That's our log since the day the boat was launched now
showing 28,000 nautical miles. The earth is 24,900 miles around at the
Them's is one lot of miles in a sailboat at probably
about 6 knots. I wonder how many of them were just going back and forth
from Macatawa to Saugatuck.
We are now in the BVI's and I can honestly say, I love
it. I know, you all probably have given up on me cause I haven't been too
impressed with most of the Caribbean so far.
Now after four months of traveling the length
of the windward and leeward islands, from Trinidad to here, I have a much better
perspective of the entire chain of island countries. By my reckoning
the French islands, particularly St Barts, are the best. The BVI's are a
close second. I would probably go back to the Grenadines and Grenada but
only as a charter person.
While here in the BVI's we've been to Virgin Gorda and the
Baths which remind me very much of the North Channel except the water is much
bluer and warmer here. The rocks however look a lot like the Benjamin's in
the North Channel.
There are very pretty white sand beaches on either side of
this pile of rocks and tons of boats. The area is a Park
and visits are limited to something like 90 minutes and if we
were a charter, we must use the buoys and not the anchor. We were able to
anchor although swing room is severely limited because it gets deep fast, the
bottom is all rock and the boats on buoys don't move like boats at anchor.
Still, it was a nice place and snorkeling was good.
Before we came to the BVI's were in St Maarten, about
90 miles ESE where we enjoyed the day with our daughter Kim, son-in-law, Guy and
their two boys, Ben and Jon. We went for a short sail in big seas which
they loved and then snorkeled. They were on a Carnival Cruise which stopped
for the day in Philipsburg where we were anchored waiting for them. I hope
they have some nice pictures because I was so busy sailing and entertaining I
didn't take any.
If you can believe it, these two little guys we not even
born when we set off on this journey. (Guy took the picture and e-mailed it to
us and I copied it for the journal.)
After we said goodbye in the late afternoon, we sailed
around the island to the French side which is also called St Martin, (small
spelling difference). This side in my view is much better. The town
of Marigot is very pretty and not devoted to catering to the cruise ship trade
like Philipsburg is. Both are duty free which makes them attractive
shopping destinations, but the French side get very few cruise ships so the city
has a nice mix of shops and cafes. Philipsburg on the other hand is one
jewelry and liquor store after another.
Our sail from St Martin to the BVI's was fast and a one
tack, no fuss, fun sail. We set the main and genoa and never touched
either for 90 miles. Finally the wind seems to be dropping to more
manageable speeds and the seas are much better, although its hard to tell what
it is like in the open ocean. Being here in the BVI's is like sailing in
Lake Charlevoix. We are surrounded by islands and you can see the length
and breath of the area from any point. It is also full of charter
In Road Town, The Moorings ( A big charter
company) must have 300 boats for rent.
We are now in Nanny Cay on Tortola about 4 miles from Road
Town in a very nice marina. It is our first marina in weeks and we are
enjoying being able to just walk off the boat and not having to take the dinghy
everywhere. Everything is very convenient including an excellent ship
store, free wifi and good provisioning. Plus this place has a first rate pool
and the best bathrooms I think we've ever been in. Each person has his or
her own expensively tiled room with a big walk in shower, toilet and
vanity. Plus miracles of miracles, they even have hot water. This is
literally a first in the entire chain of island nations. Most places don't
even have showers and if they do they charge for using them and charge for the
water as well. One, cost a quarter to get in the door' then fifty cents
for one minute of cold water. You had to have a pocket full of change to
get clean. Another charges three dollars for five minutes of water.
Needless to say we shower on the boat where we have hot water, albeit
expensive water. We have yet to find free water anywhere despite the fact
it rains almost every day. At Nanny Cay water is fifteen cents a gallon. I
guess if that's all you've got to sell, you don't give it away.
Our next move will probably be further around this island
and then to a neighbor island which might be a sail of 10 miles.
After that on or about May 1st., it is goodbye to
I know it sounds like blasphemy and heretical not being in
love with the Caribbean, but we are spoiled after having been in Europe for so
I am lonesome for more interaction with other
people. Being at anchor day and night can be very boring. Except for
the occasional mouthy American charter person who screams and hollers when we
drop our anchor within 100 meters of theirs. I kid you not, it is
always an American who has no clue of what anchoring etiquette is all
about. You could drop your anchor in a
Frenchman's cockpit and they would invite you for a glass of
This is a great area for a one or two week charter,
but it's not for me month after month.
We have decided to head back north, and probably directly
to Bermuda and then to either the Chesapeake or Newport RI.
The Bahamas don't hold much interest as we are sand
beached, palm treed, green hilled out. Plus there is very thin water in
those parts and Judy freaks out when the water gets much less than 50 feet
deep. We were aground twice in Simpson Bay on St Martin and this was in a
lagoon. One time, a water taxi who I was following, pulled us off. The
next time, the wind blew hard enough to free us. Later in the week, after
the grounding, I saw the taxi at the dock and walked over to give the
crew a proper thanks. The captain apologized for leading us out of
the dredged channel. Like I said, I was following him thinking he knew
where it was. Trouble was, he was distracted with phone call and wandered
out of the deep part. The water is so dirty it was all but impossible to
see color changes so I blindly followed him. He noticed we had been
following him and now were stuck. He kindly came back to help us feeling a
little chagrined and ashamed at being the cause of the
I am looking forward to another long passage, in water
thousands of feet deep and hundreds of miles from shore, as they are
the best part of sailing.