Arrival December 2010
The Virgin Islands is a British overseas territory located in the Caribbean to the east of Puerto Rico. The islands make up part of the Virgin Islands archipelago, the remaining islands constitute the US Virgin Islands and the Spanish Virgin Islands.
The British Virgin Islands consist of the main islands of Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada, and Jost Van Dyke, along with over fifty other smaller islands and cays. About 15 of the islands are inhabited. The capital, Road Town, is situated on Tortola, the largest island, which is approximately 20 km long and 5 km wide. The islands have a population of about 27,800, of whom approximately 23,000 live on Tortola.
10 March 2011
We finally made it to the BVI, laying at anchor in Maya Bay, Tortola. Very close our friends from the Allgäu are on a mooring for over 28 years now. Their boat is called "Toyhouse", a 35 year old motorboat, which they hope to sell on Friday. They have bought a sailing boat and hope to stay another couple of years here in the BVI. During the hurricane season they live in the same village where we used to live. They know almost every person on the Island and if you go for a walk with them, you are in for a big introduction round. They used to earn their living as skipper & smutje. On this picture they are bringing lobster to share for dinner. We cooked together, it was a lot of fun.
11 March 2011 Maya Bay, Buck Island
I jumped into water, as usual from the boat with my flippers and snorkel. When I was about 50 m away from the boat, I turned around to look for Richard. Richard was still standing on the boat, frantically waving his arm and shouting....SHARK! I tried to remember what you should do in a case like this...no panic...no sudden movements and no glitter..no..? Whatever, I swam back as fast as I could even though Richard was waving his arm in a wide arc, meaning I should avoid approaching the boat alongside, the shark was hiding under the boat. I did not care, I just wanted to get on the boat and hide myself. Anyhow, we managed to take several pictures of the "shark" and it turned out to be a Remora or sometimes called sucker-shark. It looks similar to a shark, only its head looks like somebody has stepped on it with a training shoe, he has got all these suckers on the top of his head to be able to attach himself to a bigger fish and as a parasite to take shelter and live of the scraps and larvae. He is quite a big chap and very inquisitive, whenever we put a hand into the water he will come. I think he is looking for a new home.
Very rolly anchorage, we are planning to stay for just one night, since we could not get a mooring or anchorage at "The Baths", also we wanted to get some provisions in Spanish Harbour.
The anchorage is very overcrowded and most people had to try anchoring several times.
Our neighbour came to see us to swap books, which was a very good start to a shared meal and drink. I just had cooked duck legs as a cassoulet variation and I was able to stretch it a bit, also I had just baked fresh bread. Frank, our visitor is German and crossed the Atlantic by himself, it took him 5 weeks, he encountered 2 storms and now he was enjoying talking and listening to people. He had stayed at the awful anchorage for 5 days already and I could just remember when we arrived in St. Lucia, it did not really matter where you anchored, as long as you could see land and the luxury of putting your feet on earth again. Anyhow, I urged him to move on, guess he is still working on his boat and did not care where.
Christoph Columbus nannte die Insel „Die Dicke Jungfrau", weil ihre Silhouette einer rundlichen Frau, die auf dem Rücken liegt, ähnelt. Die Insel ist sehr beliebt bei amerikanischen Touristen. Es gibt mehrere exklusive Hotels und Restaurants hier. Die Anlagen sind wunderschön angelegt, die Vegetation dem trockenen Klima angepaßt.
The Baths ist eine Attraktion auf der Insel, es sind ungewöhnliche geologischen Formation, bekannt als „Das Badezimmer" (The Baths) . Am Strand des „Badezimmers" lässt sich der vulkanische Ursprung erkennen. Die gewaltigen Granitformationen formen die Grotten, die zum Meer hin offen sind. Man kann gut schnorcheln und es gibt einen verschlungen Weg durch diese riesigen Granitbrocken, der gut beschildert und gepflegt ist. Wir waren recht früh da und konnten dieses Naturereignis in Ruhe bestaunen, später kamen dann große Reisegruppen von Cruiselinern.
28 March 2011
We found THE anchorage. We are stern-to in "Little habour" on Peter Island. It is just sooo peaceful, you can hear the birds, chirping of geckos. The water is perfectly clear, just perfect. You do have of course sometimes the generators and the odd waterskier, that is just to remind us, how lucky we are and we are not on our desert island yet.
Ashore is an empty old building, someone told us, it was an old cigar production place. Richard said, he would sell Aluna and buy the farm..haha. Anyway, we stayed for 3 nights and moved on, that's what cruisers do, well some get stuck on the same old mooring buoy for over 30 years in the same boat, well, I am not going to mention any names.
23 March 2011
At anchor in Anegada. It took us almost 4 hours to sail from Virgin Gorda to Anegada. We sailed with 2 reefs and were just too lazy to take them out, also we had to make water, since we will be anchoring in shallow water in Anegada, we will not be able to make water while at anchor. When approaching the Island, you just see palm trees, no land, the highest point of the Island is 9 m. Our depth meter showed 0.5 m , it made me a bit nervous. The actual depth is 1,5m more, since it is measured with a safety margin. Our neighbours, a charter monohull is stranded at the moment and looks very worried, he is on a mooring bouy beside a big catamaran, both swing differently and it looks very close. He tried to push it off with little success with his dinghy, wife and kids sitting on one side of the hull to make the boat shift and float again. The tide will be 20 cm higher at midnight, that might be his chance, not good at all.
We took a taxi to the other side of the Island, to the famous Loblolly Beach, one of the nicest on the Island, good snorkeling and endless sandy beaches. It was a bit too windy to snorkel comfortable, also there are a lot of riptides and undercurrents. We went for a long walk after we had ordered our lobster. They have lots of lobster caught here in the Island, big chaps, they wait in a nailed cage for their human preditors. When we were there a ferry load of tourists from the Bitter End Yacht Club had also ordered lobster. They serve them in garlic butter with rice and carrots as side dishes. Well, what can I say, they did the best they could, I suppose.
Our Taxidriver Mike drove very carefully and told us a lot about the Island. Anegada is owned by Richards Queen, although, she has never been here, the 249 inhabitants of Anegada are very proud to belong to her Majesties people. They carry a British Passport, which makes it easy for them to go to most places in the world, but difficult to go to the neighbouring Island St. Thomas of the US Virgin Islands. Princess Anne was here last year and Prince Andrew comes a lot, he stays in Tortola on a Superyacht and comes to Anegada, I am sure for the lobster.
You can buy land on a 99 year lease basis, it is very difficult to obtain a title deed for land, and only when both are born and bread Anegadiens. Her Majesty was not amused when some people sold the land at a profit to someone outside of the Commonwealth, so she stopped it altogether.
The people rely entirely on tourism, there is no cultivation of the land, everything is imported and the quality of food rotten.
29 March 2011
We bought some lobster and also were lucky to hunt some with a local. You do need a fishing permit in the BVI, and tourist are not allowed to fish or speargun.
It was sooo yummy, best lobster we ever had.
In Anegada fishermen do not sell lobster to tourists, you have to eat them in the restaurants. Later on Jost van Dyke we had no problem to buy lobst straight from the fishermen, they were driving between the boats holding up their catch.
That was our share of lobster for the next years, you can have enough of it, quiet rich and should be saved and eaten at special ocasions.
31 March 2011
After a night at the mooring buoy of Peter & Paula in Maya Cove we decided to move on to the famous Bight Bay on Norman Island. We got very close to the Pirate Bar and an excellent internet connection. That is so wonderful after so many days just surfing the net at leisure and catching up on our e-mails and FB. Richard was very busy finding an anchor for Gary. Gary and Marie lost their anchor in the Bay of Biscay, went on the ARC in a hurry and stayed in St. Lucia in the marina since last year December. They finally made the jump and are now in Martinique to get the right anchor. It is apparently very difficult. Since Richards favourite pastime is checking out all the chandlers wherever we are, Richard spotted a Rocna anchor. Now it is only a matter of the price. We are waiting for Gary to tell us to buy the anchor or look at other chandlers.
We had good snorkling close to the rocks and caves, saw some colourful fish and a little baracuda.
We were told "The Bight" is very overcrowded and a party all night place. I had a cup of coffee to be prepared for a late night and took some forty wings to be sure to dance the night away. Well, it was very quiet, we went to the "Happy Hour" and met a few people, got to the boat to have our dinner and were set to go ashore to join in the party. No, nothing, it was so very quiet, so we stayed on Aluna and went to bed early.
4 April 2011
Now, we have come back to our rocky anchorage with brilliant internet access and super happy hour restaurant. Saba Rock Hotel/Restaurant is very special, a real Sundowner. I had two of those "Painkiller" cocktails, I am off alcohol for a very long time. I have been never so sick, I was not drunk, just sick, must have been the nutmeg, they put so much on top of the cocktail. Ha! We were talking to hotel guests at the bar, they thought we would use holding tanks in the bay...uh..she said, I will not swim here again! Well, they pay $1000,- /night in the Bitter End Bungalows.
We are "illegal immigrants" in a couple of hours, we checked out yesterday, you get only 12 hours grace. The wind has come round a bit, not very good and not bad either, we´ll be sailing hard on the nose again! Richard is putting the lifelines on...oh, dear! We are planning to go to St. Kitts or St. Martin, depending on the wind. It will be an overnight sail.
The sailing in the BVI was wonderful, almost like sailing in a mill pond, no wonder the charter industry has taken off so well from here. I can really recommend sailing the BVI, you always see land, so many lovely islands are dotted around everywhere. Lots of regattas are held here, just perfect beaches and anchorages everywhere. We might come again next season and apply for an American Visa before, so that we can go to the US Virgin Islands as well.