The Schulte family, Pat and Ali and their daughter Ouest, 11, and son Lowe, 9, have been cruising on their 1984 Grand Banks 42 Bumfuzzle for a few years now. (Pat and Ali previously sailed around the world.) Now they’re in St. Croix, playing tourist while waiting out the pandemic, learning about the history, the flora and fauna, and the kindness of strangers in a new land. Here’s their report:
A couple weeks back Ali and I were hiking back to the boat from the grocery store, where we had purchased way too much. We were struggling with all the bags, and regretting our decision to leave the kids at home. As we were walking I said, “If we are ever driving past someone and see them with a bunch of grocery bags in their hands we are stopping to give them a ride.”
Fast forward a few days and I’m walking down the same road with a big laundry bag over my shoulder when I hear a honk right behind me. Annoyed at first—assuming they were honking because I was walking on the edge of the road—I turned around to find a lady waving for me to get in. A local lady, just as friendly as can be, saved me a sweaty fifteen minute walk, for no other reason than kindness. I don’t know how the universe works, but I was grinning ear to ear over the thought that just the promise of doing something good in the future resulted in present day good karma.
On really windy days we jump in the dinghy and race straight upwind about half a mile or so, then flop over the side with a line and “float snorkel.” We always see something interesting when we do this. Spotted eagle rays, huge starfish, big fuzzy hermit crabs, massive queen conch, and also lots of little things like pretty shells, cool looking fields of grass, or an old piece of broken china. The kids always end up swimming a couple miles, zipping back and forth, back and forth, while I just ride comfortably along with the dinghy doing all the work for me.
We’d been meaning to check out the Botanical Garden here on St. Croix, but had figured it was closed due to COVID. But it turns out they just closed the shop and put a box out front for you to leave your money in. Perfect. We only saw one other person the whole time we were there. We all loved it, too. They had a great map that the kids took charge of, and had good signs explaining everything. It’s an old sugar mill, which on St. Croix means it was a slave-run sugar plantation. A beautiful place, but with that underlying horrible history, as well, making for some very good conversations. Read more: