Some new blog...!!
Oh dear, I just had a look at my last entry....errr, arrival at Virgin Gorda! Oh no, looks like we've some catching up to do!
It was the 16th of
October when we arrived in
Next I spotted an Octopus…..Dinner! I’ll spare you the details but it was in a bowl in the fridge a few minutes later (Yes, the octopus in the photo last blog).
The guide book advises sailors to clear in with Customs & Immigration so I went ashore and did that. All was very quiet, one has to remember that this is like arriving for a holiday in Tenby….in February! Yes, out of season, which has it’s benefits….I’ve been told by many who’ve been here before (Virgin Islands) that It’s too overcrowded, with charter yachts and motorboats, packed beaches etc so I reckon this is kinda nice and we should appreciate the peace.
I cleared us with Customs and as the town looked dead and it was absolutely blisteringly hot I returned to Chelone and we moved on down the coast to the legendary ‘Baths’. The guide book say’s no anchoring but to pick up a mooring at $25 (£15)…..So Ross and myself are thinking 'sod that'. Right next to the Baths there’s a privately owned beach….hmmmn! Well, if we drop the hook there and they’re not happy someone will soon let us know right?
The beach was totally deserted…..no
sign of life whatsoever, and I know what you’re thinking but no, that’s the way
it stayed, no waving arms or shouts from the shore….we boarded our dinghy and
did the Baths visit (you’ve seen the pics). The massive boulders reminded me of
La Digue in
Back to Chelone and Ross swam ashore and took a stroll on the fabulous beach….not a soul in sight.
As I write we’ve been here in the Virgins for a day shy of two weeks. One thing that’s struck me is how small the place is. I had this idea that the island chain was bigger somehow but what has become apparent is the opposite.
Basically you’ve the British Virgin
Islands which are three eight mile(ish) long islands (Virgin Gorda, Tortola,
Anegada) and one little (2.5 mile) island (Jost Van Dyke) pronounced ‘yost’ by
the way. Apart from that there are loads of little off lying islands, some
uninhabited, many private, ie Bransons ‘
Then there’s the American Virgin Islands…..Just the two really, St.Thomas and St.John. Only a couple of miles separate all except Anegada which is out on a limb being 10 miles to the north of everything.
So we did the ‘Baths’ ok, then we looked in the Cruising guide book where I’d read somewhere about a little known about ‘Hurricane hole’ on the north east (weather facing) side of the island (called South Creek) so considering there was currently an unusual lack of wind we thought it’d be interesting to take a look. We motored the few miles up the coast and entered this excellent little shelter bay and crept in behind a reef to anchor for the night and though the nearest habitation was far distant our new wi-fi set up acquired a perfect connection!
Next morning and in order to take Chelone further passed the reef and into the hurricane hole itself we’d have to survey the area carefully by dinghy first as the guide book author said there was no current information about depths in there only that it was shallow and to exercise caution.
From the dinghy we could monitor depth and as we surveyed we also surveyed the shore as there was much stuff washed up…..plastic rubbish, coconuts, fenders & buoys….and a windsurfing board! Ah lovely, now we’ve a paddleboard, yeaay!
Survey done and we returned for Chelone and took her in. I did take some pictures but they were rubbish so I’ll post the pic from Google images instead. We're still in hurricane season (ends in November) and the prudent sailor needs to have some idea as to where to go should things turn bad. There are very few, if any, good shelter holes in the Virgin Islands but this was certainly somewhere that we now had experience of entering and had our exact course track saved for future reference should we need it.
From South Creek we again took
advantage of the very calm conditions with a visit to the ‘Channel Islands’, a
string of very small islands off the south of Virgin Gorda starting with Ginger
Island, beautiful remote and uninhabited beaches but we didn’t stop. Then
The picture of tiny ‘
Next we dinghied over to a mooring ball above the wreck of the RMS Rhone. We got in and looked down…..just a massive pile of scrap metal…one could hardly make out any shape or form. The hull had split open lengthways leaving the whole ship flat on the bottom, I saw no boilers or superstructure though the vis was fair and there were some fish but it was pretty boring really.
Next island….Peter Island…Another very pleasant looking place with pristine beaches and seclusion but a half mile further, and the last island in the chain, ‘Norman Island’ boasted a ‘Floating Bar/Restaurant’ by way of a converted 90 foot Schooner ‘The Willie T’ anchored in a bay called ‘The Bight’ so we thought we’d check that out.
One of the downsides of the
We had a few beers (the most
expensive yet) aboard the ‘Willie T’ and a spot of people watching as the
American Charterers were acting up. Next day we set off across ‘Sir Francis
Drake Channel’ for the four mile crossing to
I was told many times to avoid going
to the American Islands as they're spoilt with burger bars and Condo’s
(Condominiums/blocks of flats) best to stay in the beautiful BVI. Well, we
sailed into Tortola’s capital,
Ross and myself wandered into the
town behind the one marina…..OMG, what a dump!!.... Dirty, smelly…and ugly…The
Capital of BVI’s Tortola…
After a few days, and Ross’ 21st Birthday looming we took a ferry to the USVI….both islands. Firstly we stopped at St.Thomas (The slightly bigger and more distant island) had a wander around the capital Charlotte Amalie….
Now bearing in mind what folks had
told me about the USVI….OK, it was full of Burger joints, Wendy’s, Dunkin’
Donuts etc, and Condo’s were perched on the coast and on the hills surrounding
the place but guess what? It was clean, bright and cheery compared with
We stopped at a typical American
eatery…’Hooters’…I had a burger (when in
Next we boarded a local bus for a
half hour ride across the island to Red Hook where we immediately boarded
another ferry which took us to the other USVI, St.John. By now it was mid
afternoon and we’d little time to look around but the Capital ‘
Not much to say really other than we
looked around the town before boarding another ferry back to
Right next to us in
So we finally left Road Town two
days ago and made our way north up Tortola’s coast to ‘Trellis Bay’…lovely clean
water for snorkelling and a great stretch of shoreline for beach-combing too.
Then yesterday we moved again…just half a mile across the bay to ‘