St Martin to the B.V.I

Lynn & Mike ..around the world
Mike Drinkrow & Lynn v/d Hoven
Thu 5 Mar 2009 13:07
17:53.90N 62:51.43W
St Martin to the British Virgin Islands
On Tuesday we finally left St Martin for the Virgins. Checking out of Marigot was not without its challenges, as they had a power failure which shut down customs. We were told in no uncertain terms, that we could not  leave the country until the power was restored and nobody knew how long that would take. Interesting problem if you are on a deadline! Luckily later in the afternoon we were able to complete the formalities and head off at sunset. The straight line distance was 85nm - meaning about 12 hours of sailing. However the reality was, that it took us closer to 16 hours, with very little wind, and from the wrong direction. It was a very uneventful trip, but we were both pretty tired, having forgotten how to sleep properly inbetween watches. Our new AIS system worked brilliantly, and we were easily able to call up a cargo boat that heading direclty towards us, and calmly discuss how we would pass one another. Willy would have loved this when we were dodging tankers off Brasil!
The British Virgin Island consists of 3 main islands - Tortola, Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke, and then at least about another 15 or 20 smaller islands that are inhabited, and numerous uninhabited small islets. Is a paradise for sailors, with calm waters, steady winds and numerous protected bays, and therefore also a huge yacht charter business.  Bareback charters (i.e. without professional skippers) are best given a wide berth, as many of then are very poor sailors. Yesterday Mike was up on our deck yelling at a boat to release their topping lift as they haphazardly sailed along.
We checked in Spanish Town, Virgin Gorda and have now anchored on the northern tip of the island in a quiet bay off Eustacia island.  We are very close to Richard Branson's  Necker island, which includes a small sandy islet with three plastic full sized palm trees! No idea what that is all about!  Being out in the open water we are now able to make water and catching up on all our washing and cleaning. Our next blog will have some more interesting adventures and photo's.