Wednesday, January 10, 2007


Technically my captain and I returned to the US this weekend when we entered the US Virgin Islands. At the request of every sailor we know, we checked in with customs and immigration in Cruz Bay, St John before continuing west to St Thomas where we have been checking out marinas for future reference. The first couple of nights we anchored in Honeymoon Bay, which is on the west side of Water Island near Charlotte Amalie, where to our delight fellow RI cruisers on Queen of Hearts were also enjoying the beautiful palm tree lined cove.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Full Moon

On January 3rd I attended my first full moon party at Bomba Shack. This well known surfside shack is located on the white sand shores of Capoons Bay on the north shore of Tortola. It was a unique outing (ladies panties and bras dangle from the roof, and signs offer free T-shirts if you get naked) but the overall experience seemed over hyped. Perhaps things would have been different had I drank their famous mushroom tea, but then hallucinating is not my idea of fun. Instead I opted for the tasty Bomba rum punch. At least I was among entertaining company, the band was good and we got to hang out with Naz who was on holiday and celebrating the success of his latest CD Hip Hop is Dead.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Days Of Our Lives In BVI

Our intended one night stay in Sopers Hole quickly turned into six days of fun thanks to several new friends. There were beachside gatherings (always in front of Patricia, who offers some of the best blender drinks and jerk chicken we have ever experienced), evenings at the Jolly Roger and boat invites.

We hoped the fun would continue as we tidied the boat in preparation for our first guests, three friends flying in from Boston.

Our friends arrived via Jet Blue to San Juan, Puerto Rico, Cape Air to St Thomas, USVI and then ferry to West End, Tortola. The days flew as we back tracked to our favorite BVI locals, as now my captain and I were also on vacation and ready to play. We started at Smugglers Cove, then sailed to Virgin Gorda for a night ashore in Spanish Town were we visited one of our favorite night spots, The Rock Cafe, followed by a day at The Baths. Then we sailed north to Gorda Sound where we snorkeled more, frequented Saba Rock, hiked to Biras Creek and welcomed in the New Year at the Bitter End Yacht Club. We ended our holiday with a race, sailing friends with a 51ft Hinkley and a 62ft Little Harbor, back to Sopers Hole in West End, Tortola.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Christmas Day 2006

I hung stockings and a small wreath, had presents for my captain and opened special edible treats for the occasion but it still did not feel like Christmas. With the sun shining and no plans, we packed our snorkeling gear and hiked back to Smugglers Cove. As before we were greeted with clean soft sand and two beach bars. The crystal clear water beckons even non-swimmers and there is a reef on each far side to entertain any snorkeler. I also enjoy watching the Pelicans dive-bomb for fish often alongside snorkelers. It may not have felt like Christmas but it felt good.

Fun fact. Smugglers Cove was the location for the 1990 movie re-make, adapted from a novel by Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea starring Anthony Quinn.

West End, Tortola

With a long Christmas weekend approaching, we decided to explore the BVI further and departed Virgin Gorda. Friday evening we anchored in Great Harbour off Peter Island for a quiet night. The next day we sailed to the West End of Tortola where we settled into Sopers Hole, a picturesque harbour with great amenities. We had spent little time ashore since Bermuda so the first action item was to go for a hike. We found a dirt road and pondered, is it a driveway or a road? We took a chance and started to climb the steep hill. The hot sunshine made us question our route but we continued on. After what seemed like a long distance we rounded the hill to find welcomed shade in our path. We trekked on and were rewarded with a view of Jost Van Dyke Island to our left. Parched beyond belief we encountered a fellow walker who assured us that there was a beach ahead with liquid refreshments, so we carried on. As we headed down the other side of the mountain, now on the north side of Tortola, we caught a breath taking view of a beach in the distance. Our pace increased. Hot, muddy and fearing hallucination from thirst we found paradise. Smugglers Cove. We had stumbled upon what many claim is the best beach in BVI.

Walking backwards in awe of the view, we approached a beach bar for fruit smoothies. It would turn out to be one of many tasty concoctions created for us from a blender connected to a car battery for power. As surprising as our surroundings we also met fellow sailors huddled around the make-shift bar, who for some reason or another had also found there way to Patricias Beach Bar on this hot Christmas Eve afternoon.