Tuesday, December 15, 2015

British Virgins

Following our circumnavigation (ha ha) of St. John we provisioned up and left the country. The BVIs are super duper cruising grounds and that's why they are absolutely packed with charter boats. Packed. It was a little bit weird and isolating being one of the few cruising boats in and among the crowds but we found company with our friends on Sail Pending, a visit from Grammie and a brief getting to know you sesh with the crew of Do Over before they continued on to meet up with the rally they were joining to go halfway 'round. And watching the charter boats manouver around makes for some really good entertainment.

Andy returns to the mother ship after clearing us in at Soper's Hole.

Another stamp in the passport and a new courtesy flag goes up. 

Cubby and Flour pose near a post box that reminded Andy of his university days.

Against all odds, all the pieces of the weather and travel puzzle came together to make it possible for Grammie to visit. First things first, an introduction to the airport kitties.

Followed by a pic with the sign. 

And a ride in the family car. It's always interesting watching newbies get in and out of the dinghy. I still have the occasional wipeout.

Grammie couldn't wait to get right in the water for a snorkel. It was nice and clear. And the weather improved just in time for her visit. We had a good breeze to cool things down and keep the mosquitoes away.

We headed right to the baths which is a very popular spot for snorkeling. The early morning race for a mooring ball is real. Thankfully the charter season wasn't in full swing so we got a spot despite our total inability to get an early start. Anywhere. Ever.

It's a fun scramble among the huge rocks to other snorkel spots and great views.

Really huge rocks. 

We paddled and swam to shore and back. Along with the snorkeling once there and the scrambling over the rocks we were all pretty hungry. But you can't stay overnight on the moorings at the baths so we had to eat and run. The British isles have lots of nooks and crannies just like their muffins so there are plenty of options for spending the night within a few miles of any spot.

As an early Christmas present Grammie brought the supplies and helped the kids make displays for their junior ranger badges.  I baked and ate cookies.

We stayed at the Bight at Normans for a couple days. We snorkeled at the caves and swam off the boat. We never made it to the Willy T. Maybe next time. Or not. 

The kids love doing this but it's a rare treat.

The sail back to Trellis Bay was awesome. Probably the best sail either of us has experienced. Lots of wind but no sea state because of the protection of all the little islands. We actually tacked back and forth the whole way! That NEVER happens. YachtshotsBVI got some great photos of us. Too bad we had a bunch of buckets and crap visible. It was sad to say goodbye to Grammie but we were glad the timing worked out!

As soon as Grammie left we set our sights on getting to St. Martin. Here's Andy listening to the forecast. Since we'd be traveling against the prevailing easterlies we wanted to wait for light conditions and it looked like we had an upcoming opportunity. 

A couple days of sucking up free wifi later, we headed to The North Sound on Virgin Gorda where we bumped into Sail Pending. We got together for another game night before clearing out the next morning. Without listening to the forecast. Major amateur move. After clearing out we relocated, picked up some wifi and downloaded the couple days of forecasts we had missed. Well, our window had basically evaporated but it seemed like a better one was coming. So back to customs Andy went to let them know we weren't actually leaving. 

And then we sailed north to Anegada instead!

It's flatter and drier than the other islands in the BVIs and reminded us a lot of the Bahamas. Except a lobster costs $50 instead of $0. 

A beach all to ourselves.

More sand forts for horses!

We rented a car and visited the rest of the island. Super pretty and a nice break from the busier spots.


This guy had a little too much fun at the previous night's Christmas tree lighting.

A pretty sunset over the anchorage. We had to rush back to the boat after a quick drink. F*&#ing mosquitoes. 

What was the point in renting a car when we could take the free ride to the Anegada Beach Club? We had lunch there the day before and enjoyed the use of the pool. Plus the beach looked so great that Andy was excited to go back and try kiteboarding. Sail Pending joined us so the kids played in the water all day and I had some nice company. 

Andy hooked up with another kiteboarder who gave him some good tips. And with this awesome stretch of beach almost entirely to himself, all the pieces came together. Look at him go!

Cubby got her hands on the underwater camera and played in the jets of the pool. I wish we could upload the video. She looked like a minion. 

Ok, this is really goodbye. Sail Pending headed off for more island hopping and we were stowing and prepping for our afternoon departure to overnight across the Anegada Passage. See you down the chain! 

A chilly and rainy start transformed into a cool clear night. Off to St. Martin. Or Sint Maarten. To be decided in the morning...

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