Virgin Gorda in the BVI's to St. Martin
11 November 2008 | Saba Rock, Virgin Gorda to Cross the Anegada Passage (Sombrero Passage)
Becca B, First Mate, Only Mate
We loved the Virgin Islands...the Spanish, US and British, ALL! The sailing has been superb and we are now sitting at Saba Rock with weather to cross the Anegada Passage. We were supposed to play at the Bitter End and Leverick Bay, do some diving, provision a little and get some laundry done! We didn't do that, so what is it this time? We got settled in yesterday on a mooring and proceeded into get lunch and some wifi. We peeked at the weather and it was as if we had ordered it for Altair's crossing! We jumped into action and left! We had joked about cutting thru the reef on the east side of Saba Rock, because Bruce Van Sant said he likes to chance it! Just for the record, we took the long way out of Gorda Sound and had a beautiful night before us! We didn't have time to get antsy about the big open passage called the Sombrero Passage or the Anegada Passage!
The Anegada was as pleasant as the Mona! We really didn't have time to even think about this passage having the possibility of being a dangerous one! It all happened so rapidly, we just got lucky and enjoyed a perfect sail! We had a beautiful sunset, we had the sails open fully, and right on schedule pulled into St. Martin, Marigot Bay before lunch! It was a 100 miles over an open channel crossing the line from the Virgins to the Leeward Islands. A wonderfully big milestone for our little sloop.
The rumor was that you wanted to arrive at the immigration office when it didn't conflict with their siesta! We had the anchor down, the dink 'duty' completed when we realized that we hadn't checked out of US Virgins! Oh no...Dudley immediately said that we would probably have to tuck our tails between our legs and head back across the Anegada Passage! "The winds were definitely going to be in our favor going west" he said. "No way!!! I wasn't going to have a thing to do with that because we only had a two day window before the weather was predicted to turn squally, with very high winds for a week!" We took our chances and got very lucky! Turns out the French are very laid back where clearing boats are concerned and we ran outta that customs office with a flame behind us!
We had a fun time in St. Martins from the new friends on Stonecutter we broke bread with, cut cheese, drank wine and laughed lots thru the two weeks in the lagoon on the French side where it was free to anchor! We hit all the hot spots, Budget Marine, Wally World (I mean Island Water World), Lagoon Marina Laundry and as well as their hot spot for live music and good food, and a very cool cruiser's hangout. Rick's Cafe, where we were treated with love, and spent lots of time for wifi and good food near the Dutch side of the lagoon, was awesome too.
We hunkered down for two weeks waiting for the winds to lie down and managed to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner at Rick's Cafe where Tamara, the owner, surprised a lot of cruisers with a great feast reminding us of a homestyle spread . She is great, the turkey and fixin's were sumptuous, but just wasn't the family we missed during this time of year...boo hoo!
Dudley got an itty bitty football fix while I sat next to the witches tit rockin' and rolling on the anchor for days doing my writing thingy! Really, the tall craggy, nubby, bumpy hill, just to our north, was a mammory look a like and was on the charts that way, printed in black and white! Too funny!
We got our introduction into the French culture being on their side of the Lagoon and proceeded to procure a couple of language books called "French for Cruisers" and "Spanish for Cruisers" that will really come in handy furher on down the islands! Needless to say, we are loving the bagettes, croissants, cheeses and the vino for me! Yummmmm!!!
We got lots of entertainment from a brit and his american girlfriend! They helped us out a number of times with local alternator knowledge, outboard mechanics, etc. When they were describing a troublesome, quarellsome episode it was about the time when his sister from the UK was arriving! The girlfriend had to leave the boat...and it was a big, roomy one! We didn't see the need for her to abandon ship, but Dudley was sure that his Seeeeeeeeester was a ruse! Hehe.
It's really amazing how immersed you become in a new culture when you know you will be moving on! We were so sad to bid farewells, but the wind was calling and we do want to get to Grenada by hurricane season by July of 2009. We crawled in 2008, so let's see what 2009 will bring!
Love to all, Dudley and Bec