Friday, December 5, 2014

BVI Charter

Our BVI Charter on a 34' Beneateau
May 14
We flew into St. Thom and took the ferry over to Tortola from there. We met up with Adam's friend Megan and her boyfriend Drew on St Thom. We visited some local bar spots (Tickles and Betsy's Bar) for some drinks.  Megan has a beautiful view and they are growing pineapples. I love growing things to eat so this intrigues me!
May 15
Took the ferry to Tortola. It was about an hour and pretty choppy due to a rain storm. Went through customs and then took a taxi to Conch Charters. It was possibly the shortest taxi ride ever!  Dropped our bags off and got lunch at a little place right near the charter dock. Then walked to the grocery store, if we would have known, we probably would have taken a taxi to the grocery store instead of to Conch Charters. We bought a lot of groceries, then took a cab back to the boat. We were able to get on the boat and unpack. Two groups gave us their left over food and drink from their charter. We we able to meet up with an old college friend of mine in the evening. He is a reporter on Tortola and seems to know everyone!
May 16
We got up early and waited on our check out. Checked out with our boat guy and headed for the Indians. Did some snorkeling at the Indians then went to night mooring at Willy T's. We went snorkeling at the caves and of course had to visit the famous floating bar, Willy T's. It was as advertised and most (if not all) of the clientele where 3 sheets to the wind!
May 17
Sailed to Salt Island and the Wreck of the Rhone, didn't see a whole lot of fish at this site, but the sunken boat was pretty cool. We tried to go ashore on Salt Island, but couldn't find a good spot to beach the dinghy. Only when we decided to head for Cooper Island did we see the beach and dock area, apparently we had headed the wrong way around the island. We picked up a mooring ball at
Manchioneel Bay. The water was crystal clear with sand and sea grass on the bottom. We saw a sea turtle and large barracuda that liked to hang out under the boat. We went to beach and had a drink and did some regular old swimming. We came back did some grilling for dinner with a beautiful sunset behind us.Put up hammock and called it an early night.

May 18
Snorkeled on Cistern Point and then around boat mooring, saw another sea turtle (!!) and barracuda under boat. Sailed to the Baths and hiked to Devils Bay. The Baths are a place you have to visit at least once. Definitely make the effort to go to Devils Bay. Make sure you bring your amphibious footwear for the hike! It is as ideal a Caribbean scene as you could ask for! Then we sailed to Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor. Got a slip for the night. We walked around the area a little only to discover that the only bar was the beach front bar. I think we both agree if we had to do it differently we would not have stayed at the marina. It was very calm and still in the marina, which meant no wind to cool it down, it was a warm night! We were able to refill fuel, water and food stores while we were here.

May 19
We checked out of the Marina and headed toward North Gorda Sound. The wind was blowing pretty good so we had a very fast sail! We discovered the Beneateau was not as good under strong wind as we were used to! We caught a mooring ball and then enjoyed a very empty beach. We grilled dinner on the boat and then headed to Saba Rock for the famous Pain Killers. When we came back to the boat it was pitch black and our boat was a bit farther away than normal. That was a bit stressful for me! Thankfully Adam navigated us back to the boat with no problem.

May 20
Crazy rain and wind overnight. Need to dry everything out today. We made a long downwind sail to Muskmelon Bay, which turned out to be an empty mooring field (and free!). We snorkeled around the boat a little and made an attempt to take the dinghy to Monkey point, but quickly realized our dinghy was not up to that challenge. Settled in and cooked some dinner and relaxed in the hammock.

May 21
Went to Monkey Point and snorkeled, probably the best yet. The National Park moorings fill up quick at this site, it worked out well for us that we had stayed just around the bend overnight. We then sailed to Cane Garden Bay. Another day with plenty of wind, even had the boat leaning over (which of course tossed all of our belongings everywhere!) . There was A LOT of wind in the bay, which thankfully did not effect us grabbing a mooring ball, but we watched plenty of others struggling! It calmed down in the evening. We went to the beach bars Tonys and.. another one which the name escapes me. We grilled dinner on the boat. We were next to two boats from Switzerland . We met up with my friend Jason, again,  for drinks at Quitos

May 22
Left Cane Garden Bay and had a short down wind sail to Sandy Cay where we picked up a NP mooring. We took the dinghy to shore and beached it. Walked on beach and then walked path around the whole island. We saw lots of birds, lizards and really interesting trees. Beautiful views all along. Then we headed to bubbly pool mooring. We went to dinghy dock by Foxy's Taboo and walked to bubbly pool. It was a beautiful hike, we saw lots of signs warning of poisonous trees. This would be the Manchioneel tree, which we were aware of, but we read up on more when we returned to internet.  Bubby pool was very pretty and was fun when the waves would push up through the rocks. It started to rain storm so we headed back. We had drinks at Foxy's bar and met Sandy and Ray who are cruisers on their Beneateau.We talked to them for a long time and eventually headed to the boat to fix some food.

Sailed to White Bay and waited around for a mooring but none were available. After a little while of weighing our options we went to Great Bay and moored there. Took the dinghy to White Bay and got lunch at Soggy Dollar Bar.  We then set up and relaxed in front of Ivans. Met a couple from Charleston who helped us launch our dinghy(we found out later is was full of water- making it far heavier than it should have been). Went to Foxy's (the original one!) looked around and then went to dinner at Ali Babas, Adam had Anagada lobster and said it was worth the extra effort (and $$) to try it!

May 24
Left Great Bay and motor sailed to Peter Island Great Harbor. All the mooring balls had life jackets on them. We picked up a ball and went in and paid later we found out they were reserved for MIT boats. We hid the life jacket and were able to stay. The longer we were there the more MIT boats kept coming in! In the end there had to be about 30 of them! It appeared to be their first night, they had all the extras on their boats- kayaks, paddle boards, and all sorts of floats. Adam made sangria (yum!). We did some snorkeling and saw our first ray. The snorkeling in this bay was surprisingly good! We saw so much here it was overwhelming!
May 25
Motored to Road Town. It was very choppy and busy because of a poker run. Went back met a couple who owned restaurants in Baltimore. Gave them our left overs. We packed up and took a cab to the ferry. Once in our hotel in St. Thomas, we walked down to the Green Room (the only place open on a Sunday!) and had some food and drinks. We hung out at the hotel pool and relaxed for most of the evening. We eventually got hungry and ordered a delivery pizza for dinner. Seemed out of place for the islands, but we didn't feel like paying a lot or venturing out again.
May 26
Our very last day! So sad. We got up had breakfast at hotel. During breakfast we met women from Ohio and Oregon, one of which was there to do a group charter. We then met up with Megan and Drew for lunch at Gringos. After lunch they were nice enough to deliver us back to the airport for our trip home.

We barely made it back due to some issues with our flights, but we did eventually make it home! It was sad to leave, but good to be back home with our dog and cat (Morgan and Johnny). The idea is that next time we go it will be on our boat and they will come too!