22 April 2013 | Trellis Bay, Beef Island, BVI 18’26.79N 64’32.03W – Cane Garden Bay, Tortola, BVI 18’25.70N 64’39.52W via Little Harbour, Peter Island, BVI, Road Town, Tortola, Bvi & Sandy Spit, JVD, BVI
If you take a kiddie to a playground his eyes will light up with joy and excitement. Their parents eyes on the other hand would be surveying the ever present dangers. Does it have spongy tarmac or head cracking concrete? Are the swings in full working order or are the seats suspended on rusty chains and a whole heap of luck? The BVI's are billed as a sailors playground and, this week, if they were a real life playground then the'd be in the head breaking concrete and rusty chain category. The usual happy friendly weather in the BVI's has been replaced by unseasonal big winds, cloud and rain making the sailing a real challenge.
In Trellis Bay we had the lowdown from Willie about the cheapest places for provisioning, the best free wifi and flattest anchorages. We also heard all about blackbeard and his booty and so we made for Blackbeards favourite stop, with its free wifi (which for the first time ever we failed to pick up), the brilliantly named Deadmans Bay on Peter Island. With the wind whistling through the rigging, squalls lashing us with rain and the swell making it's presence very much known, this was only going to be a short stop before we got to the main location of the day, Little Harbour.
Little Harbour is exactly as described, Little and to make matters more complicated, if you are in a superyacht then it seems to be mandatory to anchor stern to the beach. With Ruffian being a super (little) yacht and with the wind blowing outside the bay we thought that we'd join in the fun and copy what the big boys did.
Stern to mooring all sounds very simple. The theory goes that you drive towards the beach and then spin boat around. With the beach behind the boat, you reverse the boat into the shallow water dropping the hook at the right time and just take a rope ashore and tie up to a tree. What could be simpler? The big boats make this look really easy as they have 2 things that Ruffian doesn't, big old bow thrusters and lots of crew.
As Fiona nudged the stern of Ruffian into a slot between a couple of 70ft cats a couple of things dawned on us. First of all Ruffian doesn't do backwards into slots between super expensive yachts and Iain then realised that he'd need to invent a teleportation device to be able to drop the hook and take a line ashore at the same time. To the rescue came Willie, in his trusty tender, Crochet. He gallantly pushed the stern into the right place while Iain dropped the anchor and played out the chain, a line then quickly got tied up ashore and we looked like pro's who'd done this 100's of times before. Well done us.
After sitting out the wind and doing some essential boat maintenance, including yet another mast climb, it was time to undo all our hard, tieing up, work. The undoing was much easier then the doing, but now, instead of having 150 meters of nicely coiled clean rope in the locker, we had a massive pile of stinking rope that needed cleaning, coiling and stowing. With all the tying up, untying and sorting we'd go as far as saying that stern too mooring is a monster uber faff and that is a big old faff.
The next stop in the windy playground tour of the BVI's was the iconic Sandy Spit on Jost Van Dyke. Like, Little Harbour, where the clue is in the title, this is a tiny Sandy Spit. It appears on the covers of all the guide books with it's wind blown palm trees and gentle lapping water. However instead of the usual snorkelling, kitesurfing was the order of the day in the howling wind over this exposed piece of land and we watched in awe as the brave fellows carved around the beach and jumped the reefs getting massive air.
With the wind starting to abate and having spent hours and hours infront of laptops at Cane Garden Bay sorting out tenant issues we can now start to think about getting off the beaten track and making for the most northern Island in the Caribbean chain, Anegada.
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Well I suppose that there are worse places to try and pickup your email.
Hello Mr Superyacht. You do know that we are here don't you.
Iain fixes the anchor light once again. There's a nice view from the top which could be improved if he had blood flow into his legs.
We can stern to moor with the best of them now, even if we do feel somewhat dwarfed.
Mooring stern to means that you need to find different places to watch the sun go down.
Wow. Dolphins at sunset in the anchorage at Little harbour, Peter Island.
Have stilts, will build.
That's a good indication of how windy it is. Kitesurfers 'Rippin it up' around Ruffian.
Time to dry all the 100's of meters of line that we used to stern to moor.
All work and no plan makes Jack a dull lad. We are dull.