Thursday, April 15, 2010

The BVIs Were a Nice Surprise

Left Sint Maarten on a clear evening with the wind behind us and headed with the Zilvermeeuw for a short overnight sail to Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands. We arrived early in the morning on March 20th and picked up a mooring buoy just next to The Baths. The Baths are a natural wonder consisting of a huge park of huge boulders some on land and some underwater. Jeroen and Seb took the dingy in with the monkeys and Babette and I swam in stopping to look and the underwater wonders among the boulders and say hello to a ray swimming through. The bay became busy with charter boats as the morning wore on but remained a spectacular spot. We found a perfect cave with a natural whirlpool bath and a great view through the boulders and relaxed there for a while, just the six of us chatting about life.

Emma and Macsen are improving their swimming skills by the day and are both able to swim from the Pjotter to the Zilvermeeuw (Macsen on Seb's back but Emma using her Nana stroke to propel her along). We stayed on our mooring buoy for two nights and marveled at the fact that no one else seemed to dare to remain in the bay overnight and wondering why we had the entire beautiful area to ourselves. We later heard that the mooring buoys are intended by the park only for use during the day. Oops, we won't make that mistake again.

On to the North Sound between Virgin Gorda and Prickly Pear Island, a huge and beautiful lagoon. We expected the BVIs to be as developed as the rest of the Caribbean. Although there are a lot of charter boats there is a surprising amount of nature and beautiful untouched islands. We took an incredibly long wet dingy ride with Jeroen and Babette and anchored the dinghies in the Eustatia sound and had a wonderful snorkel. Amongst the sea life Babette and I also spotted the remains of two old cannons. Seb and Jeroen spent the afternoons fixing our motor (again) and installing ambient lighting (LED so it takes very little energy) in our living room. Babette and I headed ashore for an internet fix at the Bitter End Yacht Club. The only way we could describe the club was as a sort of adult's Disneyland or an on-land cruise ship full of nautically named boutiques and bars and restaurants all describing the activities and acts to be enjoyed in the evening.

Last evening with the Zilvermeeuw was spent in Road Town bay in the capital of Tortula, the busiest and biggest of the BVIs. Found an anchor spot near the massive cruise ships. We had a great lobster, shrimp ad steak dinner at The Pub restaurant near the boat, a run down little place with good character and reasonable tolerance for our busy monkeys.

After a morning spent prepping the boats and getting water we had a final lunch at The Pub with Jeroen and Babette before setting sail together in the late afternoon of March 25th. Took some great pictures of the Zilvermeeuw as they sailed off into the sunset on their way to the Dominican Republic as we headed off to the Turks and Caicos Islands. Dominican Republic is the last stop on the way North where you can obtain a US visa. They plan to get their visas there, have a quick explore and then head up to the Turks and Caicos and on to the US. We hope to see them again sometime in the area of New York.

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