bucket list

Homeward Bound

30 November 2023
Melissa Swenson
Day 9 Homeward bound
We did not have to check out of our condo until noon. We met Heather and walked down the beach to the coffee shop at Sapphire Beach. We enjoyed iced coffee and breakfast sandwiches by the water. Of course, there was more shopping to be done at the boutique there. We walked to the lower pool where we saw iguanas sunbathing and then out to the point for our own photo shoot.. It was hard to leave but we eventually had to pull ourselves away from the beach and walk back to our condos. I changed my airline reservations to stay longer for some Mother-Daughter time. Heather planned to pick everyone up at 12 to get to the airport. Best laid plans.....Heather's phone and alarm went offline (at least that is her story). Heather was incommunicado and we ended up calling a taxi. It was Meow or Never! I waved goodbye to everyone and waited for Heather to pick me up. She was not far behind the taxi, but we made the right call to get the taxi to be sure everyone arrived at the airport on time. Taxis, ferries, cars, dinghies and airplanes! Oh my! This has been an epic sailing adventure. We have renewed old friendships and made new ones. We have all bonded together on this trip. We are already talking about another adventure. This crew has been the best! I love these ladies!❤️

Adios to Jost

30 November 2023
Melissa Swenson
Day 8 Jost to Tortola
Our last day on the boat. After breakfast we untied our mooring lines. Heather played Kenny Chesney's song " Adios to Jost" as we pulled away. Everyone waved good bye. The weather was beautiful and we enjoyed our sail back to Tortola, taking turns on the helm. At some point, we noticed that our pirate flag was missing. Heather said she heard a noise around 3a.m. and we all wondered if someone boarded our boat and took our flag. Real pirates?!!
We called the Moorings base on the VHF as we entered the channel for our slip assignment and docking instructions. We were all set for a starboard side tie, but they moved us to a different slip, so we had to move the lines and fenders to port. It was a tightly packed Marina full of power cats, sailing cats and monohulls. When asked if we would like assistance docking, we agreed. Someone came out to the boat, came aboard and backed us into a tight spot. Whew! I have no doubt that Heather could do it, but I was glad we didn't have to. As soon as we were tied up, a dock hand was there with a dock cart and loaded our luggage. We followed him to the reception area where we would wait for a taxi to the ferry. Heather and I returned to the boat to wait for a debriefing. We checked off the list, told the rep about the issues we'd had with the boat and then we were free to go. We found everyone at the bar enjoying a complimentary drink. We missed the 11:30 ferry and decided to take the 3:15 ferry to Red Hook, to put us closer to our condo in St. Thomas. We took a taxi to the ferry. The ferry stopped in St John and we all disembarked to go through customs and then got back on the ferry to St. Thomas. Ross met us at the ferry in Heather's car. Heather's 4Runner seats 8, but with all of our luggage it took two trips. We checked into our VRBO at Sapphire Beach. We had two condos next door to each other. They were super cute! After settling in, taking "real showers" and dressing for dinner, we walked down to Sudi's restaurant by the pool just below us. We made a toast to a great charter and I toasted the crew! We all ordered Wahoo tacos and burgers. We made our way back up the hill to our condos and turned in for the night.

Soggy Dollar Bar and Foxy's

30 November 2023
Melissa Swenson
Day 7 Virgin Gorda to Jost Van Dyke
We left The Bitter End Yacht Club and sailed to Jost Van Dyke. Another day in Paradise!
After mooring in White Bay, Heather took us to the beach. First stop was the infamous Soggy Dollar Bar. The name comes from sailors swimming in and buying drinks with their soggy dollars. We all had a Pain Killer or two. This is where that drink was first concocted. We grabbed a group of comfortable chairs around a table and relaxed. We shopped. We ate lunch (the chicken Roti was delish) at Coco Locos and tried their Coco Loco Wacker. A Bushwhacker with banana. We shopped. We walked the beach, took pictures and shopped some more. We moved the boat to Great Harbor and picked up a "Boaty Ball" mooring for the first time. These moorings have an online reservation system. We didn't have a reservation. We discovered that the ball we chose was reserved, of course. We were able to reserve another one. So...... we untied and moved to the other ball. We all dressed for dinner and took the dinghy into Foxy's. The tables were elegantly set. The food was amazing. Grouper, Wahoo and coconut shrimp. Back on the boat we all packed our bags so we would be ready to disembark as soon as we returned the boat the next day. We are not ready for this trip to end!

The Bitter End

30 November 2023
Melissa Swenson
Day 6 Anegada to Virgin Gorda
Necker Island • Saba Rock • Bitter End Yacht Club
Sunday Fun day!
I cooked bacon, sausage and pancakes for breakfast before departing Anegada.
It was another great sailing day!
Winds 18-20 knots
7.9 knots s.o.g.
Heather pointed out Richard Branson's private Islands as we approached Saba Rock. We picked up a ball at Saba Rock in Virgin Gorda and took the dinghy in to meet Bobby, Adrian and Jennifer for lunch. The beautiful restaurant at Saba Rock is the only thing on this little island. It is impressive. We enjoyed a round of drinks and a delicious lunch. After lunch we walked the perimeter of the island and checked out the boutique. We said goodbye to Ross and friends. They headed back to St. Thomas in Bobby's boat. We took the dinghy to The Bitter End Yacht Club on Virgin Gorda. We all bought something in the shop there! We enjoyed the waterside bar for a while and then Heather ran Dawn, Annie and I back to the boat. The others stayed a little longer and then Heather rejoined them for a bit. After everyone was back on the boat our cabin lights suddenly went out. Heather called Ross and he began to trouble shoot for us. They discovered that the battery had tripped. Heather turned it off and back on again. Lights! We were back in business. Everyone had a bite to eat on their own. We played a couple of card games and called it a night.

Lobster Festival

30 November 2023
Melissa Swenson
Day 5 Virginia Gorda to Anegada
We had showers on and off all night and most of the morning. We decided to make a dinghy run for a few things before leaving Spanish Town. Heather and I took the dinghy in and walked to the market. After returning to the boat and putting the provisions away, we were ready to get underway. There were light to no winds as we left the mooring field. We had estimated about 4 hours under sail. But, with no wind, we motored in half the time. We found a mooring close to the dinghy dock. We could hear the music and feel the excitement of the festival on Anegada. After tying up to the dock, we walked through town. Each restaurant had their own lobster specials. We met up with Ross and friends again. Heather went with them on the booze bike. A bar on wheels where everyone pedals to move from one bar to the next. Ruth spotted a Buffalo Bills flag and Karen spotted a Virginia Tech flag. Go teams! After some shopping, we decided on the Lobster Trap for dinner. We had the sampler, a combination of lobster croquettes and lobster spring rolls for $10. A few got the half lobster with corn on the cob, Mac n cheese and rice and beans for $30 (the whole lobster was only $40). What a deal! We made our way back to the main festival area. This is the first festival since Covid. The crowds were light and mostly locals. We found a taxi that gave us a ride to some of the ponds in the middle of the island where the flamingos hang out. We climbed a wooden structure built to give a better view. It had a viewing binocular but we were unable to focus it. A little boy adjusted it for us and we were able to see better. There were dozens (maybe hundreds) of flamingos. We were disappointed that they were so far away, but we saw them! After taking some photos, we took the dinghy back to Meow or Never with an extra crew member. Ross decided to join us for the night. The ladies all loved the addition and enjoyed Ross' company.

Guitars, tiki bars and a whole lot of love

30 November 2023
Melissa Swenson
Day 4 Cooper Island to Virgin Gorda
We had bacon, egg and cheese sammie's for breakfast. Heather, Ruth, Karen, Dawn and I took the dinghy into the beach on Cooper Island to do a little shopping at the boutique. When we returned, we prepped for departure and left our mooring. Winds were 12-15 knots today. We took turns at the helm. It was a nice easy sail to Virgin Gorda. The waters were inky blue. We took a day mooring at the Baths and swam to shore. The current was strong. It was quite a workout. Once we were on the beach we all met Heather's friend Lily. He is a local artist (t-shirt designer and a musician). We all purchased some of his wares and he played a song on the guitar and sang for us. There were good vibes here already. We took the trail up to the top of the Baths to have lunch. The view up here never disappoints. We had Jamaican jerk chicken sandwiches and drinks. We met up with Heather's friends Ross, Bobby, Ross''s Dad, Adrian and Jennifer. After taking some pictures together, Heather gave us a tour of the Baths. The Baths are beautiful rock formations. Sports Illustrated did a swim suit issue photo shoot in a spot here called the Cathedral. We were running out of daylight, so it was time to turn back and head to the boat. Ruth and Annette hitched a ride out to our boat with a family of three from Puerto Rico.
The rest of us swam back to the boat. It was an easier swim with the current this time! The family dropped Ruth and Annette off before we arrived. They said that they enjoyed a beer on the way while we were doing our long distance swim! We showered off on the transom, dropped our mooring and motored to Spanish Town on Virgin Gorda to pick up a mooring for the night. There were no moorings available, so we dropped anchor for the first (and only) time on the trip. There was some discussion about anchoring. It has been said that there can be too many Captains aboard a vessel. In our case, we also had three past Commodores aboard. After hearing our discussions on the bow about having the proper amount of chain out and how to attach the bridle, the neighboring boat captain graciously offered to help. He came aboard and told us that he was confident that we had a good hold because he saw the boat stop as we backed down on the anchor. He showed us how to attach the bridle to the chain, which would help to keep us from swinging too much. That added 15 more feet to our chain. We thanked him for his help. We should have given him a bottle of our special rum 😉. A charcuterie dinner was a perfect ending for this busy day!
Vessel Name: Bay Breezin'
Vessel Make/Model: Hunter 410
Hailing Port: urbanna va
Crew: melissa swenson
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