Friday, 29 November 2013

No 30/13 Paradise

Hi from Clare,                                                 Thursday 28th November, 2013

So here we are on island time. It is wonderful to have no commitments and be able to please ourselves. The biggest decision each day is to decide whether to move to another near by beautiful island or stay put.

We left North Sound, Virgin Gorda and the Salty Dawg Rally people last Saturday and sailed eight miles to Anageda Island. We passed Richard Branson's island on the way, see photo. He has certainly picked a beautiful spot in the world. His house is high on the hill top which provides wonderful views of the surrounding hilly islands and aqua blue seas.

Anegada beach and town anchorage

Richard Branson's Island and Spanish Town Marina

Anegada Island is said to have the best beaches in the BVI. We spent the day walking the beach and swimming in 28 degree water. It was very desolate and immensely peaceful. We spent the night at anchor but unfortunately our peace was ruined as we rolled rather badly. Andrew and I had to abandon the V-berth with its lovely open hatch and warm night breeze and retreat to the couch in the saloon and the second aft cabin where the movement of the boat is less. Deb who has the other aft cabin slept through the night totally unaware. The following morning we walked a few miles into the sleepy town. The walk was good, we needed the exercise but the town was a sleepy hollow. I think the bars along the shore would come alive at night as the shallow harbour is a popular spot for visiting catamarans.


Little Dix Bay Resort

LOVELY RESORTS We came back to Virgin Gorda for the night and the following morning we went down to Spanish Town towards the south end of the island. There is a marina there with a little shopping mall but once outside the marina there is not much to see. There are some large houses on the surrounding hills but difficult to reach by foot as the roads are very narrow and without footpaths. We walked through a park across the island to the resort at Little Dix Bay; a lovely tropical spot, see photos.

So now we have moved about 10 miles to Peter Island. We are anchored in a large and well protected bay. We went snorkelling yesterday off the back of the boat. The coral and fish were just OK but this is an Aussie talking and we are spoilt.

We will stay here today to enjoy the sunshine, peace and quiet and some swimming. There are a few more islands within the BVI group which we will explore over the next two weeks before going to the American Virgin Islands.

Love Candy and Deb xxx

At 12:35 AM28/11/2013 (utc) our position was 18°29.84'N 064°21.60'W

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Thursday, 21 November 2013

No 29/13 Virgin Gorda, BVI

Hi from Clare,                                  Wednesday 20th November 2013

We arrived at The Bitter End Yacht Club in Virgin Gorda around lunchtime Saturday. It took 11 days to complete the 1420 miles of the Salty Dawg Rally from the States to the BVIs. Most the boats have arrived now except for a few smaller boats who took refuge in Bermuda for a few days. I have included some photos of our voyage which were taken by Bruce on the Aussie catamaran 'Remi De' as they passed us on day 4. Needless to say the photos of Deb at the wheel and Andrew with his Mahi Mahi were taken on one of the quieter days on the trip.



Salty Dawgs in the rough and the smooth

So now we are enjoying life in the sunshine and swimming in lovely clear warm water. Yesterday we went for a walk up over the nearby hill so we could get some photos of our gorgeous surroundings. As a Rally participant we have a free mooring ball here until mid December and also access to the Yacht Club's pool. I think that's where we are heading this afternoon. The beaches are lovely but I have my eye on one of the lounges by the pool under the shade of a palm tree.


Anchorage views at Virgin Gorda

Last night we went to the bar at Saba Rock for a few Painkillers and to watch the Tarpon feeding. Believe me two drinks are enough, they certainly don't hold back on the rum. Tonight we have the weekly Wednesday Welcome Ashore Party held at the Yacht Club and then tomorrow night we have the Salty Dawg Finale Dinner. At this stage there are about 300 yachties attending so it should be a lively affair.

Friends from Remi De and Endless Pleasure

The Dinner tomorrow night is the last official function so we will then be free to explore new horizons. We haven't any firm plans; we will just have fun making them up as we go.

Love Candy and Deb xxx

At 2:42 PM17/11/2013 (utc) our position was 18°29.84'N 064°21.60'W

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Friday, 15 November 2013

No 28/13 Closer to Paradise

Hi from Clare, Thursday 14th November 2013

Today is day 9 of our 11 day sail from Hampton on the east coast of the America to the BVIs in the East Caribbean. It is a sparkling day with 30 degree air temperature and 28 degree water temperature. We are presently motoring as the wind has dropped out and it is not due to return until this afternoon. It is quite nice to have a bit of respite and Andrew stopped the boat earlier so he and Deb could have a quick dip in the sea out the back of the boat. I was waiting for a loaf of bread to come out of the oven so I missed out this time.

For the last five days we have sailed with the wind forward of the beam and so have been heeled over; nice to be level again. When the wind comes back this afternoon it will be behind us making the next few days of sailing easy going. We are having a good trip, two more fronts have passed over but we have been far enough south to miss the strongest winds and torrential rain. We did have one decent rainfall but we were glad to get a free boat wash.

The boats further north have taken a bit of a hammering. Three boats (all Catalina's a 37' a 42' and a 47') have lost their rudders. While the 37' boat was being towed to safety by the Coast Guard we heard that the people had been taken off and the boat abandoned. There is one other Catalina in the fleet; guess they are feeling a bit anxious.
Our half way mark was celebrated on the only other day when we had little wind and so we sat in the cockpit and had cheese and biscuits and a glass of coke. We are looking forward to arriving at our destination, the island of Virgin Gorda. We will then be able to add some rum to the next coke.

We caught a beautiful Mahi Mahi which we will finish tonight. There is nothing better than a freshly caught Mahi Mahi and we had been longing for one for some time. We will put the fishing line out again this afternoon.

Love Candy and Deb xxx

At 11:02 AM14/11/2013 (utc) our position was 23°10.71'N 064°45.21'W

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Sunday, 10 November 2013

Salty Dawg Rally

Hi from Clare, 9th November 2013

So we left Hampton four days ago and we have now completed 526 miles of the 1350 mile passage to the British Virgin Islands (BVIs).

Most of the fleet (116 boats) left on Wednesday but a few including Eye Candy left Tuesday on the back of a cold front. Our intention was to get across the Gulf Stream and travel sufficiently far south to miss the worst of the next cold front which was due Thursday night.

The first 120 miles was an uncomfortable close reach but that was nothing compared to the next 80 miles across the Gulf Stream. This was our fifth encounter with the Gulf Stream and let me tell you what we have learnt about this nasty piece of water - get cross it as fast as you can and if possible don't go there. The stream has strong currents, counter currents, eddies and very confused seas and its own set of convective squalls. At one stage we were doing a boat speed of 5.8 knots but only making 1.9 knots across the ground. It's a bit like a 80 mile wide twin tub washing machine - it spins you around and spits you out all wet.

Once we got through the Gulf Stream some 20 hours later, it was a further 100 mile sprint to stay ahead of the next cold front which forecast 50 knot squalls. Through the ordeal Deb went into economy mode and didn't eat for 2 and 1/2 days; sick and all as she was, she, "Determined Deb", didn't miss a shift and so thankfully we all got sufficient rest. Now for the good news, our master plan worked and during the second cold front we mostly experienced 25 knot winds with squalls of 35 knots.

Now some of the boats that left on Wednesday were still in the Gulf Stream when the second front came through. Unfortunately they got 40- 50 knot squalls and lumpy seas. Two boats were dismasted, 2 lost their rudders, 1 broke a broken steering arm, 1 had a damaged toe rail and was taking on water and last but not least one boat broke up with a delaminating bulk head. That crew was air lifted to safety by the Coast Guard and the boat was abandoned.

So now on day four all is well, we have 15 knot winds on our aft quarter and we are on track for the BVIs. The forecast for the rest of the trip is light winds. Deb is now eating regular meals and now no longer wishes to die. Andrew has started the water maker and so we will all have showers today. Now that conditions have improved I will write again soon.

Love Candy and DD xxx

At 12:42 PM9/11/2013 (utc) our position was 31°48.09'N 069°17.01'W

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Saturday, 2 November 2013

No 26/13 A Holding Pattern

Hi from Clare,                                                    Friday 1st November, 2013

So another week has passed and the good news is that the weather has warmed up a bit; we even got to wear T-shirts throughout the week.
We spent most of the week in Portsmouth; this is our fourth visit to Portsmouth. The shopping is good and of course we have enjoyed renewing our friendship with Bob and Cassy Mc Bride from the 'Mile Maker O' Ship Chandler. Cassy very kindly drove Deb and me to Wall Mart supermarket for provisioning which was a great help.

Yesterday we came back to Hampton Blue Water Marina where we are now waiting for the Salty Dawg Rally to the BVI's. The weather is not co-operating as there is a cold front coming which will delay the start.

Halloween Costumes

The Buoys are the winners and so too are the Girls

We have been enjoying a few social activities. We had cocktails on Wednesday night, Deb went to a Yoga class yesterday morning and last night we attended a Halloween party. Tonight we are off to a spit roast pork dinner. The Dark and Stormy drinks last night were strong. We are wondering how we will cope with The Painkillers tonight - this cruising life is tough!

All is well at this end.
Love Candy and Deb xxx

At 12:18 AM1/11/2013 (utc) our position was 37°01.05'N 076°20.57'W

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