Sailing the British Virgin Islands (Again) ~ Day 2

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Road Harbour, Tortola to Great Harbour, Peter Island

Peter Island

Great Harbour, Peter Island

Not the most restful night on board, everyone is up early with the sun. We shower on shore at the Sunsail marina facilities and grab snorkel and fins on our way back to the boat.

At 8:30 a.m., a Sunsail employee named Julian arrives to give us our boat briefing. There are far fewer questions this go around, since this is our second charter and we’re already familiar with many of the basics. The briefing works as a good refresher and when Julian’s done, a mechanic arrives to repair a leak in the propane tank, discovered during our walk through.

They Really Pack The Boats In

At 9:30, our captain (Rick) and the first mate (Jenny) head over to the Captain’s Meeting, a briefing of weather, news, location info, do’s and dont’s given by Sunsail before each fleet of new charters sail out for the day.

Meanwhile, our delivery of provisions from the local supermarket arrives and Anne, Mary, Karen, and I take care of counting, loading and stowing everything away. The order was placed online a week earlier and constitutes the majority of food, drink and supplies we’ll need on board for the week. A couple of stops at the grocery stores in ports along the way are planned as needed.

After a quick lunch, we get underway, heading out into the Sir Francis Drake Channel. Winds are quite strong and the seas are unusually full of large swells, so we abandon our plan to stop at the Indians and head directly for our first overnight spot, Peter Island.

TailgatersWith gusts around 24 knots, we don’t raise the sail—the ride is eventful enough as it is. A quick spin around our intended overnight spot, Little Harbour, reveals that, due to the weather, all the anchored boats have tethered their sterns to the shore to keep from swinging around. Rather than challenge ourselves on the first day at sea with a new maneuver we’ve only read about, we head over to Great Harbour and pick up a mooring ball near the beach. There are about 18 boats spread out in the harbor. It’s quiet, except for the wind and we’re immediately entertained by the pelicans soaring, circling and diving into the ocean.

Red Stripes (our official Caribbean boat beer) all around. We’ve arrived! A relaxing afternoon is spent chatting and enjoying the view as the boat swings this way and that.

Karen and I have the first dinner crew so we get to work in the galley chopping up veggies for our fajita dinner. Lighting the grill that hangs off the back of the boat is always a challenge in the win;d Karen and Jenny provide a screen with a towel until the coals get going. We grill up the veggies and flank steak and dinner is served topside, as are all meals throughout the week.

Looking for Handouts
We eat early, having learned last year that the sun sets early on the equator and it’s no fun grilling dinner in the dark on a boat. After dinner, we spend a few hours chatting, drinking wine, and enjoying the view. Before we turn in, the clouds clear, revealing a mass of stars overhead. We can make out the constellations canis minor, orion and vela.

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2 Responses

  1. Thanks John. I’m honored that you deem the image worthy. You can click on it to go to a larger version on my Flickr site if that’s helpful.
    Thanks to the burst mode on my camera, I was able to catch a few nice shots of the laughing gulls hovering around, hoping for a handout.

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