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Post Irma Trip Report Part Two: The Islands #150554
12/27/2017 11:24 AM
12/27/2017 11:24 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 11,502
Eric_Hill Offline OP

Traveler
Eric_Hill  Offline OP

Traveler
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 11,502
By jagmansr

Part Two ~ Post Irma Visit.
Granted, things are different, countless people have lost everything, massive destruction everywhere but the residents are in great spirits and openly and warmly thanked us for coming back.

Our trip started as normal by arriving at the airport in St Thomas. Walking off the plane was just like all our previous visits. That great warn air hitting you as you walk off the plane. The rum shots waiting to greet you as you walked into baggage claim. Kevin arranged our pickup and ride to the ferry for Road Town. ,Everything up to getting on the ferry to Road Town was normal. Once arriving at Road Town, Customs was destroyed so they have temporary tents set up for check in. The new twist is now there is a $10 fee to enter BVI (to help restore places including the Baths. Personally, I have no issues with the fees as well as tipping much more then normal.

We preordered food from Rightway and it was delivered just as requested and in the time frame we asked. All done by a friendly deliveryman thanking us for being there. Arriving at Captain's Compass in Sea Cow Bay, Island Fun was at the dock and waiting for us ready to show us the “new BVI" Brent at Captain's Compass was great looking after his fleet during Irma. Without his efforts this trip would not have happened.
Day One: Saturday night ended with a great meal at Gene's, in Sea Cow Bay. They had no damage and offered their usual complete and delicious menu. Gene's was packed. Glad they seem to be doing great.

Day Two: We headed for Norman Island. in our “power cat conversion. Island Fun ran flawlessly and for a week of motoring only used a total of 30 gallons of diesel. It was around 11:30 when we grabbed a mooring ball at the Indians. Only one other cat was there with us. First time not having to wait for a ball. After snorkeling and lunch, we headed into Norman. WillyT's is way up on the rocks, No second floor and what looks like the kitchen was the only structure left on. My guess is a new barge is needed to replace the Willy T. Don't see how they can get it back in the water. The Pirates is being rebuilt and they have a beach bar going for now. On Sunday's, they have a beach party going on til 8PM. There were about 12 boats in Norman for the evening

Day 3: .
After a leisure breakfast we headed over to the Wreck of the Rhome. As we approached a ball only one other cat was there and it was pulling out. Good friends of ours had rented a 43 cat from CYOA for his 60th birthday. That boat was damaged so they ended up with a brand new Sobo 50. They joined us for most for the sail. Next we headed over to Cooper Island. At 1 PM only 6 boats where there. Under normal conditions even at 11 we could never find an empty ball. By nightfall there were 12 boats for the night. All the building looking o be empty shells but tons of work was going on. When a staff member came out to collect the $30 mooring fee he told us he had ridden out the hurricane on the Island. He promised the docks would be finished being rebuilt and the restaurant and stores open by April 1.

Day 4:
Off to the Baths. It was around 9:30 when we got to the baths. Only one other at was there. It was great grabbing a mooring ball up close to the dingy line so it was an easy swim in. The Baths were incredible. Nothing out of place. Walking through the baths, they had added and replaced many of the steps and added a few new rope holds. It was easier and even nicer walking through the baths than it has in the past 5 years. The only damage visible was the lack of the roof over the picnic tables by the bar. The Baths will clearly stay a top destination stop. By the time we left, 3 other boats had arrived. We motored over to Leverick Bay. Sailing past Spanish Town was heartbreaking. It looked as though ever single boat there was either damaged or destroyed. Entering the North Sound was fine. The first Green marker was gone but the rest were intake. Sir Richard’s Moskito Island is well on the way of being rebuilt. The main structure has plywood over the windows but it looks as though it should be restores fairly quickly. The Bitter End is simply destroyed. Factoring in the bungalows, hotel, stores and restaurants. It will take years and millions of $$ to every get any of it up and running. Saba Rock is destroyed aw well. We headed over the Leverick and grabbed a mooring ball. By the time night set again, 12 boats were there. With out two boats we have a mixed crew of 14. We had diner in the lower level restaurant as the second floor was heavily damaged. The restaurant was full that night so I was glad we put in a reservation. Both drinks and meals were verily served. Much faster than I anticipated considering there were 14 of us. When we arrived, I went in to see about finding some ice. It was great running into Nick, we went into his office and I had a great visit with Monica and Nick. It had been almost 2 years since we last saw each other. Our friends had taken down bags of rice, cans of milk and other necessaries to pass out to those in need. We left some with Nick who made sure they were going to people who had lost everything. Leverick Bay has a large crew working on repairs. The dock looked almost finished. For now though, no fuel or ice. The grocery store at Leverick did come up with a way to provide ice. 3 gallon zip lock bags, filled with water than frozen in the coolers. By that time we were thankful for any ice we could get. Our friends cat did have a water and ice maker so we did bum as much ice from them as we could.

Day 5:
Our friends headed over to Anegada for a lobster diner and exploring the island on mopeds. They reported the Island was in great shape and encourage others to go there as well. Lacking our sail I didn’t want to motor over so we headed over to Foxy’s Taboo and the bubby pool. We stopped at the Dogs for a bit of snorkeling and after a nice leisurely motor we arrived at Sandy Spit, or what’s left of it. I’d say half the island is gone. I did hear at Foxy’s in Great Harbor a lot of coconut trees have been planted on Sandy Spit.
Heading over to Foxy’s Taboo, the dingy dock is half destroyed but is usable. Foxy’s though is gone, mostly just the floor remaining. The other restaurant is also destroyed. The “road” between that restaurant and the mango trail to the bubble pool is now a trash/dump site. At least a hundred yards of debris some smothering, is lining the road. Hard to tell if and when that might get removed. The path to the bubble pool has been altered do to Irma. There’s no growth up on the hill anymore. The fine sandy beach part of the bubble pool is now mostly pebbles. And there are rocks fallen down on the far left side of the pool. The pool itself hasn’t changed. You can still wade in just like before. However the area behind the pool has lost all it’s vegetation so it’s an open field all the way to the water bog area. Overall, it’s not as breathtaking as before. We shared the bay that night with one other boat. Three other boats came in but after looking at Foxy’s, they left. Diner was on the boat. We had brought down frozen chicken, salmon and bison burgers for the diners on board.

Day 6;
After breakfast we went over to Sandy Key. There are 8 mooring balls there and while there 2 other boats joined us. Like everywhere else, the vegetation was killed off. Irma took off about 2 feet of elevation on Sandy Key, Right where the vegetation stopped the beach suddenly dropped 2 feet. It’s still a nice “deserted” island to visit. One couple we talked to had also dropped anchor at Sandy Spit and walked around there so it is doable as well. From there we headed over to Great Harbor. Only Foxy’s store and restaurant and customs were open. Rest of the buildings are either gone or being rebuilt. Foxy’s rebuilt their open bar. We had drinks and Foxy’s was kind enough to give us a large bag of ice as there is no were else to get any. Foxy was there in his usual chair sharing his stories. We took our dingy over to White Bay. Soggy Dollar has a tent serving drinks and Hendo’s Hideout has drinks and food. I was told on Sundays Soggy Dollar has a cookout. Foxy’s did say they are having their New Year Eves party again this year, just not sure how large it’s going to be.

Day 7:
We headed over to the West End to check it out. Customs is a tent for now. We were one of 2 boats on a mooring ball. Pussers Resturant is open on the second floor. ALL the buildings are mere shells being rebuilt with the exception of Omar’s Café. As I said Pusser’s was open BUT no one was interested in waiting on us so we headed over to Omar’s for a nice and quickly served lunch. After lunch we headed over to Nanny Key to refuel before returning to Sea Cow Bay.
Over all it was a great trip. Cash is king and most businesses aren’t doing credit cards right now. Ice is next to impossible to find. Especially after leaving Tortola. Cane Garden Bay is closed as in your not allowed to enter the bay. Seems the beach is the sanitation system so the beach is closed. The good news is the run distillery is still open and running. People are happy to see visitors returning. AND they want you there. There is a limited supply of boats so plan accordingly. One of our crew filmed a lot using his drone. Once he has that on you tube, I’ll post the link. Bottom line for me,,,,,, I’ll be back the end of February. I love the BVI as much as always. Hope to see some of you down there soon.


Eric Hill
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Re: Post Irma Trip Report Part Two: The Islands [Re: Eric_Hill] #150564
12/27/2017 01:25 PM
12/27/2017 01:25 PM
Joined: Jun 2013
Posts: 90
Billings, MT
harleybuffett Offline
Traveler
harleybuffett  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Jun 2013
Posts: 90
Billings, MT
Thank you so much for your report. We have a charter for next November and while we know many things may not be the same, we love the people and the gin clear water!

Re: Post Irma Trip Report Part Two: The Islands [Re: Eric_Hill] #150594
12/27/2017 09:41 PM
12/27/2017 09:41 PM
Joined: Oct 2014
Posts: 149
East Tennessee
Annoddddd Offline
Traveler
Annoddddd  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Oct 2014
Posts: 149
East Tennessee
Great details and just what we've been interested in.

We have secured a monohull with Brent for April 7-14 and are excited! Ready to see the people.

Re: Post Irma Trip Report Part Two: The Islands [Re: Eric_Hill] #150596
12/27/2017 10:21 PM
12/27/2017 10:21 PM
Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 193
TN
msdj69 Offline
Traveler
msdj69  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 193
TN
Thanks for the report. Did you happen to see any work being done at Saba or BEYC?


Mike
Re: Post Irma Trip Report Part Two: The Islands [Re: Eric_Hill] #150611
12/28/2017 10:10 AM
12/28/2017 10:10 AM
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 932
Winston Salem, NC
lonewolf1977 Offline
Traveler
lonewolf1977  Offline
Traveler
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 932
Winston Salem, NC
Great report. Thanks!


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