Tuesday, March 26, 2013

New Friends Found

Today was a day of discovery, both of place and people.

With yesterday's hike fresh in memory, we set off much earlier today to explore the south end of Virgin Gorda, known as The Valley. Our first intent was to hike up Cow Hill but the hill is on private property owned by the Little Dix Bay resort, so we were personae non grata there. Nothing daunted we headed on down the road until we reached beautiful Savannah Bay. Along the way, we were presented with a landing approach view of Virgin Gorda's runway.

Savannah Bay is almost entirely surrounded by reefs, with an entrance only at one end. The waters were amazingly crystal clear and with good sun overhead it is easy to see the coral that poses such a danger to boats.

The next decision was whether to return over the small hill to Spanish Town or to try to continue up the mountain to Gorda Peak. The prompt arrival of an open-air taxi made the decision easy for us and we were whisked up the steep hills and around corners that had us reminded of the impossible road on Saba. The views from the top were of course stunning as we were treated to a 360-degree panorama that encompassed North Sound, Anegada, and all the other islands of the BVI. It was like looking at a live postcard of the various places we have visited over the last couple of weeks.

View from the top - Saba Rock in North Sound
In order to see over the trees there is a 3-storey platform at the top of the peak
South to The Valley - Savannah Bay on the right
We may have gotten a ride up the to the top, but we made the descent under our own power. The peak is at 1350' and needless to say we came all the way back down to sea-level. Hot and thirsty we returned to the marina at Virgin Gorda Yacht Club for lunch and a drink and then with the hottest day we've had so far we made our way directly west into the sun and across the channel to Trellis Bay, where we had made arrangements to meet up with Paul and Elka.

This evening was an experience we will treasure for a long time. Remember Paul and Elka were purely a chance meeting a couple of days ago over cocktails on the back of Mowzer in Lee Bay. They very kindly invited us to join them for dinner at "Canadian Night" in East End, Tortola. Paul has his boat on a mooring in Trellis Bay, so we met at Da Loose Mongoose and he drove us to DoveLove where a group of expat and cruising/live-aboard Canadians meet every Tuesday night for dinner. The group was most welcoming and the owners of DoveLove, Lynne from Kitchener and her husband (a local from the BVI) prepared a wonderful dinner. Included in the group were a number of other nationalities including a South African orthopedic surgeon and his wife who had actually lived in Sudbury for a couple of years. As we left the restaurant we wandered down the hill where a local church choir was performing at an outdoor venue; really more of a African/Rock/Gospel group and man could they sing!

East End on Tortola has a bit of a reputation as a rough part of the island, but the people we met (both locals and aways) were charming and hospitable and really made us feel welcome. In particular Paul and Elka went out of their way to introduce us to island life as they have become part of the community here.