We thoroughly enjoyed our time at home over the holidays. As always, it was great to catch up with family and friends, sleep in a bed that doesn’t rock, and enjoy unlimited water and electricity. My Dad and Colleen were with us for Christmas. Brendan went to Massachusetts with his girlfriend Alex, so we celebrated Christmas again a few days later with them.
Soon we were packing our bags and heading back to Red Hook in St. Thomas, USVI. Delphinus was waiting for us in the marina and we took advantage of the services available locally. We took a cab to the TuTu Park Mall to restock provisions on the boat. There was even a Kmart in the mall, which has a reputation for the best liquor prices around. Everything about the Kmart looked like any other Kmart in the states except for a full liquor store within the store.
On Saturday, January 9 we left the conveniences of the marina behind and started cruising again. We stopped for the night in Francis Bay, St. John, USVI and saw another beautiful sunset. It was so nice to be in a quiet place with nice breezes.
The next day we returned to the British Virgin Islands at Soper’s Hole on the West End. We were able to get a mooring ball and take the dinghy into Pusser’s for dinner and to watch the Redskins game. Dinner was great … the game not so much. Oh well, there is always next year.
Our next stop was The Bight at Norman’s Island. The Bight is a medium sized bay on the western side of the island that provides great weather protection, and superb sunset views. We had lunch on the Willy T – an old steel schooner previously named William Thorton – that had been converted to a restaurant, and moored in the bay. On the lower level is the bar and galley. There is a sign next to the spiral staircase going to the second deck that says any jumping or diving from the Willy T is prohibited. It seems the sign is just a suggestion as a lot of patrons, including Pete, jumped from the upper level and swim to the ladder conveniently attached to the dinghy dock. The other hint of complicity is the camera and monitor in the bar that shows the illicit jumping acts to the bar patrons.
Later that day we took the dinghy to a great spot nearby for snorkeling. In order to protect the coral reefs, the BVI government has installed dinghy moorings so you can tie up without having to drop an anchor and potentially damage the reefs. The reef was full of all kinds of life … many types of corals, fans, and fish of every size, shape and color. The pictures don’t do it justice.
We made a stop the next day at Cooper Island and had lunch on the island. We’ve noticed at most of the restaurants we’ve visited here there are cats, birds, chickens and roosters roaming freely. This rooster was looking for handouts. Again we found some great snorkeling after lunch.
Our next couple of days were spent around the island of Virgin Gorda. Our first stop was at The Baths, an area of huge granite boulders (some 50’ in diameter) remaining from a volcanic eruption, stacked and arranged in a rock pile at the water’s edge. The waves move throughout the boulders creating “baths.” We tied Delphinus to mooring ball and then took the dinghy in as far as was allowed and tied up the dinghy on the “dinghy mooring”, and then snorkeled the rest of the way to a beach. From there, we followed a trail through the boulders that involved lots of crouching and some crawling to find ourselves on another beach. The rock formations and the “baths” within them were quite impressive. Eventually we worked our back through the trail and rewarded ourselves with a cold beer at the beach bar.
Since the moorings at The Baths are for day use only, we sailed further north east into the North Sound of Virgin Gorda to an area called Leverick Bay and settled in for the night. The next day was a housekeeping day (eventually we have to the normal stuff we all do). Leverick Bay is a small resort with everything we needed. We loaded our dirty clothes into the dinghy and went ashore to do laundry. The upside of this laundry day was we could sit in lounge chairs on the beach while waiting for the washer and dryer to finish. After lunch at the beach bar, we went to small grocery store to restock our fridge with fresh produce and eventually returned to Delphinus for the evening.
Next stop – Anegada. Anegada is an atol, not an island. An atol is an island formed by a ring-shaped coral reef encircling a lagoon. Anegada is nearly flat and surrounded by shallow water and coral reefs. In recent years a channel has been clearly marked allowing more boats to safely visit the beautiful anchorage.
There are several waterfront restaurants lining the anchorage. We decided to have dinner at the Anegada Reef Hotel and Restaurant. As with many small island restaurants we had to make our reservations and place our dinner order earlier in the day. The casual appearance (plastic tables and chairs set outside in the sand) is deceiving. There was a formal dinner seating at 7:30 pm. The railings and gazebos were strung with twinkle lights, creating a magical atmosphere. There were also a couple of large groups for dinner that night which added to the festive atmosphere.
Pete and I both had the house specialty – Anegada lobster (picture a giant crawfish or a Maine lobster without claws) cooked on a large grill. Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of our dinner. The service and the food were fantastic.
The next day we took a taxi to the other side of the island to Loblolly Bay Beach. We had lunch at the beach side restaurant and proceeded to walk it off along the beautiful cresent-shaped beach there. Upon closer examination of the sand one can see the tiny pink flecks of coral that are washing up from the reefs surrounding Anegada. On the return cab ride our driver stopped to point out the central lagoon, called Flamingo Pond and we could barely make out a group of flamingos on the far side.
We returned to the other side of the island just in time to see one of the more beautiful sunsets this trip. The next morning we returned to Virgin Gorda to wait for the right weather and winds to make the crossing to St. Martin – about 90 miles.
As I finish this post, we have safely arrived in St. Martin and are anchored in Marigot Bay off the French side of the island. We are both looking forward to enjoying the French food and wine available here.
Stay tuned and stay in touch!