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Date: 18 Mar 2009 21:54:20
Title: British Virgin Islands

Hello Friends                                "18:30.0N 64:23.2W"
 
So we finally get to post another blog. We get far more feedback through doing nothing than posting regular blogs. Maybe I'll leave a blog gap for a couple of weeks on our trans Pacific just to see who's paying attention?
 
Well, we spoke too soon about Guadeloupe last time... seems things kicked off big after I'd assumed it had all settled down. You probably know the latest better than we do as there's not much WiFi here in The BVIs (- actually that's not entirely true, but the pay-WiFi is $285 a month - you have to be kidding?)
 
Anyway, where did we leave you last time - Antigua I think. We enjoyed a pleasant overnight sail to Sint Maarten in fresh-ish winds and decided to check into the lagoon for shelter as it's well protected and a northerly swell was forecast. We managed virtually all our shopping chores...
 
- the batteries were replaced and we discovered that Island Water World had invoiced us for deep cycle batteries and actually supplied dual purpose starting/cycling batteries, with the deep-cycle reference number on the invoice. You may well think that we'd counsel against anyone shopping at Island Water World - at least unless you're totally clear on what the transaction is... George wanted me to be ruder about IWW, but this is a family show so let's just say that Budget Marine is a great, professionally-run chandlery and that if IWW is the only chandlery left on the planet, we'll give up sailing!
 
- we purchased loads more spares (from Budget of course) and our lockers must be OK until Australia we reckon. Doubtless more spares will be acquired in Panama anyway.
 
- Michael purchased a new laptop - with the dreaded Vista - AAAaaarrrgghhhhhh!!!!!
Naturally, most of our software won't work on this computer and despite trying to disable as much auto-updating as possible, it's not possible to use the new computer on the satellite system as it's busy swapping data with microsoft and sundry other fraudsters and using up our expensive bandwidth. Talk about 'progress'. Ideally I'd remove the loathsome vista and install XP but that may not be possible - the alternative of saying bye bye to microsoft and using Linux is quite attractive though, so watch this space.
 
So Sint Maarten was functional if not entirely satisfactory - and we caught up with 'Blue Star' and 'Imagine' which was good, of course.
 

 
But stories about spare parts don't make for a pictorial blog!
 
Our voyage to the BVIs was uneventful in light winds overnight, so we only managed about 4.5 knots but with a knot of current, we reached the BVIs and sailed past Branson Island (aka Necker) just as dawn was breaking. The voyage was distinguished by a successful landing of a tuna just as night was falling off Sint Maarten - the first fish in 5 months !!
 
The Golden Girls arrived on schedule on the 4th and we anchored in Trellis Bay to meet them at the airport - only 200 metres from the dinghy dock - most convenient. The weather has been a teensy bit patchy if I'm honest with you, but here you see us on a good day, sailing from Peter Island to Soper's Hole.
 
 
We've done a tour of the BVIs - Peter Island, Norman Island, Jost van Dyke, Virgin Gorda etc though not Anegada.
 
The Maltese Falcon was in Gorda Sound when we visited and as she departed, she motored out of the channel and we thought that was the last we'd see of her. BUT some minutes later the quite magnificent sight of the Falcon is full flight greeted us as she swept downwind under full sail. Mere photographs cannot convey the awe of watching this huge (nearly 300 feet long) and fantastic modern yacht under full sail, but here's a photo anyway (taken through the binoculars actually) ...
 
 
I suppose that for a hundred and seventy million dollars you'd expect your boat to look a bit special though?
 
Another unexpected entertainment in Vigin Gorda was this flamingo, we think the first wild one we've seen, on the beach at Prickly Pear Island. I know you've seen flamingoes before, but we saw this one real close up on the beach, so ...
 
 
We dropped the girls at the airport this morning and their plane took off above us on time, so we hope their return trip to London is not too tedious. We'll be in the BVIs for another week or so, then off to the Dominican Republic to rendezvous with George's cousin John and his wife Trisha, who we plan to take to Cuba.
 
So hopefully some new and interesting territory for future blogs.
 
That's all for now Folks.
 
Best Wishes
 
George, Michael. Pom and Barbara
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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