26 April 2013 | Cane Garden Bay, Tortola, BVI 18’25.70N 64’39.52W – Brairs Creek, Virgin Gorda, BVI 18’29.57N 64’21.36W via Pomento Point, Anegada, BVI
Clouds can tell a good seafarer a lot. If you see big fluffy clouds above land then you know that you are in for a seabreeze in the next few hours. If you see high level whispy clouds then you could be in for a bit of a blow in the next day or so. If you can’t see a thing then you know that you are inside a cloud and sailing in fog. On Ruffian we have experienced a new form of cloud, a blue one. If you see them in the distance then you know that within a couple of hours you’ll be sitting ontop of sparkling turquoise water that is so bright it’ll make your eyes hurt. We like blue clouds and we’ll be hoping to seek them out again on our travels.
The splattering of rain that we had seen for days had disappeared and was, as usual, replaced by wall to wall blue skies. We’d positioned Ruffian on Tortola to be able to either take in the remarkable ‘bubbling pools’ on Josh Van Dyke or make the 25 mile upwind sail to Anegada. Anegada it was and so we set of to this spit of sand that isn’t visible until you are nearly ontop of it. After having a couple of weeks making very short hops in the VI’s it was nice for Ruffian to stretch her legs and to be able to simply enjoy the sail and chat.
The night before, in preparation for our trip north, we’d been reading all about the ICW and some of it’s specific dangers such as alligators and crocodiles. Out of the blue, whilst in the middle of a conversation about the amazing blue clouds we could see on the horizon, Fiona completely randomly said ‘I wonder if bears boarding boats is a concern?’. Images of bears dressed in border protection uniforms or swinging onboard like tarzan sprung to mind. Quite what was going on inside her mind is a complete mystery but to put her mind at rest we looked for bear boarding incidents on the ICW on google and even that was confused.
As we neared Anegada we wondered why there were blue fluffy clouds on the horizon. As we neared the island it became obvious. The waters off the island were so shiny that they were being reflected in the few clouds that were above the island. They were just magical as was the water.
The entry to Anegada is through a couple of reefs, a little right turn and then a hard left. This has been made easier by a couple of channel markers and consequently it is now on every adventurous charters ‘must do’ list. We entered, found a spot and dropped the hook as we have 100’s of times before. Happy days, no stress. We then watched what can only be described as ‘Dad’s army goes sailing.’ There were boats trying and failing to pick us balls, anchors dragging with not enough chain, boats anchoring ontop of others, cats running aground on the reefs and of course all this is being done with engines revving and people shouting at full volume. Ohhh you’ve got to love stressy charter boats, but only when all this was happening downwind of you, as it was with Ruffian.
We had been in Anegada in 2010 and were interested in how the island would have changed. The volume of change was remarkable and can be summed up by a single word, ‘none’. The island has clearly taken the idea of ‘Caribbean time’ to the extreme, the building projects that were unfinished are still unfinished, the houses and restaurants that needed painting, still need painting. We think that the only difference is that the car we managed to hire, to see the island, has got a few more dents and bruises on now. The western world could learn a lot from the pace of life here with its lack of heart attacks and low stress levels, not withstanding the charterers of course.
With Anegada having not changed one bit we headed south for a complete contrast. We’d trade Anegada’s laid back shabbiness for the sanitised theme park Caribbean that is the Bitter End on Virgin Gorda. En-route south, the day was a school day and on the trip we confirmed that opening the holding tank while on port is a bad idea, opening it on port in waves is a worse idea and opening it on port is big waves that are soaking Iain is a terrible idea, as it results in a particularly stinky Iain!
We were heading for a little bolt hole called Briars creek, around the corner from Bitter End that is really tucked away in the corner of the main bay on Virgin Gorda. In here we had the wind whistling over our heads and Ampie spinning like a nutter, but at sea level there was not a breath of wind and no waves. This meant that we had an abundance of both power and sleep on Ruffian and even free fast internet from the posh resort we’d anchored next too that charges $1000 a night for the privilege of looking at our little ship. We think that $2000 would me more appropriate and we’d split the difference with the hotel.
As we’d sailed into Briars Creek we’d been spied by some guys on a charter boat and as we were settling down to emails and swimming they buzzed over in their dingy. What followed was the most remarkable co-incidence. They’d come over because they own a boat very similar to Ruffian, but it transpired that they kept their boat at the sailing club that Iain had sailed from for years, Langstone SC and one of their party used to run the school boats that Iain learnt to sail on. It would seem it’s a small world by 747 but a very big one by boat.
Ho hum, upwind we go.
The seas are so blue even the clouds turn blue.
Ruffian sitting a long long way offshore before we go into the ‘Dad’s Army’ anchorage on Anegada.
The deserted beaches go on for miles and miles.
Sorry buddy. You’re not long for this world.
Just how many people can you get into a yoot? Lots and lots is the answer.
Larry lovin’ Anegada.
But there is no way he’ll remember much of his trip.
Ruffian sitting super close into the mangroves in Brairs Creek.
Phew. Rather pleased we are anchored on the lee side of the island.
Iain gets all a bit arty a night.
Even the water in the mangroves shines and they give the added benefit of making the water mirror flat. Ohhhh. Blessed sleep.