Manchineel Bay, Cooper Island
Position: 18:23.198N 64:30.895W
Date: Wednesday 5th March 2014
After a couple of enjoyable nights on Jost van Dyke we moved on. We had a splendid reach around the western end of Tortola before turning hard on to the wind into the Sir Francis Drake Channel. Our intended destination was Road Harbour on Tortola. By the time we got there the wind was blowing around 20 knots and there was a distinct chop in the harbour. We didn’t want to go into one of the marinas there, but after touring the harbour we couldn’t find anywhere to anchor that was sheltered from the swell. Places that our pilot told us we could anchor were no longer used for that purpose and the one place that offered even the slightest shelter was very shallow and full of mooring buoys that appeared to be privately owned.
It wasn’t at all encouraging so we moved on. But where to go to now? On a whim we sailed across to Cooper Island. On the north side Manchineel Bay offered a sheltered anchorage with a resort ashore. However the bay was full of mooring buoys, every single one of which was taken, mostly it would seem by Sunsail charter boats. There was nowhere to anchor other than in water about 15 meters deep.
We spotted one buoy as it was vacated and turned the boat to motor over to it. As we approached a small dinghy nipped in front of us and tied off to the buoy. I asked the person in the dinghy what was going on and he told us that he was resort staff and that the buoy had been reserved and paid for by another boat. Manchineel Bay was clearly a very popular place. We were about to give up and go somewhere else when we saw another buoy being vacated and managed to tie up to it without mishap.
That evening we went ashore and had an enjoyable meal in the restaurant ashore.