And relax….

After the excesses of Christmas, we motored around to Diamond Cay on Jost Van Dyke for a quiet Boxing Day at anchor.  Went ashore for lunch and snorkelled a bit.  Had a long overdue alcohol free day!   Didn’t see much – no tarpon or turtles that frequent this area – but had a really nice chilled day and enjoyed the scenery.

The following morning we decided to head up to Marina Cay and had a great sail….took us a long time head to wind but hey, in no hurry, and enjoyed 20+ knots of wind most of the way and anchored at the back of the mooring field when we arrived.  

We had a sandwich on board for lunch and Melody and Tony from Utopia arrived….so we went aboard their spacious catamaran and had cocktails and made reservations for dinner ashore.  Had a great time in their company and learnt load of useful stuff for our down-island adventure to come.   We were also gifted one of Tony’s special fishing lures which we hope will be lucky for us going forward!  Thanks guys…

We were up early and headed out for a long sail to Anegada…the sunken island of the BVIs.  Sails up and heading into quite big seas with dink tied up tight on her davits …. Had a fantastic close-hauled sail with 23 knots and breaking seas….with a top speed of 7.6 knots this time and a great time was had by all….

Into Anegada – tricky entrance as usual but we have the advantage of following our track on the handheld plotter from earlier years – and anchored in front of the mooring field.   Another $60 saved for two nights stay ….  Richard snorkelled the anchor to make sure it was set and I spotted two manta rays cruising past – a real treat and a bit unreal as there are few sightings of these guys in these waters, especially in the anchorages.   Not sure I would have let him had I known that another tiger shark had been caught in the anchorage two days previous!

After sorting out some boat jobs we went ashore and took a cab to Cow Wreck beach…..named because in the early 1900s a ship wrecked here carrying lifestock which all got swept ashore…..      Anyway…had a great afternoon and returned via Neptunes for happy hour where we met some fellow cruisers.

And so to bed – we crashed about 8.30 pm…..   Up early this morning (Saturday) and cleaned Morpheus top to bottom ater breakfast ashore at Neptunes Treasure….   and then ashore this afternoon to another chilled afternoon at Cow Wreck, happy hour at Neptunes and then sundowners aboard Sha Sha with our cruiser friends Sharon and Jim…   

Back on board now…..and ready for an early night….back to Cane Garden Bay tomorrow for Sunday night with the Elmtones and to stay there for New Year’s Eve – swells permitting……

Oh yes, and to Tommy our nephew, who was worried about us bumping into Captain Jack Sparrow…we did wonder whether this was the Black Pearl anchored around the corner from us….  But don’t worry – we’ll keep a good look out!

Bye for now


A very Soggy Christmas

Just as we were getting ready to leave North Sound on Monday a huge private yacht came in which, apparently, is linked to the Qatar royal family.    It was so big it had speedboats the size of Morpheus on the side and dwarfed a Seabourne cruise ship that was anchored nearby.  How the other half live eh?

The marine forecast still had a small ship advisory in place because of north swells but we thought we’d poke our nose out and have a look to see if we can sail down to Jost Van Dyke as we really do plan a soggy Christmas day.  We leave around 9.30 am and head out past Colquhaun reef and Mosquito rock into the main channel having a quick glimpse at Necker behind – wasn’t able to get a photo but looks like Branson’s big house is being rebuilt but not finished yet… 

The swells became evident as we headed out and turned downwind for the run to Jost.   We sailed along nicely with just a full gib up although we did get pushed around a bit – dink had the most fun surfing along behind us!  The waves bouncing off the north coast of Tortola were really something.

Arrived at Jost and as the swells had turned north east Great Harbour was tenable – hurrah!  So we picked up a mooring ball – holding is poor here – and hurried off round to the Soggy Dollar.    As we came round the point by dink we were stunned – the surf was running across the reef and we surfed in really quickly.   Got the dink up the beach really easily – but the waterline was almost at the tree line so we tied our dinghy anchor to a tree just to make sure! 

Had a really nice couple of hours – but really really quiet – and blagged a couple of Christmas hats.   No bobbing today – and getting dink back out to sea was like something out of Hawaii Five-O!!!  

Back on board for a couple of hours and into Corsairs for dinner….  This is the weirdest Christmas Eve I’ve ever spent.   No Christmas songs being played / very few decorations / and everybody just going about their business as usual.   When we turned up in our hats you would have thought we had landed from outerspace….even the kids in the street shouted Ho Ho Ho after us!   Never mind – a nice evening with Bubo auditioning to be a Christmas decoration – but decided ship’s owl was a better position! 

Back on board and to bed.   Santa isn’t visiting us this year as we have spent so much cash getting Morphie ready for sea….even though we have been really really good…promise!    Bit strange to wake up and realise that I don’t have a pile of sausage rolls to make and felt a bit sad about not seeing Mum…    But we opened our cards – thanks everyone – and did our Christmas crew photo shoot.   


Around lunchtime we headed off to the Soggy Dollar again….and this time the swells had calmed down quite a bit.  Not gone altogether but no longer so dramatic.   Much busier today with day trippers.  Had a few drinks and then a bob (with beer)…   Just heading back to the bar for a couple more and the whole of the Corsairs gang turned up (Vinny, Laurie, Gee and Roger) and they made us drink shots!    Wow…what a nice time we had.  

They left – as they have to get ready for dinner service – and we headed back to Morphie around 5pm.   

Got cleaned up – and decided to have a snooze before heading out for dinner….   Oh no…it’s 9.30 pm…what happened????   Damn…get dressed quickly and head into Corsairs hoping that Roger has saved me some roast lamb….   They were pleased to see us and yes we still got our dinner.  Phew…..

After dinner we joined the gang at the bar and, to our surprise, they had bought us a Christmas stocking filled with high energy foods which are going straight into our grab bag for emergencies and lots of other goodies like chocolate, candy and cookies.  Yum….   Thanks so much guys – this was a real treat and we were touched as it was totally unexpected. 

Now its get spooky…    Vinnie has thousands of songs on his play list which he just puts on shuffle.   When they were giving us the stocking Forever Young by Bob Dylan started playing – which is very ironic as this was the song that we played at Richard’s brother Christopher’s funeral and his birthday was on Christmas Day.   Wow what a coincidence….and made us feel quite emotional.

Vinny decided to close the bar early and we all went over to a local bar where Derek – Jost’s Scottish medic – was hosting a karaoke night.    We had a real blast – Richard crucified a few songs although appeared to get more fans as his Jimi Hendrix air guitar (backed up by a blow-up version) went down really well – and partied the night away with the gang.   Finally came back about 2.30 am.   What a Christmas day!

This morning, Boxing Day, we’re actually feeling quite sprightly – undeservedly – and are heading round to Diamond Key for some snorkelling and, maybe, a visit to the bubbly pool.

Bye for now


Relaxing in North Sound, Virgin Gorda

Arrived at Leverick Bay and were met at the dock by Leroy and Tito – who did a sterling job helping us get into our reserved slip.   Fantastic service – a bit like valet parking but with ropes!

Did a few boat jobs and some domestic stuff like the laundry and then decided to go off to Hog Heaven to have lunch and some aerial shots of the bay.  But, alas, no taxis available so we returned to the boat for a lazy few hours and Richard got the new seat cushions installed on the stern.    Eric, a fellow Island Packeteer, also came along to introduce himself.

After all that work we felt we deserved a Happy Hour visit to the Jumbies Beach Bar. We had a chilled couple of hours – met some fellow cruisers – and returned to the boat for dinner.  We then came over all weary and planned to return to watch the Jumbies show….but fell asleep and didn’t get back to the bar until 9.30 pm!    The band, Hard Core, were playing live and the audience were really enjoying themselves – unfortunately the residents of some of the villas up the hill didn’t agree and rang down to complain.  This stopped the night short at about 10.30 pm so we retired to bed.

We had already decided to have Saturday as a day of rest….so motored a whole mile across the North Sound and picked up a free mooring ball off Prickly Pear island and took dink ashore to Sand Box bar and restaurant.  This has hundreds of beach chairs but no guests….unless a small cruise ship is around….so we enjoyed a quiet lunch, taking in the scenery, and chatted with Sheryl who was pleased to see us again.   After lunch a quick bob and then escaped from the sun – it was really fierce – and returned to the boat.  Back on board we motored around the corner to Saba Rock and anchored for the night.

Went ashore to Saba Rock and went to see the Toucans and the beautiful views / gardens of this little island oasis.  We also went into the shop and had a look at their collection of antique outboard motors and I decided Richard should try on some hats!   I thought he looked quite dashing in his panama myself….   Luckily the timing of our visit ashore also coincided with the tarpon feeding frenzy and Happy Hour.   We bumped into Lyle &Julia (from Canada), Eric & Pat (from the USA) and another couple who had recently sailed down from Virginia on the Caribbean 1500 rally.  A great few hours getting to know each other and then back on board for a quiet evening.   It looks like our cruising plans may overlap in future too…..


This morning we were planning to head to Cane Garden Bay to catch the Elmtones for their Sunday show…..but the weather forecast was dire. Although warm and sunny most of the day the north swells were forecast to be huge with severe weather and surf warnings along all north coasts of the island chain.  Cane Garden is notorious for surf in these conditions and not a viable anchorage… we decided to stay put and have another relaxing day.  

So we did a few more boat jobs – including running the watermaker for a while to top up our tanks.  We have a water quality tester as part of the kit – and the maximum recommended salt levels for human consumption is 750 ppm.  We are currently turning out water at 88 ppm – out of interest, I tested water from a bottle that we had purchased and it was 257 ppm…. Amazing – really happy with this new piece of equipment.

Lunchtime we headed off to the brand spanking new YCCS Superyacht Marina which is a bit rich for us – in that they charge $30k entrance fee and $30k annual membership and you have to be recommended by two existing members to get in!  When the docks are available they charge a reasonable $3 a foot – and they cater for yachts up to 350 feet long alongside…bigger vessels have to go stern to.  Currently the superyacht Athena is in the bay and she is stunning.   There are quite a few large motoryachts about too – but the 90ft ish sleek racing yacht caught our eye.   How we managed to blag our way into the facility is beyond us but the manager and the staff made us very welcome.

We had a fantastic afternoon – lunch at the bar, swimming in the infinity pool, quaffing champagne cocktails and enjoying the luxurious surroundings.   What a lovely way to spend a day……

Headed back to Saba Rock for Happy Hour and spent a few hours with Lyle and Julia again who happened to be in the bar!   

Back on board now for dinner and a quiet night.  We are heading out early hoping to get to Jost Van Dyke for Christmas Eve….  The weather forecast still talks about swells but we’ll make a decision once we’ve left the North Sound and seen for ourselves.

Bye for now.  I probably won’t post again now until Boxing Day – so to all our friends and families we’d like to wish you a very soggy Christmas.


Back to the British Virgin Islands…

Off the dock early on Wednesday and headed over to Cruz Bay, St John, to check out of the US Virgins.   Motored from there to West End, Tortola, to check back into the British islands.  

We are going to stay here now until we get word that all the stuff has arrived into the US islands – and we’ll make a single trip back to get it all.   Want to avoid having to do more customs / immigration forms, and changing courtesy flags, than really necessary.

While we were in West End we went over to Sopers Hole Marina to check out the grocery store.   I know what you are all thinking – more shopping??  Actually I’m on the hunt for some well-known British stuff to put into the ship’s stores – and I came away very happy with a bottle of HP sauce.  All I need to find now is Branston Pickle and I’ll be in seventh heaven, having already got a supply of decent cheddar cheese!

A bit hot and bothered so we stopped for a club soda at Pussers – and suddenly there is a huge scream and all the local ladies working in the stores come running down the dock in hot pursuit of a very large iguana.   They scared the lizard so much he jumped onto a dinghy to escape.   From there he went swimming….   Felt sorry for the poor guy – he was only trying to get a suntan.

Out of Sopers and we sailed across nicely into Norman.   Bit too late to get much further.    I have never ever seen the Bight at Norman so quiet – no more than about 30 boats in an anchorage that can hold upwards of 200.   Had a quick bob at Pirates and then headed to the Willy T to see what was going down.  The answer – NOTHING!   We were the only people there so just hung with the staff for a little while and headed back on board.

In the morning we did some boat jobs then headed out into the Sir Francis Drake channel to sail up to Trellis Bay, Tortola.    Into the wind this is always a beat and today with seas building and 23 knots sustained it was no different.   We played with different sail patterns and settled down to a fantastic sail – topping 7.8 knots at one point – and having a mini race with another cruising boat.    Amazing time.

Into Trellis and, again, the bay was almost empty.   This is weird so close to Christmas.   Went to see Jeremy at the Cyber Cafe for a short while and then across to the Last Resort, which is a bar / restaurant that sits on its own island called Bellamy Cay and is decorated with local artwork.   Pretty stormy and a spectacular sunset tonight…   Quiet in here too – but caught Al, the singing chef’s set, and Richard managed to get invited up to sing Pinball Wizard again.  Yes, I mean again – this has become a bit of a party piece, although no fans shouting out ‘we want Dick’ this year!  

Stayed up late chatting with the young Cornish staff and to bed.   This morning the wind was howling and the rain is heavy at times – we are monitoring sustained 25 knots with higher gusts and we have a slip reserved up at Leverick Bay in North South, Virgin Gorda.  A fair way to go and the seas are building too.   So at this point I’ll confess that we didn’t fancy six hours beating into the wind getting cold and wet – so motor sailed all the way….   We apologise to our sailing chums and promise never to let this happen again!


Staying up in Virgin Gorda for a couple of days before we head back to Jost Van Dyke for a soggy Christmas.  After that we may run up to Anegada one of our favourite spots on earth.   But no firm plans yet…

Bye for now


Busy busy days….

Arrived in Red Hook on Monday morning about 10, having motored straight across from St John.  Got onto the fuel dock at the American Yacht Harbor and went to check out where the slip was that we had been allocated.  

Hey, guess what, a boat is in it!   So off I tronk to the marina office and wait patiently for the young lady to finish her telephone conversation and her VHF radio call (and the chat with the guy in the back office).   I must be getting onto island time now though as it didn’t irritate me particularly – I just waited, smiled and watched CNN news on the monitor until she was ready to deal with me. 

After a little while we finally get it sorted that I want to stay for two nights….want a slip with a finger pontoon (some of them are just between pilings) and I don’t need power or water.   This took some time to organise and then she realised that we were taking up valuable space on the fuel dock while we were sorting it out….   So quickly it was all resolved and we were legal.   I was shocked, however, to find that ‘check in time’ at the marina is 2pm and that I would have to pay an additional night as I was going onto a dock at 11.00 am – my horrified look must have been enough – cos she softened and waived that bit!

We are on the fishing boat dock – think large luxury motorboats that you pay to take you out Marlin fishing – so pretty interesting watching the comings and goings.   The entry onto our dock also has a stuffed record-breaking Marlin on top of it.

Pulled into the dock and Richard and I went separate ways….me to do pink jobs – think piles of laundry – and him to do blue jobs while waiting for the guys to turn up on board to resolve our electronics issues.   Long story short but we ended up having to replace the windex sender unit (for receiving wind information from the top of the mast) and upgrade the VHF radio to resolve compatibility issues with the RAM mic in the cockpit. We’re convinced there is a BVI-triangle for electronics – everything seems to go crazy and act weird when we go there!  We also returned the outboard we had borrowed to Island Yachts.

While all this was going on, I carried on ticking off other jobs – going to the bank to get some cash and doing a bit of food shopping….   When I got back and the others had left, I hoisted Richard up the mast to put up some lines for courtesy flags and to check out his new climbing harness while in the safety of the marina.   Phew that was a workout for my right arm!   Hope I don’t have to do it too often….and we could both do with losing some weight…

That said – in the evening, we headed to Molly Molones (an Irish restaurant / bar on the dock) for a bit of dinner and a catch up with Sharme the top top bartender….   Although I at least had the relatively healthy stirfry while Richard had fish and chips….   It was funny to see Santa had turned up alongside Irish families / pirates and American memorabilia.   All looks a bit odd and definitely not making us feel like it’s Christmas yet. 

Not a late one – the heat and humidity on the dock had got to us both, and we turned in around 9pm.

Up early this morning for more shopping…..more crates / more domestic supplies and more items from the chandlery.  Every day we make lists and thankfully it looks like we are almost there…..and down below is less chaotic and more organised.   There is a huge amount of storage on Morpheus – but knowing what should be put where is going to be an evolving science I think.

This afternoon we took the ‘dollar’ bus downtown.   This is a hop on / hop off service for two bucks for any distance…. pretty good value although the experience can be likened to being on the tube in London on a hot day at times.  We planned to have a look around the posh shops near the cruise terminal – think Gucci etc – and we were amazed to see five cruise ships in Charlotte Amalie completely dwarfing the anchorage.   Even the marina was stocked full of very large megayachts of both the sailing and motorboat variety.    And, in the midst of all this, was the overcrowded dinghy dock from all the people who have come ashore from their boats in the anchorage.

Downtime was mad……people everywhere, including one very very large woman who tried to fall over me whilst protecting her rum drink in her hand.  I think she may have over-indulged!   We have never seen so many people – and so many ‘ushers’ around.    If one more person asked me which ship I was returning to; trying to heard me onto a bus back to the terminal; or usher me into a very expensive (albeit duty-free) jewellery shop then I was going to lose the plot!   What was that about I said about becoming more tolerant of island time?  I know many of our friends love the cruise ship experience – but even they would have been shocked at the chaos today.  It seriously could not have been a great experience for a lot of the people on board these huge ships this afternoon.

Didn’t buy anything – which our bank account was thankful for – and we’re now back in Red Hook on board.  Enjoyed a spectacular sky as the sun went down.  We’re both very tired and we’re chilling out – neither of us are hungry or fancy going out….so might just stay on board and have a quiet night in.

Bye for now


Modifications for cruising…

Quite a few people have been asking us what we have done to get the boat ready for our new cruising lifestyle.  So, in a nutshell, here is the list of the work that was organised by Island Yachts on our behalf.

A Kato arch with dinghy davits and outboard engine lift added to the stern – although dragging the dinghy around behind you like a dog on a lead is fine in the Virgin Islands, this isn’t the way to go when doing longer passages. Also this adds security as we can lift the dinghy out of the water at night.

The installation of the arch meant that our old bimini needed to be replaced, so we’ve taken the opportunity to install some sun screens at the same time.

On the arch we now have three 85 watt Kyocera solar panels and an Airbreeze wind generator – these help us to keep our batteries topped up without running the engine too often. We now have five house batteries as our electrical demand has increased – so we can also keep our fridge and freezer operational for 24 hours a day.

Kato also made us a bespoke stainless steel holder for the 6lb propane tank (thanks to Captain Blaine Parks for the idea) which feeds the new Magma gas BBQ to go on the rail.

We’ve had a Spectra watermaker fitted beneath the port side saloon berth which is capable of making eight gallons per hour which is plenty for us as we are quite frugal with water. We also have a Seagull filtration system (which is a standard fit on the Island Packet) which takes further impurities out of the tank water and means that we no longer have to buy bottled drinking water.

With regard to electronics, we had a problem with our two Garmin chartplotters and these were sent back to the factory. They kindly sent us two brand new units for the cost of the service! Very happy with this. We’ve also added AIS (which stands for Automatic Identification System) so that we can transmit and receive signals from other vessels who have AIS. This gives us their name, their MMSI number, their course / speed and will also sound an alarm if we are on a collision course. The MMSI number allows us to call them direct via the VHF radio if we need to.

We have also added radar which is overlaid onto the chartplotters – predominantly this is going to be used for spotting bad weather at night.

We have two GPS antennas which enables us to switch between units should one fail – no point having integrated navigational kit if the antenna fails, so this gives us some redundancy.

We have moved all the circuit breakers associated with the navigation equipment and the two radios (SSB and VHF) off of the main panel (in the saloon) and onto their own panel at the nav station. We have also had a new integrated panel installed at the nav station to take care of the wind generator, the house battery meters, and the main chartplotter – the one at the binnacle is a repeater. We now have a RAM mic at the binnacle so that we don’t need to go to the nav station to use the VHF radio. We’ve had some additional 12 volt sockets installed at the binnacle, in the saloon and the forward berth.

Our original sails were manufactured by Doyle and they claim to last for five years in the Caribbean climate – however this was not the case for us. They barely made four years. Island Packet were very good and got us a new set of Quantum sails at cost price less 40% from the South African loft which we are very pleased about.

Creature comforts – Richard has converted a 230 volt light to run off a 12 volt LED lamp which looks really smart in the cockpit. We have a combined TV / DVD player as we can’t spend every night in the bar – and we have 400 films on a hard drive ready to go (thanks Clive). We’ve also put up our beautiful new clock and barometer which were gifts from our sailing chums.

Other stuff – we have obviously got essential safety kit on board like an EPIRB, hand-held VHF, a new set of flares and are waiting on a liferaft to turn up. There are loads of other little modifications that we will do as we are running down island and we’ll blog about them as and when we do them…..

Bye for now


Another soggy day….

Did the immigration stuff in Great Harbour, Jost Van Dyke, so we’re cleared to leave Sunday morning  …. and headed off (slowly!) by dinghy to the Soggy Dollar, as we’re running the new engine in.  Coming round the point we were met by the view of two cruise ships – one Club Med with masts and the other a Seabourne (I think).    But although the beach was busy the bars were not…..most of the cruise ship passengers tend to stick to eating / drinking the ship’s supplies (which are brought ashore with them) rather than frequenting the local hostelries.   Had a great time as always…including bobbing with beer.   While we were cooling off in the sea – an American lady dived into the water in front of us and came up with one of her nipples exposed.  Richard said he felt cheated could she show him the other one – and to my amazement, she did!   That made his day…..   

Also bumped into Tony and Mel from Utopia – haven’t seen them since March 2011, so great to catch up and looks like we’ll be seeing them around this trip…..  They are also going to let us have some hints and tips on where to go / where not to bother for the down island trip, as they did this themselves last year.  Richard is just keen to know how they manage to catch those huge tuna off the back!  Headed off back round the corner to Great Harbour to get ready for dinner. 

I know that this is the second visit in two weeks to Corsairs – but they really do have great food and just so happen to be convenient for the immigration office!    Had a fun time with Vinny, Ghee and Roger – although I think Richard should probably have called it a day rather than doing cinnamon whisky shots with Vinny…   Some other tourists came in hunting Absinthe…and guess what, Vinny has three types.  

And so to bed – another great day and another party – must have a day of rest tomorrow!

Got up early this morning, did boat jobs, and then headed off to St John to clear into the US Virgins.   Light airs so we had a slow meander across passing Carvel Rock and to the lush scenery of St John.   Through customs / immigration relatively easily even though there was a ferry load of people in line ahead of us.  

Coming away from the dock, we were hailed across the channel to a small bay by a crowd of locals who were racing model speedboats around.   Two of the boats had come to a halt and their dinghy was deflated – so we did our international rescue bit yet again.   Giving them back we tried to claim salvage rights and the group, luckily, all took it in good humour…..

Back on board and down to Mahoe Bay for the night – as it is quiet here and gives us a great jumping off point for getting into Red Hook (St Thomas) tomorrow morning.  We need to go in to return the outboard we borrowed and to get some electronic issues sorted out from the refit of Morpheus.   Hope to be there for a couple of days only then back to the BVIs for Christmas / New Year.   Still waiting on the liferaft and the final new sail (the staysail) … so looks like mid January is becoming a reality.  Oh well, worse places to be – we could be commuting to London in the snow!   (Sorry peeps….)

Oh yes, people have been asking us what we’ve had done to Morpheus to get her ready to go cruising – so watch this space for a separate blog to follow.  Non-sailors may look away now….

Bye for now


Loving it, loving it, loving it……

At last the wind died down properly overnight so on Friday morning we headed into Nanny Cay to pick up our outboard and other stuff that we had ordered. Arrived into the marina safely and tied up alongside a huge motor superyacht which threatened a puppy dog crew mutiny as they gazed into air-conditioned luxury!

After doing all our jobs we left the marina with our sparkling new 9.8 hp Tohatsu outboard engine which is kind of akin to a Skoda, so hopefully the guys down island will not try to liberate it from us. We didn’t get charged by the marina – even though we had been on a slip for four hours – as we had spent so much in the chandlery, result! 

We got the sails out and headed around the point to Cane Garden Bay seeing some great  boats along the way……

This is a favourite spot on a Friday night as we can catch happy hour at Myetts, followed by BBQ night at The Elm, with live music from the Elmtones. Well, it was three of them anyway (Steve, Piers and Mark)…still did a great set …and we had a lovely time as always, including hanging out with Magic Daddy. I’ll buy a Carib to anyone who knows what he sells!

We also bumped into Captain Jim and his guests on Blue Moon – these guys have been to hell and back this week, when one of their group drowned off Norman Island….he was only about 30 years old. So very sad and our sympathies and prayers go with them at this difficult time.

After a good night we headed off to Quitos to see Piers play again in the Quito and the Edge band … but it was soooo loud we left early. Are we getting old? My personal view is that we had had enough already and it was time for bed!

Up early this morning – this cruising life (although we are really on holiday right now!) makes you wake up with the sun as the light streams through the hatches – and to recover from last night’s excesses we ended up having breakfast in the Sailor’s Rest above Cane Garden Bay to spectacular views.

Onwards – and it’s Saturday – so back into Jost and another afternoon at the Soggy Dollar is planned – after a visit to Customs / Immigration to check out of the BVIs for our trip back to the US tomorrow.

Bye for now


This is more like it!

Had a nice afternoon in Oceans 7 yesterday with other sailors escaping from the weather…. The wind howled all night again and the rain came down in stair rods…. This morning no change – the forecast remains poor- so, you know what, we’re staying put!

Finally….there was some improvement…and we had a lovely rainbow before the heavens opened again. We did some boat jobs: ran the watermaker for a couple of hours and it works great, cleaned the waterline of weed and some other general domestic duties. At last, the sun starts to break through, so we got ourselves ready and headed off to the Peter Island Resort. This is for the rich and famous but apparently they let yachties in to selected areas.

Went for a 10 minute hike and finally found the resort marina, the wedding cabana (which may be where Rio Ferdinand got married), and came across our first proper Christmas tree in the resort reception. Headed off to the beach and found the bar and had to stop for the obligatory local beer, Carib, only this time it was served in chilled glasses! Had a lovely relaxing afternoon.

Heading back to the dinghy we meet Conrad who is a resident between Sprat Bay and Great Harbour and we had a little chat with him and he told us the story of how he came to live here. He is almost blind and now makes a living from selling shells and postcards featuring himself to tourists who walk this trail. Of course we purchased a postcard and he did a great buy one get one free offer! He is a very sweet man.

Back on board now for a quiet evening. 

Bye for now


Stormy night at the Bight!

Left Jost Van Dyke to go over to the Bight, Norman Island on Monday morning. The plan at this stage was to head into Nanny Cay on Tortola on Tuesday to collect our outboard. But the weather forecast remains confused – with different models / sources giving very different messages. So heading out we are running down on headsail alone – and yes, the seas were getting up, about 6ft and running fast…with gusts of wind increasingly strong. Had a blast getting up to 8knts of boat speed…. Looks like a stormy night ahead whatever they say!

Rounding Steele Point on the West End of Tortola we spot this Beneteau Clipper doing weird manoeuvres in the channel – not a place for that type of thing with loads of ferries and commercial traffic coming through this smallish gap between islands. We go over to see if we can assist and it turns out the poor guy has no forward propulsion at all….although his engine goes well backwards. We hang around to see if we can assist but he manages to get into position to reverse all the way into Sopers Hole and presumably some assistance in the marina.

So we take our leave and head off towards Norman – seas and wind continue building – so this time, as we are going into the wind, we sail under reefed mainsail and staysail alone….a great combination which kept us relatively flat and comfortable and we made the Bight on one tack. We picked up a mooring ball close to the hill to get as much protection as possible and headed into Pirates as it had been remodelled since our last visit….. Very nicely done – but I think the white covers on the chairs may be a mistake. Can’t see them surviving many seasons with people sitting around in wet shorts etc… And no stage / area for dancing now – so I guess live music won’t be returning here….

New lunch menu too – much to Richard’s horror – as he had been salivating about their crab cakes all the way over, and had only had a yoghurt for breakfast in anticipation! We then recognised a couple we had seen sitting on their Island Packet as we entered into the bay…and it turns out they are the owners of Hometown Girl, a brand new entry into the Island Yachts fleet. What a small world!   We had a great afternoon with them and eventually took ourselves off to the Willie T for a few drinks.

Due to the weather conditions, the bar was really quiet – no naked dancing or jumping off – and we had a nice few hours speaking to a gang from Cornwall and some cruisers who had just come up island, so we gleaned lots of useful information for when we finally get going.  Back on board about 8pm for dinner and to bed.

Anyway….the weather forecasters finally got it right and agreed….and the wind howled, it rained hard on and off, and Morphie danced around all night…. The forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday was grim – with small craft advisories in place across the region with 25 knts winds constant and significantly higher gusts. Not something that bothers us, although when this happens with serious rain / white-outs / and large seas then it stops being fun. We don’t have to be anywhere.. so we stay put.  Another afternoon in the bar with the crew from Hometown Girl – and the rain came and stayed so that put paid to my ideas of swimming this afternoon.

Quiet night on board trying to stay dry….

This morning we decided to leave Norman and run down to Great Harbour in Peter Island so this gives us a better jump off to get to Nanny Cay tomorrow to pick up our new outboard. We arrived safe and sound – seas still rough out there – and the sun has finally come out so we’re off to make the most of it.

Oh yes, Richard Branson is having an End of the World party tonight in the BVIs being 12 / 12 / 12 – hopefully he’s got it wrong so you’ll be hearing from us soon!

Bye for now