Cartagena, Columbia- As Interesting AS Can Be

At first glance, Cartagena is an architecturally beautiful city. The people seems friendly and the amenities are endless.

Entrance to El Centro

The city began with 200 people in 1533. During the remainder of the 16th century there was rapid growth. A major factor was the gold in the tombs of the Sinú Culture.  After those tombs were completely plundered, the inhabitants began to scatter to the countryside and to establish themselves as farmers, and the population of the city decreased.

A little later, the city had fewer than 2000 inhabitants and one church; the dramatically increasing fame and wealth of the prosperous city turned it into an attractive plunder site for pirates and corsairs–French and English privateers licensed by their king. Thirty years after its founding, the city was pillaged by the French nobleman Jean-François Roberval. The city set about strengthening its defences and surrounding itself with walled compounds and castles.

Jim, Blieu, Darren and I ventured into El Centro, the old town and checked out the food, the buildings and the shopping.

Calle in the Old Town

it was a 7000 peso cab ride from the marina to El Centro, ( an equivalent of about $3 CDN) for the 4 of us to jump into a Toyota Prius- type cab and adventure Northward.

Apparently, shoes is a favorite of Colombians as well. There are a TON of shoe stores.. everywhere. I wish I could still wear any shoe I desired… I would have been in heaven 4 years ago!

IMG_4937 Shoes Shoes, SHOES!!!!Lunch was just as amazing. At a whole $4 CDN we had a full lunch with a delicious soup, salad, piece of meat ( or fish) rice, and lemonade. We were stuffed.

PLATOS DEL DIA

And after, we couldn’t help but to stop and get a local indulgency.

A few days in the city and we had to head out as our water supply was low, and we couldn’t make water in the dirty harbor. We headed southwest to the Rosario islands. A quaint group of islands covered in private homes, these islands were a quiet retreat from the bustling city harbor for a few nights.DSC_0118

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We swam, made water, dinghied around, and checked it out. There are homes built on tiny atolls surrounding these islands, your own little piece of paradise. If you want a quiet holiday, this would definitely give you a piece of tranquility.

PRIVATE ISLAND PARADISES

PlazaBack to the city we returned, to get ready to fix some things, provision to head to San Blas and check out the city life for a few more days.

 

 

Jim and Blieu were to depart from Cartagena, it was a pleasure having them on board, and we will welcome them back anytime!The crew

 

 

 

 

Just a few more shots of this beautiful city before we leave you!

Church typical Street in Old Town

Sailing from Jamaica- Departure From Our Favourite Island Paradise.

Did we mention that we LOVE Jamaica? Well we do. Of the many places we have been, Jamaica is one of our favorites. It’s the food, the people, the climate, the beaches, the diving, the water, and the ambience that make Jamaica a ONE LOVE country.

We will be sad to depart, but after a few restful days in a resort, air conditioning, food, rest, a ton of diving and meeting new friends, we must bid adieu to our favorite of the Caribbean Islands.
West End,  Jamaica

Montego Bay is where Pam left to go back to Australia. We will miss her cheery smile on board, but as sailors, you must do what works for you. Not everyone is a passagemaker and we have some rough passages ahead.
Pam's Departure

Some new crew flew down from Missouri to join us for the 500+ nm passage to Colombia. Jim and Blieu are in the research mode of cruising and trying to decide what kind of boat is going to work for them. So crewing on many different boats is giving them the opportunity to check out their options. Given their sense of humour and attitude towards life, we feel they will be a great addition for the next few weeks.
Jim and Blieu Foster

Negril gave us the chance to get back on board, enjoy the clear water and walk the 7 mile beach. We grabbed a bit of fresh fruit and veggies with the Jamaican dollars we had left, and headed out to sea for our 500+ nm passage. We were expecting 3-4 meter seas with 15-20 knots of wind from the East.
Ricks Cafe

Note to self: Don’t head to sea after spending a week on land. It was a bumpy first few days, due to a tropical wave that had stirred the seas up a bit and a lot of thunderstorm activity.
Passage Weather

We all were a bit queasy for the first few days, but on day 4 the seas flattened and winds dropped as we expected.
Sunset in the Caribbean Sea

We motored into Cartagena, Columbia just after sunset with 68 hours at sea and just over 500 miles behind us, and we immediately impressed with the skyline of skyscrapers lit up in the night sky. I don’t know what we were expecting, but after 4 months in the Caribbean, the CITY was a welcome sight!

Cartagena, our night arrival

We will settle here in Columbia for the next month or so, and do what cruisers do best- enjoy the country, get some work done, and meet new people.

Boca Grande in Cartagena

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Jamaica- Our favourite Island of All

Jamaica

After an overnight power boat ride into the waves and wind, we finally put the sails up at 0600 and began sailing with a feeling of relief. Of course, as a sailboat you don’t always go directly to where you want to go… but we got there eventually when the wind shifted. We pulled into Port Antonio, JA at 1700 hrs, after a 110 mile passage with the towering 7000 foot Blue Mountains as a backdrop.
Arriving here feels like home.

We were immediately greeted by friendly Quarantine, Immigration and Customs officers who informed us that it was only 1600 hours as there is daylight savings time here. Bonus hour! After a lengthy yet pleasant paperwork session, we were given the key to the marina with its wonderful showers, pool and bar for a fee on the mooring ball of on $32/day.

Port Antonio was exactly how it was described to us; a bit rough around the edges, but a pleasant village full of friendly people. Our first questions to the locals were; where is the best Jamaican patties place and who makes the best jerk Chicken. Friday and Saturday are market days in Port Antonio, and the market was in full hustle when we went in for some provisioning. You can buy anything from shoes to ganga at the market. While they do take “no thank you” for an answer, they will try and sell you whatever they think you might need.

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Port Antonio in the Parish of Portland, JA is the richest of all the parishes. Its high mountains drop heavy rain on the area daily, making it lush and tropical. The farms supply produce to the entire island. Market day in Port Antonio is visited by people from towns near and far for their terrific produce. Among other veggies, we picked up a bottle of Jamaican Jerk sauce from Norma.

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Just off the marina is Navy Island. Once owned by Actor Eroll Flynn, there is an old hotel there that was closed in 2002. It has started being taken back by the forest as you can see, but was apparently quite the private resort in its day.

Navy Island Hotel
Navy Island Hotel

The old Eroll Flynn Hotel

After a weekend stop in Port, we headed west 30 miles to Oracabessa. Now this is a lovely little stop. We anchored in the basin made for a marina type development, behind a lovely breakwater owned by Golden Eye private resort that used to be owned by Ian Fleming. Its on the edge of town with a lovely park and well kept grounds. A walk thru the exquisite resort, with permission granted by security, we enjoyed the feel of the tranquility of this place. For a gentle fee of $800-$1000 per night, you too can stay in one of their private villas, or the grand 5 bedroom Ian Fleming house at only $9000/night. We stayed on the boat, but had a coffee at the bar.

golden Eye Private Beach

Golden Eye Resort Cabins

Ocho Rios was our next stop. Known as Ochi by the locals, it is a huge tourist town. In the two days we spent there, only two cruise ships were in, and I guess we were lucky. We anchored off the beach in 12 feet of water with a terrific view of the dolphin pen. We had our own show daily! We did the tourist thing and visited margaritaville, as well as the famous Dunns River Falls.

Everyone goes to Margaritaville at some point.. right???

In the many trips Darren and I have had to Jamaica, we have not stopped at Dunns. We were pleasantly surprised at the major tourist attraction that draws thousands of people daily. Our arrival there at 9 am beat the cruise ship people who only docked at 10, so by the time that we finished our climb and were enjoying a Blue Mountain Coffee, they were only arriving. Perfect timing.

We stayed in Ochi for an extra day and enjoyed some R&R in the lovely calm bay after our strenuous climb.
Beer Chair In Ocho

Jamaicas north shore is lined with resorts all the way from Ochi to MoBay. Our trip along the coast at the 20 meter line allowed us to guess at some of the names of the huge facilities. Sandals, Secrets, Beaches, Breezes, Riu’s and Hiltons bring thousands of people here daily on the jumbo jets landing at Montego Bay.

We have anchored down in the anchorage at the MoBay Yacht club just on the West side of town, and for a fee of $10 / per day we have internet access, pool and shower facilities, and a dinghy dock in a peaceful anchorage.

MoBay yacht club from the water

We will all take a few days off the boat here and enjoy the facilities at some of the big resorts, bathe on the white sand beaches, enjoy the endless air conditioning, eat at the all inclusive buffets, and act like a tourist for a few days.

See you in Negril!

Cuba

Our first day in Santiago was a day of exploring. Find out the lay of the land and meeting people who could help us with any information. We met Dirk and Mariolaine on “Roxy” from Belgium, who Colin had met on his Atlantic crossing last year. They were very much fun, nice to visit with, and we made friends quickly.

Streets of Santiago
Streets of Santiago

We headed into Santiago with Dirk and Mari, in a lovely old Studabaker to find the wifi at Hotel Casa Grande, ($3 per hour) . After a stop at the bank to get some money, we took a wander for some lunch. Cuba uses two currencies. The CUC ( Convertible Unionized Currency) and the Cuban peso. One CUC is equal to about a US$ and if you divide one CUC by 24 you will get one peso. It’s a little confusing at first, but its easily figured out. We found delightful local place for lunch where we had a lobster, rice and salad for $6 CUC.

$6 Lobster lunch
$6 Lobster lunch

Santiago de Cuba is a delightful old Colonial style city. Not as touristy as Havana was the many years ago when Darren and I were there. The architecture is beautiful and the streets are typically Cuban.

Santiago Church
Santiago Church

Later in the day after returning to the marina, we met two local lads, Pashito and Leo. They were very helpful and were there to help you with anything you wanted to know. Of course, if they could make some money out of it, then it was a bonus for them. They arranged for us to head to a Cabaret San Pedro the next night, which would be the eve of Kelly’s birthday. It was a fantastic evening, and of course Pashito and Leo came with us, for the cost of their beer. Eric was our taxi driver that night in his large 1951 Chevy with a Mitsubishi engine.

51 Chevy

The music was fantastic, the dancing amazing, and the company was excellent. Cubans know how to dance!

Dancing with Leo and Pashto

The next day, being Kelly’s birthday, Pashito invited us, and other cruisers for dinner at the house next door. It was excellent food of a Pork roast, salad, rice. We brought the beer and wine and enjoyed a lovely time with 8 other cruisers and the local family.

Dinner at pasties friends home
Dinner at pasties friends home

Monday we again jumped in Erics 1951 Chevy and visited to delightfully famous Senuatario El Cobre. Its has been a seminary since 1605, and a lovely place to visit. The Church has been visited by the Pope and many famous religious figures. As is the custom, we bought some candles and lit them in prayer and thoughts of our departed loved ones.

Senautario El Cobre
Senautario El Cobre

We made a deal with Pashito and Leo for them to supply us with some Rum. I think we did fairly well after a bit of haggling over price and quality… and ended up with 15 Litres of something between 8 and 12 year rum LOL? for $80CUC

Cuban Rum
Cuban Rum

Our adventure the next day was to visit the “Castillo de Moro” on the point of the entrance to Santiago. We took the marinas boat over to Isla Granma for a lunch, where Leo joined us. His uncle plays in the little band that entertains at one of the three restaurants on the island of 1050 people. Lunch was shrimps today at an outrageous price of $12CUC, which to us, seemed expensive, since having $6 lobster in Town, but the band was good.

We then took a local 50 year old boat with a single cylinder inboard engine for 5CUC for 6 of us over to the dock closest to the Castle for a walk. This boat was in the boys family for 50 years, inherited from his grandfather. Fuel tank was a pop bottle, and stopping the one cylinder engine required lifting the wire off the spark plug, right beside the gas bottle. OMG!

Castle de Moro was built by Spain in 1616-1623 and was used up to the end of the Spanish civil War in the late 1890’s. its beautifully constructed on the edge of a cliff overlooking the Caribbean Sea.

Castillo de Moro
Castillo de Moro

This has been Darrens favourite Fort as of yet in the Caribbean

Being our last day in Cuba, we headed back to Santiago, to get some veggies and last bit of internet. Our driver of the day, in a heavily modified Old ford with a Russian diesel Tractor engine in it, took up to Santiago an back for his delightful sum of $20CUC. He stopped at the vegetable market for us on the way in, and the beer store on the way back. We provisioned with a bag full of potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions for a hefty $3CUC. With the equivalent amount of produce of what could have cost $40 at home, we were delighted. Beer was $1 a can, and we spent the remainder of our Cuban CUC’s on 5 flats of Bucanero and Cristal beer, priorities are priorities.

Customs and immigration came to the boat and looked thru the cupboards in a routine check, I guess looking for stowaway passengers or…??? They didn’t look under the floorboards… Only just as a customary inspection. After their “good look around” they left us to depart Cuba for our overnight passage to Jamaica.

Passage weather
Passage weather

Next Post Jamaica!

The Inagua’s and Passage to Cuba

It was 65 miles to Little Inagua Island for the night then another 55 yo Great Inagua, on our journey to Cuba. It was nice to break the trip up into a few days instead of doing it all at once. But not wanting to check into the Inaguas, we only anchored of the shores for the evening before continuing on the next morning.

Dorado
Dorado

Little and Great Inagua are owned by the Bahamas, and are guarded by the US Coast Guard. While being at anchor at Little Inagua, we were visited by a Coast Guard Blackhawk, circling us very closely. They wanted us to know they were there and were aware of our presence at the island.

Coast Guard Bahamas
Coast Guard Bahamas

0400 we departed Great Inagua for the SE side of Cuba. It was a painful motor for 110 miles to the first available anchorage of Bataqueri on the East side of Guantanemo. We arrived there at 1700 and were immediately visited by the Guarda Fronterra, who took our passports to his office. He gave them back about an hour later, and told us we cannot leave until 0600 in the morning, when its light enough to see. They want to make sure you are not taking any Cubans with you.

Entrance to Bataqueri
Entrance to Bataqueri

We sailed and motored to the best of our ability the next day for our arrival at Santiago de Cuba, our check in place for Cuba. It was a painless experience arriving there and were radioed on the VHF by the marina upon approach.

Santiago de Cuba Marina
Santiago de Cuba Marina

After an inspection by Customs and Quarantine, the quarantine officer asked for some money to maybe help her out. $10 in her hand smoothed any possible issues and she was overwhelmed enough to give us hugs and kisses and many thanks. Immigration was not a problem, and we were good to go in Cuba.

Cuba has different cruising rules than any other county we have been to. We would be allowed to cruise from marina to marina, but not anchor in any of the bays, and we were not allowed to use our dinghy for exploring. It is very controlled. We decided our stay in Cuba would be shorter than anticipated.

The Remainder of Turks and Caicos

After a bit of wifi at the cruise ship terminal, we made our way over to the Caicos Bank. Our stop was south Caicos with its large anchorage, and sheltered area. South Caicos was a complete different experience from its neighbor to the East ( Grand Turk). South Caicos was rural but friendly, and a bit twighlight zone-ish. It was like going back in time to the 50’s. As we walked down the street to find a market for some fresh veggies, everyone said hello to us. Children walked alone at 4 years old, or rode their bikes with their friends in their bare feet. They stopped to say hello or just to take a good look at us foreigners. They wanted to know where we were from.

Near the anchorage is an older hotel that has been turned into an Ocean sciences school. An interesting concept, we walked in to say hello and find out more. While chatting with the 18-20 year old girls there, we found out that they are on a semester study there as part of the biological degree. They dive everyday, and so marine studies. They live together, with the professors in the old hotel that has been converted to a dorm type school. It was really neat.

Leaving South Caicos, we travelled over the Caicos Bank to French Cay. It was a 20 mile journey across a bank of 3-4 metes deep crystal clear water, in the middle of the ocean. You could see the bottom, the reefs, the coral heads and at times, the fish throughout the day.

French Cay is lovely little island where we took our anchorage for the night. As part of a marine bird sanctuary, we were not suppose to go to shore, but we anchored off in 10 feet of water and watched the birds from the boat. Colin and Darren had a snorkel off the boat. Caicos in general, but French Cay area especially, is known to be a breeding ground for sharks, and it proved to be true when you could hear Darren signal thru his snorkel…!! He had obviously spotted a shark, but luckily it was more afraid of them than they were of the shark and it swam off.

Next stop was Providenciales, or as called by the locals, Provo. This would be the northernmost point of our adventure on FMD. We anchored just outside the marina after making our way thru the reefs by sight, and went in to have a look around. The marina was full of friendly cruisers and staff, but not much else. No store, no chandlery, nothing. BUT, there was to be a potluck that evening with a band and all. We met some nice people that evening, not just cruisers, but many locals and American residents came as well.

Moving onto the dock the next day for both fuel and to fix the anchor windlass, we spent a few days at the marina. It was hot and dusty. We provisioned at the mighty cost of about $400 USD. Grocery was not cheap in Turks. After fixing our windlass, being fuelled up, and provisioned, we started our journey southward after giving the customs and immigration $80 to be able to leave the island. T&C was not a cheap place to visit.


The bar for Pot Luck dinner
The bar for Pot Luck dinner

We moved from Provo to West Caicos so that we would have a good departure for Little Inagua Island, 65 miles southwest.
Anchoring at the deserted and isolated Southwest reef for the night, we were called on the radio at 8 pm by Provo Radio, the Turks version of Homeland Security. Provo radio could see us on the AIS and radar and they let us know that they could see a boat approaching us in the dark. They said it may just be a local fishing boat heading home… but wanted us to be aware. It was a nice call, and we were relieved to know that we were being watched.

Nest Post- the Inaguas and Passage to Cuba

Passaging to Turks and Caicos

If you could write a text book on how a passage was suppose to go, this should have been the theory portion. A nice easy sail with flat seas, although we had to motor for a day, then a gentle breeze eased in and filled our sails for the next day and a half, while the reefs to the north broke up the Atlantic swell. Dorados at sunrise followed by a nice tuna for Sashimi, and a half a Wahoo. Yes Half. We are not sure what got the other half while it was being reeled in, but whatever it was, it was big.

Sunsets were beautiful. Crew was happy. Seas were calm. And then it appeared,… out of the blue came the slightest mound of sand. Salt Cay of Turks Islands, rising a grand 40 feet into the sky.

We took anchor for the night at 3 in the afternoon, and rejoiced our triumphs! For some of the crew it was the longest they had been at sea, ever and the rum came smoothly!

We moved over to Grand Turk the next morning and checked into the country. We were given a 7 day stay, after which time we would be required to pay a $300 Fee. Making the most of our time in Grand Turk, we hired a van and a driver to drive us around the 7 mile long, 3 mile wide island and enjoy his documentary.

Wild donkeys roam the island its sandy shores and flatlands.

Turks and Caicos were/ are solidly built on the Salt Industry. Salt pans line the islands, either actively or inactively.

Flamingos in the Salt Ponds
Flamingos in the Salt Ponds

Grand Turks is not active in the salt industry any longer, but is main import is tourism. Cruise ships line both sides of the massive dock daily and fill the streets of the cruise ship terminal and its many shops and duty free with tourists.

Cruiseship terminal at Grand Turks
Cruiseship terminal at Grand Turks

We enjoyed a delightful meal onshore in Grand Turks with Wayne and Lorraine at a fellow Canadian sisters restaurant on the beach before heading to SaltRaker Inn for dancing and a local band. What a great evening we had!

Band at the Saltraker Inn
Band at the Saltraker Inn

On the East side of Grand Turks is a shallow bank and within this bank are many small islands- or cays. We ventured over to Gibbs Cay on the advice of our driver that day and some Canadian ladies who own a restaurant on Grand Turks.
Gibbs Cay is a sandy atoll with shrubbery that is perhaps 45 feet in elevation at its highest point. It is know for the sting rays that come to visit the generous tourists.

As soon as we anchored down, a ray came over to let us know he was there. We climbed in the dinghy, or swam to shore, as there were 6 of us, with a little bag of cut fish. The rays could hear the engine and immediately came to surround us, looking for their feed. At one point there was up to 8 of them, swimming around us, through our legs, back and forth, taking the fish right out of our hands. If we were not quick enough, they would swim right up our legs until they found what they were looking for.


Sting Ray

Sting rays are interesting creatures. You can see their eyes looking right at yours, and their firm silky flesh glides right past your legs. They were definitely not afraid of us. They had no intention of using their stinger.

Chilling on Gibbs Cay with Friends
Chilling on Gibbs Cay with Friends

Turks Bank is famous for Conch. Under the boat at anchor in only 10-12 feet of water, we were surrounded by them. Large and small. After having some delicious conch fritters ata a local pub, I decided that they would be easy enough to make so we collected some to use for our appies. They take some preparation, but when done correctly, are delicious.

Our bounty
Our bounty
Conching
Conching

We said goodbye to our crew the next day as Wayne and Lorraine had to return to Canada. It was a fun 18 days with them, and we will miss their company, stories, laughs and help.

The last supper with crew before their departure
The last supper with crew before their departure

Next Post- the Remainder of Turks

BVI to Puerto Rico

Our time in The Virgin Islands finally came to an end and we must bid adieu to a lovely country and its colorful waters and sea life.

With two additional crew onboard for the 300+ nm passage to Turks and Caicos, we left sunny BVI with light winds and full sails. Next stop would be Culebra, Puerto Rico for an overnight in the little village. It was a short sail around the reef fringed entrance, but we managed to sail “wing on wing” right into the narrow marked channel of Culebra Island. The beautiful colors of the reefs told us of the dangers and we drifted nicely to an anchor position off the town docks.

Culebra is a cute little village that attracts many tourists from Puerto Rico to its charming beaches and quaint shops. There is a large research University which hold the majority of its industry besides tourists.
Our stay only left us there a night before heading West to Fajardo to do our provisioning and necessities.

Fajardo is a busier city with a thriving Puerto Rican community and many American Ex-pats. You know you have entered America when you drive down the streets here. McDonalds, WalMart and Sizzler abound. Yes We are in America.

We got brave, having been here before, and we decided to commonly rent a van and do some exploring up to El Yonque National Forest. Abound with vegetation, tropical birds, tree frogs and of course Tourists, its was a lovely way to spend a half a day and see what the county looked like before civilization took over.

On the way back to Fajardo we stopped with the locals at the Kiosko’s along the highway and had some lunch and beers. Some of the best Ceviche Darren and I have ever had was there that day!!!

While in Fajardo, and one of the reasons we went there at all was to meet with one of our ISPA Instructors/ Friends Michael and Margarita, on their boat Bebe at Isleta. caribbeansailingsolutions

Michael had taken Colin for some tests earlier in the day, Thank you Michael, and Margarita stayed back and obviously cooked us some typical Puerto Rican food to enjoy later that day. It was very much enjoyed by all of us!

The forecast was good for the next week so our plans remained to head out in the morning for our offshore passage to Turks and Caicos, 380 miles to the North West.

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Virgin Islands and a Crew Visit!

Well the wind blew in BVI, and it blew, and it blew. We sailed, and anchored and sailed. We enjoyed a Noisy night anchored in The Bight at Norman Island just behind the famous floating bar, WillyT’s. Its known for jumping off the back in various degrees of clothing, and as they say, it is optional, very strong drinks, and loud music. We got little sleep, and the wind blew thru the night.

Willy T's

The next morning we headed in a counter clockwise direction in the lower Virgin Islands, stopping at Cooper Island and visiting the dive site of Wreck Alley. Cooper Island is a great little Eco Resort with a wonderful beach and a great Happy Hour! And they have WiFi! So we did take advantage of all three! Sunsets are fabulous from Cooper Island Resort.

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We had a fabulous snorkel around the pinnacle, where again, Colin almost Killed Darren on an epic snorkel. We saw big Baracudas feeding on the coral heads, turtles, many fish and more towels hats and bathing suits sitting on the bottom than you could imagine. BowerBird Colin put on his dive gear and collected the treasures. Loot: 4 beach towels, but no gold.

We had a few more nights anchorage, before heading to West End, known as Sopers Hole, and its colourful village theme. Colin and Pam had to make a day trip to St Thomas to get clearance for FMD to enter and land into US waters.
Murphy’s Law must rule that its always 1 am or 2 am when squalls appear, and we encountered near Hurricane conditions gusting thru the gap at Soper’s Hole that night. We were on anchor watch for a good hour before winds eased and we felt comfortable to go back to sleep. Such is the life of a sailor. We know we have a good anchor and ground tackle though!

SopersHole

Its been great weather for the past week in Virgin Islands, hot, windy and dry with the odd squall going thru to clean the decks. We enjoyed the day of cloud and rain while we waited for Wayne and Lorraine to join the boat for a holiday visit.

Crew Arrival in the rain

With a new crew aboard, we enjoyed our favorite spots in Virgin Islands again; Norman Island, Cooper Island Resort, Bitter End, Cane Garden Bay and finally Jost Van Dyke. The new crew enjoyed a fabulous hike around The orchid Trail on Virgin Gorda’s East side, where they had fantastic viewpoints, wild Iguanas, and of course wild Orchids.

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We Had our last day in BVI at Jost Van Dyke, with of course a quick stop at Foxy’s. Although we had a great lunch at a different restaurant down the sandy road, Foxy had a song for us Vancouver Islanders anyways.

Foxy

We will be checking out of the country today on our passage West then North, next stop Puerto Rico.

British Virgin Islands

Saturday the 19th of March at a dark hour of 5 am, we lifted the Anchor from the French side of ST martin and took a bearing across on our full day passage to Virgin Gorda, 80 miles Westward. I DID eventually get out of my jammies.

We enjoyed our coffee until the dawn broke and we were able to raise the sails on a broad reach with 15 knots of wind. The forecast was good for the day and we were expecting no change.

By later morning, we were able to drop the white sails and put of the colorful downwind sail, heading DDW to our destination. It was a textbook sail. Perfect wind conditions, good seas, with only a 4-6 foot swell running, and perfect sky conditions reflecting the crystal clear blue tropical waters.

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The day got even better when ZIIIIINNNGGG on the Starboard Rod holding the purple tinselly Lure that Darren picked out!!!! All hands on deck! While Colin and Darren maneuvered the rod and fish, we held that boat steady and dropped the speed as best we could. He was monster Dorado on the hook! The biggest one we have seen. With Gaff in hand, and the fish at the back of the swim step, one shake of its massive body and POOF! It dropped the hook. We do; however, have footage of this so its not “just a fish that got away” story. We really did see it,.. she/he was huge…. So out the rod goes again.

See the YouTube Video here on our Channel The One that Got Away

About 30 mins later ZIIIINNNGGG on the rod again. The same rod! Obviously they were liking the lure color. Darren fought the fish for about 15 minutes before Colin and he landed it. And to our amazement and surprise it was a 6 foot MARLIN! Landed, safe, secured, we celebrated this catch. Niether of us had ever caught one before, and it gave a fabulous fight.
[caption id="attachment_629" align="aligncenter" width="3216"]Marlin Madness Marlin Madness

About an hour later, ZIIINNNGG on the rod, AGAIN! Cols rod this time with a pink lure. When he got in the 20 pound dorado, we decided that was enough fishing for the day. Our freezer is only so big!

Cols dorado
Cols dorado

So with two fish onboard, one that got away, and a few hours before sunset, we dropped the sail, and motored our way thru the north passage of Virgin Gorda to Gorda Sound. I guess there is no need to tell you what we had for dinner… for the next week. The sashimi off that marlin was FANTASTIC!

Marlin Dinner
Marlin Dinner

We spent a few days in Gorda Sound before heading south to Savannah bay on the western shore of Virgin Gorda for an evening just off a sandy beach. In the morning we headed to Trellis Bay on Beef Island for the famous Full Moon Party. Yachts cram into the bay by the hundreds for the monthly event, and anchoring spots are hard to come by, so getting there a day early was our plan.

The community of Trellis Bay is a fun combination of restaurants entertainment, artists and local crafters. The Full Moon party should not be missed If you are in the area. Giant iron fireballs and burning man are lit right on the waters edge, while giant dancing mocko jumbies ( stilt dancers) come out for the celebration. It’s an evening worthy of the hangover the next day.

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It was a slower start the next morning when we left for the main harbor of Road town. We needed to get a few things completed, and reprovision our veggie stock, so to the city we went. Road Town is an odd little city. We had a hard time finding the center of town, supermarkets and such. Its seems really spread out. Sort of like Parksville. We did have lunch at a great Food truck just behind Village Cay Marina, though. $12 for more food than you could eat, ribs, chicken, macaroni pie, stewed fish ( yes Darren had fish!!). We completed our business, and headed to Norman Island, and The Bight for a few days, where we would be safe from the 20 knot wind that was forecasted to hang around for a few days.
We will enjoy some snorkeling, beaching general maintenance, office work, watching the general debauchery, and sunshine while we wait out the wind so we can get to the dive sites we have been looking forward to.
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Score Carding the activity
Score Carding the activity