I’m in love with the Virgin Islands. This is our paradise. The Virgins are blessed with a beautiful, unspoiled environment and a favorable climate. It’s everything you ever want and more. The beaches are so delightfully fringed with palm trees that it feels like I’m living in a Caribbean travel magazine. There are dozens of quiet coves to explore. It’s warm but the trade winds don’t ever let you down and a quick swim is literally out our backdoor. I can’t believe how much I’ve fallen for the Virgin Islands. This must be Heaven on Earth.
That being said, I revised my original itinerary because I wanted to spend more time along the coast of St. John enjoying the Virgin Island National Park and Coral Reef National Monument. I can’t get enough of my new favorite National Park. I’m also so thankful to see some serious preservation efforts happening here. Nevertheless, two nights at Christmas Cove on St. James Island was enough time to scrub barnacles off the hull, start the water maker again and many thanks to Dan, adjust the shrouds, which were dangerously loose. Boat work in exotic places doesn’t suck! The barnacles were so built up between the rudder and the skeg that there were two tiny, colorful reef fish living in the one inch gap. They were cute and I hated to deport them but it was the huge tarpon lurking around that I would have rather extradited. They’re not afraid of anything and when they open their mouth, as if to yawn, you can see how easily they could swallow you whole. Anyways, we did a night each at Cinnamon and Leinster Bay before checking into the British Virgin Islands. We completely wore ourselves out playing volleyball, hiking, snorkeling and swimming. I’ve got such a killer tan going on right now that I hardly require much sunscreen anymore; I do however still protect my neck and face regardless.
I checked us and Pepper into Customs and Immigration at Jost Van Dyke, under Dan’s supervision, while Trent had to wait on the boat until we were cleared. My sweet voice didn’t get me anywhere though. Those girls at customs and immigration were just plain bitches but I didn’t have to pay a bribe or extra “charges.” Whew! So far we’ve been lucky. Being polite and patient usually gets you places. So from Great Harbour we hiked over a mountain to White Bay where we had our first official pain killer at Soggy Dollar, then more snorkeling, followed by a drink at Foxy’s, just to say we did, with the new crew on Vagabond. I’m just loving this new crew too!
When at Norman Island we anchored right by Willy T’s. It’s a big schooner sailboat/bar, another words another novelty spot that we just had to buy a drink on to see. Since we left St. Thomas we haven’t had a meal out, nor are we craving anything, despite the numerous meals we’ve joined Vagabond for on shore because we like their company. That’s where we really save big. After all that provisioning we did in Puerto Rico we’re eating pretty well on the Pepper. I’ve got a new piece of stoneware and a pumpernickel bread recipe that we’re really into lately. A fly swatter is a must in the Virgin Islands. They flys show up while you’re on anchor by the dozens!
I must say, the British Virgin Islands also does a nice job in preservation. The BVI’s have well maintained hiking trails covering entire islands. Some of the reefs could use some more mooring balls though. The Indians off Norman Island was well worth the stop but we had to really fight like hell to grab a ball. Anchoring is prohibited in park reefs. A catamaran swooped right in front of me as Trent was about to grab a ball. They’re just really fast and mostly careless. I motor in at about one knot because I don’t want to miss and have to make a tight turn or land us on a reef. It’s the end of peak season for charter boaters (synonymous with the beginning of hurricane season) but there’s still plenty crazies flying around. While we were under sail today I had to turn off, flap the sails around, and completely lost the wind, or we would have been run over by a huge catamaran under power. The rule goes that if you’re under sail then you have right-of-way. They were too drunk to pay attention and had the thing on autopilot. Good thing I was paying attention.
The Virgins have certainly capitalized on tourism I it’s easy to see why. Being here has been like a dream vacation. Tonight we’ll head into Road Town, the capital of the BVI’s, in Tortola, then do The Baths in Virgin Gorda. The Baths are the most photographed and iconic destination in the Virgin Islands. Can’t wait! We plan to play around a little while in the North Sound and potentially visit one of the Dog Islands for a day too. I’d like to make a run up to Anegada but we’ll see. St. Maarten will be the next passage south.
Check out The Log Book to see where else we’ve been!