S/V Delilah

A Blog to track the wanderings of the S/V Delilah, a 37-foot Tayana sailboat.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

More BVIs

Friday, April 15
Prickly Pear Island, BVI
N 18 degrees, 30.176 minutes
W 064 degrees, 21.948 minutes

We have been island hopping in the BVIs for the past week, searching for snorkeling that compares to what we had in the Exumas, and spending too many afternoons in bars.

After a long, upwind sail and then diving in the Baths on Monday, we spent Tuesday morning doing laundry and taking advantage of free wi-fi near Colison Point in Virgin Gorda. In the afternoon we invited ourselves aboard the boat of a neighbor who hails from Dublin. He left Ireland on his 52-foot Oyster ten years ago as part of an around-the-world rally, but he liked it so much when he got here he stopped. So much for the rest of the world.

On the galley countertop I spied a proper teapot and a box of Barry's tea, and I made some broad hints about how much I miss the Irish tea. He didn't bite, and we came away without any teabags.

Wednesday we sailed across to Beef Island, just five miles from Virgin Gorda, to claim a spot in Trellis Bay before Thursday night's full moon party on the beach. But as far as we were concerned, we had arrived too late. The harbor is always packed with moorings--which cost money and are therefore off limits--and loads of boats had already tucked themselves into every free space. Still more intrepid souls came later, taking their chances about swinging into other boats.

But we, after a stressful half hour of weaving through the mooring field, opted to anchor a mile away, off Marina Cay. We got the anchor down just before the skies opened for a ten-minute downpour, and then the sun came out again.

Marina Cay is a pretty little island with a restaurant, gift shop, fuel dock, small beach, smaller hotel, and MORE free wi-fi at the bar. From the island we could take a free ferry to Trellis Bay, but we didn't need to after John from Savvy fixed our errant outboard yet again, jerry-rigging our fuel pump membrane a second time until we can get the proper replacement parts. John, who designs and builds the custom motorcycle parts that you see on those Learning Channel chopper-building shows, could rival Dad with his ability to diagnose a problem and fashion a part out of thin air. We've been very lucky to be sailing with him since the Bahamas, but he has headed down to Antigua now to race with Amanzi in the Classic Yacht Regatta, and from there he will sail straight north back to Bermuda and then Canada.

We did enjoy the full moon party in Trellis Bay, and we even sprang for the beachside barbecue before the band started up and the festivities began. Trellis Bay is known (or markets itself) as an artists' community, and a local artist named Aragorn has taken a couple of enormous steel balls and carved intricate patterns in them. The balls are then loaded with firewood, placed on the water, and lit up after dark.

The party went on quite late, and when we left at eleven, the family-oriented entertainment had not yet ended. I could still hear the band across the water at two am.

We did make our first major souvenir purchase at Aragorn's studios. We both loved his work with copper, but when I found out the price of one of his amazing copper wall hangings, a pelican taking a nosedive, which looks a lot cooler than it sounds, we started to look at his prints. We had to take a little walk to discuss the whole thing: "we will have walls someday, won't we..." and then we went back and bought an unframed, signed print titled "bonitos" that will, someday, look fabulous next to the octopus print that Dean bought me last Christmas.

Rain showers gave us an excuse to sleep in on Friday, after which we mosied up to the northern end of Virgin Gorda. We are anchored in a bay that is protected on all sides by steep hills. The water is fairly deep right up to the beach, so we have had to anchor pretty close to Prickly Pear Island to avoid putting out tons of chain. The putting out of chain is, of course, not the problem. The problem starts when Dean has to haul it all back up by hand.

This bay is a perfect place for water sports, which is why Bitter End Yacht Club is such an enterprise. For a price you can rent or take lessons on sailing dinghies, Hobie cats, sailboards, kayaks, and so on. The grounds are gorgeous, baby nurse sharks pace in a holding pen, free movies are offered twice nightly, and commemorative clothing costs about double what you would expect.

Bitter End is also the home of Yacht Shots, a company that specializes in photographing sailboats on the move. I have to say, the pictures we have seen are fantastic. And their form of advertising is brilliant. Much like the guys with the cameras at the top of the ski lift, these photographers come out to you. On Tuesday, as we were zipping along close-hauled in nearly twenty knots of wind, I spotted a man and his dog in an inflatable dinghy way out in the middle of Drake's Passage. We were really shocked to see him there, and even more surprised when he came bombing straight for our boat, camera in hand, standing up, shooting film with one hand, and steering with the other into steep chop. The chocolate lab just leaned out of the bow casually, as if to say, "Yeah, we do this every day." The man took a few photos, rounded up to the front of our boat, took a few more photos, and then, knowing he had our attention, gave us a cheer and then turned his dinghy around so we could see the large lettering along the side: yachtshotsbvi.com. You can see pictures of Delilah (and order them!) here. Unfortunately, he caught us as we were debating whether or not we needed to put a second reef in the main or the jib, so we were luffing the jib a bit and the lines were all ahoo. I'd prefer not to have that on film. And, of course, we would never pay for those photographs. But the million other charter people in the BVIs who have fancy jobs and vacation-type budgets and have this one week of Caribbean sailing to savor for the rest of the year would most definitely spend the cash.

One of the best parts of Virgin Gorda is that, in some anchorages, there are schools of fish called blue tangs, and they seem to enjoy eating the growth off our hull. Ever since Delilah spent ten days in the filthy harbor in Luperon, DR, her hull has been covered in hard white worm casings. They come off with a little elbow grease, but since the scraping takes place underwater, all the way down to our keel, we only get a few seconds to scrape before we need to come up for air. What a joy it is to peek beneath the water and discover a school of gorgeous blue fish munching away at the crust!


Blogger Gregory Burd said...

Virgin Gorda and the Bitter End Yacht Club were my absolute favorite locations in the BVIs when I was there nearly two years ago now. I can't tell you how envious I am of you guys. Maybe if I win the $246M lottery tonight I'll fly down and visit for a while. Glad to hear that the outboard is limping along while the repair kit is on the way down. Delilah looks fit and spry in her photos, as does her crew. Cheers.

3:15 PM  

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