We are in the British Virgin Islands!
12 April 2014 | Benures Bay, Norman Island, British Virgin Islands
On Friday we were able to sail almost all the way from St John to Sopers Hole on the West End of Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. It's a very busy place and they prefer for you to take a mooring ball there, although we did see a number of boats anchored. There weren't many mooring balls available but we managed to find one. We have come this far with the intention of going back to the Chesapeake Bay in May with a sailing rally (an organized group of boats all going the same direction) called The Salty Dawg Rally. Bill had met one of the originators of this rally when we were anchored in Bristol, Rhode Island two summers ago with our grandchildren. We knew they were anchored in Sopers Hole and we not only wanted to meet them again but we wanted to buy our Salty Dawg burgee (flag) which entitles us to all kinds of discounts in BVI.
Before we even checked in with Customs we went over to meet them. They are so full of knowledge about the area since they have lived here all winter for a number of years. They gave us lots of ideas on what to do, and they answered my number one question - where is the Laundromat?
They told us the Laundromat was quite a hike but we were up to it. No need though, as soon as we stepped our feet on the road an Islander stopped and picked us up. She dropped us off at the close Laundromat but as it turns out they had a plumbing problem and had no water. Ugh - no problem, they would drive us to the next Laundromat. I wasn't quite sure though, it was going to be a lot harder to walk back from there. We did manage to get the laundry done though and it was a nice enough experience. We started to walk back and not too far in to the walk an American woman who lives on the island stopped and drove us back. What luck we had! We took the laundry back to the boat and went to the Pussers restaurant and celebrated with drinks and conch fritters! Even better, we were invited back to the boat we had visited earlier in the day for dinner with other Salty Dawg participants. We had a very nice evening.
Today we went out for breakfast and then gave up our $30 a night mooring. We headed to some of the well known snorkeling spots. We motored over to The Indians but there were no moorings available and it was pretty rough anyhow. Then we went to The Caves and were lucky enough to find a mooring. These moorings are free but you can't spend the night on them. They are for snorkeling purposes only. We snorkeled The Caves, which you can see in the picture above, and had a great time. The snorkeling isn't as good as we have seen but the cave on the left was very cool. We went back and got a flashlight and watching the fish with the light made it extra exciting.
After that we went to our anchorage for the night. We are in Benures Bay near The Bight on Norman Island. We came in here and there were a number of boats already anchored but in a way we have not seen here before. We were confused. Most, but not all, of the boats were anchored with their sterns to the shore and tied off to a tree on the land. We knew this way of anchoring to be called a Mediterranean Moor. We had only done it once but we weren't sure why they were doing it here. There seemed to be plenty of room. We anchored kind of close to the land and then dinghyed over to a boat from Annapolis and asked what the story was. He told us that in the evening the boats swing wildly if you don't anchor that way and it also allows a lot more boats to anchor here. We decided to try it. It took us a while, and we aren't so sure we got it exactly right, but it looks like that is how we will sleep tonight. Every day a new experience!