Friday, October 03, 2014

British Virgin Islands, almost full circle. .April/May 2014


Dear friends,

We left Isla Vieques in the early hours, full moon, soft breeze and had to cover aprox 50 nm to reach Tortola (BVI). Although some choppy seas and easterly winds (of course).. we arrived around 14 hrs at Sopers Hole , West End, in Tortola. A very crowded anchorage (most moorings where taken), but we managed to squeeze Onda Boa in a secluded spot (on anchor). Went to shore to celebrate this mile stone! Beers and nachos. The custom clearance was according to British standards.. no hassle, no fuss, just pay and no worries.

The next day we went to Nanny Cay Marina (a high end full service marina) for the watermaker repair and final measurements for the new genoa. Lincoln (repair for Spectra Watermakers) found the culprit very quickly.. a busted pressure tube, and as it still was under warranty, he ordered a new one and replaced the whole thing a couple of days later. Thumbs up for Spectra and Lincoln. Also Bob, at Doyle Sails has done a great job, the only down side was that we needed to practice patience, as the delivery was going to be only 5 weeks later.

We ordered on line a SUP (stand up paddle board) at Tower Paddle boards, thinking that delivery would be within 7 days. …

In the meantime, we explored this beautiful sailing paradise.. Wonderful islands, great infra structure (resorts, restaurants etc). It became clear why this is the sailing hot spot of the Caribbean (and sailboat charter paradise). We went to check out Peter Island, Copper Island, Norman Island, Virgin Gorda, Jost van Dyke all of them with a different feel to it.

The downside of this place is that in general all is very expensive (fuel, supermarket etc).. We did not have any expense with anchoring (never used moorings) and our base became Manuel Reef Marina in Sea Cows Bay.

We met Sandra and Franz of SV Gabriela, and also Mark from the UK (charter captain) and a host of other sailors.

Remember that SUP? Well, my friends, I will spare you the details but our mission to take delivery of the thing, took very long and had us taking a ferry to St Thomas (US Virgin Island), and later on sailing with the Onda Boa to this island, to try to out smart the US Post service. To no avail… Only early May we were able to finally get the thing onboard. Anyway, during our stay at this island, our trusty, but old, anchor windlass gave up on us… We had seen this coming but it still is a sad good bye. First I thought still that the malfunction had something to do with a bust electrical relay. So went to check at Budget Marine. There we met Scotty, a Budget Marine employee and also a live aboard, and as a matter fact we were anchored just in front of his boat. Anyway and again, longer story short… he sold me his (new) Lowfrance windlass (1200 w power instead of the 800 w of the Goiot). His price of installing the thing was reasonable and so it took most part of a Sunday to dismantle the old one, put the new windlass in and get everything hooked up again. It was an unexpected expense, but now we were happy to be able to rely on a good and powerful windlass (so we thought, only with the help of Gabriel (SV Rodeo) in St Maarten, he finally solved all electrical and installations errors.. but that is an other story).

We had things to do and decided to leave for St Maarten (for prepping the boat, get supplies and all these other 1001 things that need to be done for an ocean passage.).

The 80 nm that needs to be covered between BVI and St Maarten has caused problems for many sailors, however we were lucky, or no, not lucky, we just picked the right weather window and were able to sail overnight to St Maarten. What a grand feeling to drop anchor in Marigot again. Full circle.

No time to waste…



In the distance.. BVI                                        Sopers Hole


Lunch on board Onda Boa                                    Sea Cows Bay from above (good workout)



Copper Island Anchorage                                       Nanny Cay Marina




Some nice little squalls to play                               Jost van Dyke Island



Anchorage Virgin Gorda                                        Eye balling out of the reef…


Anchorage Red Hook USVI                                       Idem



Dinghy parking USVI


Have fun


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