An overnight sail from St Maarten meant a dawn arrival in the BVI’s as we sailed past Richard Branson’s Necker Island and dropped the anchor for pre-breakfast snorkelling behind the reef in Gorda Sound.
A Downwind Start
[dropcap]W[/dropcap]ith a short shakedown sail to Grand Case on the French side of St Martin, we picked up a bouy close to Creole Rock for some afternoon snorkelling and began to prepare for the night sail from St Martin the 90 miles to the British Virgin Islands. Francois joined the crew for the overnight sail so that guests could sleep through or stay up as they wished and we sailed around the Eastern point of Virgin Gorda in the early hours of the morning after a mix of light winds and showers on our downwind crossing.
Gorda Sound is a large bay fringed by good snorkelling reefs and with several places to overnight; we dropped the hook behind a reef in the lovely Gorda Sound and stopped for breakfast and a swim. Later we headed on down to Spanish Town where we checked in and had a bite of lunch ashore, and then darted over to Trellis Bay for the night where we were dropping off Francois at the airport.
Rocking Jost Van Dyke!
The next day dawned bright and shiny as we headed out early for Little Jost Van Dyke, a tiny island with a nice beach bar and restaurant and lots of pelicans. The anchorage was busy and we were lucky to pick up a mooring ball close to the reefs and restaurant; another bareboat wasn’t so lucky and circled around at speed for almost an hour waiting for one to become free. We chilled out there for most of the day and Christine and I got some great pics of the pelicans diving for fish…within inches of John and Janni who were snorkelling! As the sun started heading down, we pulled out the genoa for the short trip round to Foxy’s on Jost Van Dyke.
We had dinner on board and got ready for a night in the BVI’s famous hotspot; this included a few sundowners and the chance to introduce Christine, from Vermont, to the wonders of Christmas Crackers (I had some left over from our St Lucia trip)! We decided to wear the party hats ashore which prompted a lot of attention, particularly from other Americans – I gather Christmas Crackers aren’t big in the US?
The evening started out fun and steadily picked up – the first bar we walked into we were propositioned by four Americans who invited us to “swing’ with them. Having respectfully declined their kind offer, the place wasn’t big enough to avoid them for the rest of the night, and everyone ends up at Foxy’s, THE place to be. Still quiet when we arrived at 9pm, things soon heated up and a few Rum based drinks later and we were all dancing and socializing with locals and yachties alike. Another boat crew was handing around their “Piranha Joe” trophy, which, a bit like Lee’s Moosey, has its photo taken in erroneous places whilst holidaying. As we were passing it round and commenting that it was quite a nice object and would look good as an Ibis mascot, John looked up at me and whispered “Sam, nick it!”. I tucked it down the back of my shorts and there ensued a short game of tag, which I have to say that we won. I did the right thing later on and handed it back…!
Getting our Kicks
A late start the next morning and we headed for the Indians and some fab snorkelling, then on to Norman Island for the night and a few sundowners on the other island favourite, the “Willy T”. A floating bar where yachties drink too much, take their tops off and jump naked off the top deck. None of us had the energy for another wild night and we headed back for an early night after dinner ashore.
We had a lovely sail to Cooper Island, a short hop away, where again we had some great snorkelling and were entertained watching novice bareboaters making several attempts to pick up a mooring bouy. Of even greater [pullquote_left]”No I’m not f***ing OK!”[/pullquote_left]entertainment value was a motorboater who, having got a mooring line caught up around his anchor, tried to untangle it from a dinghy swinging about underneath; I remember hearing, from some distance away, a clout on the head from the anchor and an expletive something along the lines of “No, I’m not f***ing OK!”
Marmite…watch the video here
Rocking n Rolling in Saba
Our final night in the islands and we headed over to Road Town for a meal ashore in the lovely Dove Restaurant and picked up Francois the next day to help crew the overnight sail to Saba and on to St Maarten. After a dinner and swim stop at the Baths had a fabulous sail to Saba, approaching at first light but the sea in the harbour was rolling horrendously and it was a very difficult climb on and off the boat for Janni, John and Christine into the dinghy to go ashore and visit the little town at the top of a very big hill! It was the first time I’d visited Saba in Ibis and with conditions like those in the main harbour I sadly won’t be heading back in a hurry.
One last sail back to Marigot Bay rounded off a cracking BVI trip. Thanks for all the laughs, guys!
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