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Swingin' on a Star
Ship's log for the circumnavigating Saint Francis 50 catamaran, "Swingin on a Star".
Ginger Steps
Randy
04/28/2007, Ginger Island

Ginger Island has some great dive sites. Alice in Wonderland is my favorite. Ginger Steps is great as well. In a tough north swell with a big east wind Alice's Backstep is a great spot. This shot is of the reef on one of the Ginger Steps. As the name implies, the reef comes up from the 80 foot bottom in three big steps, each of which has nice ledges and crevices for all of the critters to hide in.

The British Virgin Islands
Blast from the past
Randy
04/17/2007, Diving the Rohne

So I'm interning on this dive boat and I hear this distinctive voice. I look over and I see Doug Grindstaff a friend I worked with almost 15 years ago in Los Angeles.

I walked over and said, "Doug?!". HE looked at me like I was a weirdo. I have a military hair cut now and the last time Doug saw me, not only was I 15 years younger but I had hair half way down my back.

We both couldn't beleive it. We caught up a little bit and then did the dive. Everyone was turning green due to the big swell. Unfortunatly some of the divers ended up feeding the fish and we had to scrap the second dive.

Doug and his friend came over to visit later in the afternoon before they flew home to LA. It was a great out of the blue experience.

The British Virgin Islands
Dive BVI Shop/Leverick Bay
Randy
04/09/2007, Leverick Bay

Corey runs the Leverick Bay Dive BVI operation. We dove with Corey and some of the Dive BVI old guard several years ago when we first visited the BVI.

The British Virgin Islands
Dive BVI
Randy
04/08/2007, Leverick Bay, Virgin Gorda

I started the Divemaster program today with Dive BVI in Leverick Bay. Our friends Fred and Cindy work here so it should be a lot of fun. My instructor will be Marc Povey who is very experienced and knowledgable. Sea Cat (seen here) is the primary dive boat for the Leverick Bay operation which services the entire North Sound. Dive BVI is based on the other end of the island in Spanish Town, with Leverick Bay and Marina Cay outposts.

The British Virgin Islands
The Matsuzawa's return to Japan
Randy
04/06/2007, Saba Rock

It was a sad day. Hideko's Mom and Dad had been with us for two weeks and it was time to say goodbye. Their flight out of Beef Island departed around noon so after a light breakfast we got them ready to go.

We took a dinghy ride over to the Bitterend and waited for the North Sound Express. Hideko went with Atsuo San and Yukiko San to help them get to the Air Port which is only a short walk from the ferry dock in Trellis Bay Tortola.

After watching them go I motored back to Swingin' on a Star where Roq was minding things. I got aboard and began to rumage around for lunch when I heard Kelp Fiction hailing us. Fred and his friend Pete from Canada had picked up the mooring right next to us.

Fred had a day off so we all went out to the reef at the edge of Eustaia Sound and snorkeled around a bit. Afterwords we caught up over a beer.

Hideko showed up in the afternoon on a launch from the Bitter End. I had somehow missed her hail on the VHF. When she got back I was drinking beer with Pete and Fred. That was a bust. Hideko forgave me though because she's the best.

As the stars came later that night we talked about all of the great times we had with all of our parents. This will have to be the first of many such visits.

The British Virgin Islands
The Baths
Randy
04/05/2007, Virgin Gorda

We left Cooper just before 7:00 so that we could get a mooring at the Baths. With the formidable charter boat navy out in force, picking up a mooring at the most famous beach in the BVI is something you can only do bright and early. We arrived at around 7:30 and picked up the last mooring ball in the place. The area is a national park so there's no anchoring.

The Baths are an odd pile of huge boulders that form all sorts of grottos and caves that you can hike or snorkel through. It is a spectacular place.

You can't leave your dinghy ashore at the Baths. There's a dinghy tie up in Devils Bay but that's about it. The trail from the Baths beach to Devils Bay is a highlight of a trip to the Baths. We were in a predicament because I wanted to put everyone ashore in Devils Bay, hike through the boulders to the Baths beach, hike up the hill to the Top of the Baths for lunch at the restaurant there, then back down to the Baths for a trip back to the boat.

After considering the matter a bit it looked like I was going to be swimming. So I dropped everyone off at Devils Bay and then took the dinghy back to the boat. I had done the swim once before but with fins. I didn't want to carry the fins around all day like last time so I just did the swim with sunglasses. I have since developed a great appreciation for fins. I can't remember the last time I swam without them now. They sure are nice to have when you're on the farthest mooring.

After I made it to the shore we hiked up through the caves to the Baths Beach. Atsuo San and Yukiko San did a tremendous job climbing over the boulders and through the crawl holes in the rocks.

The whole area is a really fun and interesting place to visit. Avoid the crowds though if you can. As we hiked up the hill to the Top of the Baths a cruise ship had just unloaded in Spanish Town. All of the tourists take taxis to the Top of the Baths and then hike down to the Baths. The path leading up to the top is fairly narrow, so we were like salmon trying to get up stream.

We had a great lunch and enjoyed the stunning view from the Top of the Baths. As we made our way back down I realized that the previously relaxed beach was now packed with cruise ship folk. Not only did I have a long swim in front of me but I was not so sure that I wanted to try to bring the dinghy in close enough for a pick up with all of the swimmers in the water.

After watching a few pros work the surf and the tourists I decided to give it a try. Hideko and I agreed on an abort plan in case it was just untenable. I bummed a ride back to the boat from a couple of friendly guys in a 15 foot Caribe, which avoided a pretty long swim.

I motored our dinghy into the Baths area and picked up the dinghy line about 100 feet off of the beach. Another guy was waiting his turn to pick up so I got in line. A channel had formed amid the floating tourists due to the constant pickups. I took advantage of the opportunity and with the help of a nice guy from Canada we got everyone on board and made it out without getting pooped or running anyone over.

We motored up the Sir Francis Drake into the wind to make North Sound in the early afternoon. We made our way around Mountain Point and come into the sound via Anguilla Point. The sound side of the cut is very shallow and you need to head toward Leverick Bay from the mid point of the cut. I see 5 foot something on the sounder all of the time through here. Scary but well traveled.

We cruised up the sound to Saba Rock and picked up a mooring. We relaxed over a cocktail and then everyone went around to the reef side of the rock to enjoy the famous Saba Rock hammocks.

We made our way over to the Bitter End courtesy of the free Saba Rock shuttle for a little tour. After a pleasant afternoon at the Bitter End we returned to Saba Rock for a yummy dinner.

It was our last day with Hideko's parents and we had made the most of it.

The British Virgin Islands
Cooper Island Beach Club
Randy
04/04/2007, Cooper Island

Everyone was a bit beat today to we moved up to a mooring close to the beach and took it easy. Cooper Island Beach Club has great food so we went ashore for a relaxing lunch.

The British Virgin Islands

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