05/14/2011, Altair to Anegada's Shore in :60 or less...
We stopped to say hello to our neighbors who were full of info...first...wherever you make landfall, go around that big reef between our boats and shore! This is going to be very interesting.
That was Beth and Gary on Eagle's Wings...pilot cum sailor, we think. Then we landed at "Lobster Trap" heeding their wisdom of this special place and tied up to their dock...meeting Velma and Maxine who immediately welcomed us with huge smiles and warm charm. We continued on down the beach to Whispering Pines where we met met Charles...looked their menus too...fish and lobster, gotta love this place already! We carried on to Anegada Reef Hotel where we met Frances, who came here to work and fell in love with an Antegadian woman and stayed. Seafood and "lobster" on their menu...yep, this Anegada lobster is supposed to be very special so we'll just have to find out for ourselves we think. Finally we asked about the salt pond and are there still flamingos here?
We were told to "go back down the beach until we get to Neptune's Treasure...cut thru their property, cross the road to the path that leads to the salt pond! Just maybe you'll see some flamingos and maybe you see a donkey or two!
We only stopped briefly, but it was long enough to meet Grandpa Soares, Captain Fishy...daughter Charisa, Claudette and grandson Joe! This has been a very social time here at Anegada, but this salt pond speaks to us with the same reverence that our very own Everglades does.
We saw evidence of donkey...no sign of the flamingo...yet, which apparently flourished and fell in love with Anegada too! Soon come we hope!
05/14/2011, Anegada or Bust!!!
We wanted to on Thursday. We staged on Friday...and now it's Saturday, with the weather cooperating...FINALLY. We are over it...the weeks of squalls...the troughs and the waves have all been very trying...REALLY! Anegada here we come!
We've had plenty of time to sike ourselves silly with quotes like this: ..."your approach to such dangerous shores should only be made in daylight and good visibility. You should also be sure to study your charts carefully before you set out and then navigate carefully so you know without mistake exactly where you will arrive." Landfall is another story!
We sailed, which is great news aboard Altair...and when we arrived, excited to get in the water and become one with the undersea wonderworld...got the scare of all scares! We've been so brainwashed to take care upon entering the reefs here that I'm skittish. We timed it to be high noon when we arrive...my captain is on deck with his shade tree hat, his poloroid lenses and his eyes that he's trained over the years to read the water. Now the way points that were chosen with care and triple checked...have us on the right side of the first red channel mark heading smack into the reefs. I can see we are dead center of the markers, Dudley sees and I cannot see the water...the weather is starting to revert to the squally mass we've been accustomed to lately and the second set of red and green channel buoys don't make sense!
As usual, my captain prevails...slow down...gently approach the next red with caution and we eventually saw our way to our anchorage without harm.
We are happy to say that weather held out in our favor just long enough to help us see our way into the channel making a large detour to the west to get around the coral reef off Pomato Point. Between that and Raffling Pt. there's a long sandy beach that we have every intention of exploring. It's almost deserted and is one of the loveliest and wildest you can get to by boat in the Caribbean. Jacques Patuelli's guide says the best anchorage is north of Pomato Point where a nick in the shoals lets you get a bit closer to the beach...NOT...we're going to take a mooring in 6.5' of water...thank you very much!
05/13/2011, Still in Virgin Gorda...
Great, there is this trough that won't leave, still hanging over us dumping rain...that translates...we are fully topped off with water and we are shriveled! Now there are two waves colliding with the trough that's stalled over us and a cold front making it's way into the mix too! Most of this is happening west of us along with the trough...we hope.
We looked at three weather models late last night and it appeared that we were going to leave for Anegada this morning! At 4a, a squall came thru that woke us both up and the monsoon continued until around 12 noon! So much for weather sites! We need to arrive by noon in good light according to all guides in the know and my captain.
We took that opportunity to explore the Bitter End, the last of the wishes for exploring here in the North Sound and it was a photographer's dream. The flora was sparkling from the rain, the place was new to us, so it's fresh and exciting and all an all the day turned into a 'tourist' experience and we got off the boat and dried out in the sunshine...hip hip hurray!
It's Friday the 13th after all, so we were supposed to stay here another day to play it safe, because we absolutely cannot see the reefs with this scenario. We also have a red sky which means a sailors delight tomorrow, right? We hope to share the good news from Anegada! We are so excited...wish us luck!
05/11/2011, Saba Rock to Leverick Bay
We seriously needed to get off this boat or go stir crazy! ENDLESS days (ok, two) and the rain just won't stop.
Saba Rock has a free ferry anywhere in Gorda Sound so we hopped on it and took our laundry. This is really the first time we've done it ourselves having treated me and our water tanks to the luxury of having it done by the island folks. Not here!
It was nice though...we wanted to check out Leverick Bay, a resort hotel and marina...and we did! Doing laundry in a foreign country is very entertaining...the locals are so willing to stop and chat and I met four young ladies to keep me company while Dudley went on a grocery mission! It's very expensive here!
05/10/2011, Bitter End, Leverick Bay or Saba Rock?
We thought we'd be worried all night about that mooring...not, slept like a rock...but we really do not want to stay here...had enough of Spanish Town, REALLY!
Seriously now, there are so many choices...do we find a deserted anchorage @ places like Dead Chest Island, Salt, Ginger, Cooper, Peter, Norman (oooooh, the Willy T brings back memories and the diving was awesome...but we've been there).
We need to get weather and we cannot get Chris on the SSB or Herb or George or much of any other weather guru for that matter, so we need to go back to civilization, like North South or Gorda Sound!
We decided on Saba Rock's moorings...Bitter End was more expensive, Leverick Bay too far from everything and Saba Rock sounds just right! We also get 250 gallons of water and a bag of ice each day! Hmmmmm. Off we go, just a motor with foul weather encasing our bods and the squally wet stuff is quashing our sailing desire too. Did I mention the wind is from the north...bummer!
Seriously though, we just wanted to chill. There are so many islands, too many choices and so little time...what to do? Nothing! We paid for the mooring, peeked at the resort....looked at the reef behind the 'rock' to see what Bruce Van Sant says can be traversed...another hmmmmm.....and did chill.
It rained...alot...just figures...we have 250 gallons of water for free, every day...did we mention we only carry 75g to include the jerry cans on deck...plus whatever sun showers (4) we feel like filling...see where this is going?
So we caught some water...and chilled some more...seriously though, we didn't get here until 2pish, and by the time we got back after exploring...there's no chilling for real! Nice thought though...even for my man who is about to turn 80 years old this year!
05/09/2011, Spanish Town, Virgina Gorda!
I made a general query on the VHF when we entered the channel at Gorda Sound, looking for the government dock where the customs office is supposed to be. The reply was... "There's no Port Authority here, you have to go to Spanish Town". It's only 6-7nm south, but we were just shocked! This new guidebook, not Chris Doyle's Guide we might add, the other one by N&M S... is seriously lacking info for cruisers, sheisa!
The BVI's are very sticky about anchoring, in addition to wanting to charge 25US$ per night or more for a mooring! So we searched and got beat out 2x. The charter boats were racing us to beat us there! We finally saw some boats anchored and we tried also but the bottom was too hard and no grabbing or setting! Lovely...One of the moorings became free so we took it! Now we know why! It looked suspect according to my captain and we would leave as soon as we cleared in!
We get to the ferry dock where the "dingy dock supposedly is"....no way...unless your legs are 10' long and your arms are just as long to reach a 2' giant bollard that far away. A gorgeous black man came to offer a hand, literally, but I said "where will you be when we get back"? He laughed and suggested we go to the windward side of the dock...same exact scenario so we dragged the dingy up on the beach, way up on shore past the tide line, because the tide was on its way in.
That's not the end of it...the customs officer said they could not take Euros and now we owe .20 US, that's it...oh really now! Then another great big gorgeous black man dressed extremely well, heard our exclamations and came to our rescue...gave us a dollar, of which we returned .80 in change!!!
Now, the curt and grouchy customs guy said "you are going to need more US dollars for Immigration" I said "You've got to be kidding, you can't make the conversion?"...so I take off on foot for an ATM.
Great, another stumbling block...the ATM rejected the debit card at the First Caribbean Bank. I went to a Scotia Bank ATM next and got the same error code...I had a 20$ Euro bill, so I went into the bank and exchanged it for US$. That was an ordeal too...copy of my id, signatures, forms, WHATEVER, and they charged 5.5 US dollars on top of that! When I got back to Dudley he was upset, understandably, so we both went into the Immigration officer with my 21 US$ and got the GOOD news that we had enough US dollars for the fee of $l6. Whew!
We both walked back to the bank, thru the parking lot, the adjoining field, the marina and marina complex, then the mall with the First Caribbean Bank, where the teller, who was a gem, charged us another 5.5 to exchange Dudley's stash of 80 E$, with the same procedure. We then tried and succeeded to appeal to her soft heart and she was able to bypass the ATM, make a withdrawal on our debit card for our daily limit and all was good. We had lunch, went back and re-secured the line to the mooring ball and crashed.