We were Pleased as Punch to have my Parents on Nancy Lu in Paradise! We Planned, Prepared, and even Practiced some things before their arrival, and our time together was Priceless!
We had been anchored at Charlotte Amalie for quite a while before picking up Mama and Daddy so I had cruise ships on the brain. I wanted them to feel as pampered as any passenger on the Carnival Liberty or the Norwegian Escape, and I was hoping that a towel monkey hanging in their cabin would let them know what special guests we considered them to be!
We sent Mama and Daddy the same basic information/instruction letter that we send all of our guests, as always, making modifications to tailor it to their particular time and location with us. We find this letter is crucial in making for a great time for our guests, since vacationing on a sailboat is unlike any other vacation most of our guests have ever taken! If you’re interested, click here to see the letter. Like all the other guests we’ve ever had, my parents graciously followed our instructions (What can I say? We’ve only had the best sort of people on Nancy Lu!).
We wanted embarking Nancy Lu to be stress free for Mama and Daddy, so we made arrangements to get some fuel and water at Crown Bay Marina enabling them to step directly onto Nancy Lu from the fuel dock rather than from a dinghy. We had suggested that as soon as their taxi dropped them off at the marina, they get a refreshment at Scoops and Brews in case our business at the fuel dock went a little long! That worked out great! I left Mark to finish up fueling and went running to greet my parents at the cafe’! I felt like a kid whose parents had come for visitation after I’d spent a long time away at camp, eager to show them around and give them a taste of what I’d been up to! Embarking Nancy Lu went off without a hitch…
We were off to a great start and headed straight to Christmas Cove to spend our first night together! The whole week that my parents were on Nancy Lu, there was a north swell, which made conditions more rocky and rolly than normal. It was such a relief to find out that Mama and Daddy have absolutely no issues with sea sickness—phew! After they unpacked and stowed away all of their belongings, handed off to us some things that we ordered (and had shipped to them to bring to us), ate a dinner of pasta and home-made vegan tomato sauce (Mama eats only a plant-based diet), did more general settling in, and took our nightly showers, we all went to bed feeling kind of warm since the wind had died down. Thankfully, it picked up later in the night.
One of the things I enjoyed most about our time together on Nancy Lu were our leisurely, two-cups-of-coffee-mornings! Mornings are my favorite on Nancy Lu, anyway, but they were even more enjoyable with them there! On our first morning, I made eggs-in-ham-cups that I know Daddy likes, but starting with the next day, our morning routine was established: Mark got up before me, put the coffee on to brew for the rest of us (nothing new here—he does that for me every morning ), and took care of his and Daddy’s breakfasts. Then I got up and took care of Mama’s and my breakfasts.
I had only one mandatory activity planned for our special guests—I really wanted them to give snorkeling a try! After all, a trip on Nancy Lu is more of an adventure than vacation!! They knew of my expectation, and were compliant troopers!
Getting set up with the gear
Mama got an A for effort, but she kept getting foot cramps when she tried to swim, so we set her up with a line to hold onto—she could float to her heart’s content—she got an A+ in floating!
It was my honor to massage Mama’s cramps away! Since she couldn’t swim to go see things, I swam underneath her so she’d have something to look at. I also brought her up stuff to look at. She was shocked at how deep it was there, right off the back of Nancy Lu. To her, it looked about 5 feet deep, when it was actually about 20 feet deep! She realized that when she saw me swim down to get something off the bottom
On to Daddy…He got an A- for effort, only because; although, he is physically stronger than his wife, he wasn’t quite as persistent as she—Mama’s nothing if not persistent! Also, he got ignored a bit while I was attending to Mama and accidently floated under the dinghy getting a mouthful of saltwater—that was it for him!
Back on Nancy Lu, all rinsed off, satisfied after a nice lunch, and underway to our next stop, it was time for some relaxing! Reading is ALWAYS a nice pass time on Nancy Lu! Both Mama and Daddy did a lot of it!
We had a spirited sail to Francis Bay off the north side of St. John—we got up to almost 8 knots! Mark was loving it, and Daddy said he really liked watching Mark sail the boat…well you can see from the pictures where Mama and I were, ha-ha!
As we got closer To St. Francis Bay, sailing between Mary’s Point and Whistling Cay (one of our favorite sails), It was time for Mama and me to come up and make sure Daddy got some good photos of the beautiful scenery with his cell phone to post on Facebook.
Looking towards the British Virgin Islands—Tortola
Daddy’s getting a good shot!
Impressive striations in the rock
We’re rounding the corner into Francis Bay, St. John USVI.
Mama got some good pictures, too! On their Nancy Lu adventure, she was in charge of taking pictures with their camera so she could make a Smile Box when she got home! Daddy was in charge of posting on Facebook.
That night after dinner, we shined the flashlight in the water so we could see the big Tarpon that are always there with their glowing-orange eyes—creepy, but fun.
The next morning, after another leisurely morning, we had another nice little sail over to one of our favorite spots on the north side of St. John, Waterlemon Bay-not Watermelon-Waterlemon! Once there, we had lunch and decided to try some hiking. We went about it with the attitude that we could always quit and do something else…no pressure/no worries! This plan would entail a skill we had not tried yet— getting from the boat to the dinghy and then from the dinghy to the shore. Mama and Daddy, with our help, had to decide what shoes and clothes would be best to wear for this plan. The decisions and preparations were made, and we had a SUCCESSFUL and BEAUTIFUL hike to some of our favorite ruins on Johnny Horn Trail! This picture of Nancy Lu was taken from a spot on our hike.
A view worth the uphill hike!
The blooming flowers were a nice surprise for Mark and me! We’ve never been here in February. I LOVE this picture!
We got a fantastic family shot…
thanks to this guy, whose swim shorts matched Daddy’s!
Kissy shot to match the one that Mark and I have of ourselves in the same location!
I can’t get over the pretty flowers!
I love these two!
Daddy’s pointing out Nancy Lu, I think, while Mama and I are having a little sit in the water. I promised her that I wouldn’t post that picture!
When everyone was all situated with refreshments back on the boat, I took a long snorkel/swim around the bay. Mama got started on her art assignment from her watercolor teacher to Paint a little picture of the sunset every night.
Mama let me have a try, as well, when I had the time. Oops, she told me to post my paintings, but she also told me that before I did, I should clean up the paint seepage where I had used tape to create a border…I forgot!
This is Christmas Cove in the early stages of sunset (I got tired of dealing with the tape letting the paint seep through and also tearing the paper when I took it off, so this one is the full 5X7 )
She left me her watercolor supplies so that I could continue to paint. I’ve really enjoyed it, but I could do with some lessons!
The parent’s did even better at their newly acquired skill of getting from the boat to the dinghy and the dinghy to shore the next day when we decided to hike to the Annaberg ruins. Daddy got put to work carrying trash. Visiting the Annaberg Ruins is something we’ve never done before, but have always wanted to do. A couple of days a week, there are volunteer docents available to answer questions and people doing demonstrations of old ways. So away we went, turning right instead of left as we had done the day before. This hike was longer, but easier. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and even got a few questions answered about what we’d seen the day before.
GORGEOUS view from the ruins!
Miss Olivia is a paid worker at the Annaberg Ruins. She bakes bread and has delicious lime punch to sample. I asked her if she would pose for a picture. She said, “I’m a baker, not a model; I better stick with what I know!” So I got this candid photo.
One of the volunteer docents took this photo for us. To the right of Mark’s head are the ruins of the Murphy Great House that we had hiked to the day before. We learned from the docent that Murphy was the owner of the Annaberg (named after his daughter) Sugar Mill, and the ruin across the bay was where he lived when he was on St. John! Interestingly enough, the house was used until the ‘60s as a boys home.
In front of the windmill
After lunch and relaxing on Nancy Lu, we sailed over to Maho Bay to spend the night.
After another relaxing morning on Nancy Lu, we sailed over to Caneel Bay and took a look around the beautiful Caneel Bay Resort, which is built on an 18th Century sugar plantation. This outing involved yet another skill for Mama and Daddy. Like before, they had to get from Nancy Lu to the dinghy, but this time, they went from the dinghy to a low dinghy dock—no problem! They got better at executing the maneuver of disembarking Nancy Lu and getting onto the dinghy and vice versa every time they did it, even though the sea conditions got rougher each time.
Daddy (check out his scruffy face-something that even Mama hasn’t seen in 50+ years of marriage) treated us to some gelato and various other treats at the resort, and
we walked over to Honeymoon Beach…
where Daddy and Mark bought shirts and I used a little bit of my Christmas money from Mama and Daddy and bought me a new hat!
This is the sunset for that night for Mama to paint.
The new day brought the longest and roughest dinghy ride yet, but Mama was such and old hand by this time that she could pose glamorously for a picture (the rain poncho is for waves, not rain).
We kept Nancy Lu moored at Caneel Bay, but we were on our way to the bustling tourist town of Cruz Bay for
lunch, (A girl never grows too old to appreciate a loving look from her daddy!)
and a look around the Virgin Island National Park Visitor Center where we docked our dinghy!
It was another fun day!
In the following series of photos taken on the way back to Caneel Bay from Cruz Bay, Mama demonstrates her impressive Nancy Lu-embarking/disembarking-technique, which she’d mastered with the use of the “hoist system” that Captain Mark and First Mate Kathy designed and implemented to help her :
Daddy’s facial expression is totally out of proportion to the effort he was exerting to keep the ladder stable for Mama, lol!
TA-DA!!! A nice finish, posing on her half-namesake (Nancy Lu) above her part of the name! Looking good, Nancy Rae! (Lu is from Mark’s mother, Lunell)
Another pretty sunset for Mama to paint!
The next morning was VALENTINE’S DAY. We enjoyed exchanging valentines and another leisurely two-cups-of-coffee-morning. Mama probably did some catch-up on painting sunsets from photos we had taken—she did that some mornings when it had been “too hectic”(ha-ha) to paint the sunset as it happened.
Later that day, we sailed over to Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas. Surprisingly, there were no cruise ships in the harbor! Both Mama and Daddy enjoyed sitting in the cock pit and enjoying the sight of the mountain-side lights of Charlotte Amalie before we went to bed on their last night on Nancy Lu.
Mama and Daddy watched and listened to the VHF radio as the cruise ships came into the harbor on their last morning on Nancy Lu. There was no need to rush around as their airplane didn’t leave until 3:10. We had our last hoist-assisted disembarkation from Nancy Lu and dinghy ride to the Yacht Haven Grande dinghy dock right by the cruise ships. This was the bumpiest disembarkation yet, but my parents handled it like pros!
We walked through the cruise ship terminal…
…on our way to a nice, last lunch together at our favorite USVI hamburger joint, Tap & Still—Daddy’s treat!
Mama and Daddy’s departure happened in a flurry as the taxis around that area are plentiful and eager to get their passengers loaded in and on their way, but we were able to hug and say our goodbyes.
I went through a melancholy period after they left, which I expected, but I’m so happy for the wonderful time we spent together on Nancy Lu and all the great memories we share!