Sint Maarten’s to The British Virgin Islands

 

DSC00864

So, all was in order.  The wind had decreased and we were set to leave Marigot Bay for our sail to the British Virgin Islands where we would meet up with a friends onboard Rafiki.  The journey was 80 miles and the winds favorable with a lovely Easterly pushing us from behind.  We lifted anchor at 02:00 in the morning and sailed off into a full moon and calm sea.  An hour into our sail we poled out the Genoa and I managed top get some sleep whilst Carlotta took on the first watch.

DSC00813DSC00820DSC00815

The journey was pretty uneventful, which is just what we needed after a few hard sails in previous weeks.  The journey took 15 hours to complete 83 miles, we were certainly not rushing and the winds went light as we approached Virgin Gorda; the first Island of the BVI’s. As we rounded Virgin Gorda and Ginger Island we were greeted into a new world of calm sees and stunning scenery.  It was very much like enetering a forgotten world with islands doted around us in every direction and lush green mountains dropping down to golden sands below; it almost looked fake and nothing like what we had expected.  Our first stop would be Savannah Bay, which is located just North of Spanish Town, which is the main town in Virgin Gorda.  We radioed Rafiki and let them know that we were approaching the reef-strewn bay.  Kindly Rob and the children took to their dinghy and met us at the entrance to guide us into the bay, which was absolutely gorgeous.  We had settled down and had dinner with Rob, Cally and the children whilst catching up on the past months events; it was so nice to be with friends again and to be surrounded by such bewildering beauty.

DSC00822

The next day we needed to check in so we sailed, or rather motored, to Spanish Town and whilst the Rafiki’s took the chance top victual along with Carlotta I began the process of filling out 4 different forms and being nicely questioned by several members of Customs & Immigration.  All of this done we set off to Trellis Bay to join in on one of their Full Moon Parties, which take place every last Saturday of every month or the closest weekend to the full moon.

DSC00826DSC00828DSC00829

We had a great sail from Spanish Town to Trellis Bay making sure we took photos of each other as we went.  The thing about Trellis Bay, especially near party time is that the anchorage gets very busy but we found space and were settled.  We headed to the party around 18:00 and were in for a great surprise. The atmosphere of the party hits you as soon as you arrive.  There are plenty of craft stores, bars and restaurants on the side of a white sandy beach.  Later on the music got going and the atmosphere increased.  They have metal sculptures dotted around and filled with wood, which the light after 21:00.  It seemed like a bit of a hippy set up with plenty of odd people dabbling in crafts of all kinds, but it was pleasant and we had an amazing evening with friends, beers and great entertainment.

DSC00850

The night unfortunately went sour.  When we reached Troskala we found a Catamaran was trying to make love to her and had damaged her Pull-pit and navigation light not to mention a lot of damage to our rubbing strake.  The damage caused to the catamaran looked far greater and we dreaded speaking to the owners the next morning.  We finally re-anchored and had a sleepless night.

DSC00889DSC00888DSC00893

The next morning I went to investigate the damage and speak to the owner.  He had sustain a lot of damage to his port side and bow and I expected the worst with insurance companies and the like.  We had come in last the previous night but were located far away from the Cat, the only thing we can assume is that he had way too much chain out and as the wind died he came to greet us.  Anyway, we were in luck and met a lovely Greek gentleman whoi was very understanding to the situation and did not want to exchange details.  We felt much better and decided to continue our journey.

DSC00852

We were heading to Cane Garden Bay http://www.bvitourism.com/wtd/cane-garden-bay-beach on the North side of Tortola.  As the winds were light we had to motor but the scenery made up for the noise of the motor and soon enough we found ourselves anchored in a glorious bay.  We went for a swim after the rain had ceased and walked up to a view point to get a better perspective of our surroundings.  So far we love the BVI’s.  It has a Caribbean feel but the people are more friendly and the scenery is much more diverse than previous islands.  The BVI’s have also to succumbed to mass tourism so places feel like they would have been twenty to thirty years ago.

DSC00897DSC00900DSC00899

We were joined later by Rafiki and after swimming with Emily and James we had a lovely meal onboard Troskala whilst the moon moved slowly across the sky; it was a perfect end to a perfect day.

The next morning brought more sunshine.  Carlotta and I went to get some ice and were joined by some other friends on Easy Rider who we had met during the ARC.  We departed Cane Garden Bay Shortly after and decided to head to Sandy Cay Spit, which is a small island just off Tortola and Little Jost Van Dyke.  It was, as you would imagine from the films, a small island with white sand and a few palm trees.  We both picked up a mooring buoy and went for a swim in crystal clear waters.  We decided later to investigate the island but after a tricky entrance with a confused swell and then followed by a full-on attack from sand flies we decided to make a quick exit.

DSC00843

We sailed on to a small anchorage just off Little Jos Van Dyke.  Nearby you could see the angry swell of the Atlantic crashing on coral reefs but we were tucked in close to some rocks and forest; it was a blissful spot and the moon again provided the evening entertainment followed by a lovely meal on Rafiki.

DSC00879

The next day we were joined by another yacht and a few of us decided to explore Little Jost Van Dyke. The main attraction is a bubble pool, which is basically a rock pool that is ravaged by the Atlantic swell.  After a short work through scrubland and forest, and being careful not to touch any poisonous tress we reached our destination.  The pool was literally a bubble pool and every so often huge waves would crash through a small gap in the rocks filling the pool with white spume and bubbles.  It is a dangerous place if not respected and two people had already dies this year after being swept through the gap and into the Atlantic beyond.  Unfortunately we had no battery power in our camera but Rob took photos, which will be posted shortly but if you cannot wait please see the following link: http://www.virginislandsnewsonline.com/en/news/update-us-tourist-dies-after-bubbly-pool-incident-at-jvd and a nice one: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g580449-d2461948-Reviews-The_Bubbly_Pool-Jost_Van_Dyke_British_Virgin_Islands.html

DSC00906

After our lovely visit to Jost Van Dyke we set sail for Sopers Hole on the north east side of Tortola.  This was a lovely place although anchoring is very limited and the harbour very deep.  If you do not want to pay the $30 dollars a night your only option is to anchor in the far corner, which is not so idyllic.  We however managed to grab a spot and spent the afternoon looking around the shops and stocking up on some wine at the supermarket.

DSC00910

The next day we were in baby-sitting mode and as Rob and Cally had work to finish off before setting sail to the Azores we offered to take Emily and James for a day sail to Peter Island and visit Deadmans Cay.  Unfortunately the wind was on the nose and we had to motor all the way there but as we are in the BVI’s the distance is not more than 7 miles.

DSC00916

The motoring was worth it and at around midday we entered Deadmans Bay.  Again it was idyllic with beautiful sand and green mountains.  We had a fantastic swim with the children and we enjoyed our time in their company although I was completely worn out after two hours of ‘lets push Oliver out of the dinghy’.

DSC00922

We sailed back to Tortola to drop Emily and James off at Nanny Cay where Rafiki was now located and then we sailed on to Road Harbour where we anchored for the night after a few attempts.

DSC00926

Anyway, the plan is to stay in the BVI’s for the next month before we decide on our next plan of action.  We will post more photos shortly and will keep you updated on all the islands visit.  We wish you all the very best and we look forward to posting more soon.

All the best from the BVI’s J

 

 

DSC00942

Deadmans Cay
Deadmans Cay

 

 

Rob and Emily on Sandy Spit Cay
Rob and Emily on Sandy Spit Cay

Carlotta with Emily & James
Carlotta with Emily & James