Monday, December 17th to Wednesday, December 19th

South coast of St. John en route to Red Hook

Back in Red Hook, one software patch after another from the geniuses at the Raymarine factory fail to render our chart plotters operable.  The news from Neal is not good.  We must remove both plotters from Cutter Loose and send them to the gurus at Raymarine in New Hampshire for rebuild.  No one can say exactly how much time this will require.  But one thing is certain.  Cutter Loose will remain in the Virgin Islands for as long as it takes for the repaired plotters to arrive back in Red Hook. 

Neal from TropiComm, the Raymarine repairman in St. Thomas

With our plan to sail to St. Maarten on hold, we settle into the reality that we will remain in the Virgins for most, if not all of January while the chart plotter dilemma is resolved.  Our freedom of movement has been curtailed by the failure of an electronic device, albeit a very important electronic device.  While this constitutes a change in plan, it is not a dire circumstance.  Equipment failures and delays of one sort or another are a normal part of boating, and the Virgin Islands are amongst the most desirable cruising destinations on earth.  While the plotters are being repaired, we will use the backup Navionics charts on the Ipad to continue our exploration of the Virgin Islands.  We are fortunate to be here in paradise and determined to enjoy every minute of this experience.

nav station sans chart plotter

By noon on Tuesday, Cutter Loose is underway from Red Hook, bound for the West End of Tortola to clear BVI Customs.  We opt for the solitude of Leinster Bay as an overnight destination, just a few miles from West End.  While snorkeling here about a week ago, Pat grasped a mooring buoy for a respite.  An unknown organism residing on that buoy caused a nasty-looking rash on her arms and legs.  Tomorrow, we will seek the advice of a physician to diagnose this malady.

Cutter Loose at anchor in Road Town Harbor

The first stop on Wednesday morning is at Nanny Cay Marina to pick up our new cockpit sun shades from Don at Quantum Sails.  Then it is on to Road Town to visit a drop-in medical clinic.  For the tidy sum of $120 in exchange for a five minute consultation, Pat’s rash is diagnosed as an allergic reaction to a fungus.  With medication in-hand, the anchor is up in Road Town Harbor.  Since it is already mid-afternoon, our destination for the evening is an anchorage at Marina Cay on the east end of Tortola.  Tomorrow, it is a short ten mile run to our next destination, North Sound on the island of Virgin Gorda.

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