12 May 2013 | Bitter End, Virgin Gorda, BVI 18’29.83N 64’21.60W – Nanny Cay, Tortola, BVI 18’23.90N 64’38.14W via Diamond Cay, JVD, BVI & Cane Garden Bay, Tortola, BVI.
It’s time for a sing song, so put on your best dancing diva 1970’s clobber and get that hairbrush out to use as a microphone.
Should I stay or should I go now. Should I stay or should I go now. If I stay there will be trouble (as our BVI’s visa’s run out). If I go there will be double (lots of the forecasts we have looked at are predicting very light winds going north). So come on and let me know. (Mikky B of WinningWinds you are a legend). Should I stay or should I go. Dum, dum, dum, dum, dum, dum.
For what feels like weeks now we have been downloading weather forecasts and watching our fiends leave the Caribbean. We have read their enroute reports and we have always had the questions hanging above our heads. When should we leave and how should we get to our final destination? With the help of the Salty Dawgs and MikkyB we have been able to close the chapter on the Caribbean and open a new one for our journey north.
With the Salty Dawg Rally in full swing we took full advantage of all the benefits it offered at The Bitter End Yacht Club. They had generously offered us free use of their moorings, free use of the watercraft and provided a great venue for entertainment. As Iain was reading about the watercraft his eye’s lit up. After all these months he’d be able to go dingy sailing and he could drag his favourite playmate, Fiona, along for even more entertainment.
After a couple of days of little wind in the sound the breeze was building and so Laser sailing made it’s way to the top of the to do list. We rigged up will full Laser masts (well done Fiona) and headed out through all the moored Salty Dawg boats. We blasted up and downwind, reached across the sound from one side to the other and generally got soaked from the spray as it blasted off the dinghies bow at high speed. As the wind increased and increased disaster struck, as Fiona tried to pull off a rather gutsy gybe she rolled a bit too far and ended up in the water with her boat on its side. Usually this wouldn’t cause any problems, but unfortunately she did this in front of the largest and one of the most expensive private yachts in the world, ‘The Maltese Falcon’, all 272ft of it.
This was obviously not only a worry to Fiona but also the crew on the superyacht and the rescue services of BEYC as there was a flurry of activity of people getting into ribs. No fear however as Iain gallantly sailed by and lept out of his boat Baywatch style. Fiona sailed away in his upright ship whilst he righted hers and happily sailed away. We later mused that, even though we had $4M indemnity insurance, if we happened to hit and sink The Maltese Falcon we’d be seriously underinsured.
With Fiona’s upper body having had a complete workout and with muscles aching that she didn’t know she even had, it was much to her consternation that she found that Iain had organised the afternoon activity of hiking with Limbo & Troscala who have been following us since we left England last June. Having scaled the peak at Bitter End and taken in the view of all the little islands surrounded by white sandy beaches and the obligatory turquoise water Fiona returned to Ruffian and declared as she failed to stand up on Thug. ‘My body doesn’t work anymore.’
One of the other activities organised by BEYC was a scavenger hunt. This entailed looking at some snippets of photographs and finding out where they were taken. When we found out that there were serious prizes on offer, our competitive sides suddenly took over and we were very jealous of all those other Dawgs who’d kitted themselves out in trainers for the activity. We ran around the extent of the resort finding the locations and sprinted back to hand in our form. Had we done enough, and made enough witty comments to warrant a prize? At dinner that night in BEYC the results would be announced. At the grand prize giving, Ruffian was read out, we’d won!!!!! Not the glory of 1st but a respectable 3rd place and we were rewarded with a gift token of $50 to spend in the most expensive grocery store in the world.
Whilst at the Bitter End we were lucky enough to be invited onboard Caris, a Hylas 54, for dinner one evening. Joe & Sharon were amazing hosts and gave us a tour of their fine ship and wow what a ship. We marvelled with envy at the laundry room complete with dryer and the engine bay complete with spare in line filters and a bottom so spotlessly clean you could eat your dinner off it and varnish that is so shiny that you don’t need a mirror to see your reflection. One thing we were not jealous of however was the complexity and the power it takes to run it all. In one day Caris gets through about 300Ah, on Ruffian we use about 15. We are simple, some would say in more ways than one.
With festivities at the Bitter End coming to a close and our permission to stay in the BVI’s about to expire, it was becoming increasingly important that we made a decision as to when to make our next ocean passage. The GRIB’s we’d been downloading had been telling different stories and there never seemed to be a good time to leave. To the rescue came Mikky B of WinningWind. We sought his advice when we crossed Biscay and we sought it again for the next trip. He was pretty prescriptive, which was just what we needed and told us, ‘Delay for a couple of days and leave on Monday.’ Many thanks Mike. With a definite plan we could then make the best of our remaining hours in the BVI’s. We were pleased that we did delay as that night we were given a shudderingly scary lightening show where the wind built and built up to over 45kts. We were so pleased not to have been out in that.
The one sight that Iain has wanted to see and not been able to since we arrived in the BVI’s was visit the famous ‘Bubbling Pool’. This is a pool of water where the surge from the ocean is forced in over rocks. This means that when the northerly swell is running the pool simply bubbles like a Jacuzzi. As we arrived at the pool we were greeted by a sign outlining the many serious dangers and our hearts lifted. Quickly however our hopes were dashed as the bubbly pool was more of a serene pond as little swell was running and there was no wind. My Bubbly Pool, we will be back.
After our final night at anchor in the BVI’s we headed around the Nanny Cay Marina to make the last of our preparations and say goodbye to the rest of the Salty Dawg fleet. Thug was cleaned and stowed, passports were stamped and yet more diesel and jerry cans were purchased. Early on Monday morning we slipped out of Nanny Cay closing the Caribbean chapter in our story and starting the one entitled U S of A.
The picture postcard BVI’s.
Troscala & Limbo. We’ve been so close for so long and finally meet just before we all depart.
Fabulous sailing on the way to the bubbling pool, as we burn past sunsail boat, after sunsail boat.
The contrast of water.
They take their safety very seriously here.
As the bobbling pool is raging!
In the best style of panto: ‘It’s behind you.’
And Iain goes all arty.
Ahhh a nice early morning cup of tea.
The scenery is reminiscent of Scotland.
Iain’s new acquisition, rescued from the sea, makes him one happy bunny. He’s now just got to find somewhere to store it.
Hmmmm. What to do? Too much wind? No wind? Decisions decisions.
Thug being put away on the dock can mean only 1 thing. We’re off.
The hard work of studying weather and making decision.
Ruffian all ready to go. We just need to make the decision as to where to go. Hampton or Bermuda?