Norman Island/The Caves and The Indians and the wreck of The Rhone - The diving circuit begins...

Sea Mist > Sold to New Owners July 2016
John and Cheryl Ellsworth
Mon 30 Mar 2009 12:12

18 1964 37 W

Following the departure of our guests on March 22nd from St Thomas, this past week was taken up with major re-provisioning… and then….. attention to Sea Mist, who needs a lot of TLC all the time….. including a couple of major items this time around; had to remove 3 sails and take to Doyle Sailmakers loft in Road Harbour, Tortola for some repairs due after the last 8 months/5000 nm of wear and tear. And then, steering cable broke as we were anchoring here at The Bight, Norman Island on Saturday afternoon…..luckily I had spare cables on-board…but that took about 12 hours to remove and reinstall cables…in particular, a lot of difficulty getting out the severed and partially broken cables due to the frayed and twisted/parted steel wires that make them up! One of the downsides, really the ONLY negative I can think of is the fact that, by having Otto most always do the steering, you don’t get an ongoing/regular chance to pick up any nuance of an anomaly in how the steering feels….and so Otto, on his own, just keeps on steering without noticing something like a worn/deteriorating cable that is showing subtle signs of trouble.


We did have the benefit of it happening while anchoring in a relatively quiet bay that remained tranquil for the duration….it would NOT have been fun to do the repair at sea!  I should note for any readers who are sailors, Sea Mist is equipped so that steering can be totally managed by the B&G Autopilot that is mechanically connected to the quadrant…so steering would not really be a problem even with severed cables…you would just need to detach the old/broken cables from the quadrant (a difficult job at sea - but doable!) so that the cables weren’t interfering with the independent autopilot operation; this leaves you free to do the main repair work once in port. All is now successfully repaired and we are certainly “richer” (well more technically knowledgeable) for the experience…..even if it was not fun doing all that had to be done.


A LONG work list remains…i.e. situation normal… but for the next few days the plan is to get back to enjoying the Caribe.


There are many attractive dive sites here in the British Virgin Islands and close by to where we are anchored are several. Depending on wind and sea conditions, we will likely begin with The Indians. We have 2 sets of dive gear amongst the 3 of us; it will be mostly Ian and John but Cheryl also wants to renew here diving experience…. so we will be sharing gear.


We have a couple of weeks before we need to be in Antigua for the Oyster Regatta (Apr 13 - 18) and the arrival of friends from Toronto and London to join Ian and John …plus 2 other sailing captains with whom we have been friends over the past while. That will give us 6 crew for the racing during that week. We will head back to Antigua via St Maartens to pick up some parts that were ordered there last month. It will be much tougher sailing than we have been used to this winter as we now have to head windward for the 2 relatively longer stretches of open seas…90 nm to St Maarten…and then another 75 nm from there to Antigua. Both passages may be almost directly into the wind and the seas so we will be watching for the best weather window to go but “the best” will still be beating or close-reached windward sailing…..expect crew to be less than tickled……stay tuned.