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Our Last Passage of 2008

Haul Out at Nanny Cay, Tortola

Well, we made it, Virgin Gorda Sound N18.30.209 W 064 21.714. 700+ nautical miles from Grenada to the BVI's.
Our last passage was April 19th when we left St. Martin's Simpson Bay at 0430 under moon light in calm seas and 10 knot winds. The moon lit the way out to sea past the other anchored boats and headed us for Virgin Gorda. As the sun came up it promised a beautiful day for a Sombrero Passage west to the BVI's. We arrived exactly 12 hours later 78 nautical miles in the BVI's and anchored in Virgin Gorda Sound at 1600 just off Saba Rock in 20' of clear water and sand at the Bitter End. The Sombrero Passage was great with following 3 to 4' NE seas and winds 10 to 12 kts @080 and sunny skies. Hether's made to order mellow sailing. Saw only a couple of boats on the way heading for St. Martin about midway.
Nanny Cay Marina on Tortola confirmed our haul out on April 29 at 0730 so we left our new made friends at Shrimpy's in Simpson Bay Lagoon on the 19th when the weather was just right and sailed for the BVI's and USVI's. After staying one night at Virgin Gorda we sailed to Francis Bay and a mandatory mooring for $15/2days at Maho Bay, St. John, USVI's in a US water park and that evening enjoyed the park restaurant and live music and dancing. While there we hitched into town to check into US customs at Cruz Bay and shopped around and hitched back late that afternoon with two rastas, who were real interesting, . Next we headed for St. Thomas where we found a spot to anchor at Honeymoon Bay. The next day we sailed for Jost Van Dyke and checked into customs in the BVI's and enjoyed one of my favorite restaurant bars Foxy's, and then the Soggy Dollar Bar at White Bay. We met some Telluride friends by chance who were anchored next to us in Great Harbor in front of Foxy's. We had our share of Pain Killers with them that evening. Next day we sailed across to Cane Garden Bay, anchored for the evening and then headed for Marina Cay to have dinner at Pusser's Restaurant and listen to 'Arg' Pirate tunes by Mark Brian - except he wasn't there that night. We then had to position ourselves for haul out so we headed for Norman Island across from Tortola and anchored at the Bight for two days and took sails off and started the take down process.
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We have sailed in these waters more than a couple of times and were here four years ago. I could not believe how many yacht charter company's have come here and the hundreds of yachts and huge catamarans that are now sailing the Sir Francis Drake Channel these days. Seeing two or three of these large 45' to 60'cats together bearing down on you at 10 + knots that are 25+' wide taking up 75+' of ocean space is quite intimidating. We had to make several evasive moves to keep from colliding with other boats - most of which are apparently rookie bare boat skippers and don't know the rules of the road sailing etiquette. They can make moments of pure terror out of a rather calm event, not knowing what they are about to do. Down island you hardly ever see more than 10 boats a day sailing past compared to here where there are literally hundreds crisscrossing each other from dawn till dusk and then jockeying for position to tie up to the many mooring buoys that have taken over the anchorages. But the sailing here is great with protected waters inside the channel and fair winds. The restaurants are mostly good and reasonably priced in US dollars and everyone speaks understandable English.
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The evening of the 28th we got permission to tie up to the fuel dock at Nanny Cay to be hauled out first thing on the 29th. Had dinner at Pelican Pete's and enjoyed some Speckled Hen English Ale, what a treat. The haul out went as expected except I had to make two tie ups at the travel lift as the dock master wanted me to re-dock and back the boat into position. I just love having to maneuver inside a crowded marina and then have to back into something. But I did fine and had some help with the dock lines so everything worked out okay.
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By 10 we were on the stands again and started preparing the boat for it's long term storage thru hurricane season, once again taking things apart that we had just put back together only 3 months earlier and finding a spot to put them in. Also drying out the bilge, cleaning up everything, closing and sealing hatches, removing anything that can be blown off and tying it up if it can't. Two long hot days of preparation and then May 1st, its' up at 4 am to catch a taxi ride with three 40 pound bags each to the airport and the airline ordeal to get home to Montrose, Colorado in one day hopefully.
We are now back on the big island and enjoying the summer at Rocking Horse Ranch in western Colorado. The house had a few issues with broken corral poles and posts from deer, elk and our neighbors cows this winter but Smokey and the Bandit are fine and everything is almost back to normal. Shingles have been put back on the roof and the irrigation system is up and running with everything green. It was a great trip with long remembered fondness of our Caribbean adventures and the island friends we have made on sv'AllWays'.
More later,
Hether and Chuck N 38 23.036 W 107 51.549
Our sailmail email on board is not active at this time.

Posted by Sailtales 03:45 Archived in British Virgin Islands

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