03 January 2006
Road Harbor, Tortola, BVI
Along the way to here from Normans Island we emptied the head for the second time (ever). Looks like it will hold about a month's waste as advertised. We're anchored next to the cruise ship pier.
The channel back to the Moorings and to Village Cay Marina runs right alongside that pier. When we got here we were in line with other boats anchored along the channel. By nightfall we were hanging out in the ‘channel' all by our selves. Boats heading into and out of the marina were passing us on both sides. So we moved about 200 feet to get some cushion.
Before leaving Road Town, we went shopping and got some frozen food that should keep (on ice) for a couple days. As we departed, I decided we should go to Cooper Island. We had heard some good things about it and it was “ just over there.”
As we arrived at Cooper we saw about 20 boats along the beach. As we got closer we saw all the mooring balls. Must have been 50 of them. As we motored along the outside edge of the mooring field the water was over 70 feet deep. It seems that everywhere you might want to anchor, if the water is less than 50 feet, there's a mooring field. Everyone wants a chunk of your money. Most of the mooring cost $25 per night
I don't like having to pay to park my boat. So we left and headed over to Peter Island. We'll leave Cooper for another season.
We sailed into the harbor and onto the hook (Wandering Albatross: you'd have proud of Jane's maneuvering through the anchorage and to our spot.). There were not many boats there (because there isn't anything there). Finally dropping the hook in 30 feet and drifting back until we were in 16-ft and only 100' from shore. The winds funnel through that anchorage via a valley at the east end. It fans out and runs along each bank. So as you sail into the harbor the wind direction changes as you move north and south. This is a quiet little place and we'll probably stay here for a couple of days.
Galena anchored at Peter Island
We had to take a mooring. The water is very deep (over 80-feet) and as soon as it is shallow enough to anchor, you are in the mooring field.
We again met with Scott (s/v Aerobleu). He invited us up for a beer. He's going to hang around the BVI until May then go back to Lake Michigan where he has is other boat.
We went to Pirates and had lunch ($75).
The girl comes around to collect the mooring fee about 1600 hrs. $20.
Later in the evening we headed over to Willie-T's. This is a special little bar. It is actually more like a party barge. They have a dive platform on the upper deck. If a lady strips and dives off that platform (completely nude) they give her a T-shirt. Jane got her T-shirt. Many drinks later Jane was laying on the bar while I did body shots off her. It was a very good evening.
We were going to leave and head over to Soper's Hole on Tortola. But we didn't go. We did move to another mooring closer to Pirates bar and restaurant.
Later that morning we were visited by the BVI customs boat. They were doing a 'routine inspection' of the boats in the anchorage. However, he came right to Galena and one other boat, then left. I think they had our name on a list. After I handed the guy our forms he said with barely a look at the form, “Captain, did you happen to read this little box here in the upper left hand corner?” Right then I knew I was in trouble, because I had not read any of that form. The form explains that when you clear in, the boat can stay for only 30 days. It's the same as the visa for the crew. Then you have to pay what is called a “temporary import fee” of $200. And since we were, on that day, one day beyond our 30-day limit, we were in violation of the law. That made us subject to a fine of $200. But the guy said, "If you promised to go right over to Road Town and pay the $200 tomorrow morning, we'll ignore the fine."
So, tomorrow we head back to Road Town. We had planned to head over to Cane Garden Bay, but that will have to wait. Later in the day we went to Willie-T's with Scott and Rose and had a very good night.
We sailed over to Road Town to pay our fees/fines. We went to the custom's office near the Village Cay Marina. But we found we had gone to the wrong office. But at the ‘wrong one' we again met the guy who was on the customs boat. He said, “Oh yeah, you're the guys from the Bite.” He explained where we had to go (at the ferry dock) and gave us his card saying, “If anyone tries to tell you to pay the fine, have them call me.” Cool.
We paid the import fee and went shopping again.
As we were walking down the street the customs guy from the boat was driving by in his truck. He stopped to ask if everything went all right.
We were anchored out in the anchorage next to the cruise liners. We didn't want to stay there and we didn't want to pay for a slip in the marina. So we headed back to Peter Island because it is a calm little anchorage and it's so close to Tortola. Just after we got there the wind started to blow. It was over 45 kts on deck for over 30 minutes. I had laid out 100 feet of rode and was only 40-feet from shore. So as we swung away from shore I dropped the stern anchor and it kept us from swinging too far to port (toward the shore).
On the 10th we met Grahame and Lynne Brown (s/v Minaret). He stopped by after anchoring and asked us over for a drink. They are from New Zealand and are on their second trip around the world. The boat is a cold-molded wooden boat measuring 10.5 meters, Stem to rudder post (that's the old British way of measuring, he said). When they get home they plan on cruising just the Pacific for a while.
On the 11th the wind was still howling and the rain was coming down hard. So we stayed put for a while longer.
We finally decided to go to the Peter Island Resort, just overland at the next bay. I felt very out of place there. The first thing we see is a sign explaining the “enforced dress code.” Enroute to the resort we had to pass through their maintenance area and the workers there didn't hide the fact that they didn't like us cutting through. Also we met Conrad. An old blind guy who lives there with his 19 cats and unknown number of goats. He yells at people who cut through is yard.
Jane was still coughing and her ears have started to hurt. We thought she may have had a sinus infection. We started planning on going back to Road Town to see a doctor if things didn't get better.
I discovered that the battery monitor was wired wrong. During installation I had reversed the Batt1 and Batt2 voltage wires and so when it says “here's the voltage for Battery 1” it's really showing me the voltage for battery two. Discovering that mistake makes a lot of the things I'd been seeing make more sense. Now I have one more thing to “ fix.”
Some cruising yachts are better maintained than others
Again, it's either take a mooring or anchor in 70-feet of water. We took a mooring ($25). After a nice dinner ($50) we moved to the bar at Pusser's Landing. I noticed a couple at the bar that we had seen at Foxy's and a couple of other places. We introduced ourselves to Steven and Julie. They are captain and crew on s/v Eastern Sky, a Moody 46. We talked and drank. Jane was sounding worse and coughing up a storm. Steven said we wouldn't need a prescription for antibiotics. We'll head back to Road Town tomorrow.
Anchorage Mooring Field
Yes, we're back at Road Town, again. This is the forth time we've been here.
We went to several pharmacies and the all said the same thing: You need a prescription. So we went to the hospital and sat in the emergency room for 4 hrs. Finally Jane saw a doctor and got a prescription for some drugs. But it was 1900 hrs and everything was closed. So we went back to Galena and had a little dinner. In the morning we'll get the drugs, do some shopping and get out of here.
15 January 2006
Cane Garden Bay, Tortola, BVI
We had a wonderful sail over here. The wind was mild and out of the SE. Jane did almost all of the sailing. We tried to anchor but the bottom was just too rocky and we couldn't get the anchor to set. Finally we took a mooring for $25. We had a quiet night, but we were both a little tired. So we figured we'd see the beach tomorrow.
About 0500 the wind picked up. Then the seas started to build. By daybreak there were 4' swells rolling up to the beach. Surfers were outside the reef riding 10-foot breakers.
At 0800 a guy came by and said “We need that mooring. You have to move” The mooring is owned by Cane Garden Bay Pleasure Boats and Water Sports. They wanted to put their boats on the moorings because of the rough water in the harbor. So they were making everyone leave. It was the most rude thing. They didn't say, could you leave soon so we can use that mooring? No. It was you have to go, now!
So we're back at Foxy's. We like it here. I mean, how great is it when the main street on an island is a beach?
It took three tries to get a good hook set. And the harbor is a little rolly. But it's not bad. And there's Foxy's. We talked again with Kevin. He's here working with a bunch of kids building an island sloop. They plan to launch it next November and then use it for teaching kids to sail and to engage in a little commerce.
I also found out that they have an open WIFI site and that it was my USB-NIC card that was keeping me from connecting to this and the other sites around Tortola. So this update will not be delayed for a month as were the others.