Skip to main content

Decisions, Decisions Page 2

"If I were on my boat, I wouldn’t go out today,” says Harry from the wheel. Of course he wouldn’t. Harry and Lyn Wey—friends, neighbors and lifelong sailors—keep their boat in Maine, where even a tiny splash could freeze you in the winter. Harry, who is on his first Virgin Islands charter, hasn’t quite tuned in to the essential facts of Caribbean sailing: any splash will be as warm as bathwater
  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

It’s Time for a Tropical Drink

We drop off our skipper at Trellis Bay, circle around Guana Island and head for Jost Van Dyke. By mid-afternoon, when we reach the entrance to Great Harbour, the bay is clearly full. We try White Bay, which isn’t all that big, and it too is full. Back we go to Little Harbour, the easternmost anchorage on the island, and see, glittering in the distance, some empty moorings. Sold! It is indeed time for a tropical drink, with or without an umbrella, so we dinghy in to Abe’s By the Sea in search of Painkillers. Pain is further reduced when we learn that there’s no charge for the mooring if we have dinner at Abe’s. Sold, again.

Our drinks at Abe’s are as desired, the dinner is tasty, our onboard cooks are pleased to have a night out, and the anchorage is placid all through the night.

Note: If you buy something—say, a meal or gas or water—you often get something in return. This might be a mooring, or water, or garbage disposal. It’s worth asking about.

The Circumnavigation Continues

It’s fair to say that most BVI charters involve a circumnavigation of Tortola, and some passages between islands can take somewhat longer than you think they will. We thread our way through Thatcher Island Cut, wait out a nasty squall in Soper’s Hole, and cross the Sir Francis Drake Channel for a stop at the Indians. There we pick up a National Parks Trust mooring, admire the view and think about snorkeling. There are a number of other boats there, but few people in the water and no volunteers from our boat. After numerous years of telling my children not to swim alone, I can’t quite bring myself to jump in and swim by myself.

Peter Island has a number of good anchorages. We pick up a mooring in Great Harbour on the eastern side after consulting with the chart and, once safe for the night, jump into the dinghy and go ashore. Ocean’s Seven is a restaurant I’ve never visited and it’s happy hour or close enough. The restaurant’s menu looks quite attractive, but we’re still working on our provisions. Instead, we park ourselves in their beach chairs, drink our colorful tropical drinks and play in the water.

We spend our last full day on a mooring in the Bight on Norman Island, overcome by sloth (or, more likely, sorrow that all good things must come to an end). We’re taking our chances here, I think. The Willie T., normally a rowdy, noisy bar, has risen from the ashes of a nasty fire and is open for business again; fortunately, it’s quite quiet, and there aren’t many boats in the anchorage. In the absence of boat traffic, we swim off the boat, do a little snorkeling, swim ashore and wander around.

The Beginning of the End…and the End

For some reason obvious only to them (I think it’s a gender thing), the guys are anxious to get going—back to The Moorings base—even though the whole day is ours. We’re gone from the Bight by 0930 and have such a perfect sail across the channel that we turn around, sail back to the Bight, and sail to the base again. Still, we accomplish some things: we dispose of extra food, pack, do our boat checkout, and still have time to go to Road Town for a look around and lunch at the Roti Palace. Rotis, ubiquitous in parts of the Caribbean, are a kind of wrap filled with a curry of your choice (chicken, with or without bones; meat or seafood, usually conch; or vegetables) and served with chutney or hot sauce if you’re brave. We have dinner at the base at Charlie’s restaurant, named for the late founder of The Moorings, Charlie Carey, and it’s good.

Related

Screen-Shot-2022-01-13-at-9.26.59-AM2048x

Video: Celestial Navigation Pt3

. In episode three of the Practical Celestial Navigation course, Andy Howe examines the theory behind celestial navigation, the celestial triangle and the celestial sphere, and why it is important to have a basic understanding of each. Topics introduced include zenith position, ...read more

01-LEAD-6.-After-2-years-ashore,-Nada-headsto-the-water-(3)

Sailing in the Time of Covid

In mid-August 2019, my wife, Terrie, and I laid up our Malö 46, Nada, in Falmouth, England, and flew home to Maine. We booked flights back to the UK for May 2020, anticipating a summer of cruising the Atlantic coasts of France and Spain. Then Covid struck. Remember that first ...read more

Ulysse Nardin promo photo

The Ocean Race Names Official Timekeeper

With just under one year before the start of The 2022-23 Ocean Race, Swiss watch manufacturer Ulysse Nardin has been named the official timekeeper of the race. The Ocean Race, formerly known as the Volvo Ocean Race and before that the Whitbread Round the World Race, announced ...read more

Arthur Daniel_RORC Maserati - RORC Transatlantic 2022 - Jan 15th -Social Media-4

Fast Finishes for the RORC Leaders

Over the weekend, the first finishers of the 2022 RORC Transat made landfall in Grenada, led by Giovanni Soldini’s Multi70 Maserati, which was awarded line honors with a corrected time of six days, 18 hours and 51 minutes. Maserati finished ahead of Peter Cunningham’s MOD70 ...read more

Background-02

Notice to Mariners: A Blog from the SAIL Editors

As a teenager, I stumbled across a copy of Derek Lundy’s Godforsaken Sea in the back room of a used bookshop. I had never heard of the Vendée Globe and frankly found all the boat-speak in the first 50 pages a little difficult to get through. But Lundy’s storytelling and the draw ...read more

Screen-Shot-2022-01-13-at-9.26.59-AM2048x

VIDEO: Celestial Navigation Episode 2

Celestial navigation is an invaluable tool for all kinds of sailors. In episode two of the celestial navigation series, learn the basic elements of navigation and the sight reduction process using declination and GHA to determine the Geographic Position and navigate using a ...read more

Film-poster-EP-2048

Cruising: Year of the Sea Shanty

Along with other timeless pursuits, like baking sourdough and gardening, singing sea shanties surged back into popularity during the recent lockdown, thanks, in part, to the app TikTok and its “duet” feature, which allows singers from around the world create music together. By ...read more

Book-Cover-9780712353700

Book Review: Sailor Song

Sailor Song is the ultimate guide to the music of working sailors during the 18th and 19th centuries. The book includes lyrics and sheet music for 50 of the most beloved sea songs with fascinating historical background on the adjoining page. Chapter introductions provide ...read more