We’ve just touched bottom (just-literally and touched-figuratively, at least via anchor) at our 15th distinct island since leaving Virginia last November 1st. We’re going to stay put here in the BVIs for another week (oh darn;), allowing us to suck a few more warm breaths of sunny air into our salty lungs, and with which to air-out our fair vessel, swim around the boat and enjoy a few longer walks ashore. I’m reminiscing and reflecting from the point we left Dutch Sint Maarten until now. It seems that every hour flies past with mind numbing lack of memory. But every minute we have here is of the most enjoyable. Funny how that works.
As said earlier, we’ve now been to fifteen islands! Granted, they’re not all offering distinct political boundaries, but each has peculiar niceties or annoyances. Some have beautiful fine white sand, some an abundance of trash, and others sharp volcanic rock to slice your little toes, but others are filled with the most friendly and generous residents. And I’m not including various anchorages on the same island. Only individual islands. Regardless, as Jerry Garcia has been known to say, what a long strange trip it’s been.
Here’s our list of new Island arrivals to date:
- November 8: St Georges (Bermuda)
- November 30: Jolly Harbor (Antigua)
- December 18: Little Bay (Montserrat)
- December 21: Charleston (Nevis)
- December 24: Whitehouse Bay (St Kitts)
- January 1: Gustavia (St Barts)
- January 4: Simpson Bay (Sint Maarten)
- January 21: Fort Bay (Saba)
- January 27: Sint Maarten (yep, back again)
- February 21: Road Bay (Anguilla)
- February 23: Prickly Pear Cay
- February 25: Virgin Gorda (British Virgin Islands)
- February 26: Prickly Pear Island
- February 27: George Dog Island
- February 27: Trellis Bay, Beef Island
- February 28: Little Harbor, Jost Van Dyke
Suffice to say we’ve had enough of Sint Maarten, and so only beyond that island is where I’ll focus in this post. Departure starts with fond farewells as we cast off lines from Simpson Bay Marina, waiving thank yous to our most recently acquired friend Howard, with his beautiful Alden 42, Hoka. Actually, the name is a acronym combination for he and his wife, Catherine.
Our slow start to Anguilla occurred just as the drawbridge suffered from a massive clog of mega yachts, a complete choral chaos of jockeying sailing vessels, all having decided simultaneously to do what Marshall Matt Dillon once said, Get out of Dodge. Once through that bottleneck in a light easterly breeze, we motor-sailed around the southern end of the island, where commercial jets fly amazingly close to bikini-clad beach goers, and then we began to veer north with Marigot Bay becoming more blurred as it gained distance from our wake. It was an ample opportunity to test (and tune) our new synthetic rope rigging under light wind.
As expected we found Road Bay, Anguilla’s only clearance port, jammed with boats. And pleasingly enough, they were filled with happy folks, using wind as a primary source of motivation. The very pleasant but prim immigration lady passed me over to a young and apparently hung-over customs official. Good thing I knew what to do ;-). After coffee (of course) and sunrise the following day we headed for a quieter location, Crocus Bay, for some mindless floating facedown staring at sea creatures with plastic tubes in our mouths. Ahh. Later that evening I saw my very first green flash! Very cool!
We snorkeled some more the next day, and sailed five miles to a small spit of sand called Prickly Pear Cay. We tempted fate, beaching Korykory on the beach with moderate surf. (No pics, but survived once again!). This day was also another made to order, relating to our continued needs to tune Fayaway’s new fangled rig. Five to ten knots more than the day before: perfect amount of wind.
After lunch at Elvis’s Beach Bar, we cleared out and left Anguilla on a pleasant evening before dark, @ 1800 hours. Our plan was to make the 80+ nautical miles to Virgin Gorda, BVI in about eighteen hours, arriving offshore just after sunrise. We did arrive to a pleasant sun rising along with 7 foot swells and 25 knots of wind behind us. It was a squally evening, complete with building following seas, rocking our solid vessel just enough so that the creaking and splashing eliminated any chance of sleep. That’s ok, we’re here! Spanishtown, Virgin Gorda.
Now things move a bit faster, since they’ve only recently happened. At the clearance port of Spanishtown, I was handed three forms by the lady at Window #1. Simultaneously, the friendly guy at Window #2 handed me one of the same five-layer forms. (I know the word for triplicate, required for the first two forms, but what is the term for five copies?) Anyway, Lady #1 waves me to a standup table to begin exercising my grammar school printing lessons. Make sure to press hard-enough! Later, after a bunch more people and windows (five altogether), an hour of waiting for Lady #1 to return from lunch, and $52.50, I was speeding Korykory back toward Fayaway. Aah, bureaucracy, western-style!
Fast forward to now, only a few days of island hopping and snorkeling later, we sit here watching ghost white charterers clumsily reaching for mooring lines in Little Harbor, on the island of Jost Van Dyke. Hey, that was us once! We’re on the first mooring since Saba (no choice there, and too rocky to anchor here). We’ll take a rest for a few days before clearing out for Culebra. Refrain: What a long strange trip it’s been!
Hope you enjoyed this brief piece of our experience, even though reality is so much more colorful but difficult to capture. Do yourself a favor: Don’t watch the stock market, as it will all be back to normal soon. Enjoy life, and hug your kids wherever you can!