we been here before? Yes, in fact, many times. This spot is just
under 4 miles straight across from Road Town, which is the only
major town in the BVI, so if you need something while in the BVI,
you probably have to go to Road Town. But Road Town is a big open
rolly harbour with no comfortable
It has several marinas which, being
in town, are hot, dusty, noisy etc. Anyway, we ran out of propane
this morning, after the first cup of coffee, but before the second,
which made it an emergency. We have found no place where you
can get propane without leaving the tank overnight, which means
we have to go back to Road Town tomorrow. Another good reason
to be in Little Harbour. The big barracuda immediately came over
and hung out briefly under the boat, but the turtle has not been
Last night we were in Benures Bay on Norman Island. The
turtle there likes to stick his flippers up in the air along with his head. Perhaps
he is warming them, I don't know, but he pokes his head and flippers up when
he surfaces, and he is quite large, a couple of feet across. The weather has
picked up again, making a crossing to St. Martin not recommended. We spent some
time visiting with our friends Larry and Roberta on Dionis before they left for
the season, and then we made appointments to have the boat hauled for the hurricane
season, and then we decided, that with all this wrapped up, we could go to St.
Martin. We sailed up to Virgin Gorda, to wait for a weather window in which to go, but of course,
the problem is to recognize it. St. Martin is due east
about 80 nautical miles. The winds are blowing from the east. For those of you
non sailors in the crowd, sailboats don't sail directly into the wind, and
are pretty slow: generally, you could walk faster. The recommended procedure
is to take off from as far north in the Virgins as you can, leave in the afternoon,
sail all night, and arrive in the morning. Pick a time when the waves are low,
the winds are moderate to none, and either sail a couple of long tacks, or motor,
or motor sail all the way. Don't go if the seas are high, or the winds are too
high. With only two of us, we're hoping for fairly optimum conditions.
So, we went up to Virgin Gorda, we listened
to all the weather reports, and it sounded like it was just a bit
too windy with waves a bit too high, but what do we know? We've never
done it. So we sailed out to the point where you take off, and the
we sailed in the direction of St. Martin for about 10 minutes to
see what it was like. The seas were a bit too "lumpy" and
the winds were "fresh" so, we said, no, these are not good
conditions. It would be fine for a short sail, but not all night.
So we sailed around the back side of Virgin Gorda, examined a bluff
named "Lance's Bluff" (not even picturesque, what a rip
off) and reentered Drake's Channel by Round Rock. Much of the time
we were roaring along, which for us is 6-8 knots per hour. At one
point, we were trying to avoid a lobster trap (buoys floating on
the surface) but the winds kept pushing us towards it, and it disappeared
under the boat. As we sailed on at high speeds, we joked about how
fast we would be going if we weren't dragging that lobster trap.
When we arrived in our anchorage, Lance went swimming to check the
anchor, and to look for the lobster trap. Imagine our surprise when
he came up with a length of line that had been wrapped around the
propeller. No lobsters though.
While listening to the weather forecasts,
we heard that there was another monthly Ham Radio breakfast on St.
John, so we went over there. We found several more experienced cruisers
waiting for a weather window. Now we get together on the radio at
3 each day to talk about when we think there is a weather window.
We preliminarily made an appointment with "Dancin' Fool" to
meet at Drake's Anchorage for a Friday departure. Each day, we listened
to Eric (the Barbados weather net), George (the St. John weather
net) and Herb (Southbound II), and regular chats with the crowd gathered
in Francis Bay, St. John "waiting for a weather window" We
got charts, we exchanged opinions. For at least 2 weeks we have been
obsessing on the weather. This is getting close to hurricane season
and people either want to get south of the hurricane zone or are
going home. We just wanted to have one last adventure before putting
the boat "on the hard".