is an awful place to sleep, I think the sand might actually be more comfortable. I woke up in a panic a few times as I thought I felt a rain drop and looking up, the stars were blotted out by clouds so I made the call to cover up. Turns out, this was a good call! The sky let lose and amazingly enough, we stayed dry! (We didn't have blanket so the sail did act somewhat as a blanket and we opted to sleep under it the rest of the night)

After a nearly sleepless night, we awoke well before dawn at the first sign of light and started to make way. We cast off at 5:45am and made a quick two hour voyage home!

It was a fantastic trip.

Now this is a view

Someone was nice enough to leave a lawn chair on the island.

My wood is a bit larger than my pit...

M says hello buck naked!

One of the many reasons we opted to not sleep directly on the beach...

The sounds of the surf pounding the shore makes you SLEEPY

Paradise all to ourselves


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