Sailing the British Virgin Islands, Day 6

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Sail from Tortola to Garner Bay, Jost Van Dyke Island

    • A morning routine is in place: Karen, Rick and I are usually first up. I try to be up in time to see the sun rise at 6 am. Rick boils water for the coffee (Starbucks individual instant coffee has been a life-saver for this caffeinnated crew) and everyone grabs what they want for breakfast.
    • Sipping coffee on deck as everyone comes to life, serenaded by the laughing gulls on the water and the roosters on the island.

    • After breakfast, while Karen, Mary and I stow the kitchen and batten down for the day’s sail, Rick, Anne and Jenny plot our course, entering the waypoints from the charts into the GPS.
    • Before we get underway, some of us make a quick trip to shore to take out the trash and stop at the market for a few provisions.
    • Stopping at the beach to buy postcards, I’m reminded how glad I am not to be on a cruise ship, as a small bus load of older, pudgy tourists pours out of a minibus and creaks their way over to the bathroom to form an instant line.
    • Back on board, we head over to the gas dock to top-off the water tanks before heading out for the day.
    • Since our destination is directly across the channel, we sail around a bit with Jenny at the helm, passing Manchioneel Bay, Green Cay, and Sandy Spit, just off Little Jost Van Dyke island, making a note to drop anchor there next time around.
    • We enjoy some very nice sailing under a strong wind and then into Little Harbour on Jost Van Dyke, where we pick up a mooring ball on the west side of Garner Bay. We’ve got a nice view of last night’s overnight stop, Cane Garden Bay and our mooring is directly below the arc of lights we could see from across the channel the night before.
    • We pass another relaxing evening on deck. Anne takes me for a spin in the dinghy to shoot some video of the boat from the water.
    • More reading and prepping for the cocktail hour when Gunn, the Sunsail mechanic arrives to look at our battery problem. He assesses the problem right away and makes the repair in less than an hour. Like everyone we’ve encountered in the BVIs, he’s extremely personable.
Garner Bay
    • Gunn instructs us to run the boat’s engine for a couple of hours to charge the house batteries, so we stick around on deck drinking wine and enjoying the sunset.
    • A thirty-second dinghy ride over to Sidney’s Love and Peace for dinner. The restaurant is as sleepy as the cove. We’re one of six boats moored in Garner Bay and one of only two parties at the restaurant.
    • A woman named Strawberry greets us when we step off and the staff makes us feel welcome. In no time, we’ve ordered up a round of Sidney’s specialty lobster, conch stew and BBQ. Strawberry kindly tells us everything is made to order, so it will be a spell of Island time before our food is ready, and to be patient–it will be worth it.


  • Sidney’s has a bar that works on the honor system and has for over 39 years. Go on back and help yourself, just write down what you take on your meal ticket. That’s all the encouragement our party needs to play bartender. Rick uncorks a bottle of red wine and Jenny mixes herself a painkiller.
  • Our leisurely wait is time well-spent at a table right on the water and we’re rewarded with an excellent meal. The BBQ of beef, chicken and pork is slathered in a fantastic sauce, with tasty sides of potato salad, red beans & rice, and coleslaw. The lobster, locally caught, is delicious; Anne, a frequent diner of Maine lobster proclaims it the best she’s ever had. The “small” sized lobster is a generous portion, served with a butter sauce.
  • Back to the boat around ten p.m. and before too long we turn in. This peaceful harbor provides the best night’s sleep I’ve had so far. Calm water and plenty of tranquility.