Tuesday, June 5, 2012

One More Run Through the British and US Virgin Islands

Pipe's Note: So you know how we didn't post any blogs for nearly a year? That's not to say we hadn't written a few...but between poor internet, delayed picture editing, and the ever-present "lazies", they just never got published. We found two entries a couple of days ago, and thought they might bring a smile to our friends who were with us this time last year...especially to Storyville and JoHo, who can't be on their floating homes right now. It's certainly brought back some good memories for us!   
- May 26, 2013

Sunday, May 6 - Monday, May 29, 2012

Yes, this is really it...our last trip through the BVIs and USVIs before heading back to Luperon for hurricane season.

After our overnight sail from St. Martin, we, Storyville, and JoHo arrived at our favorite anchoring spot in Gorda Sound just after sunrise. The first order of business was a nap, but we had a fantastic surprise upon waking up: Island Dream had dropped the hook behind us while we were sleeping! It was great to see Pat and Darnell again after their jaunt through St. Croix and St. John, and we all met up for internet/happy hour that evening at Saba Rock. Whether it was Saba Rock's potent Painkillers or the fact that we knew we were losing JoHo from our little armada at the end of the week, we decided there would be no rest days in Gorda Sound...we had some exploring to do!

We left Monday morning for a 20 mile sail to Anegada. Known as "the drowned island", Anegada more closely resembles the Bahamas than the BVIs. The island is only 28 feet above sea level at its highest point, and is made up entirely of coral and limestone.
A 10-mile long reef extends to the southeast of Anegada, and you have to navigate your way through a narrow (but fortunately well marked) channel to reach the anchorage. It's not a trip for the faint of heart, and many charter companies refused to allow their customers to go to Anegada until just a few years ago. There doesn't seem to be a restriction these days, as we saw 20+ charter boats on mooring balls as we made our way through the reef.

We decided the best way to see the 11-mile-long island was to rent a car. Not just any car, mind you - a pick-up truck with twin benches in the back! All eight of us managed to pile into the cab and the truck bed and set off to explore all that Anegada had to offer. We held our breath as we went through bottomless potholes on dirt roads to nowhere, but every turn seemed to end at a spectacular beach. Loblolly Beach was our favorite, with its protective reef beyond the swim area, long stretches of white sand, and picnic benches under shady palapas.
Cow Wreck Beach was another beauty, offering colorful chairs and a small self-serve bar. The only warning we would give to anyone wanting to see Anegada: bring LOTS of money with you! "Value-centered cruisers" that we are, the $5 beers, $8 well drinks, and $50 lobster dinners were more than we could stomach. This place really WAS just like the Bahamas!

The next few days were spent back at Jost Van Dyke, for our usual stops at Foxy's Taboo, the bubbly pools, and Great Harbor. Saturday we motor-sailed to Peter Island, and Sunday we went to Norman Island's Bight to meet up with Storyville's friends from Texas who were chartering for a week. Unfortunately, it was also time to say goodbye to John and Jolanda on JoHo, who were heading down to the ABC islands for hurricane season. We know it won't be for long, and hope see them again in Puerto Rico or down-island later this year.

Our last few days in the BVIs were spent doing some major boat cleaning in preparation for an insurance survey, followed by two days of boat repairs (plus the actual survey) at Nanny Cay Marina. On the plus side, we found a new favorite anchorage at Benures Bay, Norman Island - a lovely secluded cove just around the point from the ever-busy Bight.

After a couple of quick stops in St. John, we reached St. Thomas in time for Memorial Day weekend. We caught up with friends on Guiding Light and Peaceful Lady, made a couple of safari trips to the big US-type discount/grocery stores, and re-visited a few places (pizza, happy hour, etc.) that we'd found on our first trip to St. Thomas. Damon and Marcie, who we'd all met in the D.R. last year, also arrived in St Thomas to spend a few days aboard Storyville. Time to take them on a grand Virgin Islands adventure!

Next stop...Culebrita, Culebra, and the rest of the gems that make up the Spanish Virgin Islands. Cheers!

For additional photos, please click here

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