17 April 2013 | Magens Bay, St Thomas, USVI, 18’21.90N 64’55.41W – Trellis Bay, Beef Island, BVI 18’26.79N 64’32.03W via Hawkshead Bay, St Johns, USVI & Waterlemon Bay, St Johns, USVI
Empires were built on many things. The Romans built theirs on a mixture of cunning military strategy and slavery; In Peru, according to Larry, the Mayans used the undeniable power and flexibility of Llama's to conquer the high mountain passes of the Andes, whilst the English empire was built on the best of foundations; tea. This is typically mixed with milk and if you are a builder a good few sugars. The conquering of oceans by Ruffian usually starts with a good dose of tea and you can therefore imagine the pain Fiona has gone through when we realised that tea was not on the menu as we readied ourselves to leave the USVI's and make for the BVI's where we had our first deadline since the Canaries.
There was going to be an early start from Magens Bay in St Thomas as we were going to be on our way to the marine park that is the whole of St Johns. As we awoke, into the brewed tea went the milk, which came out in lumps. Not a problem, we'd just have to revert to powdered milk from the bilges. This was made up and it looked like something that was more akin to coming out of a horror movie than a cow. There would now be no tea until we got to the Road Town in the BVI's in days to come. Horror. Fiona was grumpy with a big grump.
After sailing off our anchor at Magens and getting a little round of applause from a charter boat tea starved spirits were lifted as we came into the marine park. The seas were, as usual, sparkling and flat, but spirits rose to a new high when we found that we could pick up the wifi from the posh resort across the way. What followed was so 21st century. We'd check mail, swim with fishies, download data, swim with fishies, pull gribs and swim with fishies. We like the marine park, it's fishies and the posh resorts with open internet.
Our journey through the marine park continued and en route to meet our deadline of seeing Quaver at Trellis Bay, we happened across more stunning bays, restored sugar plantations and even some other participants in the Salty Dawg Rally which will help us get to America in the coming weeks.
Fiona clearly wanted to get to Road Town quickly to get the tea situation resolved. Heading into the British waters of the BVI's we entered into an upwind battle with a 45ft catamaran. With the incentive of tea and the honour of all monohull sailors resting on our shoulders we nailed the cat and entered Road Town streets ahead. It helped that Fiona, now known as "The corner queen", got every layline exactly right and called every wind shift. You can take the racing sailor out of the raceboat, but she's still a racing sailor at heart.
With renewed vigour, and of course now full of tea, we entered Trellis Bay to meet up with Quaver, having last seen her in Anguilla. Upon entry we were faced with a sea of mooring balls. Boats were packed together like sardines, but without the tomato sauce and we simply didn't think that there was anywhere to anchor. Once we realised however that we'd be paying an outrageous $30 to pick up a ball we searched for a space with renewed vigour. This was going to be the bravest, closest and shallowest anchoring that we'd done to date. All that time in Scotland and Spain was now going to pay dividends.
With the anchor set in a space where we could nearly step off Ruffian onto 3 other boats or even onto the reef. We welcomed Willie onboard like a long lost friend, satisfied that we'd both saved ourselves $30 and also made our first deadline in months. Now it's time to explore the playground of the BVI's.
Sailing upwind makes a bit of a change and brings a smile to the face.
Until you look forward and realise you're having to pound through the seas.
Flat anchorages, stunning scenery. Welcome to the marine park of St Johns.
Sitting on the high side.
The powerhouse of the sugar plantation. The windmill.
Another opportunity for stunning swimming and snorkelling amongst colourful fishies.
Welcome to the BVI's where the hot rod seems to reign.
Welcome to the BVI's where the pussers outpost reigns.
The tea situation resolves itself.
The most crowded anchorage at Trellis Bay. We just found space enough to anchor behind the shallows and saved ourselves the outrageous $30 cost of picking up a mooring ball.