Wouldn’t you know it, my first morning onboard and I missed all the excitement?! John woke up at 7:30 to grab a coffee and I followed at about 8am. Unfortunately while I was getting myself decent, a bareboat monohull had come in the night and anchored too close to a big Leopard cat that was moored behind us, and they were now touching. We were always wondering about what makes “that guy” act the way he does, and here in our first mooring field he’s right behind us! John was still too sleepy/amazed at what he was watching to think to grab the camera for photo proof.
The Leopard, which looked like it had a liveaboard couple, had a bunch of bumpers out between them and the monohull. The two men from each vessel were out talking to each other. Well, the guy on the cat was talking and the guy on the monohull was just kind of staring. Either he couldn’t speak English or he was being a bit of a twit, we couldn’t tell. Then he vanished below and we never saw him again. Meanwhile the (very large) cat dropped the mooring ball and moved to the other side or the mooring field leaving his new friend anchored right between two mooring balls, likely making them both unusable. Perhaps that was what he had in mind all along. I’m sure he will make another friend in short order. The couple on the big cat did not look happy. I guess they just figured it was easier to move then to try and explain what this fellow had done. Our first anchorage drama!
Chef Val had hot water all ready for tea and a wonderful fruit platter displayed as a beach scene…too cute! Life is good…except for the pouring rain. We’re assured that it will pass quickly, and so it does. Our always entertaining Captain Diego warms us with his “fun fact” about the origin of the word shit. Almost believable story. The full breakfast perked us up after a not-so-restful sleep. We forgot how much noise you hear on a quiet night on the water. The culprit was a dingy strap rubbing on the pontoon near our heads.
The rain cleared and after John reviewed boat rigging with Captain Diego while still at anchor, he raised the main sail like an old hand…then lifted the wrong clutch and it immediately dropped. To be fair, Diego had routed the main through a different clutch since he didn’t like the way the main’s previous one was functioning. I think it was labelled as a reef, but I can’t be sure. Regardless John was very deliberate and careful after that. 😉
Thank heavens for electric winches! The second time up was a charm and we were off towards Pillsborough Sound under full sail with 10 knots wind, making about 5 knts. We soon passed Loveango Island, then Carvelle Rock which prompted another Captain’s fun fact, this time about the origin of “point blank range.” About this time we reached 9.6 knts and unfortunately our big genoa out on the bowsprit started unfurling and became twisted while banging violently against the staysail. (did I get those right?) Diego discovered the sail had not been furled properly but no real damage. He then lowered it further so it stopped flapping in the wind, and we planned to later re-furl it correctly so we could use it for our downwind run back home.
About noon, we arrived at Great Bay, Jost Van Dyke Island to clear into customs for British Virgin Islands. We discovered that Chef Val was also an expert “hooker” for picking up mooring balls for never getting into shouting matches with the helmsman…
A short dingy ride to shore and a bit of exploring to discover Foxy’s Bar and Corsair’s. From the incredible memorabilia covering the ceiling at Foxy’s, it was evident we weren’t their first visitors. We were happy to see so many license plates and flags from Canada!
A quick sail brought us over to White Bay to visit another nifty tourist hangout, the Soggy Dollar. We quickly realized we just weren’t in the mood for the beach bar scene so we snapped a few photos to say we’d been there, and there was plenty of close-quarters traffic as you can see from the video. 😯
We enjoyed a yummy lunch of spinach salad with warm bacon honey mustard dressing and parmesan croissants, and then motored off again. This time headed to Manchioneel Bay, Jost Van Dyke Island to anchor at Taboo (interestingly owned by Foxy’s son). Another interesting feature of Manchioneel Bay is the naturally occurring white facial mud, found in clumps of various sizes along the path and the shore near Taboo. We grabbed some to give it a try, and you can read about John giving me my first mud facial here. I must say it was all good fun until he smeared the mud on my lips, so I couldn’t talk until he was finished, much to his and Diego’s amusement.
Here at Manchioneel Bay the local attraction is a rocky shoreline with a narrow channel that gets lots of waves converging in a small space, creating lots of turbulent water, and known as the Bubbly Pool. There wasn’t much swell and the tide was out so we only got a taste of what it could be like in more dramatic conditions.
From Taboo, it’s a short walk along a well marked path that leads to the exact spot of the inlet, but be sure to wear sandals since it’s rocky along the way. Poor Diego slipped and required some TLC from Nurse Amber to fix his scuffed knees. Such dedication to his passengers! Also pay attention to the trees with black bark lining the path, called manchineel. We were told these trees are quite toxic, so they should never be used as shelter if it rains.
We headed to nearby Sandy Spit to anchor for the night. A remarkable little spit of sand about 200′ wide with only a few palm trees and some shrubbery. Absolutely gorgeous little spot and we enjoyed a lovely rainbow while we chilled in the salon. Diego did his very best to harass Chef Val while she prepared another wonderful meal – bacon wrapped dates followed by garlic lime salmon with risotto and sautéed zucchini, with coconut custard pie for dessert. Diego was again in charge of doing dishes. Meanwhile John figured out that the flybridge lights can change colour, from white to red, to red flashing. Sweet! We have the anchorage all to ourselves for another great night in the Caribbean.