Norman Island - 30 March
Thu 30 Mar 2006 15:47
We spent 28 March on passage from Statia to the Virgin Islands, a trip of around 120 miles. The wind was very light so unfortunately we had to motor much of the journey, and it was quite slow, going at 6 knots for most of the way. We did manage to hoist the spinnaker for a few hours in the middle of the day, when we had around 10 knots of breeze, but the wind soon faded away.
During the afternoon Charlie was looking behind and saw a large fish rise up out of the water and jump high in the air. It was on the end of our line! We gradually reeled it in and found it to be a large wahoo, one of the best eating fish in the sea and unaffected by the localised fish poisoning called ciguatera which makes kingfish, barracuda and jacks a dangerous dinner (it is a poison which accumulates in humans, leading to neurological damage and can cause death). The wahoo was over a metre long and there was great excitement on board. By now Charlie had the fish landed on the swimming platform at the back of the boat, holding it with the line and the gaff hook. The boat and Charlie were flecked with blood from the fish. Juliet grabbed the big net to try to get it aboard. Alice was ready with the rum bottle. Suddenly the fish gave a massive jerk of its body and managed to free itself. It slid off the back of the boat. The one that got away...
We approached the Virgin Islands in the dark. It was a cloudy night and there was no moon. We checked that our GPS was telling us the truth (in St Kitts it had given us a slightly inaccurate reading). Passing between the islands here, together with all their isolated rocks, would require precise navigation. We took bearings using a hand held compass from the lights we could see on the shore and compared these to our chart. We watched the depth contours beneath the boat to ensure these looked right according to the chart. The GPS was spot on and we continued through Salt Island Passage. We arrived in Roadtown, Tortola at 11.30pm.
Yesterday we arranged customs clearance into the BVIs, did laundry and shopped (mainly from the Pusser's (rum) shop). Then we set sail for Norman Island - all of 7 miles away. We enjoyed our first Painkiller of the trip in Willie T's, a pirate boat which has been adapted to become a floating bar, moored in the middle of the bay, and watched the sun go down. The water is so clear that when we looked over the stern of Willie T's we could clearly see a sunken rowing boat, about 4 metres down, on the sea bed. The barman said that the sunken boat had been his boat.
Willie T's provides a captive audience for waterskiing antics and we saw a spectacular wipe-out which led to ripped shorts and a display of buttocks on every subsequent turn. Not to be outdone, the waterskiier's son (aged about 8) came past next, holding the cord in his teeth, although only going at around 5 knots and standing on a surf board.
Inside Willie T's
Charlie has been wearing a T-shirt which has the Nike "tick" at the top and then reads "Just do it". Underneath these words, it says "later". The T-shirt has caused great amusement amongst the locals.
As I write, Charlie has gone snorkelling with Pip and Alice is doing schoolwork. Later we plan to dinghy into some nearby caves.