This year Joe & Sandi Fox and Joe McGauran chartered a 32’ Beneteau out of Road Town in the British Virgin islands. Alex Rode was good enough to drive us to O’Hare to catch a plane to San Juan, Puerto Rico. After a short layover we caught a turboprop to Tortola. We cleared customs and a driver took us to Sunsail and the boat. Our charter boat was nearly new and very clean and named "Will Dream". We put our gear aboard and changed clothes as it was very warm. We enjoyed a fresh fish dinner and then we were off to bed.
The next morning we went over the boat with one of the guys from Sunsail and went to our chart briefing. Both Joe and I had been in the B.V.I. twice before so we pretty much knew where we were going. After making sure the water tanks were full and a quick stop at the market we were off to the Bight on Norman Island.
We picked up a mooring ball & went for a swim. The water was warm and salty. We snorkeled along the shore and then jumped in the dinghy & went out to the Caves. The snorkeling was fantastic with lots of tropical fish and colorful coral. While we were there I saw a sea turtle having his (her) lunch. He (she) didn’t pay much attention to me.
We got back to the boat for a quick shower to get all the salt off and have some cocktails to wash the salt down. Joe & I lit the grill and we cooked chicken breasts while Sandi fixed salad and a rice dish. We then took the dinghy to a bar and restaurant called Pirates where we met other cruisers and danced to a great band.
The next day we headed north for Trellis Bay. Windy (over 20 knots) and on the nose. So we beat our brains out and finally found a mooring in a calm harbor. After a very refreshing cold beer, we went ashore and got rid of our garbage and found ice cream bars. There was an art festival going on and we looked at the artists wares. We then got ice and headed back to the boat for a much needed nap. Woke up to a man who came out in a dinghy to collect his $25.00 mooring fee. He also ran a restaurant so we killed two birds with one stone by making reservations at the Loose Mongoose. When we got to the restaurant, it was jammed and we waited two hours for dinner. But the rum was cheap and there were lots of interesting people from all over the world to talk with. There was a sailboat race to Anegada the next day and many of the competitors were in the restaurant. When our dinners of ribs and chicken finally came it was worth the wait.
The next day we sailed south to Salt Island and the wreck of the Rhone. During our sail to Salt Island we saw a Porpoise. The Rhone is a mail ship that was sunk during a hurricane in 1867. What a sight, wreckage all over. It was a real tragedy but really something to see.
Friends of ours from Milwaukee were chartering at the same time. We tried to contact them by VHF but were unable to reach them. We then motored along the shore of Peter Island to Key Bay where we anchored. Sandi and I went snorkeling. This was a good spot to snorkel as there hadn’t been many people there and it was largely untouched. We saw a blowfish, pretty rare. That night we a had a delicious spaghetti dinner. After dinner drinks were served in the cockpit and the stars were brilliant as we had a new moon.
The next day we were up early and after coffee and breakfast, we headed for the north sound of Virgin Gorda. It was my job to make the coffee. But we had a great stove as it had an electronic pilot light. The winds had diminished & we stayed in the lee of Virgin Gorda so the ride was comfortable. We arrived in the Sound early afternoon and picked up a mooring ball at Saba Rock. We went ashore and got rid of our garbage, paid for our mooring ($25) and toured the island.
We then got some ice and went for a dinghy ride in the Sound. The Bitter End Yacht Club is located in the Sound and is a very extensive operation. That afternoon a boat next to us had a dog that jumped in the water and swam to a small raft and climbed onto this raft. What a sight to see. That evening we had a great dinner at Saba Rock and then back to the boat for a good nights sllep.
We woke up early the next morning to a little less wind and decided to headed north for Anegada. Before we left we filled up with fresh water and got a bag of ice, both free with our night on the mooring ball at Saba Rock. We put up the main sail and motor sailed to the island. When we got there we found a mooring ball and headed to shore to pay for the mooring, make reservations at the restaurant that owned the mooring and arrange for a taxi to the north side where the beaches are located. A taxi was waiting and drove us on some of the worst roads I have ever seen to Loblolly Bay. As we walked through the brush, we came upon the most beautiful beach that I had ever seen. A reef, the second largest in the Caribbean, was a quarter mile out protected the shore from the big waves. The lagoon was calm, clear and warm. We snorkeled in the lagoon and there were many fish of different varieties. I saw a colorful fish at least 18" long that didn’t pay any attention to me. We then went to a beach bar called the "Big Bamboo" for a cold beer before the taxi driver picked us up. We then headed back to the Settlement, which is the inhabited area of Anegada. It was a very poor area. We stopped at an experimental farm that raised Iguanas in wire cages. There was a fire station with the skinniest cow I had ever seen tied outside.
That night we had dinner at a restaurant called Neptunes Treasure on the beach in a very lovely setting. After dinner we got to talking to the couple at the next table and it turned out that they were from Detour Village in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I told the wife about an author I enjoyed named Steve Hamilton who writes mysteries about the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. As I was waiting to use the head there was a book exchange in the restaurant and sure enough there was a Steve Hamilton book that I gave her. When we got back to the boat the stars were radiant with the Big Dipper shining brightly.
The next morning Joe & I cleaned the bilge after Sandi had found that her bed was wet and neither blige pump worked. Sandi then cooked French toast and sausages. We then sailed south for Marina Cay. It started out as a great sail and as we got further south, the wind slowly diminished. We started engine and motored to a mooring ball at Marina Cay. We went ashore to make reservations, pay for our mooring and get ice. Marina Cay has a shop with a few food items, soda, beer and clothing, a restaurant, two bars and few residences. They also have a fuel and water dock. They supplied us with WiFi which was a real treat as Joe has I-pod Touch so we could get the weather at home and the updatess on the stock market. Joe was also able to retrieve e-mails from home. We then went snorkeling nearby, lots of fish. Dinner that evening seemed to take forever to be served but it was worth it.
The next day we woke up to a more typical B.V.I. day. Seas were calm and winds were light. After coffee and a light breakfast we were off to Monkey Point on the island of Guana not far away. We picked up a day mooring ball and were soon in the water. This was an excellent snorkeling spot. Big fish and lots of brightly colored coral. Three large tarpon swam by and schools of bright, blue fish.
We then motored to Cane Garden Bay. Just as we got to the entrance of the bay, it poured rain and blew. The storm only lasted a few minutes but Joe was soaked as he had gone onto the deck to fetch the mooring buoy. After we dried off, we went ashore and had lunch and an ice cream.
We found a nice grocery store and picked up a few things that we needed and returned to the boat for a swim and a nap.
Sandi fixed delicious tacos for dinner and then we went ashore. It was quiet but we found a place with a couple of guys playing steel drums. We all had fruity drinks and went back to the boat. The next morning I jumped in the dinghy and took our garbage ashore and as long as I was on shore I found a place serving breakfast. As soon as I got back to the boat Joe & Sandi were ready to leave so we headed for Jost Van Dyke. It only took us an hour to motor to Little Jost Van Dyke. We found a mooring ball although most people hadn’t left yet as it was so early. Sandi and I snorkeled to the beach. Lots of fish but also lots of waves. Sandi saw the largest tarpon she ever saw. They can weigh up to 280 lbs. There were also several starfish on the bottom. The three of us went ashore paid our fee for the mooring ball, made reservations and then got directions to the bubbly pool. We found a dirt path through the brush and the rocks to the bubbly pool. The bubbly pool is a pool in some rocks and the waves crashing in from the ocean makes it act like a hot tub. We jumped in and wished we had brought cameras to record this unique natural phenomenon. We went back to the boat, swam and took a nap. I took Sandi back to the gift shop to buy souvenirs in the gift shop of Foxy’s Taboo. It was a good thing as the shop closed at 6. We went ashore for dinner and ate at Foxy’s Taboo, a new restaurant of Foxy’s. Dinner was wonderful and the bartender ( Darien) and our waiter were fun to talk to. After dinner we headed to the boat and had our after dinner drink of Bailey’s. Each night the moon was getting bigger.
The next morning we motor sailed to Soper’s Hole on the west end of Tortola. Again because we got every place early, we found a mooring ball. The mooring balls only cost $25.00 and is a bargain for a good nights sleep. We went ashore to get rid of our garbage and pay for our mooring. We found a grocery store that made deli sandwiches and bought 3 for our lunch. After going back to the store and buying rum and ice we went back to the boat. Sandi wanted to do more shopping so I took her ashore and we shopped for more souvenirs. Soon I got tried of the shopping and went and had some ice cream. Sandi had her nails done and couldn’t touch anything so we had a drink while her nails dried. That evening we went to a place called the Jolly Roger Inn for dinner. While waiting for the head, I met some ladies from Idaho who were also chartering with their husbands.
After dinner a three piece jazz group played. The drummer of the group was from Kenosha and had worked at the Corner House. One the ladies from Idaho asked me to dance and so of course I did. Later on I found a little blond girl in a cute red dress to dance with. Quite an evening!
Our last day. We were up early and headed for Road Town. The ocean was like glass and we pulled into Road Town at 8:30. We grabbed a quick shower and jumped a cab to the ferry dock and boarded a new ferry to St. Thomas. Got to the airport and it was jammed. We stood in line to check our bags, we stood in line to check through security and we stood in line to get lunch.
Soon we were on a flight back to the good ol’ USA. At Chicago Eric Tobias was good enough to pick us up in the freezing weather.