24 February 2010 | Francis Bay, St John
Tuesday we started moving to BVI to welcome the grandparents to this beautiful place. We got a little extra incentive to get out of Honeymoon bay when the south winds arrived and made the anchorage a rolly mess. Everything gets slower and harder to do when the boat is rolling beam to beam.
The morning started with a return visit from Island Rigging. Jay and Ian brought all the pieces to install the lever on the inner forestay which is now fully functional and ready for when we need to fly our staysail. They also tuned up the tension on the backstay. Of course that was complicated because the threads were galled on the turnbuckle. So they had to take the assembly apart and replace it.
Meanwhile I was getting a lesson in cleaning conch. What a messy job.
Afterwards I zipped to town to fill the propane tank and get a few essentials.
After stowing all the junk on deck, we left the kids on the beach and went to the fuel dock to fill our diesel and water tanks. Was a little exciting getting on and off the dock with the wind blowing us away from the dock. After we picked up the kids at the beach we headed out to sea for our first stop at Francis Bay on St John. I didn't put up the main sail while at anchor because the bay was so rolly. Ha! Dumb move. After we got out of the bay the swell was bigger than I expected and wind was a brisk 20 knots. Took forever to get the main up in those conditions. Of course with all that rolling going in, we quickly discovered the stuff that wasn't yet stowed well. Also took quite a bit if water over the bow and discovered the forward hatches weren't dogged down tight enough so Emily's bed got wet. That was work to get squared away with all the pitching. Finally after getting beat up for half an hour we got the jib out and everything smoothed out. Made a good 7+ knots on a 90 degree (east) course with south winds at 22 knots. With all the day's activity we didn't get underway until 3:30 and started to wonder where we would have to stop for the night. As we approached Christmas Cove we decided to keep going to Francis. After we went thru Current Cut the wind and seas settled down and the sail went from exciting to pleasant. We hooked the mooring at Francis Bay soon after sundown just as the anchor lights were starting to twinkle on. Andrea made tacos for dinner and later we saw what looked like an albino stingray slapping the surface right next to our boat.
Some random thoughts on things we've learned so far
10 February 2010
The wind is your friend.
It cools you off, keeps the bugs away, and moves your boat.
The wind hates you.
It always comes from where you want to go, is too light to do any good, or quits altogether when you need it the most, or blows so hard it makes you scream like a little girl.
In the Virgins the water plays second fiddle to the wind.
You don't have to pay as much attention to the water as you do the wind. The tides are puny, the current is weak, and rarely has there been a swell that you had to think more than two seconds about.
A good anchorage is everything.
Good holding for the anchor, plenty of room to swing around, plenty of water under the boat to keep you off the bottom and calm water so the boat doesn't act like those pony rides in front of the grocery store.
We've already discussed the benefits of the wind, but one other thing the wind does for you at anchor is keep all the boats pointing in the same direction. When the wind dies, the boats have no sense of purpose and start to wander all over the place. You don't want them bumping into each other do you?
You have to watch where you are going.
There's traffic of course. But also there's rocks, and shallow water and reefs in the strangest places. And an occasional ghost ship goes by with no one apparently at the helm. You know, the ones where you keep saying, "He's going to turn soon, I'm sure."
Cruising is fixing your boat in exotic places.
There is always stuff to fix, repair, unclog, stow, polish, plug, unplug, or replace. We keep a list of things to do, and one time I crossed off the last item on my list before I realized I had started a second list. The boat is working very well for us at this point, but it also has us working very hard for it.
Communication is hard.
Cell phone calls get dropped. When we are in the BVI we can't get 3G or data on our phones. The VHF is subject to the elements. One day it rained for hours, we were cold and wet and ready for some shelter. I called a marina on the VHF to see if they had any room for us and the lady called back that she couldn't understand me. She said it sounded like I was calling from inside a fish bowl. Well....I was, and I told her so. She replied that she couldn't hear what I said, but she knew what I meant.
The boat is small.
If you want to move about the boat, you are going to have to touch someone, or wait for them to move out of your way. If you want to sit somewhere, you are probably going to be touching someone, or wait until they get out of your seat. If you want to put something away, you first have to move something else out of the intended storage location, or eat it.
Sailing is exercise.
There's a lot of climbing. Up stairs, on chairs, over people, up hatches, down hatches, down into the dinghy, or up the swim ladder. Also a lot of pulling ropes, lifting heavy stuff, and pushing little boats away from bigger boats.
Made it to North Sound
10 February 2010 | Saba Rock
Picked up a mooring at Saba Rock. What a cool place. Spent last night at Marina Cay, and fooled around at the artsy village in Trellis Bay this morning. Then a nice sail up to the end of the Virgins. 10 to 15 knots of wind from the southeast let us sail most of the way. Had to turn on the motor and motor sail as we passed the Dogs. Headed to Road Town tomorrow to talk to a guy about building us a radar arch. Winds are forecast to be from the southwest, which will be pretty much right on the nose all the way. At least tonight we have a brisk wind keeping the boat cool, should sleep well tonight.
We met a special guest for dinner tonight. We got together with Carolina who we met when we chartered "Crystal Clear" in 2007, and her 16 mos old son Valentin. Too bad Charly couldn't make it as well. You meet the nicest people on a sail boat.
28 December 2009 | PDX
Gaining our easting with assistance of Delta air. Going to NYC for a few days, then on to St Thomas.