As two back to back cold fronts approached us, and the prevailing east winds moderating, Don and I decided to make a quick trip down to the French island of St. Martin for a few weeks before more company arrives in April. Most of our cruising friends have long since headed down island and as usual we are the last, we are slow moving and tend to stay in one place for awhile if we like it. A mere hundred miles, the sail to St. Martin can be a rough trip if the weather does not cooperate so the cold fronts moderating the conditions looked hopeful.
We left Red Hook, St. Thomas at daybreak, just as the ferry boats were warming up for their daily runs. This makes the convenient but rolly anchorage of Red Hook an easy place to provision from and then quickly make an escape. Hoping to sail and not motor the entire one hundred miles, we were extremely dismayed when the predicted 10-12 knot SW to W turned out to only be 3-4 knots and variable and then quickly turned NE to E, the direction we were heading, twelve hours earlier than forecasted! Alas such is the boating life, flexible and unpredictable. Don, still recovering from a rib injury, reinjured himself while wrestling with the sails and was grimacing in pain with each roll of the boat. This is always the time we ponder ROLLER FURLING...but it's not going to happen! We own twelve headsails, dont ask where they are all stored.
So, in the spirit of "Why are we doing this, delicious French bread and cheese, ....who needs it!" Don made a command decision and we pulled into Spanishtown, BVI to check in and spend some time in the beautiful British Virgin Islands instead. It's British so we know they have good beer. We had been here briefly over Christmas but didn't get to spend as much time as we usually like, exploring and enjoying for weeks...months...?
St. Martin will still be there whenever we get there, someday.
Settling into Virgin Gorda for a few days and watching the parade of charter boats come and go we spent a little time ashore at the Beach Bar at Vixen Point near the famous Bitter End Yacht Club. Columbus supposedly named the island Virgin Gorda as it resembles a fat woman lying on her back, it seems many stories about Columbus have to do with women. Sailors.....they are all alike! Ten miles long and with many high peaks, anything over 1000 feet is designated National Park land in order to preserve the natural beauty.
A beautiful spot perfect for a leisurely swim and a self-medicating rum and coke for Don, white sand and turquoise water. Yet deserted and rather lonely looking we thought, the down turn in the global economy definitely having an effect on these enchanted isles.