Friday, February 22, 2008

We're in the BVI

Hi everyone! Just a quick update to let you know we are currently island hopping in the British Virgin Islands. We left St. Croix on Sunday, 2/17 after spending 10 days in Christainsted Harbor. We enjoyed our time there but we were getting anxious to leave. The weather forecasts for the passage back to St. John hadn't been good the entire time we were there. It looked like our best shot would be Sunday with a forecast of 15-20 kt winds, 5 ft seas with a 9 second period. That forecast proved to be accurate for the first half of the trip. But about 13 miles from St. John the winds picked up to 26 kts, the waves increased and came closer together. We could also tell that St. John was getting rain and the squally conditions hit us while we were still about 7 miles out. The rolling and pounding caused jerry cans to slide back and forth on the deck even though they were secured both top and bottom. A small gas can that was tied on deck loosened enough to bang against the side breaking the pour spout and allowing sea water to splash into the gas. Theses cans were tied the same way we've been tying them for over 4000 miles! It just wasn't a good day to put out to sea! We arrived in Salt Pond Bay, St. John cold, wet and very tired.

On Tuesday we sailed along the south coast of St. John and rounded the west end to head to Jost Van Dyke. We choose this route to avoid the high seas that were still pounding the east shore. As we cruised along the west shore I said, "Hey Jim. We're on a beam reach! When was the last time we got to do that?" What a great feeling to not have the wind on the nose! We arrived at Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands where we cleared customs, grabbed a quick beer at Foxy's Bar, bought some ice and then headed back out to move the boat to Little Harbor for the night. We treated ourselves to barbeque chicken, ribs and chicken curry at Abe’s by the Sea.

The next day we were up and out again sailing over to Norman Island and the anchorage called The Bight. Boy, this is charter boat central! I think there were about 50 boats on moorings here and all but a few were charter boats. It's big business. Last night we stayed at Marina Cay and it's the same thing. We're starting to feel out of place! You should see our neighbors. We have a beautiful Swan sailing yacht, about 70+ ft long anchored next to us. Her crew was busy washing down the decks this afternoon and her tender is almost as long as Merengue. Jim wants to move the boat. He’s afraid I’m becoming attached! There are quite a few yachts in the 55-80 ft range here. I don't think many cruisers hang out in the BVI. Too crowded and too expensive. But it is a sailing paradise. I love being able to go out and sail for a few hours, arrive in a new place, swim, snorkel, relax and drink a sundowner while the sun goes down and then get up and do it again tomorrow. The next island is just a few miles away. To our sailing friends back in the states who are dreaming of spring and launching the boat, I highly recommend a charter vacation in the Virgins. We did it several times and it was always great.

The other night, when the moon was full there was a lunar eclipse. I slept right through it but Jim did wake up in time to catch a few photos.