Sometime during the middle of the night is started pouring rain, wake up, shut all the hatches, it rained hard for a long time and at least ITW got a good washing, back to sleep.
Alarm goes off at 1:00 AM, check the weather and it looks to go and the front has passed through. Call my bride to let her know I am sailing off, make sure everything is put away and pull up the anchor at 1:30 and motor out of Virgin Gorda Sound. Clear the buoys and turn to starboard to pass between Necker Island and VG. Once I clear the eastern tip of VG by about a mile and I get a feel for what is going on I turn into the wind and raise the main, back on course and unfurl the genoa and motor sailing 7 to 8 knots. The seas are calmer than forecast and there is about a 7/8th moon out. I can see the front in front of me - YEAH as I start across the Anegada Passage. The winds for the first 40 NM are 8 to 12 from the North, right where I want them as I am heading generally East to St. Martin with the tunes cranked and a fresh pot of coffee.
Sunrise is perfect at 6 ish and I shut off the navigation and steaming lights, seas are much calmer than the forecast as I was anticipating 6' to 8' seas about 30 NM from St. Martin (which is where I am right now as I write this) it is totally flat and the winds have died down to 4 to 6 knots. About 33 NM out I can start to make out the island and a couple cargo ships passing 5 to 10 NM out. I put a preventer on the boom to keep it from banging around in the light winds.
A big breakfast of Canadian bacon and eggs, belly is full and I am 4 hours out to Marigot Bay still cruising at 7 knots ;)
A Perfect Ride, well certainly the winds could have been stronger then I wouldn't have had to run the engines, but, normally on this passage your are bashing into the seas with a headwind, so I will take the winds from the North, light seas and the engines running. I arrived right at 1:00 PM, so 11 1/2 hours to cross almost 80 NM from anchor to anchor, not bad and I am happy to be settled in St. Martin and now just have to wait for my bride to show up Sunday night.
Cheers from ITW.
04/01/2010, Virgin Gorda Sound
Big breakfast, Jimmy Dean sausage smothered with salsa, cheese, garlic, onions, pesto and anything else in the fridge that needs to be eaten, a big day ahead of me!
Off to shore, 3 loads of laundry, provisions at The Chef's Pantry, change the oil in the Yanmar's, vacuum, sweep, wipe down with vinegar, put everything away - my wife would be so proud of me! Back to the dock to get diesel fuel, lift the Mercury and the Carib to the trampoline, sweat my arse off all day, have a cocktail at 5 PM, writing these blogs, check the weather, and filet of beef on the BBQ.
Looks like a front coming in, so the plan is to wake up at 1 AM, check the weather and either head to St. Marten or go back to sleep for a couple more hours.
03/31/2010, Sir Francis Drake Channel
Raise the main, drop the ball, motor out of The Bight, hang starboard, unfurl the genoa and kill the motors - ahhh - sailing 6 to 7 knots in a 12 to 15 knot beam - Turtle!
Heading to Road Harbour to see my old friends David & Michael, 3 huge cruise ships in dock, looks like a CF so I change my mind, tack, heading towards Ginger Island, turtle sighting #2, tack up the Sir Francis Drake Channel, Beef Island is off of my port, I just finish a phone call with my lovely bride, winds are variable and I start to experience the land effect of Virgin Gorda, turtle sighting #3. I almost run over him cause he is sleeping, I think!
OK, sailing up the channel at 6 to 7 knots, past The Dogs to Mountain Point, furl the genoa, drop the main and motor through the channel between Mosquito Island and Virgin Gorda. Drop the hook in Leverick Bay and have a cocktail.
A light diner and nap time!
Put Brenda, Sami and Huston in a taxi to the airport, it's 6 AM!
Settled up the bill at Crown Bay Marina, tossed the lines before the wind got crazy - weather report - Frickin Awesome, except the wind and seas are against me for the first hour!
Motor sailed up to Francis Bay- grab a ball - Ahhhh - lunch and and finished a book - snorkeled in the bay - NCIS won't play on my laptop - UGH - so, started The Unit - YEAH - cook up some pork chops - lights out
Jimmy Dean Sausage and Salsa Scrambled Eggs - started a new book, pretty much read all day and chilled - grilled a beautiful fillet for dinner -took a swim in the afternoon and never left the boat - true R&R!
Up early, weather sucks, still the same, sun is shining, wind is perfect, seas are mild. Drop the ball and sail to Cane Garden Bay, grab a ball and do some boat cleaning. dinghy to town and grab a couple things - got spotty internet but get some messages out and check email.
CGB starts to get crowded, so I drop the ball and sail out the channel. Doing 7 knots on a 12 knots beam reach, smoking across the water until I reach Sopers Hole, quick tack, furl the genoa, fire the motors through the Great Thatch and Little Thatch. Motors off, genoa out as I sail to St. John, tack, back to Tortola to Frenchman's Cay, tack, to Mennebeck Bay, tack, and I am heading to Road Harbour, but half way their I decide to go to somewhere I haven't been, so, tack again and I am heading to Coral Harbour, St. John. Furl the genoa, drop the main, motors on and head into the harbour. OK, everything that I have read and looking at the charts I think this place should be kewl, right - NOT! Rust buckets everywhere and not even a dinghy dock, REVERSE!
So, I motor the short distance to Norman Island and back to The Bight, grab a ball and take a nice snorkel along the shore. A quick shower and then to Pirates for a great dinner of BBQ Ribs - Life is good!
Weather report - I would be repeating myself for the 100th time!
We motor out of Great Harbour for the short hop to Norman Island and The Caves. Brenda shows Sami how to grab a mooring ball and tie off the boat and we are all in the water within minutes. The Caves is a great snorkeling spot to see the colorful fish and coral. We use up the last of our disposable camera's, hopefully we have some great shots and after a couple hours we motor around the corner into The Bight. We grab a mooring ball and dinghy the short distance to Willy T's floating bar and restaurant to enjoy some cold Caribs and fish and chips, a nice relaxing lunch at one of the icons of the Caribbean.
Back on ITW we motor sail down wind the 17 NM back to St. Thomas and Crown Bay Marina where is all began with the kids last Monday. I top off the water tanks and wash the boat while Brenda, Sami & Huston do laundry and grocery shopping. Sami was planning to stay an extra week with me and hang out, but when we called Delta to change her ticket there where no seats available for an entire week, Spring Break - Ugh - looks like they all go home tomorrow ;(
We enjoy some Pearl Saki and then head up to Tickles restaurant for burgers and beers, Sami & Huston had to have a couple last Painkillers, some rum fruit drink that definitely kills the pain.
Back to ITW and it is lights out and nap time as we all have to get up at 5:00 AM to catch the taxi to the airport.
Weather report, beautiful sunny day with light winds from the east and relatively calm seas.
We pull up the anchor early and motor out of Leverick Bay to our first stop, Savanna Bay. We motor through the reef and drop the hook and in the water to snorkel around the coral and walk the mile long beach.The kids finally wake up, it is 11:30 AM. Brenda found another treasure and I found a frisbee on the bottom of the sea, score! Back to ITW we pull up anchor, unfurl the genoa and motor sail the short 3 NM to Fallen Jerusalem to snorkel some more and climb around the boulders. As we pull into the small bay there are only two mooring balls with boats tied up, we see our new friends from Arkansas that we met in Anegada and again in Leverick Bay so we pull along side and raft up with their cat. A couple hours of climbing around and snorkeling in one of our favorite spots, very kewl.
We say good bye to Fallen Jerusalem and motor sail the short 6 NM to Great Harbour Peter Island. We drop the hook in 20' of water just a 100 feet from the cliffs. It seems like we are dragging the anchor so I snorkel down and sure enough it is on its side, so I dig the point in the sand and have Brenda back up ITW to dig it in, we are now set. We snorkel around the coral for a while and I soon here a shriek and Brenda is racing back to the boat. Come to find out she saw a fish bigger than her and it got her adrenaline going!
I grill up some great pork chops that we purchased at The Chef's Pantry, a great grocery store at Leverick Bay and we all enjoyed an awesome dinner as the sun was setting. Another episode of NCIS, Sami is finally hooked now and another perfect day in paradise comes to a close.