Trip summary 7/2-7/11
Day 1
Flew from JFK to St Thomas, walked to Emerald, hotel in pretty good shape, room comfortable, pesky knats
Day 2
Cab to ferry $70 including bags for 8 people. Paid $10 pp customs, prepaid ferry with Moorings r/t $60 adults $40 r/t child.
Was on Roadtown Fast Ferry called BVI Patriot, an rather old cat. Rough ride on first 15 minutes of trip. At Roadtown paid $10 pp environmental tax. Moorings had van waiting for us. Lot of damage to buildings but also a fair amount of reconstruction in route to marina. Van cost $5 pp. Marina in great shape. We provisioned partially with Moorings and the rest with a trip to RiteWay. There’s also a cash only store next to Rite Way which may be worth stopping in especially as they have a larger selection of beer. Rite Way was well stocked. This was an evening start on a 433PC the same boat we learned on last year so we were very comfortable with it.
Day 3
Had walk through at 9am and was off the dock by 10am. Did chart briefing course with Nautic ed so did not have to worry about that. First stop was Indians, a bit choppy and a fair amount of fish life. Then to the caves where the fish life was much more abundant. Picked up ball at the Bight. Maybe 10 balls taken of the ~60. WillyT still there may he RSIP. Did not go to Pirates.
Day 4 Cruised to Lee Bay to snorkel Rhône but too windy and choppy. Had some unseasoned sailors on board so comfort was a priority on trip. Left and picked up ball on Cooper which was in great shape. Ice cream parlor (salted caramel is to die for) and coffee shop is now where the Rum Bar was. Rum Bar has new digs. About half the balls taken. Better swimmers snorkeled Cistern but current was strong and soon returned.
Day 5 Cruised to the Baths early for a better shot at grabbing a ball. Success! Dinghyed to dinghy line and swam to shore, well some of us pulled ourselves to shore using the buoyed line that goes from the dinghy line to within waist deep water near the shore. Did the walk through but the prize was Devils Bay, absolutely breathtaking.
Cruised to Leverick Bay Marina that had quite a chop. Remember there was a tropical depression 200 miles south. Leverick was in great shape, everyone got a kick out of how the dock hands tied the lines to the cleat. Hand the buffet which was great and the kids loved the jumbo dancers. Provisioning store was well stocked. Fuel was $5 gallon vs Moorings $4.08. Was not comfortable with the fuel gauges so the tanks were topped off as we were going to Anegada.
Day 6 Cruised to Anegada. Uneventful journey. Made reservations for lobster dinner called Dean of DW Jeep, picked us up brought us to his office signed one document and paid $95 for truck with bench seating in the back. First stop was Loblolly Beach. Yikes a lot of seaweed, only 4 people there but if you can see past the seaweed you can see its beauty. Next Cow Wreck. Much less seaweed and waters churning. Had some conch fritters and Caribs while watching kite surfing. Kids flew a couple of $5 kites I brought on trip. Flew them on the boat as well while on a mooring. Dropped the truck off and had a delicious lobster dinner. Lobsters were quite small so we were given two halves instead of one. We ended up with more meat then we remembered last year with just a half.
Day 7 was a rather uncomfortable ride to Guana Island as we took the northern route but we were rewarded with one of the highlights of the trip. Picked up a ball at Monkey Point and was entertained by a dolphin with her calve. They would skirt around as snorkelers chased them, slow enough to tease but would accelerate if the gap was too close. To say the least we were exhausted but thrilled for the experience in such a natural environment. Then journeyed over to Great Harbor at JVD. Not too busy as was the theme throughout the whole trip except the Baths and White Bay.
Ventured to shore. Corairs and Foxy’s were quiet. Was baited by a bakery sign that touted banana and coconut bread but was closed. Picked up some handcrafted souvenirs at Alibabas and returned to the boat.
Day 8 Shifted over to White Bay and picked up a ball on west side. Overcast day with that same chop following us. Dinghyed to Soggy but was closed, yes closed. Wife took a pix of me behind the bar and then ventured over to CocoLocos for beers. Hendos was also closed. Saw a sign for the WiFi network at Soggy behind bar and chilled. Entertained the folks at home on the webcam by doing my Starman impression in and out of view.
Day 9 Yes we woke up to a beautiful day with relatively flat seas. Motored over to the front of Soggy’s and dropped anchor. Place got packed real quick. Ventured to shore and had a few beers interrupted by swims in the clear beautiful Caribbean waters and entertained by a few who had too many Pain Killers. Too bad I could have used that chum in my fishing endeavors (skunked BTW) Left for Norman for final night. Only a handful of boats.
Day 10 back to the marina at 10am. Moorings was great as well as the boat. Total fuel used 115 gallons (including top off at Leverick). Transported back to ferry terminal $5 pp. paid BVI departure tax $20 pp. Waited for BVI Patriot, late. Finally boarded. Cruised 500 yards and returned to dock. Captain said possible rope caught in prop, need to wait for diver to investigate. Diver arrived, bent prop, need to wait for another ferry from Native Son. An even much older and single hull. Well she was a bit slower but the ride made her proud. Comfortable with little roll. Our original departure time was to be 2:30, we left 4:30, felt bad for those who missed their flights. Thank God we had another night booked at Emerald.
Great trip. Tarpon beware, I will be back with the right size hooks and bait.