20/04/2014, Great Harbour, Peter Island BVIs
Saturday the crews from Pannikin & Joy headed to Soper's Hole on the south western side of Tortola to refill dive tanks & grab some necessary provisions. The Amaris crew headed to Anegada to enjoy a yummy lobster dinner. Pannikin Anchored at Kelly's Cove on Norman Island for the night while Joy headed along the northern coast of Norman Island & anchored in Benures Bay. The night in Kelly's Cove was lovely. Lots of clear, clear water & great snorkelling, except for when a big barracuda decided to swim up close to have a good look at us - SCARY! Even though we were just around the corner from 'The Bight' - a very popular bay for charter boats we didn't hear any noise from the Beach Bar or the 'Willy T' (a floating restaurant).
Sunday we motored around to Benures Bay to join Joy. This is a lovely spot also in the right conditions. We anchored & went stern to, tying our line to a tree on shore. The snorkelling here is great & we spent lots of time in the water. We took Joy's tender (Bay Joy) to 'The Indians' for a snorkel in the afternoon. What an excellent spot!!! Well worth a visit - lots of coral & fish with steep cliffs falling 10 metres or so to the ocean floor. Of course it was very busy, but totally a place to see. J & S came over at sunset & had drinks for an hour or so, & then it was a quiet night for us.
We spent another day at Benures Bay on Monday doing odd jobs & cleaning and unfortunately sealing yet another leak on Mr Slappy. At about 3pm we decided it was time to get off the boat & went for a big walk along the many dirt tracks & roads on Norman Island (lots of hills!). Not a lot of wild life to see, but plenty of great views overlooking the BVIs & the many bays on Norman. Back to Pannikin for a snorkel and then to Joy for Sundowners. A lovely day.
Tuesday morning we sailed to Lee Bay on Salt Island & tied up to one of the National Park mooring buoys. This is the site of the wreck of the RMS Rhone which was blown onto Salt Island & sank in 1867. Steve & Jeremy had a fantastic dive & Ange & Susie had a great snorkel over the stern which is in the shallowest water. Steve reckoned it was one of the best dives he's ever had - another top spot in the BVIs! Pannikin then headed to Road Town, Tortola to purchase some much needed groceries & do some odd jobs. Joy continued to Salt Island Bay around the corner & set anchor. After spending a good couple of hours getting our jobs done we arrived back at Salt Island Bay around 7.30pm & anchored for the night. A full moon shining on beautiful clear water was a highlight that night.
Wednesday, after consulting the weather, we decided to head back to Hansen Bay (Round Bay) on St John to hide from another couple of days of high wind & big swells. Joy headed to Road Town to do some computer work & get a sim card for their phone. Water again was beautiful in Hansen Bay & we spent a lot of Wednesday afternoon in the water. We also glued another leak in Mr Slappy with the glue we purchased on Tuesday. We are thinking we will have to call him 'Patch' now.
Thursday & Friday we did not a lot - reading, swimming & snorkelling and a big walk around our part of St John. Lots of very steep hills but the view over the island & across to the BVIs was well worth it. There are plenty of tents going up on shore for the Easter break.
Saturday we decided to poke our nose out & head to Cruz Bay to top up our internet sim card & get diesel & petrol. A very rolly sail down the east coast & around the south coast of the island - swell still very big & still plenty of wind. Just as we arrived in Cruz Bay & huge squall came through & we got soaked! Got our bits & pieces done in town, which was packed due to Easter holidays, then headed north. We decided to head to Jeremy and Susie who were in Great Harbour, Peter Island as it was pouring in St John. Took us a good 4 hours to get there, punching into the wind and swell - not very comfortable. After cleaning up Pannikin we had drinks on board & started planning our trip back south down the island chain.
Happy Easter everyone!
12/04/2014, Cane Garden Bay, Tortola BVIs
On Monday Ange, Steve & Susie walked to White Bay - a couple of very steep hills away from Great Harbour. It was a great walk with plenty to see - birds, goats, mongoose & of course the beautiful bay itself from high - just lovely. We had a water at the famous "Soggy Dollar Bar" (named because people swim in from their boats & their money gets wet!) & then walked back to Great Harbour. It was tops to get some exercise!
Tuesday the guys finished their dive course & we celebrated on Pannikin with dinner & drinks.
Wednesday Amaris headed to Cane Garden Bay & Pannikin & Joy dropped anchor at Green Cay off Jost Van Dyke - the quintessential Caribbean anchorage - beautiful clear blue water & a small sand island with palm trees.
Thursday we sailed across to Cane Garden Bay & anchored south of all the mooring buoys. Pannikin went for a wander into the village & did some sheet & towel washing and before we knew it Happy Hour was upon us. Beers at Tony's Welcome Bar with the crews from Joy, Amaris & Easy Rider. We had Jeremy & Susie over for burgers for dinner - Yum! Steve is doing a great job making bread & rolls.
Friday was a sleep in as it poured with rain all morning. We headed out of the bay at around midday on Joy & went fishing over Kingfish Banks about 6 miles north. It was our first sail on Joy & we totally loved it. We have to admit we are a touch envious (or maybe lots!). Fishing was pretty successful - 2 mackerel worth keeping & plenty of other strikes including a barracuda & ½ a tuna (again the victim to something much bigger!). We had a lovely taco & fish dinner on board Amaris with plenty of laughs thanks to Dave from Easy Rider.
Today we are heading to Soper's Hole to refill dive tanks & then probably onto Norman or Peter Island.
Sorry for the boring blog - we are just enjoying the wonderful BVIs. We really love it here!
06/04/2014, Great Harbour, Jost Van Dyke BVIs
Thursday was another trip into Road Town on Pannikin. Jeremy & Steven (from Amaris) have decided to do their Open Water Diver PADI course on Jost Van Dyke. We picked up a course manual at "We Be Divin" scuba shop near Village Cay Marina, visited Digicel again & also a couple of groceries. Later that night a couple of drinks on Pannikin.
Friday our plan was to head to Cane Garden Bay on western Tortola for the night. Just was we were pulling up anchor, the mizzen sail on Joy came tumbling down to the deck. The halyard had snapped - so up the mast Jeremy went. Not a nice day for it either... lots of strong wind gusts & driving rain every 5 minutes or so. The last couple of days had been fairly wet. Finally a new halyard was run & the mizzen sail was back up where it should be. Amaris also had drama - dragging anchor & getting caught up on a nearby mooring ball - all was sorted & well in the end. Our sail to Cane Garden Bay was a wet & cold one, but still enjoyable. The BVI Spring Regatta is on at the moment, so there is always plenty of yachts racing each day. They were out in full on Friday. When we reached the anchorage it was really rolly due to the northerly swell so we ended up anchoring in Little Harbour (Garner Bay) on Jost Van Dyke. Steven went north to Trellis Bay to collect Sean from the airport - will see them again soon. A quiet night in a lovely little bay.
Saturday Steve & I had a great walk around Little Harbour. Up the very steep hill to the top of the island where the views were great. We then walked around to the western side of the bay & had a look at "Sidney's Peace & Love Restaurant" where we may end up later on! We then upped anchor & headed back to Cane Garden Bay where there were some great waves on the point yesterday. Steve went for a surf & Ange wandered around the street (only one!) for an hour. We headed back to Jeremy & Susie who were now anchored around at Great Harbour on Jost Van Dyke ready for the diving course on Sunday. Lots & lots of boats here & we had no luck anchoring. Our anchor dragged every time, so we ended up going back to Little Harbour. No problem anchoring here. Just before sundown Amaris moored in front of us & we popped across to Sidney's for Happy Hour. This was great - a self service bar! Just get what you want & write it down in the book on the bar! Certain drinks were 2 for 1 in Happy Hour, so we had a beer & Steven and Sean had Painkillers. It was a nice hour - there were plenty of cruisers there. Out host, Strawberry, was a lovely lady too. We went back to Amaris for a glass of champagne & a quick chat before dinner & bed.
Today we tried our luck again at anchoring in Great Harbour. We managed to find a great spot close to the beach & had no problem anchoring this time. We had a quick walk around town & called in to say Hi to Jeremy & Steven doing their course at Jost Van Dyke scuba. We had another good look at Foxy's Bar & got to speak to the famous man himself! He knew so much about Australia (his wife is Aussie) & it was great to talk to him. It's a nice spot here - plenty of cruisers running around in their dinghy's to the shore, swimming & generally having a good time. We'll wait to see how loud Foxy's gets tonight!
Photo - looking down on Little Harbour.
02/04/2014, Great Harbour, Peter Island BVIs
Happy Birthday Tim I for yesterday - we hope it was a good one!
We haven't been doing a lot over the past week.... spent 3 nights at Hansen Bay (Round Bay) in St John dodging big swell & strong winds. Did some odd jobs on Pannikin & lots of snorkelling. Then came over to the BVIs & met up with Jeremy & Susie at Great Harbour on Peter Island. Steve on catamaran Amaris is here also - Sean is back in the US for a little while. Monday we all piled on board Pannikin & sailed across to Road Town, Tortola to do groceries, beer shopping & top up our internet. Had a great lunch & lots of walking which is always good.
Yesterday spent the day still trying to fix Mr Slappy's many leaks. Hopefully with Jeremy's expertise & many great tools we will see a difference now.
Today Steve & Jeremy are working on Joy's outboard motor - always jobs to do! I think it might be a chook on the BBQ & drinks tonight!
Photo - 15 cartons of beer, 1 carton of cider & 3 cartons of wine!!! (All Jeremy's of course!).
27/03/2014, Charlotte Amalie
As planned we stayed Sunday at Esperanza, doing odd jobs, cleaning, swimming & Steve had a couple of surfs on his new board which he says is excellent - good news!
Monday we had a long walk on the beach beside Esperanza around Sun Bay - lovely walk & lovely water in the bay. This is a popular camping spot too... it was great to see tents pitched under the palm trees. We headed out of Esperanza & along the coast to find a new anchorage. We only went a couple of miles to an anchorage outside Puerto Mosquito - a phosphorescent bay. This Mosquito Biobay is renowned for the density of bioluminescent plankton in its waters so we decided to anchor here & wait for dark before we went into the bay to have a look at the colour. Waited until about 8.30pm then took Mr Slappy up into the bay. Once you enter the bay no motors are allowed so we had to row the last 100 metres or so. There were definitely green sparkles in the water, but not as much as we had hoped! It was fun fluffing around for 30 minutes or so anyway watching the sparkles off the oars & the outboard as we rowed around. Back to Pannikin then to discover our anchorage had become very rolly. We decided to head up the coast to Ensenada Honda a really large bay that is secure in all weather conditions. It took us about one & half hours to motor up there, but was well worth it. This is the first anchorage in a very long time where Pannikin has not been affected by swell of some kind. It is a lovely spot.
Tuesday we stayed at Ensenada Honda - we had the whole bay to ourselves - it is very tranquil & remote. Lots of jobs were done - cleaning & changing water maker filters, defrosting the fridge, cleaning & mopping Pannikin and a general tidy up under the lounge where things always get stashed for want of a better place to stow them and again trying to find leaks in Mr Slappy. We are having not much luck in getting him to stay pumped up for long periods of time. Burgers for dinner with Steve's homemade buns - they are becoming a favourite! Especially when we have found canned beetroot!
Wednesday we were up early & heading out of Ensenada Honda at 8am back to St Thomas. We had a great sail arriving at the anchorage off Crown Bay Marina at about 1pm. Ange managed to polish nearly all the stainless steel on the way - another good job almost out of the way. Caught 3 barracuda on our way across! We took Mr Slappy across to the marina & did some laundry... it's nice not having to do sheets & towels by hand all the time! We spent the afternoon having a swim & watching the two huge cruise ships tied alongside the wharf preparing to leave. One was of the "Princess Line" like The Love Boat & they played the TV music as they left - it was pretty cool.
Today we are stocking up on groceries & drinks & will probably head to an anchorage somewhere on the west coast of St John as the wind is predicted to blow from the ENE at 25 knots for the next day or two. Then onto the BVIs again for a while.
Friday we motored the 3 miles south to Puerto Del Rey marina & anchored in the very small anchorage near the marina mouth. There was a Norwegian flagged yacht & a local yacht there already & with us there it was tight!. We had a cuppa while we waited for the Boat Show to open then took Mr Slappy into the marina & tied up at one of the pontoons. As we walked through the marina (which is huge!) it became apparent that the Boat Show was nowhere near ready. Tents were up but no equipment or displays where under them. Exhibitors hadn't set up their displays either. Marina staff were whizzing every which way (fast) on golf carts trying to get stuff set up. However the ticket office was open & selling entrance tickets to the public! We didn't stay long... found an ATM & bought some fresh bread from the marina supermarket & went back to Pannikin. We didn't bother staying - it was mostly stink boat stuff which doesn't really excite us. It would have been good to see the equipment exhibitions etc though. Instead we sailed to the anchorage on the western side of Vieques (like Culebra part of Puerto Rico) where we anchored for the night tucked between two reefs. As we anchored a huge ray leap out of the water then continued on his way. We also saw a huge turtle. Over beers on Friday night we had THE TALK..... although we haven't reached our intended destinations - Dominican Republic & possibly Cuba we have decided it is time to turn around & start heading east, then south back down the Caribbean island chain. We also didn't get to the south & west coasts of Puerto Rico as intended, but after experiencing the bash to windward to get east today we decided that we would prefer to spend some more time in the BVIs, which we love rather that spending days sailing along Puerto Rico coasts & then weeks bashing into the wind to get back east. We know you can't get to see everything, but still feel as though we've failed in our original plan. Weather plays such a major role in where we go & we can't control that! So back to the BVIs & hopefully catch up with Jeremy & Susie before we head south.
Saturday we sailed to the picturesque anchorage off the lovely village of Esperanza on the south coast of Vieques. After anchoring & a late, late lunch we took Mr Slappy to shore & had a great wander around. Plenty of little bars & restaurants here & lots of tourists on holidays, but it is still a small & intimate town. It has a lovely beach to walk along as well. We found a small supermarket where we bought a few fresh vegies, cheese, milk etc to keep us going for a few more days. We had swims & read on Pannikin during the afternoon then dinner & an episode of 'Dexter' before bed.
We had anchor problems last night.... the stern anchor we had out to stop us rolling in the swell dragged... so not much sleep & lots of fluffing about early in the morning. We are going to stay here again today & have a relax. Steve also wants to play with his new board!!!!!