N18:25:25 W064:37:03 Village Cay Marina, Tortola
Bob and Elizabeth Frearson
Mon 4 May 2015 23:14
Sometimes a little error of calculation can have most interesting consequences. It must have been after a gin and tonic that Bob measured the distance between Saba and Tortola. “130 miles” he had declared “at an average 5 knots that is going to be a good 26 hours”. We left Saba at just after 10am so expected to arrive at Road Town at midday the next day if we were very slow. This meant that our usual watch system, where I stay awake as long as I possibly can leaving Bob to get a decent sleep before taking over in the early hours and me to go to bed and slumber for a sensible number of hours before having to be back on duty, was ideal. I planned to stay awake until 2am and then sleep on until 8am before rising refreshed to take the last leg. Unfortunately pinched dividers, or misinterpreting the scale, or whatever, meant that the distance was only 90 miles. We made much better average speeds than 5 knots so when I turned in at 2am I could already see Mr Branson’s porch light glimmering in the near distance. At 4am we had arrived outside Norman’s island and I was “invited” on deck to make a decision on what to do because it would be most foolish to attempt wending between the various Virgin islands in the dark, with no lit buoys to assist. We opted for the safest course of action and turned away and pottered up rim of the islands in safe, deep water with no surprises. I went back to bed. It seemed only a matter of minutes when once again I was “invited” on deck to join in the sunrise and to plot a route through the outlying islands into Road Town. I did, and then stayed for the execution of the plan. I was knackered and somewhat scratchy particularly when asked if I had realised that there was a Carrot Rock in the middle of our route. I snapped Bob’s head off, far more satisfying than breakfast. We arrived at the entrance to our chosen marina at just after 8am and called them up. They “don’t make any decisions on availability of berths until noon” apparently. We hooked up to a conveniently placed mooring ball, in the rolliest bit of the bay, and sat it out twitchily after our previous experience with non availability in marinas, its a bit like getting a GP’s appointment. At 12, on the dot, Bob rang and secured a berth, hooray. It was B17 and of course there would be someone there to help us into our cubbyhole. Unfortunately when we entered the marina there were no labels and through logical deduction we smoothed into 17. Unfortunately the height of docks is not standard and so Rodney Bay height fenders did not to do the trick. Poor old WIndy, scarred again. We were then informed by a very nice American who was tongue lashed by the tense driver, that this was not B17, which was over there and occupied. Aaargh! Bob went to investigate and chased the incumbents away and we once again manoeuvred our way over to the right dock, with the fenders at the right height, and made a text book entry despite the somewhat bizarre buoy in the middle of the alley which jangled our already shredded nerves. A very tired driver, a most unhappy sequence of events.
We reached for our arrival beers with alacrity as the notes of the engine died. We then went and had lunch in the marina side restaurant and were firmly reminded of our observations reagrding the British Virgin Islands being completely Americanised. When in Rome, I had burger and fries for lunch, Bob the pulled pork and, of course, another couple of beers to raise our spirit levels.
We then went to the local supermarket to stock up on much needed supplies having run out of bottled water (resorting to tank water which even Bob admitted was marginally improved with a good dose of orange juice), run low on tonics (a dire emergency) and bananas (what is breakfast without bananas?) This may sound like an ordinary adventure but it was the hardest supermarket to get into that we have ever encountered. We had got it well and truly surrounded, but the way in was hidden at the back of a car park. Cunning.
We went and checked in and out but most oddly were told to go upstairs, who told us to go downstairs, who then splatted our forms with a few stamps before sending us upstairs again, before sending us downstairs where we parted with money and once again visited downstairs. No goosey, goosey gander in sight, but there should have been, While there we checked out ferry times to St Thomas (in order to enact the crazy procedure whereby you are only allowed to enter the US Virgin Islands on accredited vessels). We have then dropped off the laundry, checked out where to have dinner and visited the doctor. Yes, again. My mean spiritedness and general bad temperedness seems to have some excuse in the form of a recurrence of the nasty infection. The drop in centre was marvellous. I dropped in , was weighed (I looked away I really didn’t want to know), blood pressured, temperatured and passed over to Dr Joseph Borokinni who passed me on to the Lab for analysis with thoughts that I might have a parasite (who, what?), I peed in a pot again, awaited the results and returned to Dr Borkinni for a prescription in the worst doctor writing that I have ever, ever seen. The pharmacy managed to decipher it, although there was a bit of confusion when I faced a small child at the pharmacy window, it was end of the school day, and copious drugs were dispensed. All very neat and tidy.
I have returned to the sanctuary of WIndy and had a very large gin and tonic. I really think we have deserved it.