Tuesday, April 23, 2013

BVI Revisited

BVI Revisited

Our plans are to wait out the hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 1 in and around Panama.   But it gets hot there and the Trade Winds in the BVI keep it cool, so after the family visit, we decided to stay in the BVI for a while before heading south to the "ABC Islands" of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao.  

We've spent nearly three weeks here revisiting our favorite spots and some new ones.  At "The Baths" where giant round granite bolders tumble into the sea making caves both above and below the water's surface, we snorkeled with a sea turtle that wasn't in the least concerned with us, allowing us to follow him all around.

From the Baths we returned to the large North Sound of Virgin Gorda.



We found plenty to do at the Bitter End...



...where we watched the Masters Golf Tournament at a bar at the Bitter End Yacht Club...

...and took a SCUBA class.
Moonshadow has four SCUBA tanks, a compressor, and a 50' Hookah rig.  With the boat's bottom getting dirty, we knew we had to start cleaning it and it would be crazy not to make use of all this gear.  But it would also be crazy to attempt SCUBA without some instruction so we took a class at the Bitter End.  

Nearby Saba Rock is a small island that has a small resort, restaurant and bar.  In all our previous visits to Virgin Gorda, we'd never been to Saba Rock, so we made reservations for dinner.  They have a great afternoon attraction, especially for the kids. 


From 5:00 to 6:00 each day they feed the tarpon.  

Dozens of these giant fish have learned the drill and set their body clocks for the 5:00 event.

The kids were spellbound.

It was all so exhausting, we had to revive ourselves with a couple of Pain Killers.

We had chartered in the BVI twice before, then did a quick tour aboard Moonshadow before picking up Ryan, Shelly and the grand kids for their visit here.  So this was our fourth tour of these islands.  We decided to see some places we hadn't seen, like Anegada island.  

Anegada is only about 15 miles from the Bitter End Yacht Club, but you cannot see it until you arrive because, unlike any other island around, it is a low lying coral and limestone island with a maximum elevation of 28 feet.


You know you are getting close when the clouds pick up the turquoise reflection of the shallow coral reef.  About 300 vessels missed this sign so wreck diving is an attraction here.


Two noteworthy events at Anegada made it into the log book.  One was John representing Moonshadow in the spontaneous conch shell horn blowing at sundown featuring at least four other boats.  Oddly, nobody seems to know more than one note.


The second noteworthy event was the breaking of our anchor chain!  This beefy 3/8" galvanized steel chain link parted at the weld as we were preparing to raise the anchor.  We had pulled in about one hundred feet of chain leaving about 25 feet on the bottom.  John was retrieving the anchor buoy, which we had rigged so others would know where our anchor was in the crowded anchorage.  When a gust of wind blew Moonshadow back, taking up the slack in the chain, we hit with a sharp BANG, and began drifting away.  

Fortunately, we had the anchor buoy rigged so we did not lose our beloved 121 lb. Rocna anchor.  It is a great testimony to that anchor that, under the tremendous load it took to break the chain the Rocna did not budge from it's spot, buried in the sand.

Recovering our anchor took some time so we ended up staying a second night at Anegada, then sailed west for Cane Garden Bay on Tortola Island.  On a whim, and since we were looking for places we hadn't already been, we turned into Brewer's Bay which lies just east of Cane Garden Bay.  This place is a gem and we had it all to ourselves.  Thinking back, we cannot remember a place we've been where there wasn't at least one other boat.


We had never anchored here before because the charter companies forbid it.  But we had visited by dinghy from nearby Cane Garden Bay during one of our charters, in a hilarious choppy ride that included a massive rain squall so intense that we all wore our snorkels and masks to see and breath.  We arrived on the shore soaked to the bone with a foot of water in the dinghy and laughed our heads off at the nearby restaurant as we wrung out our clothes. 

But this time the weather was delightful.




Two things we really love are long walks on a deserted beach ...










...and snorkeling over beautiful coral reefs.  




Brewer's Bay has both and so much more.








And the scenery was just beautiful.

One reason the charter companies don't want their boats in Brewer's Bay is the reefs.  This one in the center of the bay is about 2-3 feet deep and will break when a bigger swell finds its way into the bay.

The birds seem to know about the fish here too. 



We watch them working all day soaring, turning and diving.  
Each day, we'd watch the sunset and ask ourselves "should we leave tomorrow or stay another day?"  



Guess what we decided...
Hint:  These are all different sunsets!

We've been here 5 nights.

We took advantage of the protected bay with clear water and a sand bottom 12 feet deep to clean Moonshadow's bottom using the Hookah rig.  We couldn't have done it without the SCUBA gear as we had let it go far too long.  It was tiring work so now we've learned to keep after it more regularly.  And, Moonshadow will be fast again!

We just love the BVI, but it is high season and all the anchorages are crowded, so it was such a joy to find this little oasis.  Best of all we have WiFi, so after a day of soaking up the beauty of this place, we can Skype home, catch up on news and Facebook, and write our blog.


But as the rising moon reminds us, time marches on so we must prepare to continue on to new adventures.  Next stops St. Croix, Bonaire, Curaçao, Aruba and then Panama.

3 comments:

Nicholas said...

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Scuba Gear Packages said...

I had a wonderful time reading your post!! Keep up the good work. Pictures are really awesome!

Good Anchorage said...

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Regards
Good Anchorage Team

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