Saturday, 26 March 2016

AHHH, the BVI's

    Mother nature was kind to us.  We completed the 480 NM trip from the Turks & Caicos to the BVI's in a little under 4 days. That was the good news. Unfortunately we had to motor the whole way, yuck!! The winds were unusually calm for 3 of the days but what wind there was , was right into us, no good for sailing.  We knew that was going to be the case but decided to go anyway. We were keen to continue our trip south and waiting for the wind to blow from any direction but the East could have had us waiting for weeks in the T&C's.

    It was an absolutely gorgeous day when we pulled out of the Marina and headed along the North coast of the T&C's, the water was so calm it had an "oily" look to it, just beautiful.  Shortly before sunset that first night we were treated to a wonderful show. Two whales were breaching just a couple hundred yards from the boat, an amazing sight. Of course by the time we had grabbed a camera the show was over.

   It was an otherwise uneventful trip. We saw very few other boats. We had a three quarter moon which was setting on my 2 to 6 am shift. I was appreciative of its light before it set each night and always glad to see the Eastern sky lighten up, staring at around 5.30am as the sun rose each morning.  During our shifts we read, listen to music, eat! and Ian has started watching movies on his computer, always keeping a good look out of course.  Otherwise during the day we are catching up on sleep and eating regular meals, or as I like to say; surviving.

  Needless to say, we were very happy to see  Land Ho on the 4th morning and to pull in to the North Sound of Virgin Gorda, a place we are very familiar with from our previous chartering days.

Zooropa( in the middle) on a mooring ball, Leverick Bay, North Sound 

      It was a quick and easy check in with customs and immigration and we were legal. After a very early bedtime that night and with the help of pharmaceuticals for a good nights sleep, we were feeling back to normal the next day.  

     We rented a car while on the Island of Virgin Gorda and enjoyed seeing the amazing sights and beaches.

Looking towards Tortola

On top of Gorda Peak

Looking down the length of Virgin Gorda 

The Baths. Hugh boulders line the beach.

   We moved the short distance over to The Bitter End Yacht Club and have been enjoying the hilly hikes and views.

Looking down on Saba Rock from Guy's Trail at The Bitter End Yacht Club

Looking back across the sound to Leverick Bay

At the Bitter End Yacht Club

   Ahhh, the BVI's. In a few days we plan to head over to Anegada, should be a good sail, and then continue on visiting other Islands ( all part of the BVI's) in this wonderful area.

My art project.


   My sister and I made jars like this as kids with shells we had collected at the beach. I collected most of these shells from Stocking Island, Exumas, Bahamas. I finally found some speckling paste in the T&C's to stick them on to the jar with.  It turned out well, we use it as a pen holder.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Turks and Caicos with Sammy and Dean

  The sea state was short and choppy on the way over to the T& C's ( I had to take some Gravol) but we had a good sail and arrived at the Blue Haven Marina just after breakfast. No sooner had we tied up than the Immigration Officer was on board checking us in to the country and the Customs officer was waiting up at the Marina office, so a quick and easy check in here in the T&C's.

This is the view from our "front porch"

The pool we get to lounge by each afternoon! 

Sammy is happy to be here.

A short dingy ride gets us to the beautiful beach of Grace Bay

Grace Bay on a windy day

Lots of good conch at Da Conch Shack

A beautiful setting for lunch 

Calm and shallow Sapodilla Bay. We had anchored here on our way north last year.

Another beach lunch, this time at Bugaloos

   Conch ( pronounced conk) shells are a dime a dozen down here, conch is always on the menu. After our lunch at Bugaloos we wondered out onto the beach where a local man was de-shelling (?) the conk and preparing it for the restaurant. Once the conk is removed from the shell- which they do by hammering off one of the horns and then inserting a sharp knife- they pound the crap out of the conch meat to tenderize it before eating. Below are pictures of the conch meat being removed from the shell. It is quite  amazing what comes out of those lovely shells!

    Looking at these pictures now, I believe the white splattered "bits" on the mans blue shirt are pieces of pounded conch. The two black and white marbled stalk like appendages are apparently the eyes.

   Our week with Sammy and Dean has come to an end. We had a lovely, fun time showing them some of the Island and beaches.  The marina is more like a resort, with it's own beach, pool and gym where Sammy tried to whip me back into shape each morning! ( Thanks Sammy).

   We are anxious to continue our trip south  and it finally looks like we can make a move in that direction. Unfortunately for us we need to go east ( and south) and east is the direction the winds blow from. For the next three or so days the winds look to be light so we will head out this afternoon even though it appears we will be motoring more than sailing.  Fingers crossed our destination is the BVI's but if we can't make it there - due to high winds from the east - then the USVI's or even Puerto Rico will do.

Hanging out at Blue Haven Marina, T&C's