Astra log 22nd - 25th February 2008. BVI's The Baths, Swan Regatta and multi-Rudds

Jeremy & Sally Paul
Mon 25 Feb 2008 15:33
Astra log 22nd - 25th February 2008.   Baths, Regatta and multi-Rudds

>From Marina Cay we went to The Baths, an extraordinary phenomenon of huge grantite boulders all stacked up on each other, chucked around by an ancient volcanic action and weathered over the years to look like a giant art installation.  Anchoring is not allowed as it may damage the coral, so we left Astra on a mooring buoy and took the dinghy quite close in before swimming to the shore. The pile of boulders forms a cave like effect and we walked through these cathedral like spaces, sometime crawling or wading through water on the whitest sand when the passage narrowed and closed in, taking a pioneering route to avoid hoardes of rather slow Americans.  Finally we had to jump down from a boulder into a pool and sensibly sent Ash first so we didn't all break our legs. Swan Rendezvous gave us a good barbecue lunch on Corinthian, a moored boat and then it was back to the Bitter End to see Ash compete in the final of the Laser races. 'Show Round' took place during the early evening and all the Swans were open for viewing;  it is amazing how many different layouts there are and impressive how well maintained they all are.

The following morning it was mildly intimidating to see some of the other yachts discarding anchors, cable and all manner of equipment in order to save weight for the race.  Astra left her jerry cans behind and acquired Milo and Spencer, two lovely additional crew.  Ash helmed a brilliant start and off we went racing round Virgin Gorda, all the Swans providing a beautiful sight.  The race was quite exciting with 100ft Virago charging off to set a new round island record and we were having a good old tussle with two others most of the way round.  Then there was only the final of the Boules competition to complete before joining everyone for dinner.  And wow, did Astra clean up with the trophies, there is now silverware all over the saloon table.  Ash took the Laser race and also received a trophy for being runner-up in the Boules which George won outright and got an even larger one.  Astra also gained 2nd place in the race to Jost Van Dyke and the rather grand Spirit of Swan award in recognition of joining in everything with the right attitude and, as a fellow Swan owner remarked, for being the nicest people there!  So we all felt very perky, hurrah for Astra.

On Sunday it was off to Trellis Bay on Tortola to meet John and Angie Rudd, Ash and Nicky's parents - they hadn't seen each other for three months so that was a joyous reunion.  In the evening John and Angie's good friends the Sennings kindly invited us to drinks up at their villa which has the most stunning views.  Then it was back down to sea level for dinner at the Last Resort and the arrival of Nicky flying in from Dominican Republic.  With much warmth, humour and dancing we had a great evening.

The following day we had a burst of early morning efficiency shopping and re-gassing the dive tanks then it was over to Monkey Island for snorkelling, passing a lolloping turtle on the way. Sally suddenly felt a bit nervous as she had raved on about this particular site for snorkelling and thought it might not live up to the build up, but she had nothing to worry about, it was absolutely spectacular, like being in an aquarium or on the set of a David Attenborough, almost impossible to believe what we were seeing, so varied and brightly coloured were the fish. After a good lunch Norah returned to the airport to go home (boo hoo) and the Sennings lovely young boys Skylar and Hunter came aboard and Astra set off again.  The plan now is to visit plenty of dive sites during the week.