The beginning of the end.

Paul Huntley
Thu 30 Apr 2009 02:04

18:26N 64:31W. Trellis Bay Tortola, British Virgin Islands.29th April 2009.


Well were are back in Trellis bay at the top end of Tortola, Guy arrived on Friday night minus his luggage, It finally arrived at midday on Saturday having been off loaded somewhere on route or not loaded in the first place, As they say breakfast in New York luggage in Berlin ! He ho, no apologies from LIAT that they are sorry for the worry, delay and inconvenience this must have cause you, please accept this--------------- as a token  that on this occasion we did not offer complete satisfaction, thank you for choosing us as your airline, we realise you have a choice and hope you will consider flying with us again. Not even a good morning or smile, LIAT get your act together, you are the front line as far as tourism is concerned in the Caribbean.

After that introduction I am surprised he is still here. We sailed from Trellis Bay after lunch going around the eastern side of Tortola to Norman Island and The Bight. This was a downwind sail giving Guy an easy introduction to Libertad.

Norman Island is a favourite of mine with some excellent snorkelling on the cliff and at the Indians. We tried out the happy hour on the pirate ship(moored in the bay) bumping in to a group pirates fancy dress party; the dress was full of  eye patches, hooked  hands, parrots and wooden legs, arrrhh.

The weather was on the change  and overnight the wind increased with heavy gusts coming from the East, dawn revealed a cloudy windswept sky with squalls hitting the boat every few minuits.We decide that a day at The Bight with a walk over the Island would fit the bill. Landing at the dinghy dock and parking Doris, we set off up the hill behind the Pirates restaurant following the track to the summit we met two Americans, also from a yacht. The ridge walk to the north has fantastic views to the windward of wild surf ridden beaches and coral reefs lying in wait for that unsuspecting ship. To the leeward side of the Island are sheltered bays of clear blue water with just one or two yachts nodding on their anchors, waiting patiently for their next passage or port. By 11:00 the sun was out and heating the day making the hills  a little hotter, a mile or so to the north we had come to the end of the track a small bay with a very small harbour but no boats. It must be a work in progress. We retrace our steps back to The Bight and a welcome beer to refresh our flagging spirits, Ewan decided with Sarah to swim to Libertad whilst Guy and I chose the drier option. Doris was rubbing sponsons with other larger dinghies on the dock so before things got out of hand we untied her painter and took her home.

Our second night at The Bight saw us frequenting the Pirates bar ashore before dinner aboard Libertad.

Our explorations completed of this pirate island (It was suppose to be the inspiration for the book, by Robert Louis Stevenson’s,” Treasure Island”) we set sail for an early morning dive on the Indians, picking up the last available day mooring we had a pleasant hour watching  charter boats fight over any vacant mooring buoy  that became free.

The diving, although rough was clear despite the poor weather and the crew reported seeing Baracuda.Zebra and Coral fish to name but a few. Letting go we set a course under reefed main and genoa for Soapers Hole and West end Tortola soon reaching a speed of 6:5 Knots on a run.

Leaving the island of Little Thatch to port we luffed up and furled sails to motor in to the fuel berth and bunker some much needed water and  petrol for the outboard motor.

Soapers Hole is a very protected harbour with Saint John U.S.Virgin Islands, to the south and Tortola, and Jose Van Dyke to the North, in times of hurricane warnings it is a harbour of refuge. for vessels seeking shelter.

Our water tanks filled to the brim we let go lines for a mooring just a few yards away. After a lazy lunch we went ashore for urgent supplies from the Pusser dock. For the first time in a while we decided to have dinner ashore and after a very successful happy hour in Soapers Hole we took the dinghy to the Jolly Roger Inn for Aberdeen Angus burgers with all the trimmings. Sitting by the edge of the dock we noticed several large silver fish maybe a meter in length, we were told they were Tarpon.

After a very stormy night rolling on the mooring with a grey sky and frequent showers, and squalls Guy stripped and greased the two main sheet winches before going for a walk along the coast road towards Road Town. Finding a convenient supermarket we stock up with esentials.The walk back was about a two mile trek, but with the aid of the hitchhikers thumb I had a ride back with the shopping to Soapers Hole (Skippers prerogative!) I delivered the shopping to the boat fridge and returned to shore collecting the crew just before the heavens opened.

We had beef ribs with fresh salad and potato salad for dinner, a far cry from hard tack in days of old!

Our second night at Soapers was a little quieter and the following morning the weather showed signs of returning to normal. We let go the mooring at a respectable 09:30 and set a course through Thatch Cut turning north to Sandy Cay and Jose Van Dyke. This tiny atoll with just three palm trees and a little scrub  is the “a typical” desert island, letting go the anchor in 20 feet we waited for it to set but in a gusty 15/20 knots aborting our attempt after dragging, I decided to head for Monkey Point another favourite dive spot. Arriving just before lunch the crew boarded Doris to explore the point returning for lunch and a trip through Guan Island and Great Caminoe to Trellis Bay at the top end of Beef Island.

It is now 20:30 hrs the TV is showing an episode of Coast (Dorset and the Jurassic Coast) I hope Libertad will be sailing that very coast in just a few months.

We hope to visit the Baths at Virgin Gorda ( not what they seem ) returning to Trellis tomorrow evening in preparation to take Sarah to the airport and the start of her journey home on Friday 1st May. She has been on Libertad for more than two months and we will all miss her.

Ewan leaves us on Sunday morning bright and early for St Lucia and his onward flight to Gatwick.

The Atlantic crew also fly in on Sunday, so the adventure begins. We will sail on Monday for Nanny Cay and get Libertad vitaled and bunkered for the start of the Voyage to Bermuda on Thursday the 7th May (Happy birthday Emily)

Will keep you posted with more daily blogs when we get out to sea.

Best wishes and love to you all.

Paul and the crew of Libertad.