Sunday, May 29, 2011

Return to the BVI'S

Wednesday 25 May – Sunday 29 May

Wednesday morning we are woken by rain once again, luckily it does not last long. We make a useless trip to customs to get departure papers like the agent told us when we checked in only to have another agent tell us it was not necessary or possible. Weather has started to improve so we go over to the fuel dock to top off and are underway by 11:30 leaving the USVI to return to the BVI'S. We are moored in Great Harbor on the Island of Jost Van Dyke by 3:30. Customs is a little more relaxed here so both Steve & I go in to clear in (“rules” say only the captain goes in). Paper worked filled out short walk around and head over to everyone's favorite watering hole Foxy's. Meet Dave & Colleen from Promise who also just checked in. They are also heading down to Grenada for Hurricane season and we get to talking about running a little late in the season. We all agree and hope that June stays quiet like normal. One drink leads to another and then another as we sit and visit with Dave & Coleen and Rafael the bar tender. Later not sure if it was the real Foxy but bartender said he was and he bought us another round of drinks. That made 4 for me and even though they are little cups they are 95% alcohol & 5% mix, so I was glad to make it back to the boat but did not last long after that. Have to remember to alternate some water with my drinks ! Thursday Dave & Colleen head over to spend the day at White Bay, they had been to the BVI'S on a charter boat years before and wanted to go back and see White Bay. I was very hungover so just had to spend the morning taking it easy. Finally around noon we leave Great Harbor to head over to Little Harbor since we had not been there. Like the name it is littler than great harbor but still a good size with 3 main restaurant / bars to choose from. Things are quiet in this harbor as we are the only boat in the mooring field. Not soon after we picked up a mooring and were trying to decide which place to go to, trying to see if they were open, a guy comes out to bring us the menu from Sidney's Peace & Love (name of restaurant). I guess they wanted our business. We picked out lunch and said we would be in shortly. There were a few small power boats at the dock so when we went in the place was not totally deserted. First they explain how it is a self serve bar, well I am still feeling the drinks from the night before so all I want is a diet coke. Steve just grabs him a beer and we check out the gift store that is part of the restaurant while we wait for lunch and see another sail boat come in. After lunch Steve can't resist but to go behind the bar to make his own drink so makes himself a painkiller. Despite the name and knowing it is a great drink I know it will not help my pain so I get water. Talk to the 4 people on the sail boat that just came in and they said they were escaping the 15 charter boats leaving Sandy Cay heading to Great Harbor. A big group of MIT grads have chartered a bunch of boats and are celebrating so they do not want to spend another noisy night in the same anchorage. We had seen how crowded Sandy Cay was on our way to Little Harbor so on hearing that all the boats are heading to Great Harbor we decide to go to Sandy Cay and snorkel. Back to the boat and another short hop we are at Sandy Cay. Take the dinghy to the beach but don't spend too much time on shore, the cool refreshing water feels much better. Not a lot of fish or coral to see so a disappointing snorkel, but the swim feels great. It is only 3:30 so we leave Sandy Cay and go a few miles to Manchioneel Bay to anchor for the night. We are moored by 4:30 and as we look at the other boats near by we notice RSVP. We go over to say Hi and see how Bill is doing as when we saw them last 2 weeks ago Bill had broken his shoulder and cut his foot with a bad fall while washing the deck of his boat at the marina in St. Thomas. He is doing much better and we have a nice visit with them and their son Patrick who is visiting. We thought to help dad, which he is, but he is also recuperating. He is only in his late 20's but had a stroke and then a heart attack caused by a bacterial infection in a heart valve and just had open heart surgery. Just makes you realize how lucky we are to be able to do what we are doing. Friday we have a relaxing day at the same mooring, Steve snorkels in the morning, we swim off the boat, I finally use a float we have had with us since Kemah 14 months ago (better late then never) :). They have what they call a Bubbly Pool, a natural whirlpool formed by the rocks so at high tide the waves come crashing through causing a jacuzzi effect. Well high tide is at 7 and you can NOT walk there in the dark so we decide to go at 4, close to high tide with still plenty of time to walk back before dark. Somehow we missed the little path turn off and find another pool of water surrounded by rocks. This does not look like the picture in the guide book but we climb down to take a closer look. Well the way this one is formed you would get beat against the rocks when the waves came in and there are baby sea urchins in there to fall against !!! This can't be the place !! Head back out and luckily run into a group coming back from the real location. Not sure how we missed the trail as it is now very obvious, follow it along and now the place looks just like the pictures. Even though it has clouded up, it is still a fun time. Can only imagine coming under sunny skies, at high tide, when the waves are not calm like they have been, what a blast it would be. Later we go into Foxy's Taboo, Foxy's place on this side of the island, for a great dinner. Saturday we are underway early, first stopping at Cane Garden Bay looking for stamps to mail post cards. Then stop at Monkey Point on Guana Island another place that is supposed to have good snorkeling. There are only a few moorings and just miss getting the last one so anchor a short distance away. Have lunch hoping maybe one of the boats there will leave but no luck so take the dinghy over to go snorkeling. Turns out to be just a so so snorkeling spot, some times the ones you find on your own are much better then the ones they talk about in the guide books. Still early in the day so we head over to Marina Cay, another cool little island with a great bar & restaurant and they have stamps. So hopefully my last 2 postcards from the BVI'S will get mailed by the lady in the gift shop. Back over to Tortola for a stop in Trellis Bay, trying to see as many of the sights as we can before we leave. Our leaving plans were not well thought out, and when we start to do the nuts and bolt planning of the trip, we realize we blew it. We were thinking of going to Spanish Town on Virgin Gorda on Sunday, to check out with Customs & Immigration, which we need before heading to St. Martin, but find out C&I is closed on Sundays. So our original plan of a very early (5 AM) departure from BVI on Monday to arrive in St. Martin by 5 pm, is jettisoned for a mid day departure, and overnight sail and mid day arrival at St. Martin on Tuesday. The wind is predicted to be exactly on the nose at around 10 kts, with 3-4 swells from the port quarter, so we'll probably be motoring or at best motor sailing the whole passage. It's absolutely amazing how the wind can permanently be in your face sailing.

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