Sailing the British Virgin Islands (Again) ~ Day 4

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Marina Cay to Cane Garden Bay, Tortola

Marina Cay Dock

Up with the sun to close the hatches during a brief rain shower. Snoozed a bit more until Captain Rick appeared around 6:30 to light the stove and fire up the coffee. The regular morning ritual begins, as folks get up one-by-one and greet the day, stumbling deckside with coffee cup in hand to have breakfast with the island view bobbing around us.

Filling the Water TanksAt the Marina Cay dock we replenish our water supply, having already drained one of the water tanks. Then, we head out and make our way through the passage between Little and Great Camanoe Islands and over to cruise along the north side of Tortola.

A beautiful day of motor-sailing begins with a brief cruise down to Monkey Point on Guana Island, where we drop anchor for lunch. Just a handful of boats are there. On the other side of the point you can see the cave in Monkey Point, snorkelers bobbing around in the protected area near the rocks.

After ten minutes of futility, we give up on starting the grill—the one consistent difficulty on the trip. Everything needed to start the fire—the matches, scraps of paper and even the Match Light charcoal—seems damp. Hopeless.

Monkey Point on Guana IslandMonkey Point

Mary cooks our hot dog lunch on the stove and we enjoy our meal with a new view. Before picking up anchor and continuing on our way to Cane Garden Bay, we decide to take a little sightseeing tour over to the cave on Monkey Point.

It’s here that we perform our most bone-headed move.

Only after we’ve all climbed into the dinghy and let go of the rope to the Sunnyside do we realize the dinghy’s outboard motor doesn’t have nearly the horsepower it needs to transport one, let alone six passengers. We slowly begin to drift away from the boat and out to sea while Anne madly tries to throttle the boat forward.

Luckily we’re able to get enough forward momentum (against the wind, no less) to putt-putt us back to the stern of our boat. We grab on and quickly hop out of the dinghy laughing. Whew, a close call.

Lesson learned: Have a couple of people test the dinghy motor in a protected area before you all climb in and drift away.

Up anchor and we’re off. We pop up the jib, turn off the motor, and enjoy the view of Tortola’s north side as we float past. The green hillsides, rocky shore and blue crashing water make for a tranquil afternoon sail. The seas are calmer today, rolling along in our direction.

Sailing Along the North Side of Tortola Island

As we approach Cane Garden Bay, all eyes strain to see the red channel marker that points the way to safe entry into the bay…only, it’s nowhere to be seen! We creep into the bay, careful to avoid the reef on the right. Cane Garden Bay is already crowded, most cans taken by boats participating in a regatta. After one failed attempt to pick up a buoy (our first) we snag one closer to shore, hoping for less rock and roll during the night.

Beers all around!

A leisurely afternoon spent napping and reading as the boat sways back and forth, giving us multiple views of the island. We make a call to Sunsail to have someone look at the dinghy motor and a few hours later, a mechanic shows up and swaps out the dud.

We motor to the dinghy dock on shore, tie up and walk a short distance to find a great spot for dinner, The Big Banana located right on the beach. We enjoy the sunset over the bay as we toast two-for-one painkillers (the BVI’s signature rum drink) and a delicious dinner of fresh fish, pasta, and barbecue.

Painkillers All Around!Two for one, pain killers all around.

We motor back to the boat in the dark, headlamps lighting our way between boats in the harbour. The lit up masts of the race boats provide an interesting new backdrop, like bobbing antenna towers. A few hours of chatting over a bottle of wine and stargazing before we all turn in around ten.

Sunset Over Cane Garden BaySunset over Cane Garden Bay.

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