Thursday, July 14, 2016

Going "Home" For The Summer

While our home Country celebrated Independence Day with hot dogs and fireworks and family get-togethers... We made our solitary way down the coast of Tortola to Cane Garden Bay.

We had just dropped off our guest of the past two weeks at the dock in Trellis Bay.  We were probably gone before his plane took off... and headed for our "happy place" here in the BVI.

We needed some down time.  We needed some quiet.  And this is the place to get it.

Play time was over... all of our friends were back home and Hurricane Season was fast approaching.  Time to get real folks!  Time to implement our Hurricane Plan... and we had less than two weeks to do it.  We started listening to Chris Parker Weather again in hopes that he would give us good news.  Plotting our projected stops between here and Salinas, Puerto Rico... we were happy to hear that the weather window was looking good.

Primo Spot just off the marina
Friday would be perfect for skipping right over the USVIs for a beautiful sail to Culebra... With this in mind, we moved over to West End Tortola to clear out of the BVIs... and meet up with friends.

It's been a while since we've spent any time in Soper's Hole.  It's sort of a "touristy" stop with charter companies operating 24/7 it seems.  But we lucked onto a prime mooring ball to spend our one night here.

There are some spots to anchor but they are either crowded or very deep... so we ponied up the $30 for the ball and relaxed.

Our plan was coming together.  There were several couples we had hoped to meet and...this time, their schedules meshed with ours...  I let "the Locals" be in charge of the plan to get together in the evening for happy hour.  This left our day open to get out and see a little bit more of the town than we've done previously.

There is supposed to be a bakery somewhere along this road.  We walked along searching for any sign of it's existence...

Finally we decided that we MUST have passed it by and when a little girl on a bicycle came along and asked us if we were looking for the bakery.... (evidently lots of people wander around looking confused here)... we followed her right to the obscure "road" to our goal.

We gave the girl a few bucks for her help and tentatively approached what looked to be an abandoned home.

Just as we were about to give up and backtrack, a man came out and invited us in.  Sort of.  He said that it wasn't really a bakery in the sense that we had hoped.  But more of a home catering business. He agreed to sell us some patties and a nice shepherd's pie that he had on hand and we happily left with our loot.

We stopped at the grocery store just off the boardwalk for a few more things and went back to the boat to rest up for our evening out.

We volunteered to be the early birds to secure our table at the Fish-N-Lime restaurant...

Turns out that we were one of TWO couples in the place... except for maybe a feline or two.

Guess this "low season" thing is real!  But it's nice not to have to deal with crowds of people and although maybe the menus are somewhat limited... we practically have the whole country to ourselves!

Our friends began to arrive soon...  by dinghy of course!

Mike and Jen - Three Sheets Sailing - were the first...

Followed by new friends IRL Jody and Peter from Where The Coconuts Grow.  They had just announced their engagement and they were both just glowing... their bright white smiles lighting up the table!  I can only imagine being newly engaged and beginning a life that everyone dreams of in this place.

Birds feeding just off the restaurant dock.
We eventually welcomed Brittany, of Windtraveler fame... She was solo... having left Scott back on the boat with their three adorable girls.  Brittany was ready for a night of adult conversation and we laughed and compared stories as only Cruisers can!  It was such a landmark experience for me to meet up with fellow Bloggers who all had a huge part in making this life possible for me!

The folks at Customs and Immigration had allowed us to clear out the afternoon before, for an early morning departure before office hours.

West End, BVI to Culebra, Puerto Rico
We had no time to waste and more than 35 miles to go.  The downwind sailing was sublime with the rolling waves setting up behind us causing the boat to surf to breakneck speeds in excess of 7 knots.  It was so easy.  We just set the autopilot and relaxed in the cockpit.

Morning at the outer reef
Our first stop was Culebra.  We picked up a free mooring ball just inside the reef and waited out some weather.

A quick day trip to town for some provisions between squalls was about all there was on our agenda.

For three nights we waited... and listened to the weather forecast.  We hoped for perfect conditions to see us the rest of the way to Salinas,

See that wobble?
And we got them!  Leaving the reef we rounded Culebra and pointed our bow towards the Green Beach at the western end of Vieques.

The following waves were kind of big with the occasional monster.  We had all sails flying and were sleigh-riding again pushing our hull limit.  We were almost out of control but it felt really good!

You can see by our yellow track here that we had to begin somewhat off the wind.  We reconfigured our sails to wing-on-wing and sailed more dead downwind for a while... But with the big following seas we really needed to be a little off the waves and trim sails to that.

Little hint of a waterspout there for a moment...
We headed for the tip of the island and really got lucky as we picked our way through the coral heads littered along the sandy shoal that extends NW from the island.  After a couple of tense moments during which I wondered if we had pressed our luck too far... we made it over the bar with nothing less than 8 ft on white sand beneath us.  We motorsailed into the anchorage and dropped anchor in a familiar spot.

What a joy it is to return yet again to this beautiful and now favorite anchorage for some much needed rest after a long day on the water.

We relaxed and floated around the boat and spent a restful night with no worries.

The next morning we were up again and moving on.  The weather forecast gave us just enough time to get to Salinas before some unpleasant conditions moved in once again.

Downwind sailing is relatively new to us as we've spent the majority of our cruising life sailing directly upwind.  We are amazed that sailing in winds and seas that would have made for a bash going the other way, made for a delightful day going west!

A strange sight caught my eye from off in the distance.  I kept watch thinking it could not be what I thought it was... an oil drilling rig?  Out HERE???  We haven't seen one of those since we sailed in the Gulf of Mexico!

Getting closer...
At first it looked as if it was being towed off to our port side... but soon I realized that it was moving across our bow!

So we're sailing along with the pole out on the jib and full main in 20ish knot winds and 4-6 ft. seas.

I told Bruce, "there's a boat that looks like it's towing an oil rig and I think we're in a crossing situation"

Bruce says..."We have right-of-way..."...


And closer!!!
I turned on the AIS and got the name of the tow boat.  It showed that the the tug was "Not under command" and that the rig had "limited maneuverability"...


So... I hailed the towboat Captain and after a brief conversation in which I learned that he was indeed awaiting the arrival of a Captain, we agreed that I would hold my course.  He was moving at a rate of 1.5 knots and would maneuver to avoid us if needed.  We were making 6.5 to 7.5 knots and would easily pass in front of them.

It was at about that time that Bruce SAW the oil rig... and began freaking out!  I wonder what he THOUGHT I had said... because clearly he had not heard me... He never listens.

The waves were BIG!
Disaster now averted, we continued on our merry way.  As we neared the coast of Puerto rico and began to make our way around the south side, the waves got a bit more confused and quite a bit larger.

For a while it was all I could do to control the boat and we had to hand steer because the autopilot couldn't correct for the more irregular big swipes from behind.

Sailing wing-on-wing was not an option with the waves coming from our stern quarter... we had to steer to the waves in long gybes.  There was a minor wind shift that helped... without it we would have had to go much further out before we made our gybe to the lay line. (which we nailed by the way-that racing history pays off)

After that I was happy to feel the boat settling in for a more comfortable ride and as we approached the shoreline, the waves settled down considerably.  We were almost there...

Will these rollers take us onto the reef?
Puerto Patillas was one of the anchorages we skipped on our way east the first time.  It would be new to us today and that brings with it a certain amount of anxiety.

Safely past the danger
We began to see waves crashing on the protective reef around the tiny bay and wondered how much the rollers would affect us going in.

But our worries were completely unfounded as the entrance to this calm oasis is wide open and easy!  We actually sailed in and didn't drop sails until we were very close to the shore where we found a nice sandy spot in about 15 ft of beautiful water.

The little town was a welcoming sight and we almost changed our decision to make this a short stop for the night.  But there was weather coming and even though we had an "extra" day... we wanted to keep it in the bank.


So we left the charms of Patillas unvisited and remained on the boat with the other more obvious charms that were all ours to enjoy!

The BEST of times...
Jezabelle enjoying the new smells on a light breeze
Only one more short hop to go until we're home.  We were excited about it.  We couldn't wait to see our marina and get settled into our slip... and turn on the AIR CONDITIONING!!!  It was beginning to get really hot these days and we were READY!

We were on our way early again to take advantage of the morning calms created by the island... Following the coast closely we never saw another big wave,

The Boca de Infierno held no terror for us today as we popped in through the reef and motored toward our safe haven.  With only one small hiccough left to get through... a thrown alternator belt that was quickly replaced... our eyes searched all around us, eager to learn about, and make familiar... our new home...
Inside Boca de Infierno
The winds had already begun to blow by the time we arrived and the marina did not answer our hail.  We anchored among the moored boats and dinghied in to get a slip assignment.

We would have to wait one more night to feel the soothing comfort that electricity would bring... the winds were blowing too hard for us to safely dock the boat.

We spent the afternoon placing some docklines on the pilings and cleats in our slip in preparation for our early morning move... then settled down to enjoy the cool evening and what would become a familiar sunset.
Before the sun was high the following morning we were securely tied up with life-giving cool air wafting through our tiny house.

This is an ending... and a beginning.  It is the end of freelancing, the end of new places, the end of uncertainty... for a while.

But it is the beginning of a time in which we can settle.  We can put down a few tentative roots.  We can - not worry about what tomorrow will bring (If you don't count hurricanes!!!), and hopefully we can make some new friends.

This will be our third summer.  The first we spent in Charleston, SC.  The second was a little marina in Gulfport, FL.

This is our first "foreign" port where we will get to know the place and begin to think of it as "Home"... and one day we will look back on this and say "Remember that summer we lived in Puerto Rico?"

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Let It Begin With Me

Where do we begin to advance change?  Everyone wants it.  Politicians promise it.  Rioters demand it.  But how do we DO it? 

We left the British Virgin Islands and returned to Puerto Rico, where our AT&T data plan provides us lots of lovely access to the Internet.  Imagine my disappointment when I opened up Facebook to find that once again, there has been a tragedy in the US.  And once again… it has unleashed innumerable opinions and accusations about why evil happens.

Whose fault is it? Who can we blame?  And I am… yes… I’m going to say it… I’m GLAD I’m not on US soil right now.  My pride in being an American was of course inbred.  It’s un-American to NOT have pride in being American… How dare I even think it???  It is physically impossible!  But travel and distance from the American media has allowed me to have a more objective view of “us” and my lifestyle affords me lots of time to think about things.  Seeing my country from a distance has not been pretty.

A conversation that occurred some time prior to this most recent event came rushing to the forefront again.  A person I know stated: My parents didn’t raise me to be racist… they just told me not to play with them (Blacks) or have anything to do with them.  They’re just “different”.  

Outwardly I just blinked for a moment... while inside my head there were alarms and whistles going off… fireworks were spewing and my eyes were popping out of their sockets like in the cartoons…  But outside I responded (as calmly as I could) THAT’S WHAT RACISM IS!!!

I don’t think the person was trying to be funny or anything… I think this person really thought it was OK to think that way… that it wasn’t being racist, it's just the way things are.  I understood then that racism is so deeply ingrained in our minds that we may not even realize that many of our thoughts and actions are racist. 

I’m not racist… I have lots of (insert name of any group other than your own) friends…  Even that sentence is subtly racist…  The fact is that there is no one alive who doesn’t have SOME sort of mental filing cabinet into which all other persons are grouped… and referring to them by their group is, in fact, being racist or bigoted or discriminatory on some level. 

But that’s not really where I’m going with this…  Going back to that conversation… It got the mental wheels turning.  I began to think about all of the times I’ve had conversations with friends whom I believed to be “just like me” in their opinions about other races.  I thought about all of the instances in which I learned just how wrong I was in that assumption.  I remembered the shock I felt when I listened to a friend making an openly racial remark… and I did nothing. 

I said nothing. 

And in saying nothing, I may have maintained a friendship… but I failed as a human being. 

That must change.

Today I saw that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Bahamas has issued a Travel Advisory to all Bahamian Citizens... especially young black males.... planning travel to the US.

There you have it.  We have arrived!  We have finally become the "People our parents warned us about".  We can no longer stare down our noses, comfortably superior in the fact that OTHER countries are dangerous and we should beware when considering travel to these places...  WE ARE THE ENEMY!  WE... are dangerous.  And I am afraid.  

We are traveling on our boat in countries where there are people of many colors.  They are in charge. We are not.  They have rights where we do not.  If they wanted to, they could just massacre us and that would be the end of it.  But mostly they don't.

I have had friends ask me point blank "How it is in the BVIs... I mean... with those people."  When I realized that the question was about black people (!!!!!) I just stammered something like "Oh, um... they're good... not a problem... (blink blink)"

I failed.  This must change.

And the fact is... the people ARE good!  There has not been one minute in any of the countries we've visited that we ever felt any kind of fear of a racial nature.  Never.  And I recoil from shame that anyone has had to feel that type of fear in MY Glorious Country...

And then I feel a sense of dread sink in... What if people from other countries were to decide to treat us the way our country treats others?  It just doesn't bear thinking about or I would be paralyzed with fear and nowhere to run...  And I send thanks to whatever God there is that the people we've encountered have been, well... if not all warm and welcoming of us pesky foreigners... at least they've been benevolently tolerant of us as a necessary evil.  Knowing what I know about the US I'm not so sure I would want us in my country either...  (Does that make sense at all???)

My husband, the history teacher has tried to educate me many times about how Americans repeatedly make the same mistakes and fail to learn from historical events.  So many times I have thought he is just the bringer of Doom-&-Gloom that doesn't belong in my "magic bubble of happiness".  But at this point, I am becoming truly afraid about where America is going.

And as much as I hate to say it... Bruce is right.  (don't tell him I said that... he doesn't read my blog)  We continuously fail to learn, not only from historical mistakes... but even recent ones.  This must change.

If I were Queen-of-the-World, there would be no lawyers or politicians or religion or insurance or media...  But I am not and I can't just wave my scepter and abolish all of the ugly things.  So what can I do?  What can we ALL do?

First... we have to admit that WE are the problem.  No... not those people over there... YOU!  Me!  WE!!!  We can all take a good hard and honest look inside ourselves and admit to all of those hidden little notions.  All of those thoughts like: "We must teach our children to be tolerant of all races"... WHAT???  Our children don't have any problems with intolerance of others outside of those WE have TAUGHT them.

It is inside all of us and we don't even know it's there.  Once Bruce and I were riding our bikes through a "bad neighborhood" in Sarasota, Florida.  I led and Bruce followed as I pedaled through the streets of some very shabby homes.  Thin young men played ball in the streets and hung out around clunker cars.  Old ladies sat in doorways with their skirts up to their thighs to catch a cooling breeze.  Tiny children chased skinny cats around dusty yards... and young girls, all "done-up" sashayed past the boys with their noses in the air.  I know you have a mental picture of this neighborhood populated with Blacks... Even though I didn't say it.... and you're right

While Bruce was inside the auto parts store we came there to visit, I admired a "low-rider" car that was a glistening cherry apple red and exchanged complementary remarks about it with a dreadlocked dude...  Inside my head I was congratulating myself at my lack of fear of these people as we invaded their domain...  Ha!  There you have it!  I MUST not be racist!!!  But because these thoughts even entered my mind... they prove to me that racism is buried deep... but it is there.  Had I not had SOME bit of it in me, being in that situation would have been no big deal.  So you see?  It's HARD to overcome what has been instilled within us from birth.

If you think about it... many of these recent tragedies would never have occurred if there wasn't so much fear and hatred for people who are different from ourselves.  With the exception of the mentally ill... it could all just go away.  No need to blame anyone... no need to hate.  We could all be spending our mental energy on much more beneficial pursuits like maybe coming up with a valid Presidential candidate... Whoops!  Did I say that out loud???

It's all so monumental.  It's all so huge and out-of-control.  There's no way to stop this speeding freight train that we're on...  But there is.  Instead of doing nothing, I can all start by doing some self-reflection.  This is my blog.  It's where I share our lives and now it's where I will put out my apology to the universe.

And I can start my own little wave of change.  I can speak up.  I can stop implying agreement with racists by remaining silent.  I can be thankful that I have never felt racially discriminated against and I can do my small part by not contributing to the cacophony of racial remarks that are flying about the internet like a great fog keeping us from seeing what's really important.

Let change begin with me.

This is another blogger's post on the subject that impressed me so much I would like to share it with you.  Click HERE to read it. 

Monday, July 4, 2016

Island Hopping With JD Part II

Great Camanoe to Norman's Bight - 7.6 miles
Where do we go next?  The normal progression of moving around through the BVIs makes it easy... just follow the circle.  But we're not following the circle.  We're backwards and sideways.  We have JD for only six more days and there are still SO many places we want to take him... plus we need to be in Trellis Bay on his last night so that he can relax and not stress about getting to the airport on time.

We took a look at the weather forecast and the charts.  Luckily the longest sail among the islands is still a relatively short one.  We decided to go back to the west and begin our last week at Norman Island.
We passed right by Trellis Bay and the airport...
We rounded the NE end of Tortolla under motor, then turned downwind and shut it off for some of the best sailing we've ever had.  JD took the helm while Bruce and I relaxed.  This is the best kind of autopilot as it can make decisions for itself!

The few miles to Norman's Bight disappeared quickly and The Indians appeared on the horizon.

Sometimes you just get lucky and today was one of those times.  The moorings at The Indians are very popular.  All day long there is a steady stream of boats coming and going and today... we were coming when someone else was going.

Spotting an empty mooring from almost a quarter mile away... I was ON IT!  I quickly scanned the area for other boats approaching and there was one... dang it!  I started the engine and increased our speed... The other boat beat us there but our luck held and another boat let a mooring go just as the new boat arrived... leaving our mooring free!  Hooray!

I alerted my crew as to my intentions.  We don't have time to turn up and drop the mainsail in leisurely fashion.  The intensity in my voice and the determined look on my face galvanized them into action.  After a few seconds of staring at me and at one another... Bruce said "OK... if you think you can do this"... They hopped to it and got the jib rolled in.

I continued motoring directly at my objective... a small dot... while they scrambled.  You can see in this Google screenshot that there are two other moorings close-by.  There is actually one more just to the NE of the boat in front of us and a boat was on it.

I told the crew that I would approach the ball from downwind and turn sharply into the steady breeze from the east, at which time they should drop the main and then grab the boathook and turn their attention to securing the mooring pennant.  Again the stares...

But with people on the boat directly in front of us munching their snacks... we executed our plan flawlessly and were on the mooring in seconds at full stop.  I love it when a plan comes together.

The Indians
Engine off.  Sails secured.  Snorkel gear on.  And we were in the water within minutes of arrival.

The snorkeling was great even with a bit of a breeze... This was our first time on "the inside" of The Indians, having only snorkeled the outer wall on previous visits.  There the current can be pretty stiff but here, protected by the vast reef area, we enjoyed the feeling of protection.

After snorkeling to our heart's content we moved the short distance to our mooring ball near the westernmost edge of The Bight on Norman Island.


JD was eager to renew his acquaintance with the bartenders on The Willy T, an old boat permanently moored in The Bight where libations and food could be had, along with a raucous time if that's what you're looking for.

We dinghied over in the afternoon for happy hour and found few people there.  That was totally OK with me because a raucous time is NOT what WE are looking for.  We had the place mostly to ourselves and had a nice chat with the young woman serving drinks.

She told us she had come from the UK answering an advertisement to work in an office.  She then got the job on the Willy T working only two days a week and making more money.  Wonder how I can get a gig like that???

The following morning the guys dinghied over to snorkel The Caves just on the other side of the point while I tidied up from breakfast.  I needed some alone time and if doing dishes was the way to get it... so be it.

We left soon after their return, headed for our next anchorage at the lovely Salt Island.


Bruce and I have used one of the National Park moorings on the west side of Salt Island in the past.  There is a wreck there at 70ish ft that divers visit and the snorkeling is nice too if visibility is good.

Visibility was not good today with high winds and big seas, so we chose the more protected anchorage on the northern side of the island.

We motored around checking depths and looking for a sandy spot.  There was plenty of room and we were the only boat there upon arrival.  A charter catamaran arrived before sunset but we had the entire island to ourselves for exploration during the day.

We wanted to show JD the island so we dinghied to the beach and "secured" our dinghy with an anchor and a cinderblock... There's a little bit of surge in the anchorage but we thought it would be fine...

We were greeted by an eager chicken... She followed us around and we thought she was alone but others showed up eventually... I wanted to take her home with us as a pet!

Leaving the beach, there is a home where the keeper once lived.  They actually produced salt here from the salt pans behind the homestead. We visited the graves of the last inhabitants of the island.  There are no people living there now but it is still kept up nicely.

We walked across the flats and picked up salt from the edges of the ponds.  There was salt glistening in the dark sand all along the way.

Bruce likes my piece of coral...
We walked along the edges of the salt ponds and continued a short distance across the island to the west.  Here we found the rocky beach and could see the boats moored above the RMS Rhone.

The waves were crashing upon the rocks making entering the water for a snorkel just a bit too dangerous for our taste, so we contented ourselves with some beach combing before heading back to the boat where we snorkeled in peace off the stern.

Evidently our cinderblock was not heavy enough... Just in time!
Several of these were hovering above holes in the sand...
The snorkeling here started out as a dud... Other than some strange new fish I had never before encountered... the area around the boat was barren.

A nice sized Tarpon... wish they were edible!
But over near the outer edge of the anchorage there coral beds that were alive with all sorts of fish large and small...

The boys missed it!  Their snorkeling was done mainly around the boat and by the time I returned they were already rinsed off and dressed for dinner and a sunset...

The next morning we left early headed for the far end of Virgin Gorda.  We had another great sail, tacking our way along through the Sir Francis Drake Channel upwind.

We had every kind of wind from high to calm as we reached the lee of Virgin Gorda and then hit wind as we came out of the lee to the north and headed to the entrance channel.

Two other boats were making way to Leverick Bay and their proximity to us constituted a race!  We were proud to be the only finishers as we sailed in through the reef and didn't drop sails until we reached our mooring ball while the others motored in... Suckahs!

Bruce and I are taking every advantage of having CREW aboard!

We took the mooring close in because we expected some high winds and wanted to leave the boat to do some sightseeing by rental car.

We secured the rental and took off across the island.

Virgin Gorda is large enough to warrant a rental car.  If you want to go anywhere on the island by taxi, the cost of three people to one stop is more than the cost of a 24 hour rental... It's a no-brainer.

We had several spots we wanted to visit as well as some provisioning.  The drives over the mountains provide stunning views of the surrounding waters.  And seeing the road before you disappear into the ocean is a special treat as well...

We easily found our first objective... LUNCH!

Hog Heaven BBQ is perched high on the hilltop and the view alone would draw a crowd.. but the food is good and inexpensive!  SCORE!

The mooring field far below

Next stop, the old copper mine ruins!  We've been to the BVIs half a dozen times and never knew this place was here.

I don't know why it isn't more advertised... because it's really cool!

The thing I love the best about seeing ruins and such out here is that, unlike the US, they are 1.  So much less crowded... and 2.  Hardly regulated at all.

Even having signs posted and maybe some ineffectual lines strung along the path to keep honest people on the trail... is unusual.  There are few if any safety precautions... if you get off the trail and hurt yourself, well you shouldn't have been off the trail and it's your own damn fault.  I don't think they have lawyers outside the US at all...

There is copper leaching from some of the rocks

Looking down into a cistern

After wandering around the ruins for half an hour or so, we continued on to do some provisioning.  It was mid afternoon and we still had the car until 1pm the next day.  We made a couple of stops and stocked up on liquor (really cheap in these duty free islands.)

Once out of Spanish Town, we took the other route over the mountains with several stops to absorb the breathtaking vistas.

Spanish Town
Hog Heaven from the boat

Watch out for the Chicken crossing the road...
The next morning we took off again toward The Baths.  Sure we could have anchored the boat there and visited by dinghy... but we've done that recently... and we have a CAR!

The trail leads down the hill to the water, weaving around huge rocks.

Stop for photo op at Skull Rock...

JD What are you doing?  Boys will be boys!

The beach at The Baths

Entering the cave trail

Looking up from inside the boulder pile

Human assistance for some of the more steep climbs

Peaking out from the top

Almost there


On the way to Devil's Bay
Bruce and I have never continued along the path through The Baths that leads to Devil's Bay.  This time we made the trek and came out onto a very secluded and beautiful hidden beach.

Looking out into Devil's Bay

The Beach at Devil's Bay

Back up the trail to The Top Of The Baths

We didn't have time for lunch at Top-Of-The-Baths with one more provisioning stop to make and the car due back at 1pm... so we drove back across the island, sad about the end of our land mobility session but happy to move the boat to the next anchorage. We spent the night at Prickly Pear Island primed for an early morning departure to Marina Cay.

We sailed off the anchor, out through the channel and turned downwind for an easy sail with building winds to take a mooring for the night.  There are places to anchor but JD was treating us to a mooring ball AND dinner at Pussers!


Our boat from Marina Cay... check!
We took a spin in the dinghy and snorkeled a bit... it was unremarkable but nice for cooling off.  In the afternoon we dressed and went ashore for a walk around and happy hour before our dinner reservation.

The Painkiller, made famous by Pussers is the national drink of the BVI.  We have been making them ever since our first trip here, and have ordered them in many of the bars here in the BVI... but they are THE best here.

We were seated for dinner early and enjoyed our drinks with a view as a small rain shower came over. JD excused himself briefly and his seat was taken by THIS!

You know you're living right when a feline joins you for dinner.  Since JD had no date... he was happy for the company and for no longer being "a third wheel".

The kitty behaved himself very nicely throughout dinner.
Back at the boat with full tummies, we spend an uneventful night... I went to bed early while Bruce and JD talked into the night, reminiscing and solving the problems of the world... or whatever it is that men talk about in the absence of women.

The next morning we moved across the channel to find another mooring ball close to shore in the tiny artist's community of Trellis Bay, on Tortola.


We watched planes come and go all day.
Trellis bay is literally right next to the runway out of Beef Island.  We are here so that JD can walk to the airport for his flight back to reality the next day...

But we had one more afternoon and night to enjoy with our guest.

Metal Art
This place gets really going during high season with full moon parties and live music.  But during low season it is considerably more subdued.

We went ashore to do some last minute shopping and to see what entertainment was available for dinner.

Carved driftwood

Fire ball

We enjoyed a nice dinner at Da Loose Mongoose, once again JD's treat! There was live music just getting started as we finished our dinner and dragged our tired bodies back to the boat.
Happy hour before dinner was served...
In the morning, JD packed up his things and Bruce ferried him to shore.  We said our goodbyes and there may have been a few small tears...

JD was a pleasure to have onboard and acting as a charter boat was fun... but exhausting for us.  As soon as he left, we made a run by the grocery store and took off for Cane Garden Bay where we would spend several days doing laundry and just relaxing to allow our minds to slip back into Cruiser Mode.

Having guests is fun... But we're done for the season.  The US Independence Day was OUR Independence day this 4th of July...

Soon we will make our way to our Summer Home at Marina de Salinas in Puerto Rico... but first, a few more days in the Virgins all by ourselves.