March in Virgin Islands

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  BVI        Trellis Bay             Drake's Anchorage              Maya Cove          White Bay, Jost Van Dyke      Kay Bay, Peter Island      Nanny Cay Marina
  St John   Coral Bay                  Frances Bay               Trunk Bay    
  St Thomas   The Lagoon             Charlotte Amalie             Buck Island            Red Hook    
  Visitors   David & Carolann         
  Diving   Booby Rock, St John           Spyglass Wall, Norman Island, BVI     
  26 to 30 March 2010   Kay Bay, Peter Island    

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Good view. She's in good shape after her haul out...The boat, that is!

Kay Bay and reef

Kay Bay

Kay Bay from Key Cay, (Cay is pronounced key!).


Discovered Kay Bay, on the south side of Peter Island, BVI. Great anchorage, not too crowded, scenic with lots of beaches to explore, good beachcombing and snorkeling.

Crossed to Normans Island on 28th, overnighted in Money Bay on the south side, then made two dives on Spyglass Wall on the north side on 29th. On 30th we returned to the boatyard at Nanny Cay for some more engine tuning work.

The Virgin Islands are full of Turks Head Cacti. Not sure if these are seen anywhere else. But there are thousands of them here.


Key Cay at Kay Bay!

Whelk Bay from Key Cay

Kay Bay

Turks Head cactus

  March to....Who Knows?   More Repairs    

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It seems our technical troubles are not yet over. All the way down from Florida, we experienced engine mounting bolts working loose. We thought this would be a fairly simple fix on arrival in the BVI. However, we were concerned enough to have a professional surveyor make a report.

It seems the  installers of the new engines in Fort Lauderdale made a "Pig's Ear" of the mountings and have left a real mess. The engine beds now need a complete rebuild, which will require the engines to be removed!!! Looks like we will be here for a while.

The resulting slip in engine alignment has no doubt caused excessive vibration contributing to the port propeller falling off! Twice!!!

The second time the propeller dropped off was over a dive site, so we made an immediate dive and found both the prop and the prop nut. Amazing!

Now the installer's insurers are sending their own surveyor down to inspect the boat in St. Thomas. That will be interesting.



  23 to 26 March 2010   Nanny Cay Marina - Annual haul out for bottom painting    

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Give way! He's bigger than we are

Haul out!


Old Royal Navy rules. If it moves salute it. If it doesn't, paint it or polish it!


Thought we'd better give way to the guy in photo to left. One of the many cruise liners coming into BVI. This one through The Narrows. We are on our way from Frances Bay St. John to Nanny Cay....

So, back to Nanny Cay for the annual haul out and bottom job, plus many other little jobs which are best done while out of the water. Some reasonably unpleasant and others downright torture. Also had the engines and generator tuned and modified the anchor roller area. Meanwhile we managed to clean, polish and wax both hulls.

Boatyards are a great place to meet people. As experienced in Fort Lauderdale a year ago, when we met up with Graham Lewis who introduced us into the Fort Lauderdale social scene that we enjoyed so much last year.

And while in Nanny Cay boatyard, we met up with Denis and Rene from Houston, Texas on their Leopard 46 catamaran. Hope we will see them around the BVIs or USVIs over the next week or so before they return to the USA.

Headed out of Nanny Cay late Friday afternoon with no specific plan, so decided to head around the south side of Peter Island for a change.


Here she goes again! Polishing and waxing


All spic and span

  18 March 2010   David and Carolann's Visit    

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David fraternising with the galley staff

Geoff looking after guest relations

I'll swear I told it to go that way!

Soggy Dollar bar on Jost van Dyke

David & Carolann at White Beach

Bath time?

David, Carolann, John, Erika and John Jr.

  David and Carolann arrive in St. Thomas from Fort Lauderdale for a four day visit, which went far too quickly. They also brought a few items we needed from the US including a new propeller!

Left our anchorage in busy Charlotte Amalie harbor in St. Thomas on 19th March with our first stop at nearby Buck Island, about 6 miles offshore. We had heard that turtles were easy to find there and boy was that true. Once we picked up a mooring we could see them popping up for air all over the place and when we snorkeled, we could see six at a time, with no fear of humans.

While at Buck Island, we donned our dive gear to install the new port prop.

After a couple of hours there, we headed off the Francis Bay, on St. John for an overnight mooring. Then on 20th, headed across to the BVI to Jost Van Dyke, where we cleared in at Great Harbour, and met up with John, Erika and John Jr., friends of David and Carolann. Had lunch at the very famous Foxy’s, then all aboard Dreaming On for a trip around to white beach.

It was the weekend and with very restricted anchoring space, boats were really packed in. A beautiful white sand beach and warm blue water awaited us so we all swam ashore and joined the throngs at the equally famous Soggy Dollar Bar, with their renowned drink the Painkiller which is something of a misnomer!

John, Erika and John Jr. left us and returned to Tortola by ferry. We stayed the night at anchor after most of the weekend day boats had left and sanity and sobriety returned.

On 21st we visited the fantastic little island Sandy Spit, on the east end if Jost Van Dyke. This is your typical picture postcard desert island. White sand all around and some good snorkeling. From there we returned to the US Virgins, stopping at Trunk Bay on the north coast of St. John for more snorkeling following the snorkeling trail, then anchored outside Cruz Bay overnight. Dinghied in to Cruz Bay for the evening and caught the end of a crowded Blues Festival during happy hour followed by a wonderful dinner. (Many thanks David & Carolann).

22nd March and David and Carolann’s time is up, so after some early morning kayaking and snorkeling, we cross over from Cruz Bay on St. John to Red Hook on St. Thomas where D & C took a taxi back to the airport. David was travelling on business to Puerto Rico and Carolann back to Fort Lauderdale.

We really enjoyed their visit and hope they can stay a little longer next time.

After dropping D & C at red Hook, we headed out again to get back to Tortola as we had an early morning haul out on 23rd, for a bottom job. The weather had other ideas. The wind picked up with very heavy gusts from the NE, (the direction in which we were trying to head as usual!), which made sailing impossible and motoring uncomfortable as the seas picked up. So we ducked into Francis Bay on St. John, then made a very early morning start on 23rd across to Nanny Cay.


Sandy Spit

It's called a winch, David

And that's a rope

Intrepid explorers

Happy hour

More happy hour

And they thought they could hide?

  16 March 2010   A dive at Booby Rock... and on to St. Thomas    

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Just a little adjustment

  Left Coral Bay to try a dive at Eagle Shoal just off the south coast of St. John. Waited for another dive boat to leave the only dive buoy, and in the water within 15 minutes for a long awaited dive. BUT....the current was horrendous. Tried for 5 minutes to make progress but saw common sense and aborted.

So on to Booby Rock, just around the corner where there was no current and we had a great dive, the first real dive since West Caicos 2006!  Lovely scenic dive with a sleeping nurse shark as highlight to get us back into practice.

A quick lunch then back to Charlotte Harbor, St. Thomas to make sure we are in place for David and Carolann's visit on Thursday.


Seaplanes taking off in Charlotte Amalie harbour.




  11 to 16 March 2010   And back to Coral Bay, St. John    

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Entrance to Coral Bay, St. John

  A good place to hang out with some very scenic little hurricane holes with moorings for daytime use only. So we spent a few daytimes in the hurricane holes working on the boat and enjoying the scenery and then motored across to the main anchorage in Coral Bay overnight.

Not very dinghy friendly, but we are fairly self sufficient, so not too many trips ashore required.



  11 March 2010   Maya Cove, Tortola, a Propeller and a Haul Out.    

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  As we cannot get into Nanny Cay for our haul out, we postponed that to the 23rd March.

Ordered a matching prop through Just Catamarans in Fort Lauderdale and were looking at shipping costs.

Meanwhile friends David and Carolann from Fort Lauderdale are coming out to visit for 4 days next week, so when they offered to bring stuff out for us, little did they expect our list to include a large bronze prop!

We are still mobile on one engine yet again! We just cannot get into marinas or fuel docks until we have both windmills turning again. So in between some persistent rain squalls and the regular job list, we are pottering around seeing more of the Virgins and hopefully getting some diving in before going to St. Thomas on 18th to collect David and Carolann. 







  10 March 2010   Coral Bay, St. John to Maya Cove, Tortola.    

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It's such hard work sailing! Note the matching ear muffs...

  Geoff started the day by getting the dive compressor up and running, while Iza gave the washing machine some exercise. Filled 2 dive tanks.

Then set off to do a couple of dives on Flanagan Island, the most easterly island in the US Virgins before going back to Maya Cove to follow up on our order for a rain dodger for the new hardtop.

We assumed that Flanagan would have dive buoys set up as in most other locations in the US Virgins, but not so and with the wind direction from NNE, anchoring was not an option, so we ended up having a great sail back to Tortola.







  08-10 March 2010   Coral Bay, St. John    

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Coral Bay anchorage


Coral Bay anchorage


Moored in the National Park, Coral Bay


Hiking across to Leinster Bay


Looking over Brown Bay


Trunk Bay

  Coral Bay is a very large natural bay with many fingers leading off into different anchorages, some good hurricane holes, with high ground all around.

Coral Bay is a real laid back eclectic little community, that has gone from probably a bit of a wandering hippy society to some really expensive real estate developments up the very steep hillsides.

Most of St. John is National Park and was originally settled by the Dutch, as were the other US Virgin Islands. The Dutch planters set up sugar plantations and mills and of course used slaves brought in from Africa.

Many of the ruins of those substantial stone buildings still remain and some have been cleaned up by the Park's service for visitors. Many hiking trails traverse the island, steep tracks leading to secluded coves.

We took what was intended to be a 1.5 mile hike from Coral Bay in the south, over the very steep hills to Leinster Bay on the north coast, thinking we would get a bus from there to Cruz Bay, the "capital" of St. John on the west coast.

We visited the ruins of Annaberg sugar plantation, on the way, then found no buses. So walked a few more miles up and down steep hills on both goat tracks and roads to Cinnamon Bay where we found a shuttle into Cruz Bay. Cruz Bay is full of trendy bars, restaurants, boutiques and art galleries to cater for tourists from St. John and the cruise ship passengers.

Too crowded for us! We had lunch and a couple of beers, then caught the bus back to Coral Bay. An exciting ride up and down steep hills, around very tight hairpin bends with the occasional fleeting view of beautiful bays along the way.



Hiking across to Leinster Bay


Annaberg main house overlooking Leinster Bay


Annaberg Sugar Plantation


Annaberg windmill


  07 March 2010   Drakes Anchorage, Virgin Gorda to Coral Bay, St. John.    

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  With a prop gone, restricting us to one engine, a haulout booked at Nanny Cay for our annual bottom job for the 9th March which we could no longer achieve with one engine as it's a very tight marina and haulout area, we needed to move to an area where we could be back on wifi.

Decided to head for St. Thomas and if we ran out of time, try Coral Bay on the southeast corner of St. John, a very protected area. The sea was very rough coming out of Drakes Anchorage, but mellowed once in the lee of Tortola and we had a good motorsail into Coral Bay.







  06 March 2010   Trellis Bay to Anegada?.....No...Drakes Anchorage, Virgin Gorda...No propellor?    

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  Left the mooring at 10.15 for our scheduled 10.40 start time for the fun race to Anegada. Kept well clear of the 10.30 starters and raised our sails. Cut the engines ready to head for the start.

After we cut the port engine, there was a rattle in the transmission somewhere. Within a few seconds this stopped, so we set off to race. Needless to say the wind was right on our nose and both wind and sea picked up as soon as we were out in exposed water. At least we had plenty of tacking practice.

After about 4 hours, and several small squalls, we were wet, cold and realising that we would not make Anegada before dark, so started the engines ready to withdraw from the race and just motor the remaining distance. Started the port engine, put it in drive......No drive!!!

Could have been the transmission...Brand new. We feared it could be a lost prop. Also brand new. With the focus on starting the race, we didn't think to put a waypoint in when the rattle had stopped, thinking only that something had become caught in the prop and had fallen off.  The PROP itself!!

We were closest to Mosquito Island, (Richard Branson's latest purchase and very close to his other island Necker Island). So in the middle of another very wet, cold squall we pulled into Drakes Anchorage behind Mosquito Island in the North Sound of Virgin Gorda. We were later joined in the anchorage by Branson's 115' luxury catamaran Necker Belle, which can be chartered for $88,000 a week.

Geoff dived to check the propeller and sure enough it had fallen off. $900 worth of hardware gone! Propellers go for hours without trouble. How this one came loose is anyone's guess but faulty installation most likely. Vibration in the prop shaft? Difficult to prove that so into the cost of a new one.







  05 March 2010   Frances Bay, St. John to Trellis Bay, Tortola    

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Maya Cove

  Left Frances Bay early. Had a look at Leincester Bay, St. John on the way. Dropped in at Nanny Cay for an hour's free dockage to check on next week's haulout, then at Maya Cove to arrange for a dodger to be made.

We liked the area around Maya Cove. Some great houses around. Really expensive!

Then on to Trellis Bay. Why Trellis Bay. Well, while we were collecting generator spares, we met Phil, a boat broker in BVI who told us of a fun race to Anegada on 6th March. Having not been to Anegada and seeing this as a good way to meet some new folk, we came here and signed up at the local beach hangout, de Loose Mongoose.

Trellis Bay was very, very congested and the anchoring area is restricted due to the approach path to Beef Island airport. The main airport for the BVI.

We anchored too close to the approach and were chased off by the pilot boat to a mooring.


Under the flight path at Trellis Bay



  04 March 2010   Charlotte Amalie to Frances Bay, St. John    

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  Left Charlotte Amalie around mid-day, dropped in at the Lagoon to visit the Budget Marine chandlery then on to Frances Bay.

A few mild squalls on the way with some heavy rain.

Gene & Wilma also at Frances Bay so joined us on board for sundowners.






  01 March 2010    Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas    

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  A return visit to the main town of St. Thomas, mostly for a better internet connection. Arrived Monday evening just before Monday's sole cruise ship left, then between 7 and 8am on Tuesday, 6 cruise ships arrived, including Oasis of the Seas, the world's largest. There must have been 20,000 cruise passengers in town. What do all these people do all day?

Met up with Gene & Wilma on GeWil.






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