06/5/2017 – Three weeks in the British Virgin Islands

We set off from St Martin on Easter Sunday evening, at about 1700, for the 75 nautical Mile (nM) journey to Virgin Gorda. We slowed ourselves down by keeping two reefs in the main and varying the amount of jib because we didn't want to arrive in the dark! No, we are not scared of the dark but the waters around the islands are strewn with reefs so a daylight arrival is sensible. We anchored just before 0800, perfect. .... ...... North Sound, Virgin Gorda is a large area, dotted with mooring buoys but with plenty of space to anchor and, more importantly, good holding. The weather deteriorated soon after we arrived so, after clearing in, we moved out of Gun Creek to a more protected anchorage and just sat on board for 48 hours. We had an excellent lunch at Saba Rock, with free wi-fi thankfully. We motorsailed to Road Town on Tortola in search of SIM cards for the I-pads, stayed overnight, then sailed and motorsailed to Jost van Dyke where we anchored in Great Harbour for the first time since 2000. We had a BBQ ashore at Foxy's, an iconic bar. ...... ........ After a few days anchored there we sailed to Norman Island. The Bight was heaving, full of yachts and catamarans on moorings so we anchored in Benures Bay. It was fairly calm there and the snorkelling was good, John even saw a Nurse Shark laying on the bottom. Next stop was going to be Cooper Island but the entire Bay is taken up with buoys now unless you fancy anchoring in 16m plus so we anchored off Salt Island instead. The next morning we took Starblazer back to Manchioneel Bay and picked up a mooring while we snorkelled off Cistern Rock. Unfortunately there was quite a current flowing and it was quite rough. I was not happy, particularly as there wasn't a lot of fish life so we quit, had a shower then went ashore for lunch. We went back to Salt Island to have a wander ashore before motoring on to Deadman's Bay on Peter Island. The snorkelling off Peter Island was shallow, along the rocky shoreline. It was quite good, there were masses of small fish, absolute clouds of them. The highlight for me was spotting a turtle, unfortunately not close enough for a photo. There was also a ray which eventually spread its wings and hurried off when John tried to follow it. .... ...... We arrived here in Nanny Cay on Friday morning with an appointment for a lift out. The next three days was hard labour! Apart from repainting the antifouling stripes I'd added above the Coppercoat in New Zealand, I polished the top sides end to end. The boatyard ladders were challenging, with big spaces between the rungs, however I completed the job. Tuesday afternoon we were dropped back in and have spent the past few days getting ready to leave and socialising with the other Rally boats. We'll be untying our lines within the next 10 minutes, ready to leave for Bermuda. I shall continue to post blogs to both the World Cruising Club site and to Starblazer's website. You can follow our progress on Yellowbrick ( link from World Cruising Club/ ARC Europe) or on SPOT. ..... ...... Joyce. Sent from my iPad

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