03/09/2012, Tortola, BVI
Our true exploration will start today...with our aim set for Soper's Hole ... a cute little bay with marshmallow pastel colour of the beautiful shops and buildings making it look like a picture from Disney World!...or even a movie set!
The amount of Americans around the place certainly emphasize that feeling! - Our main reason for coming was the Pusser's Rum Shop and Pub! And the Captain found the pants and hat he was looking forward to since we got back from the previous trip! He did not take much time as the research has been done for months where it is an exactly which pants it should be and all was done in 10 minutes flat! Out he walked with his tropical wide brimmed hat and big bag of clothes and A BOTTLE of PUSSER's RUM!!! .... he made me believe that the Rum was a gift for spending that much that fast! HaHa ... nice one Captain! Hope it is a good one! All the rest of the rum we have bought thus far is pretty foul...
This is where we were introduced to the infamous "Pain Killers" (we started on a no 3... not sure if that is the weakest ... but it is potent enough for a midday drink anyway! )...Pain Killer is a rum cocktail... and very drinkable ...almost in the same line as a Pinacolada... needless to say - my system should not consume more than one!
Luckily we did not anchor (so we don't need to snorkel on the anchor and worry about dragging at night) ... so the extra pain killer was justified! Lol... By the way (info for our sailor friends) ... the buoys are of great quality and relatively cheap ...$25 a night ...the safest way to go if it is that windy....
A few of the big Guns pulled up outside the bay - We had to wonder if those big Super Yachts have half the fun we have.... and if they do ... one day cost them what our 6 months sailing trip is costing in total! Arriving in their flash supersize dinghies ... more a small speed boat size.... in fancy resort matching clothes and handbags...they just don't have that happy look about them?.. (more subdued) than the average sailor that is having the same fun... ? Lol ....( just a side comment)
We have decided to stay only one night at a bay - even though it might be hard to do at times .... But there are just too much to do and see!...and hopefully have then time to go back to the super nice places for another day or two?
So the planning has started ...where to go next...we will have to follow the winds ... Looking out across the waters - It almost look like the yachts are all out on a Sunday cruise ... sitting pretty and white on the blue water - all so tranquil and easy and relaxed ... not chasing anything and just go where the winds are taking them... I hope the winds will take us to the nicest bays!
03/07/2012, Peter Island - White Bay and Road Town,Tortola
Week ONE : BVI ...Tortola, Jost van Dyke, Great Camanoe and Virgin Gorda:
After arriving in the BVI at 8pm we had to choose the closest and easiest Bay to get into ... which was White Bay at Peter Island. Anchoring was easy with very little rolling. We are heading for Tortola : The main island and centre of commerce and government of the BVI! About 21 000 population with a lot of lovely white beaches and interesting bays ... the main town ...Road Town...
We left early morning for Tortola ... Road Town the next stop... to seek specialist attention to most of the damage we picked up on our crossing. We Anchored the first night just outside Village Key Marina ... right in front of the Governor's House!
The most exciting part of that anchorage was the internet access!! I had just enough time (starting at 5.30am) to get all my pictures uploaded and website updated before leaving. After a million mile walk we found the nest of all Leopards Cats ./.. That must be where they hatch..... Wickham's Cay II .... Sunsail / Moorings Base!!! - An arm of Tui Travel ... what an amazing setup ... extremely professionally run and very efficient. Well, they were so helpful and even made us stay a night at no cost at their docks to get their maintenance guys to assess the problems and fix what they could! Just blows my mind how nice they all were!
While the men were sweating on the boat I had to get out of the way and went browsing... well ... what a surprise to find a South African Delicatessen shop with Biltong and the works in it!! Needless to say there were also French and Italian delicatessen shops with equally testing goodies on offer!
Then the second huge surprise was the local grocery store ... it is huge - the size of a really big Coles (bigger than Moranbah's) or Pick'n Pay at the Waterfront ,CT - and the variety was mind blowing ... and that much cheaper than what we are use to! Paying everything in US dollars make the comparison with Aussie $ easy. Well we stocked up (as much as I could carry a 15 min walk back to the boat!.... and had or favourite sourdough French Baguettes, Edam Cheese, tomatoes, salad and cucumber open sandwiches !
Road Town has a very nice feel to it and great little arty and beautiful Home shops! We've decided to do that side of Tortola when we get back in 2 weeks for the last repair jobs.
The water is just enticingly blue and clear and sailing out of the bay at Road Town reminds me a lot of the Whitsundays with all the islands only a hop away!
Coffee and Customs:
We had to order our Nespresso coffee capsules for the coffee machine on the internet from Switzerland , via France , USA to Trinidad (believe it or not - that was the ONLY way to get it!) - it only took 4 days thanks to FEDEX!.. and was still cheaper than what we pay for it in Australia! ? ....After a 3 hour struggle to collect it at Customs ( where do they get these people from? Mars?) - we managed to convince them that we do not need to pay $120 import duty on it because we export it within minutes after receiving it!!...
We were ready to pull the ropes in and leave Trinidad for the last time in a long time to come....sad ... but about time too...
Big Seas ... Friday
We will have a 3-4 days voyage ahead of us to get to the BVI (British Virgin Islands).The forecast states winds between 22 and 28 knots ... the waves between 2.5 and 3 meters.... well ...unfortunately - it will getting worst after the weekend and last a week or two so... we have decided to take it on !
The plan was to leave on the Thursday at 2am .... but then we had the bad news of our best friend Gerhard passing away and decided that we will stay one more day to get our frame of minds right...and then the show began....
You see, wild weather is one thing - you can adjust your sails and tough it out... but these huge swells coming from the front is tough! Breaking right over your bow and over the roof of the helm station...is outright messy, scary and uncomfortable!
These northerly swells slow you down - the bouncing and slamming is frightening and makes resting impossible! What is normally a 12 hour trip took us fourteen and a half hours.... we had to pull in at Grenada...5am in the morning ...just to have two hours sleep and a proper meal ... and then take on the next torturous motor-sail /slamming!
Sometimes the floor (lowest point with least rocking) is the best place to try and find some rest!
The winds were too close to the bow to even have a sail up and we ended up dropping the main sail just to discover that the one rope that keeps the top of the sail straight has snapped! Wild winds of 22-27 knots make that a knight mare to fix ... and with the sea looking like a washing machine - very sloppy and rough - we had no chance fixing it while at sea and had no choice than to pull into Union Island to fix it. We arrived late afternoon - too late for customs and decided to leave early enough the next morning before customs wake up.
Kriegler ...sadly mate... your venture with Jack the Undertaker is no more .... my condolences! But "Two Palm Sports Bar and Restaurant" could not withstand the Economic Crunch of the USA and is now Terminal 1 for the Airport! We did not get to see Jack either.
The angle of the wind from there onwards became better and up went the sails! We were delighted ... the see still a mess and with too much speed comes too much slamming so we ended up with one sail only most of the way. At sunset last night as we took down the Genoa (front sail) the Genoa sheet car broke off from the track and Captain J had to put his life on the line to get plan B going! The heavy metal block was flying madly over his head and banging into the deck! How he managed to restrain it is beyond me ... my eyes were closed and I was praying ...so I did not see how it happened...
We had our fair share of trouble and bad sailing ... I'm ready for a change!
As I am typing now (the start of day 4) we have another 63 nmiles to the BVI and we are doing about 7knts ... so we should be there just after dark. Cannot wait! The whole boat is a salty mess in and outside and I would not mind one full night's sleep .... we are doing pretty well with the 3 hour shifts ...but I am sure it will catch up with us by tomorrow!
.... dis 'n diep moeg! ... this is what painful tiredness look like!