Thursday, December 1, 2011

Wednesday: Trellis Bay to Cooper Island

Forecast:  Winds NNW 7-12 knts. Seas 3-5’. Isolated showers, then scattered showers.
Our hiking habit needed a fresh injection so we thought we’d take a walk around Beef Island.  From the boat it looked like there might be a track up over the headland, at least there were power/phone line poles heading in that direction.  I can definitely understand now why the airport was built here – it is flat!  Boasting the airport and the first point of entry for those who fly in, it also contains what is most likely the flattest, straightest and widest piece of tarmac on the island, and I don’t mean the runway.  We walked all the way round the airport to the bridge that joins Beef Island to the mainland and then had to walk all the way back.  To make the return a little more interesting we found the old overgrown road which had been replaced by the aforementioned tarmac.
According to the tourist map (the one that led us in circles on Jost Van Dyke) there was a back-road that would lead us into Trellis Bay.  As before, we found a number of rough trails but all of them ended up at private homes or as in the last case, into Aragorn’s fields where he grows the produce he sells to boats in the anchorage.
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The forecast is for dropping winds for the rest of the week so we were thrilled to have a wonderful sail out of Trellis Bay and up to The Dogs.
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The Dogs are a group of small uninhabited islands with a few small mooring fields where the snorkelling and diving is said to be excellent.  Unfortunately the moorings were all full but we decided to hang out for a bit, have a bite to eat and see who was going to leave next.  As we passed by the boats we realized that one of them was Maia whom we had met at dinner at Taboo a few nights ago.  We had a quick chat on the radio and then one of the other boats departed and we were able to continue our conversation in person.  Laura and Gerry, Julia and Charlie welcomed us aboard for a cold Caribe and wonderful chat.  It is always a treat to meet up with folks down here and it is sometimes difficult to do with the charter crowd of large boats full of families and friends.  Laura and Gerry had made the night-sail over from St. Martin so we were very interested to hear of their experience.
The snorkelling at Great Dog was quite good but what was so pleasing to see was the health of the reef.  We saw more varieties of corals than we had seen elsewhere.
Finally, to round out the day we headed down through the passage between Ginger and Cooper Islands.  As you round the islands to the Caribbean side they become massively rugged and Caraval rock just rose up before us, looking a bit like a dragon about to pounce on the unwary.
From the side though a bit more like a sleepy turtle.
 IMG_4542 For the evening we decided to drop the anchor in the lee of Cooper Island and for the first time ever we had an anchorage in the BVI entirely to ourselves, if you discount the barracuda that took up residence beneath our hulls.  The sun set in a wonderful fiery display and then gave way to the twinkling lights of Tortola in the distance.