We arrived at the last day of this sailing adventure. We woke up on Peter Island Great Harbor, which is just across the channel from the TMM Marina. We had a taxi scheduled to pick us up at 9am and we needed to cross the channel, put fuel on the boat, and do the check out before 9am. The fuel dock was supposed to open at 07:00 and the TMM marina at 08:00, so we decided to leave the anchorage shortly after 06:00 to be at the fuel dock before they opened. Just like during our docking at the Bitter End, we anticipated that there would be a line of charter boats waiting to fuel before returning the charter. We were wrong. There was no one there.
We motored across the channel pretty quickly but our entrance to the bay got interrupted by a massive cruise ship. We were racing the ship to the marked channel but soon we realized we would not win with enough safety margin, so we made a sharp turn and waited doing donuts until the cruise ship was inside the bay. We then had an uneventful dockage at the fuel dock.
Unfortunately the fuel dock did not open at 7. In fact, it was several minutes past 8 that the guy showed up. Other people walking on the dock said the opening ours were flexible (“sometime in the morning he’ll show up”). That scares us given our tight timeline and we considered simply leaving and paying for the penalty for not refueling. Luckily, the guy finally showed up in a few minutes we were out of there after getting the $100 bill for 29 gallons (not bad for a full week of charting!).
We then crossed the bay and entered the TMM marina through the marked channels. For those of you who may come in and out of this marina for the first time, really use the marked channel. You would think that there is amble depth to both side of the channel given that there are boats anchored everywhere. Well, apparently there is a unmarked shoal very close to the channel. In our way out we saw a charter boat stuck on on the shoal just a few feet from the channel – likely after the skipper decided to take a more direct route to the Marina. Bad idea!
We finished the trip with a bag by having to do the most trickiest maneuvering of my short boating career. The marina asked me to put the boat in front of the office on my starboard side. As we approached, I realized doing so would involve going through a very narrow space between two other boats (barely a foot on each side) and then do a quick maneuver to turn the boat and dock it in the only space available. At 55 seconds of the video below you can see me realizing what they want me to do. I was thinking “Are they crazy”. Then at 1:23 you can see Yolanda confirming that they indeed wanted us to go through that opening. The fun begins at 2:10.
After we docked we quickly went through the check out process and were on our way to the ferry terminal by 0900. The boat left right on time but we had to wait for over 30 minutes at St Thomas for the ferry dock to become available Then once we dock the immigration process took about one hour. So plan accordingly! Our flight was relatively late so we had extra time, but other people were panicking because they didn’t know that the immigration line would take that long.