Sunday, February 25, 2007

Night Swim

Time for us to check-out of the BVI, again. This time we decided to ventured further south to explore another island, St Martin. We opted to leave in the early evening which is common, making the ocean passage at night to enable landfall during daylight hours. With easterly winds forecasted it would be a 75nm dead beat to weather, but this is the way my captain likes it (sick, I know) and I was just happy to be going some place new.

South of Virgin Gorda surrounded by darkness we snagged a line of lobster pots. Unable to free ourselves, we were forced to cut the line. The tangled mess required lots of cutting and yet we were still dragging something. Unsure if we had a line dangerously wrapped around the rudder, prop or both, my captain and I looked at each other knowing that one of us needed to get into the water to check things out.

I was not sure which job would be worse, staying aboard to keep the boat de-powered or entering the black water. Knowing my captain is more skilled at man-overboard rescue than me, I donned my snorkeling outfit. My captain accessorized my outfit with an underwater light (so I could see what I was doing and so that he could find me if I got separated from the boat) and a divers knife. I was too busy trying to avoid a concussion from the pounding transom to even think about anything lurking in the water. I found a float on a long line caught between the rudder and the hull, which I eventually cut free, and luckily the prop was fine.

No damage done and the beat goes on…

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Sweethearts of the Caribbean

On Saturday, February 17th I had the honor of crewing aboard Schooner Heron (our friends from Rockport, Maine) in the 29th Annual Sweethearts of the Caribbean Regatta sponsored by the West End Yacht Club. It was a fun race because the lead positions changed often due to frequent changes in wind direction and speed, including a wind hole in the middle of the course allowing the trailing boats to catch up. The last leg had two Alden designs fighting for the lead, the outcome remained uncertain until Heron crossed the finish line a tail feather ahead to receive first place in the annual schooner race. The awards ceremony and continued celebration took place at the Jolly Roger restaurant, which is also the home of the yacht club. You can check out regatta photos at .

Friday, February 23, 2007

Island Hopping

Some call it island hopping but bar hopping is more accurate! Gradually but surely we are sailing to other parts of the BVI, including Jost Van Dyke and Norman Islands. While all of the BVI is a sailors paradise, each bay or cay is often identified by its bars.

For example, on Jost Van Dyke, White Bay is best known for the Soggy Dollar Bar, (home of the Foxys. Yet main street that's a beach or its six square miles of palm trees, steep hills and white-sand beaches.

As for Norman Island, boaters flock to The Bight, a well sheltered bay that is home to two popular drinking establishments, the Pirates Bight and William Thornton, a floating bar often called the Willy T. But what is best about this area is the snorkeling (and diving), especially at "The Caves" and "The Indians”.

By now I should have acquired an extensive t-shirt collection as proof of my bar-hopping-by-boat adventures yet I have refrained, opting to keep the money in my cruising coffers. After all there is much more hopping to be done.

Update in the Virgin Islands

Too much time has passed since my last blog. After I last wrote we spent a week sailing around St John, USVI exploring her beautiful beaches and snorkeling reefs. The following photos were taken of Event Horizon as we rounded the west side of St John.
Most of our time has been spent in Sopers Hole, West End, Tortola where we have good internet connectivity for doing our day jobs and all important amenities nearby. Each day holds much of the same, great weather, daylight hours spent doing boat chores and web work, and fun-filled evenings thanks to the company of sailing friends. On the occasional day one of the sailing friends will rent a car and then several of the gang will happily join the road trip, usually to the big town of Road Town to visit all of the chandleries and favorite provisioning shops, including a fantastic bakery I discovered in Road Town that is part of the New England Culinary Institute.

Every 20 plus days we do the cruising dance. This is when we must check-out of the BVI (the maximum stay is 30 days, which we have yet to be granted). We typically sail to nearby St John, USVI and check-in at Cruz Bay. (Since we are a USA documented vessel and my captain and I are both US citizens, we do not need to check-out of the USVI. Plus, on our last visit to U.S. Customs and Immigration we were able to sign-up and secure id cards for a local boaters option program that allows us to check-in by telephone the next time we arrive to the USVI or Puerto Rico.) Partial to the British side, we usually check back into the BVI the following day.