Peter Island, BVI
Sunday 24th Nov - Thursday 28th November
We spent quite a bit of time during our last few days at Bitter End, snorkelling and swimming mainly over the coral reefs out on the ocean side of Sabre Rock. We took Iain and Fiona from Ruffian with us and it was great to once again be able to swim and watch the wildlife in the clear warm blue water. We visited a number of sites and either tied the dinghy to a mooring ball or dropped the small anchor that Iain had brought along. On Monday evening we had dinner on board Ruffian and got soundly beaten by Iain at Mexican train.
On Tuesday it was time to head off as we had been invited to join Craig and Karene to celebrate her birthday at Cooper Island Resort. Our departure was delayed when we discovered that the main fridge was warm inside and clearly had stopped working altogether. We pinged off a few quick emails to friends that might be able to recommend who we called and were soon put in touch with a firm in Tortola. Derek from Compton Marine was very helpful but also apologetic saying that they were ‘rammed’ and had taken on too much already and were at a loss as to who to recommend or what to suggest. But after I had run the full history past him he had made a suggestion that had the merit of being a free solution if it was correct and we had nothing to lose here. So I followed his advice and bingo the compressor started up.
So we headed off and had a great sail down to Cooper Island through some impressive rain squalls and on arrival found a number of available mooring balls close to Il Sogo. We watched amazed as a small charter boat came in with a wrecked and torn but partially rolled up foresail, eventually mastered picking up a buoy and then swim throughout the afternoon – despite a wildly flogging sail. They then departed to sail up-wind, failed and returned to the mooring field to pick up another buoy, luckily for us further away as the noise the sail was making was impressive. At no point did they attempt to take down the sail or subdue the flogging! In the evening we had drinks on board Il Sogno and then they treated us to dinner in the resort after which we suffered a pretty uncomfortable night in the rolly mooring field.
On Wednesday morning we sailed over to Road Harbour on Tortola Island in order to go shopping and pick up some fuel. Going to the big grocery store (Riteway) is a bit of a chore as they do not have any kind of public jetty or dinghy dock to offer and there is very limited anchoring which is in a very exposed and rolly space next to the cruise ship terminal. So we opted to go in to get fuel first and see if we could persuade them to allow us to use their dinghy dock to access the supermarket. We took on fuel and when we asked about leaving a dinghy there later, they were really helpful and simply suggested that we left Serafina on the fuel dock and nipped off to the shops. We pointed out that in all fairness we might be a couple of hours and they were not bothered at all, so we locked Serafina up and headed off with our trolley, rucksack and shopping bags.
We had a very successful trip and on our return we found Iain and Fiona from Ruffian sitting alongside in their dinghy. They filled us in on their problems which is that they have found an engineer to fix the overheating of their engine and he had dismantled the unit and removed the faulty heat exchanger and ordered a new one from the USA which should/could be here on Friday. In the meantime they were stuck without an engine in Village Cay marina paying far more per night than they could really afford. We have agreed to stay in touch and if they are to be without the engine all weekend we have invited them to come and stay on Serafina for a couple of days so that they can at least come out to a nice bay and go snorkelling etc.
We left them there and sailed over to Peter Island and went into Great Harbour which is not a harbour at all, but a huge well protected bay. This was a favourite of ours two years ago when we were last here and we were delighted to find our favoured anchoring spot free, particularly as the bay has become so popular and two huge boats, an incredibly ugly, 453’ motor boat called Rising Sun and a vast schooner were anchored out in the middle. Eye Candy called on the VHF to say that they were just arriving there too and they dropped their hook behind us.
We stayed here on Thursday in case we got the call from Ruffian and managed to get a few things done as well having a good swim enjoying the coral and sea life here. Thursday was Thanksgiving Day in the USA and we had been invited to join a number of American yachts on the beach for a big ‘picnic’ on Virgin Gorda, but it was a long slog upwind to get back there and so we missed out, but were invited to enjoy sundowners on the Aussie boat Eye Candy. Funny how Aussies pop up when they are ahead in an Ashes series…..
Strange weather pattern at the moment it seems and we have been blasted by endless squalls and a lot of heavy rain and clouds. In fact the solar panels have not been keeping up with the charging at all, due to the almost constant cloud cover, so we have had to run the generator for a short while every day. But it is warm and so we are not complaining at all, but you do sort of feel sorry for the people on the charter boats as they have not been blessed with all that much sun this week.
We also heard today from Chris Parker who provides us with our weather routing and he was saying how in the week that we left the USA and ran into all the problems in the Gulf Stream, the stream had been an un-forecast 200 miles wide and not the usual 60 to 100 miles. This had contributed to the problems that had been encountered by everyone.