It's time to get out of Dodge, BVIs that is
06 January 2010 | Gorda Sound in Leverick Bay
Wow how fast days pass; the holidays are over, our family has come and gone home and we are now just about to leave the Virgin Islands and head east to St. Marten. I think it's safe to say our family members had a great time. Laura was here Dec 17th - Jan 2nd, my Mom was here from the Dec 23rd - Jan 1st and Diane with Billy and their two boys Dec 26th - Jan 3rd. Great visits for Alice and me and even though we covered a lot of ground, had many unique experiences it was all over too darn fast. The grand children were terrific; Jake was very cautious at first with the salt water, waves and the beaches. After a couple of days and lots of encouragement from the adults he was in the water at every opportunity. We touched just about all the great beaches in the US and British Virgins. We wined and dined ourselves, we hobnobbed with TV celebrities; we had some great sails and everyone went home with a tan, hurray.
On the one rainy day, Billy and I rented a 4-wheel drive SUV and toured Tortola. We drove east to west along the Ridge Road, up in the clouds and Billy was quite impressed with the steep pitch of the roads, their single lane width and the incredibly steep switch-backs. He had a ball. Some of the curves must have been a pitch of some 45 degrees and I was amazed the wheels didn't break loose.
We learned from Laura that it was 2 degrees above zero in Chicago when she arrived home. Wow what a temp gradient; from 85 to 2. The Virgin Island lived up to everyone's expectations with gentle winds, warm water and cheap rum. It was a wonderful way to experience the holidays away from home and the traditional setting.
After seeing Billy and his family safely on the ferry in Sopers Hole, Alice and I decided to head for Virgin Gorda and Gorda Sound where we planned to get ready for the trip to St. Marten. Winds were very light so we were power sailing with the main. I decided to go on the ocean side of Cammonoe. Just about three in the afternoon, the red warning light for temperature came on with the buzzer. I immediately shut down the engine and went below to investigate. The v-belt had failed; no problem I have spares or so I thought. We had at least five different sized belts, all the wrong size, oops, no engine and we were quite a way from a harbor with a marine store. We are on a sail boat so we started sailing and after a rum and tonic we decided to sail around Tortola to Road Town where I knew there we stores with what we needed. The wind was very light, 4 to 6 knots, so our boat speed was incredibly slow, say 2 - 3 knots. At that speed we just might reach Road Town around mid-night and with no engine would have to anchor under sail. Alice was concerned, not about the sailing after dark but anchoring in the harbor and getting the anchor to hold without the engine to set it properly. We arrived at Road Town harbor around 11:30 PM and as we entered the wind shifted 180 degrees and then died. No wind for the sail and no engine, aha, we have a dinghy with an outboard engine, so I rafted the dinghy to the side of Lucky Bird jumped in and off we went, Alice steering Lucky Bird and me providing the push. It worked perfectly, as we were slowly working our way to the anchorage we talked about how we would drop the hook and set it; again a perfect execution. We anchored in 45 feet of water, I used the dinghy to back up Lucky Bird to set the anchor and we were good to go. We were both pretty wired up so a couple more rum drinks helped get us to sleep. The next morning I dinghied over to Percel Harbor, bought three belts, some fuel filters and back to Lucky Bird. We were back underway before noon and in anchored in Gorda Sound by three, not bad for a couple of old fogies.
So now I'm charging the laptop looking for an internet access point to download weather files and upload this message. Happy New Year everybody, let's make 2010 a super year for all.