21:49N 72:08W Leeward Going Through

Madeleine and Martin
Mon 1 Apr 2013 17:39
Fallen a bit behind with the blog so this post covers the period 9th March to 15th March. Notwithstanding Island Time we decide to spend three or four days in the BVI before setting off for the Turks and Caicos. We set out to visit the Baths on Virgin Gorda, a world famous site of magnificent rock formations, swirling seas all set in a white sand beach. Unfortunately we remained unclean – the swell off the beach was too bad to land the dinghy  - and headed on to North Sound on the north of the Island. Mr Branson presumably could not afford to buy the whole of Virgin Gorda so had to settle for Necker Island passed on the way as was the beach wedding on the shores of North Sound. Suitably washed we dinghied ashore to the equally famous Bitter End Yacht Club for memorable cocktails, dinner and T shirts. Its not really a yacht club at all but a swanky hotel with individual cabins overlooking Saba Island and the beautiful anchorage. Sunday was a day of rest and a visit to Saba Island for – wait for it – more drinks and high end shopping! Mastercard in retreat on Monday we sailed to Spanish Town to “clear out”. The perilous beach landing through the surf was nearer to “checking out” than clearing out but somehow we made it back to the mother ship with papers intact but everything and everybody very wet. Beautiful sail to Scrub Island , a quiet anchorage with another memorable restaurant ashore. Tuesday and off to the Turks and Caicos Islands, a 500 mile adventure that somehow seemed tougher than crossing the Atlantic. For some reason we could not pick up the sleep, eat, watch pattern. After some excellent sailing and star gazing, we arrived off Providenciales mid morning on Friday in a blustery force 6 with a good sea running from the North. Our objective was the marina at Turtle Cove but they advised us that the cut through the reef would be too dangerous in those conditions. Local advice via VHF from “Abelard and Eloise” was to try the cut leading to Leeward Marina. This was our first time through a reef so nerved up we headed in reassured that Willis at Leeward was going to send a boat to guide us through. Committed, we made it through the outer section dazzled by the pale green blue seas and the surf on either side but no guide boat. Then our replacement (Willis had an engine problem) guide arrived – a 60 foot sport fishing boat called most appropriately “Lucky Four Us” - for the run into the Marina. Obviously we needed a lot of help as we were accompanied all the way by a single dolphin who stayed by our side right into the marina! What a welcome to the TCI!