Thursday, June 21, 2012

British Virgin Islands, Good friends and good fun.
31st March –3rd April 2012
Usually, when we sail from one country to the next, there’s a fair amount of planning in the pipeline before we pull up the anchor. There are important factors such as the weather, distance, departure and arrival times to consider. But given the fact that the US Virgin Islands (USVI’s) and the British Virgin Islands (BVI’s) are neighbours and at their closest point lie less than one mile apart, all the usual stuff we worry about went out the window. We were able to go shopping in the USVI’s in the morning and by early afternoon  were anchored in the BVI’s and being greeted by our long time friends Gordon and Ginny from the Canadian yacht Ascension.
For the past 12 months Gordon and Ginny had swapped the cruising lifestyle, and their 37 ft Beneteau yacht, for a far more lucrative one. They had taken on the roles of  captain and crew aboard a charter catamaran. As we pulled into Deadman’s Bay they were a sight for sore eyes,  (and blurry ones due to the tears) when we spotted them waving  from the deck of their shinny new home, a Lagoon 45 catamaran.
Deadman’s Bay is a pretty crescent shaped bay backed by palm trees and lies on the north side of Peter Island. It’s a very popular day stop for charter boats who usually only hang around for a couple of hours and then leave, much to the delight of the cruising fraternity. Now it’s not that we have an aversion to those who holiday afloat, it’s just that they don’t seem to recognise the boundaries of personal space when it comes to anchoring. Even though the bay was cheek- by-jowl when we arrived, we still managed  to find a snug spot  just off the beach and only a couple of freestyle strokes away from our best friends.
Just minutes after setting the hook and with zero time to freshen up, let alone put on some lippy, fellow cruiser,Tony from Tactical Directions, arrived in his dinghy to greet us and whisk us over to Gordon and Ginny’s boat.They were beaming like a pair of kids’ whose Christmas’s had all come at once. Words just can’t describe how we felt seeing everyone again.
Being perfect hosts, well they do do it for a living these days, within what seemed only seconds our wine glasses were filled and platters of food appeared on the table, a pattern that continued throughout an evening filled with much laughter, storytelling and reminiscing.
Over the next few days we also caught up with other friends, Rob and Dee off Ventana, Karel and Phil from Tehani Li all of whom we’d cruised with on and off over the past 6 years.
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The remainder of our time here was filled with   socialising,diving,snorkeling, turtle watching and just lazing about. Ginny and Gordon had planned this week as a mini break as they had no charter guests on board until the following Saturday. We all spent nearly every waking moment together and I’m pretty sure that they were absolutely stuffed after a full on week of partying with the likes of us.It was just so wonderful to chill out in this lovely bay with friends that are so dear to our cruising hearts.
Our final day dawned and it was time to part company.They had to return to their charter base and prepare their boat for their next installment of guests and we had to move on to another bay and catch up with more friends.After a rather teary farewell we  promised to see to see each other in December as we head north from Trinidad.
We now had only one more set of friends to catch up with before we left the BVI’s and that was Aussies Clare and Andy from Eye Candy. We’d arranged to meet them over at Saba Rock in Virgin Gorda Sound just a few miles further to the east. Over the past few months we’d been swapping  emails and info re their upcoming visit to the USA and had bought them an American phone.  In turn we had to pay them for bringing us a couple of items from Australia.
Tehani Li also followed us over to Saba rock and it was great to have the three Australian flagged boats anchored in the  bay.That evening we all   met in the bar for a sundowner and to watch the giant Tarpon fish being hand fed at the dock, and then, rather than spending money in the restaurant, headed  back to GWTW for an impromptu good old Aussie bar-b-que.
We’d had a terrific  couple of days catching up with friends here in the BVI’s, we said goodbye to Eye Candy and the next morning both Tehani Li and us made our way out through the reefs and pointed our bows towards the island of St Martin.

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