North Sound, Virgin Gorda
Position: 18:30.533N 64:22.449W
Date: Monday 24th Feb 2014
We left Anguilla at around 17:30 on Sunday 23rd Feb for the overnight sail to Virgin Gorda. As we left the various bars around the beach were just getting warmed up for their nightly round of competing music. After an hours sailing, now about six miles or so offshore, we could still hear the base rhythm pulsing through the evening air.
I like sailing at night, particularly when there is not a lot of moonlight. The skies are just fantastic and the phosphorescence in the water as the boat cuts a wake through never ceases to fascinate me. That said I am no longer used to staying awake all night so that by early morning the growing effects of tiredness do take a little of the gloss off the experience.
We had planned to moderate our boat speed so that we would arrive off Virgin Gorda just before dawn and have some daylight to negotiate the unfamiliar entrance the anchorage. However the winds were a little stronger than forecast and I couldn’t get the boat to slow down enough. So we arrived earlier than expected and spend an hour hove to off the eastern end of Virgin Gorda waiting for the sun to make its presence felt.
We eventually entered North Sound on Monday morning at about 7:30am and wasted no time in anchoring behind Prickly Pear Island so that we could catch up on our sleep. At around noon we awoke and set about the task of checking in to a new country. Customs and Immigration were located at a place called Gun Creek, one of the small settlements around North Sound about 20 minutes by dinghy away from where we were anchored. We arrived at about 2:00pm to find the officials sunning themselves outside their office. They told us to enter but then remained outside whilst we twiddled our fingers in an empty office. After about 10 minutes they followed us in and their manner, at least initially, was a little hostile. They wanted to know why we had waited so long between arriving and reporting to them. They didn’t seem to appreciate the need for sleep. Eventually they started to soften and we completed the process without further problems. The attitude of some of these officials in the various Caribbean states we have been to over the last year or so never ceases to amaze me.
By the time we got back to the boat it was late afternoon and just around the bay was a place called Saba Rock, a resort hotel that has a well-publicised happy hour. So we spent our first evening in The Virgin Islands in a manner that we hoped would become the norm.