5 May 2012
Actually we left the inner lagoon at St Maarten on 4 May catching the last bridge opening at 16:30. With a word of caution from Wild Woman, the boat not the woman, about some shallow water we motored over to the inside waiting area for the bridge to open. Of course I was watching the same sized boat, an Oyster, and just staying inside the marked channel. Then bump. We ran aground inside the channel. The pilot guide did warn about shallows. However, a big benefit of a large engine is the ability to motor off such issues which we did. It went from 6 meters to 2.5 meters in about 10 meters distance. No harm, no damage, not the first time we tested the bottom.
Once the bridge opened we motored out and at the last minute decided to anchor in Simpson Baii instead of going over to the French side where it should have been calmer. The swells were small and we knew the bottom was nice sand for anchoring. Not a great decision once the night set in and the swells were a little larger but you never know about the next place whether it is actually calmer or not. Anyway it made it easy to get up at dawn to weigh anchor and set sail (motor) to BVI.
Winds behaved as forecast, nothing. Not a chance of sailing. So motored at 1,850 rpm which is about 7.5 knots depending on the wind and current. It was 80.6 miles to the mooring at Virgin Gorda or 10.5 hours. Nothing of interest on the crossing. Several boats coming across toward us making for St Maarten. However we did get a bird (Boobie) as a companion for about one hour.
Entering the North Sound in Virgin Gorda is easy with a well marked entrance. Getting to the entrance requires a little diligence as the shoals are ready to grab any wayward boat. We passed Richard Branson’s island Necker and his large Catamaran anchored there. He is still rebuilding the house after the Hurricane and fire. Nicely done with his low profile buildings that blend in pretty well.
Once inside the North Sound we went to Leverick Bay moorings. A company called Moor Secure has installed hundreds of mooring in BVI. Great thing as it helps protect the marine life from anchor chains dragging across the bottom and killing everything and keeps all boats at a safe distance so they do not hit each other during the night. Small fee of 25 dollars per night.
In the morning on Sunday I went over to Customs and Immigration at Gun Creek. This is a new Port of Entry and the people are very nice and helpful. Easy dinghy ride and place to tie up. Small grocery store just 80 meters away.
We moved to Bitter End Yacht Club moorings for the next few days. Leverick is fine but with the predicted winds being stronger from the east Bitter End is better shelter.
This is a Boobie. It took several tries for him to get secure on the pulpit railing. The furled headsail and sheets blocked him a few times but he made about 8 approaches before he landed. Determined guy and enjoyed about a one hour ride west. Yes that is the new dinghy on deck to replace the Zodiac that had significant glue failure.
Here we are moored at Bitter End Yacht Club mooring. We are the blue boat in the middle of all the charters. Actually not crowded this day. Overcast and rainy day however made it a good day to get a walk onshore. No wind as you can see in the picture. Mangroves at the bottom of the picture.