Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Beach Heaven And The Bucket List

Adventure US 2 right next to us
There was a moment many years ago when Bruce and I were still in the “Dreaming” stage of our Cruising Plans… We used to get up early on weekends when I was still working and if we weren’t at the boat… we would take our coffee to the beach.  Sometimes I would go in my jammies!  Anyway, I remember one such morning when we were walking the beach and I asked Bruce if he thought we would ever tire of beaches…

Well, we’re still asking ourselves that same question.  And so far, the answer is NO!

It has been chilly here in the Caribbean.  I know, we don’t have a clue about what is “chilly”!  But let’s just agree to disagree and rephrase it to say that it has been COMPARATIVELY chilly… here in the Caribbean.  So cool, in fact that I have been reluctant to get into the water.

Nearby Savannah Bay
We have passed by some prime snorkeling spots without ever dipping our toes into the water.  And I’m sure I will regret that someday…

Anyway… what is it with this “Beach Heaven and Bucket List” of which I speak?  After a late afternoon arrival to Pond Bay, we stayed onboard, but I extracted a promise from Bruce that he would take me to that beach in the morning!!!

Where is Pond Bay?  Well it is actually practically a part of Savannah Bay.  Yes, the Savannah Bay that has been on my Bucket List since I first laid eyes upon it from the roadside scenic outlook above it… many years ago… We finally got to check it off the Bucket List… and then just motored on past it!  


We dropped anchor in nearby Pond Bay… in about 15 ft of water over sand, and easily set the hook.  There were several boats over there in Savannah Bay but only three others here on this end.  I chose a spot as far to the north end as I could get after reading that there would be less swell here.

Our protective reef
The boats behind the protective reef further south were rolling quite a bit, but we felt much less of it here behind a more robust part of the reef.  In fact, there were breaking waves just behind our boat which allowed only a bit of swell in to get us.  Let’s hope that decreases in the night instead of the opposite…
Looking forward

Looking to port

The boats closer to the reef behind us

Still amazed that T-Mobile works here...

Looking to starboard

Difficult to choose just one...
As usual, we had a nice dinner and watched Nature’s magnificent display as the sun sank behind the islands.  Bruce chatted with his brother in Kansas… it’s so nice to have T-Mobile here in this random anchorage in the BVI.
Little bit of rain threatening
Little bit of wind and rain but nice flat water here...
Being a man of his word, the next morning Bruce dutifully pumped up the kayak… which triggered the obligatory squalls.. We are scouting for a market for our rain-producing talents.  We have an uncanny knack for making it rain!  Undaunted and with the clouds barely parting and the winds still gusting we plopped the kayak into the water and beat feet, er paddles… to the beach!

Waves of no significant size carried us the final half dozen feet or so as we bailed over the side and struggled to keep from being toppled in the break.  We lifted our little kayak up and deposited it securely above the high tide line and commenced to exploring this deserted stretch.

This tree has picked up her roots!

I have broken my vow to collect no shells… There are just so many strange and unusual shells here and I’ve got a limpet shell collection going to some-day be made into… something.  I amused myself for some time scouring the tide-line for beauties.  

Once Bruce’s pockets were full of shells, I had to find alternate entertainment.  My camera in hand, I played with the waves and a tiny sea-fan skeleton that I rescued and immortalized.  

There is nothing that a day at the beach will not fix.  Our happiest times are the unplanned snippets like these. And this beach, with nobody around but the two of us… Just us…. was Beach Heaven!  

Words can’t describe the high we’re on as we enjoyed yet another sinking sun and beauty so profound it reminds us once again, how fortunate we are.  While the world back home is rocked by multiple daily bombshells…figurative for now… we’re just out here ticking things off the Bucket List in Beach Heaven!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Never on a Sunday

Internet.  It’s important.  You can say that you want to sail away on a boat and leave the world behind, but that really never happens.  After going essentially “without” in the USVI due to the coverage limitations of our T-Moblie account, we’ve been overjoyed with the spotty, slow coverage we’ve found here in the BVI.  

Adversely, the good service Verizon provided to our Boat Buddies in the USVI has gone now, leaving them scrambling to get reconnected so that they could take care of some business before we continue on down the island chain.  

Yes, I’ve offered the use of my internet access to them and they have used it sparingly, but they want and need to get their own…

Bruce and I are feeling like “old hands” at this cruising thing as we are fully provisioned and happy with our connectivity choices… but we raised sails and slowly left the protected waters of Gorda’s North Sound and made our way back around to Spanish town in search of a Digicel office for our friends…. my thoughts that it may not be open on a Sunday falling on deaf ears…

The sailing was wonderful!  We continuously tweaked sails as we moved in and out of the wind shadow of Virgin Gorda.  Sometimes our speed fell to as little as 2.8 knots but other times we screamed along in the 7 knot range. It was glorious!

Our little Princess doesn't like wind on her body...

Adventure US 2 never far away...

Squalls forecast for the day did not disappoint… We could see them off in the distance and filling in with a long line right over us…  By the time we doused sails and made our final approach to our anchorage, we were pelted with a good washing rain.  We slowed to let it pass before we continued on the last half mile to our spot.

Visibility was down to almost zero past the toe rail for a short time.  A nearby cruise ship was deploying passengers in their skiff...  It would appear out of nowhere and zoom past our bow.  Maybe they didn't expect to see anyone out in this!

Supply Boat coming in

Adventure Us 2 soggy

We anchored outside the reef near Spanish Town in patchy sand and rock.  The east waves and winds somehow conspired to bring the long rolling swell right up our rear end causing a regular and resounding “SLAP” upon the tender parts of our stern…  We would become very familiar with this slap through the night to come…


It was Bruce’s turn to do anchor-check duty and he took his time about it, enjoying the opportunity for a swim…  You can take the Swim Coach out of the pool, but you can’t take the Swimmer out of Bruce…

I took some video of his technique for some self critique later…  tee tee…

JL and Michael splashed their dinghy and collected us for a trip to shore.  We were greeted by a dinghy dock attendant who pointed to the sign that stated “Drop-offs $2 per person”.  Well, we aren’t dropping anyone off, we’re coming ashore to spend money in your town…  Unfortunately it’s a terminology difference and yes, if we leave the dinghy we are considered “drop offs”.  $2 each please!

Just as we were about to pay I questioned the lady in the office as to whether or not the chandlery or the Digicel office would be open today… it being Sunday and all.  Nope.  So after some deliberation, we paid the money anyway and sat in the bar watching the world go crazy on their big screen TVs and using their wifi… oh, and having a beverage…
Little bit of live music...

Bruce got to talk to his brother in Kansas... it's been a while!

We can keep an eye on our boats just beyond the reef.

The alcohol soothed our ruffled feathers…  and featured friends of another kind entertained us as they cruised beneath our feet looking for handouts…  I just love chickens!

We could see our boats out beyond the reef and I kept a nervous eye upon them as an ominous cloud moved over dropping some light rain, but not much wind.  It was nice to be here instead of there for the moment, even if there was a “tax” on it…  

We returned to our boats and found that the baby swell we left had grown up!  It was now rolling our boats wildly from side to side.  We left a good patch of our bottom paint on AU2’s dinghy chaps as they pulled close enough to let us off! 

Rollin' Rollin' Rollin'
WOW!  We sat and watched the sun go down and our neighbors lurch and roll…  while I’m sure they did the same.  It would be a long night.

Couldn't decide... so you get two sunsets

Cute little church and cemetery
And it was.  But miraculously, with the rising sun, the rolling swells decreased to the mild level they were when we arrived here.  Not to be fooled twice however, we would make our trip back into town a quick one… and then depart.

The Digicel
Bruce and I enjoyed the new sights, walking streets we’ve never traveled before…  This is the heart of Spanish Town.  The part away from tourists where the locals go about their day-to-day business.  We found the Digicel office and got JL and Michael connected, then stopped back by the hardware store and the small grocery for some fresh veggies.  The prices in this store are much better than the Buck’s Market near the Marina.
Nice little grocery


A little farming...

Perhaps we made up for the “tax” in shopping here… but not for TWO days…  So note-to-self…  If you have business to do in the BVI… Never on a Sunday!