Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Steve and Renee Slack of the FP catamaran Shiraz just finished their circumnavigation in Antigua. I met Steve and Renee in Tonga two years ago. They traveled through the Med and the Red Sea with Team Sandpiper. The next move is to sail slowly to North Carolina.

The Baths, BVI

Needed a change of venue so I decided to follow Team Sandpiper and Shiraz over to the BVI. It is usually very easy to travel to Jost Van Dyke from St John as it is a beam reach for 6 miles. Anything east can be difficult when the trades are blowing. We left late in the afternoon for Jost and had a marvelous sail right into the harbor by Foxys.

Next morning we cleared in with customs and the wind was blowing south at 10 kts. We shot out of there and had a great sail along the south side of Tortola all the way to Virgin Gorda. A rare occurence for sure.

I grabbed a mooring in front of the Baths and went for a swim to cool off while Shiraz checked out anchoring options at Spanish Wells, about a mile North. I motored North and anchored in 25 ft of deep sand.

Next Morning we went back to the Baths and hung out there for most of the day.The Virgins are volcanic in origin and the Baths are granite boulders the size of houses that were at one time suspended in lava. The ocean has eroded the lava and laeft these enormous rocks jumbled together on the beach. They foorm grottos and caves all along the waterfront. Definitely a must see if in this area.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Old Sugar Factory on Reef Hike

While we were in the old mill a couple of bats started flying around our heads. That had some of the people squealing and running!

Reef Bay Hike

I left Water Island to go hang out at St John for awhile. St John is also a great place to make the sail over to Jost Van Dyke in the BVIs.

Tom and Amy of Sandpiper fame have a arrangement with the National Park Service to pick up hikers from the Reef Bay hike then transport them back to Cruz Bay on their trawler the Sadie Sea. They have been after me to do the hike so I did and am glad I did!

The hike starts at the NPS office where taxis take the group to the top of the island and drop off at the trailhead. It is a three mile mostly downhill hike through the tropical forest. The hike is accompanied by a Ranger who stops at points of interest and gives a little history of ther ruins and the flora.

The slaves on St John gained their freedom in 1733. As St John was an extremely difficult island to cultivate because of the lack of flat land and steep valleys, after the slaves were freed the population dropped from over three thousand to less than 200 hundred. A few of the sugar plantations remained but most faded away and were reclaimed by the jungle. Were also stopped for lunch and were shown some petroglyphs from the Taino people that predated Columbus' arrival in the area.