compass rose

 Accidental Cruiser in the West Indies

On the Hard in Virgin Gorda BVI
This journal is a log of all the messages from Susie & Lance. For pictures, please see the Gallery.
Spanish Town, Virgin Gorda, BVI Monday, May 26, 2003
    I'm so used to the rocking motion of the boat that I find this non-rocking unnerving. I'm also a little afraid of heights, so I get little dizzy out on deck looking around. Hopefully, I'll get used to it. We've only been up here for a couple of hours.
    Our last days on the water, we sailed around in fresh trade winds, revisiting favorite places and trying a few new places. We discovered there are National Park Mooring buoys at the Dogs, which are between Tortola and Virgin Gorda. These are a group of islands: West Dog, Great Dog, and George Dog, with Cockroach Island right next door.
    Then a little ways out are the Seal Dogs. The snorkeling spot on the south side of George Dog was really great. The south side of Great Dog is less protected but it was still fun. Our last night on anchor was spent anchored near Biras Creek Resort in Gorda Sound. Our last night on the water was in the marina at Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbour so we could take down sails and be ready for the haul out in the morning. But the winds were so strong, Lance didn't want to take down the sails. We took the jib down this morning, and we still haven't taken down the main, which means I have to stand up on deck where my acrophobia starts acting up. Ah well. It turns out that we were the only haul out scheduled for today, so they didn't care what time we showed up. We had one last run the engine, freeze up the refrigerator, and spent some time cleaning out stuff and making the engine accessible. On our last anchoring, the windlass control decided that it knew how to go up but not down, a rather friendly flaw actually. Lance took the control apart and basically it is just shot, so we need to get a new one. Then the autopilot, which has had occasional bozo modes, decided that it didn't work anymore. The only real problem with that is that there is only one switch for instruments, and so we couldn't turn on the depth sounder, without listening to the autopilot beep at us. Symptoms suggested loose connections, so after we cleaned out the "garage" (starboard aft cabin), Lance checked the connections and found suspiciously loose ones, and it appears to be fixed now.
     The marina was fairly full, because of Memorial Day which is not a holiday here, but it is in Puerto Rico so lots boats from Puerto Rico showed up. A boat pulled up next to us, and people scrambled off, carrying one woman off. Turns out she had an allergic reaction to something, probably a jellyfish

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they think. Fortunately, they weren't far from the marina where help was nearby, and after three shots, she is okay. We watched lots of people docking in fairly tricky, windy situations, and we had a lovely last evening on the water.
     This morning we asked the yard when they wanted us to haul out, and they didn't care, so we said we'd be over in an hour. We moved to the haul out dock at 9:30, they asked if we were in a hurry, and since we weren't, they said they'd be a while. At around 10:30, they got busy, and then lectured us for not being ready -- we didn't have dock lines ready on both sides, because nobody told us to. We scrambled, and they asked us where to put the straps. We had been warned that we were supposed to know this, so we had studied the photos from the survey haul out and we knew the answer. We stepped off the boat and showed the driver where to put the straps. The driver of the lift expertly manoeuvered the straps into the exactly correct location and raised the boat out of the water. The bottom was power washed, and then they drove the boat to its summer home, where they set up the chocks, and here we are. We have a ladder and electricity and water. The marina has fine showers, laundramat, shops and restaurants. We are waiting for the mechanic who will service the engine and show us how, so that we can do it ourselves in the future. We also hope to have some fiberglass voids repaired, keelbolts replaced and a worn rudder bearing replaced. These were all expected repairs from the original survey so there are no surprises. The major oddity is the complete lack of movement. Our little home does not move and the sudden complete absence of movement is deeply unsettling. Tonight we will see if it is possible to sleep under such circumstances. Every once in a while we become intensely aware that we are no longer at sea level but rather elevated to approximately 10 feet above the ground or maybe 15 feet above sea level - for a boat, this is not a good thing. We are inspecting other boats, gathering opinions of the various dock denizens and generally trying to get Eaux Vives in shape for a hurricane. God willing, we will not test the arrangements in an actual hurricane and Eaux Vives will simply get a new coat of bottom paint and be ready for a longer sail when we return. We plan to leave by air from Virgin Gorda to San Juan and then spend Sunday flying back home.
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