Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Long Haul

Finally, we must set our sights for home. The BVI weather gods have another thought though and while the winds have been changeable and sometimes incredibly light over the past 10 days, overnight and this morning the winds set in with a howl. Our anchor set well yesterday and held us safe and sound through a rocky night, but in the crowded anchorage this morning at Anegada, getting off the hook proved to be difficult. We finally succeeded and pointed our noses back south towards Tortola.

The distance is about 16 miles (as the pelican flies) but with the winds and the ocean swell, we decided to head for the other end of the island and actually try to clear customs today. Actually, mother nature pretty much decided this for us and we went along with the ride. We managed to sail almost the whole way with a double-reefed main and half-furled genoa, seeing winds at a steady 22 knots, gusting to 25 (with one big gust that registered 27!) The seas were running across our course at about 4-6’ so it was a bit of a rough ride, but exhilarating none-the-less. Our final log from Anegada to Soper’s Hole showed 35 nautical miles (approx. 64 km).

Lunch-time found us running along the north shore of Tortola so we put into Cane Garden Bay for a break and some Pelican-dive action. There was a group of four birds fishing for their lunch and they were quite a sight to see. They are so prehistoric-looking and ungainly on land, but watching them launch themselves from quite a height and spear into the sea to almost always come up with a catch is amazing.

Cane Garden Bay itself is very pretty, ringed with a beautiful white sand beach and palm trees and is considered one of the prettiest spots in the BVI. Unfortunately the beach is covered in beach-chairs-for-rent so is probably not a place we will choose to spend a lot of time in the future. The winds whistled down out of the hills and led to a very swingy lunch-stop as well. Perhaps the view out to sea for those on land is prettier?

We headed on down to Soper’s Hole in the afternoon to clear out of BVI Customs. This cost us a total of $5.00 so that didn’t break the bank. We also filled up with diesel while there with fuel at $3.75/gallon so the total cost to fill the boat was $75.40. We’ll still need to top off in St. Thomas tomorrow but at least we’ll know we have plenty to make it there.

All paperwork and chores dealt with, we headed over the Leinster Bay for our final night away from the dock. This is the bay with the abandoned sugar-mill that we visited early in the trip if you remember, so it’s nice closure to come back here before heading back to CYOA. All-in-all a pretty tiring day, but satisfying too knowing that the boat (and us) could handle what was thrown our way today. Lessons learned? I’ll write about those later.