British Virgin Islands

Paul Huntley
Thu 16 Apr 2009 21:13
18:28N 64:31W                 Thursday 16th April 2009 Trellis Bay Tortola British Virgin Islands.
It was reported that Winston Churchill was questioned in the house of commons as to the whereabouts of the British Virgin Islands,his reply was without reference to an atlas I have no idea but by their very nomenclature they are nowhere near the Isle of Man.
Well we have arrived in yet another paradise.I am sitting at the chart table compiling this blog to keep all at home up to date.
We departed Road Bay, Anguilla at 04:00 am in company with our new found friends Graham,Lorainne and Luca aboard Catacaos. Weighing anchor in the pre dawn darkness we cleared the bay to the south west keeping the coast to port and the reefs of Prickly Pear to the starboard.With a following light wind we set the main to stabilise the boat more than for speed under sail. Sarah stayed on deck to watch the sunrise whilst the rest of the crew returned to their bunks. By 0530 am we could see some light on in the eastern horizon,the sun still hiding behind the low hills of Anguilla.
With an orange burst, the sun quickly rose in to the sky giving a welcome warmth to a slightly chilly dawn. We continued to head west on our plotted couse to Virgin Gorda. Both Emily and Corrie were feeling the effects of the ocean swell of more than two meters, getting a little relief reading in their bunks.
I made best speed due to our ailing crew and sighted land by midday.
We headed for Round Island Passage to the south of Virgin Gorda by 15:00 and ran up the leeward coast of the Island to Virgin Gorda Yacht Club Marina, leaving Catacaos to make for Road Town to clear.
We negotiated the reef strewn shallow entrance to the harbour and went alonside berth 57 port side to. Customs and immigation would have to wait until morning leaving the Q flag flying from the starboard spreader. Going ashore I checked in with the harbour master and discovered the few delights of Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbour. Despite being high season there were many free berths and we were soon to discover why at $50 a night this must rate as the worst overnight deal ever. The staff were surly and uncooperative and found it hard to get up off thier fat ...... and do the job they were being paid for.
With no electrical or water available on the dock 110 volt only and the tap was broken we were glad we only planned a one night stop to clear customs etc. We hope that we might find some solace in a meal ashore, ordering a modest hamburger or salad we were hoping for an early night after the very early start,an hour later our meals finally arrived,consumed in a trice, the bill paid we used the launderette and returned to Libertad for a good nights sleep.
Waking early I gather up the bags of dirty linen and set off for the marathon of the weekly wash.
With renewed energy after a good breakfast on board Sarah and I set off for an encounter with the officialdom of Virgin Gorda, a more morose group of people you could not wish to meet avoiding even the most basic acknowledgments despite my attempt at a pleasant good morning, requesting the appropriate forms we were charged $0:50 cents for the blank forms. It took the two of us more than half an hour to complete the declarations and a further hour to have them repeatedly checked, stamped and returned to be taken to the next window to repeat the process all over again. Well we are in their country so we should go with the flow but it is sometimes hard to bite your lip!
We bunkered fuel with the same surly attendants and departed for Monkey Point and a spot of snorkelling,this is one of our favourite spots and was everything we remembered of it spotting myriad species of fish,turtle and stingray.
We returned to one of the best anchorages at Marina Cay to the north of Beef Island, Tortola. We dinghied ashore to an island with a resort, happy hour and a Pirate show with a one man band with an entertaining act helped with a few PainKillers (rum punches) we all relaxed and joined in the fun.
We retured to Libertad to have a Chicken Stir fry.
Thursday morning came with the dawn and a breakfast of pancakes as this is a special day being Ewan's Birthday, many happy returns, Sarah had decorated the cabin with banners and ballons and baked a cake in celebration.
By mid morning we decided to motor over to Trellis Bay in readiness for Emily and Corrie to get to the airport tonight.They have been with us for three weeks and at times found it hard with sea sickness a regular curse for them both but I hope they will take some fond memories of their Caribbean holiday on Libertad.
Guy will be with us next Friday the 24th and until then the three of us will relax in visit a few more old haunts and anchorages as well as get some sail repairs.
Until then I hope you are all keeping well and especially Chris, I hope your recovery is going well.
Regards Paul. Libertad Trellis Bay Tortola, BVI's.