7 May 2011, Norman Island, BVI to St. Thomas, USVI

Marine Forecast: excellent!
Actual: winds 9-16

Up early with last-day jitters, we have tea and are off at 7:30. It’s a beautiful day for a sail, and we make it to Road Town by 9:30 and are docked by 10. We’ve done really well at eating all our food and disposing of trash along the way, so cleanup and packing are done quickly.

We avail ourselves of the BVI YC showers, which are the second most-welcome sight since the showers at Leverick’s, and make it in time for the noon-ish ferry. Bomba Charger!!! The Skipper racks out to the jet engine drone. I eat the last of the boat snack pretzels washed down with a Carib and watch our progress through the Drake, a greatest hits of the last 9 days. I’m sad to leave the boat, roll-y nights notwithstanding. We’ve had a great time with one another, and we would do this again tomorrow. But, I’m also happy to have a respite from sun and heat to sort out this mystery rash. However, our adventures are not over….

Today is the last day of Carnivale in Charlotte Amalie, and there are no taxi drivers willing to drive to our hotel, The Green Iguana, which lies on the other side of the parade route. To get there by car would involve going around the backside of St. Thomas, which no one will do. We spend more time hanging out with the parking lot chicken at the ferry dock, contemplating options, and finally decide to walk. Even with only three medium-sized duffle bags and two backpacks, this will be a slog in the heat. We make it to the Green Bar where a taxi driver assures us he can make it to the hotel. After 20 minutes of driving around, he admits defeat, puts us out right at the parade route, and wishes us luck.

While snaking our way through families and food carts, The Skipper slips off a curb and skins his knee, winning a pretty bloody surface wound. Luckily, all the medical supplies are at hand. Bandaged, we climb a big hill behind Government House, climb the 99 Steps, and run into Suzy and Bill of the Green Iguana – with a car! Our bags ride up the final hill, and Suzy gets us to our room asap. More showers, more neosporine and bandages, and we’re back down the hill for dinner before it gets too late.

The parade is amazing, a total family affair. The West Indian Day parade in Brooklyn, New York, is huge with a lot of sound trucks, but no dancing women in feathers! Here, it seems they put the best dancers at the front and everyone else follows along, even the littlest kids. Carnivale was almost over, so our choices of street food were limited. Finally, we found a truck on Main Street that was billowing smoke out of a grill attached to the back: BBQ chicken, beans and rice, macaroni and cheese, and Heinekins. Back up the hill for more showers and a fantastic view of the fireworks. The bed was so clean and soft, but still, I dreamed that St. Thomas wasn’t properly moored to St. John, and The Skipper kept mumbling about tightening the sheets.

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