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
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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.

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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.

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