Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tuesday: Coral Bay to Spanish Town

Forecast: ENE winds 11-16 knts, seas 6-8 feet in NE swells, scattered showers. (Drake Passage seas were a comfortable 2-4 feet with no showers to be seen.)

Where did your morning workout take you today?  I know, we’re only really into day 3 of our new habit, but we were up at 6am again and headed down the road (on foot of course) out of Coral Bay towards East End.  At Hurricane Hole we turned off the road and headed up over the ridge on the Brown Bay trail that took us up to the Johnny Horn trail.  This was the view at the top.


Carrying the GPS on our hike keeps us on the right track of course but also lets us see how far we went and just what we climbed (how techie!)
 2011-11-22 Coral Bay Hike  2011-11-22 Coral Bay Hike - elevation 
Coral Bay is a funky little place at the east end of St. John that prides itself on being the haven for true cruisers and not tourists.  However, the first thing you encounter when you step off the dinghy dock (after the requisite number of derelict boats and cars) is a souvenir shop.  Why is it that in the land of the ‘free pour’ there are more shot-glasses for sale than just about anything else?

In all reality though and to be fair to Coral Bay, it has a completely different atmosphere and is probably more redolent of what we all think the Caribbean is like.  Here was the greeting committee this morning.

At Skinny Legs (the local bar) there is a bumper sticker on the wall that proclaims, “St. John, the open-air asylum”.  The one I really resonated with was the one on the back of this jeep just above his window – check out what he’s carrying in his golf-bag.
Coral Bay, for all it’s eccentric delights is not a harbour to swim in.  It is all silted up and from the sunken boats that have been there a few years, who knows what is leaking.  We were back onboard from our walk just as the sun was truly starting to heat up (about 10am) so we make our way over to Round Bay for a cooling off dunk in the crystal-clear turquoise waters before we headed off up the Sir Francis Drake Channel and into the British Islands.

Once upon a time, Spanish Town was the capital of the BVI’s.  Today it is a port of entry, ferry terminal from Tortola and home to the yacht club that hosts Sunsail and Barefoot charter boats.  We hadn’t been here before so we anchored off to the side (a free night, yay) and then headed into customs and immigration to do our paperwork to enter Her Majesty’s territory.

This time out we’re really trying to explore parts of the islands that we haven’t seen before.  Some of the anchorages we’ve been to and some we haven’t, but we’re trying to get out on foot to explore a little further.  Our goal now is to get up to Anegada and with the winds shifting to the east by Thursday we should be good to make the little jump.  It will be a much more pleasant sail since the northerly swells created by the depression that was moving out to the Atlantic earlier this week will be abating and with the wind shifting around off the nose we should be able to make it in one tack.  Before that however, we have a day to explore the south end of Virgin Gorda.