Friends reunited part 3 – Jost van Dyke to Cooper Island

Sunday morning we met up as planned for breakfast and then wandered around waiting for a taxi to take us across the hill to White Bay. So, of course, we played in the hammock…

Busy main road Having fun outside Ali Babas

When we arrive at the Soggy Dollar it is a bit cloudy and a little overcast so we find some chairs tucked away at the top of the beach and set up camp. We chilled for a while – with Richard enjoying the hammock – and then we bobbed and had fun in the water.  There were showers but it didn’t dampen our spirits – and we stayed out in the warm rain rather than rush for cover along with the rest of the day trippers.   Lunchtime we decided to try the little shack on the beach and had some fantastic ribs… Really tasty and a huge portion too!   We then carried on people watching – getting a bit annoyed when bobbing in the shallows by the arrogance of the day tripper skippers who just threw anchors out and expected us to get out of the way with very little warning.   It was sheer madness – someone is going to get hurt one of these days if they are not paying close attention. They even swore at us when we didn’t move quickly enough…. Not impressed!   It was a very crowded and noisy day in White Bay…..

Busy day on the beach Time for beer Lazing at the Soggy Dollar

We returned to Great Harbour and went our separate ways – Carolyn and Ron retreating to their air conditioning while we returned to Morphie.   Later on – suitably refreshed and cleaned up – we headed off to Corsairs for dinner.   Was a mad night there too…   So loud and busy…. Don’t know how JR coped with that many covers to cook for – despite that, the food was great as usual….

Monday morning and we were up early and headed in for breakfast temporarily getting distracted by the crane fishing from the dinghy and the pelican resting up on one of the motorboats tied to the dinghy dock…..

Fishing from a dinghy Pelican resting up

We were excited today as we were going out with Vinny and Lori for a spin in their new speedboat.   We confirmed arrangements and met up at noon – with Vinny and Lori wading out to prepare the boat before coming alongside the dock to pick us up.   Beautiful boat! We left Great Harbour at great speed – with the amazing sound system blaring out – and turned right to do a run through White Bay. What a sight…..beautiful.   We felt like rock stars – with people recognising Vinny and waving at us LOL

Getting the boat ready Going out for the day Soggy from the sea

One Love from the sea

It goes fast!

Then we powered up out of there and ran – at about 45 mph – down the cost of Jost to Little Jost…. We pulled up alongside the jetty and walked to the Beeline bar.   Met up with Jerry the barman – and we had a few hours having fun.   Was a great afternoon!   Then we had the fantastic return trip at speed back to Great Harbour.   Back on the dock we said goodbye for now to Vinny and Lori, piled into dink, and returned to Morphie for cheese and wine.   Richard then took Carolyn and Ron back to their guest house and we had a few hours recovering before heading back to shore for dinner.

Enjoying the speed! Leaving White Bay Let it fly! Happy Day trippers Beeline bar

Tonight was crew shirt night – so we headed into Corsairs and thanked Vinny once again for a wonderful afternoon. Was a real adventure and we all thoroughly enjoyed it!   We had dinner before wandering down to Foxys for a couple of drinks.   Ron met Foxy at the bar and when we turned around and they were having a man hug – not sure what all that was about LOL.   Anyway, after stretching our legs, we wandered back to Corsairs to catch up with the gang.   I don’t think they had realised that we were not returning again for some time so there were sad farewells before we finally called it a night and headed back to Morphie.

Crew shirt night

Tuesday morning up bright and early preparing Morphie to go to sea – and Richard went and collected Carolyn and Ron.   After a quick breakfast on board we headed out – and, thankfully, there is wind! Hurrah!   And….so lucky…we have some south in it so we can actually sail pretty much the whole way.   We hoisted the sails – waved goodbye to Great Harbour – and sailed up the coast of Tortola…..   The wind was about 22 knots so we had a reef in both the genoa and the main and we made good speed at over 7 knots a lot of the way.

Goodbye Great Harbour Sailing nicely Sailing smiles

We then tacked to go behind Guana Island – took down the headsail – and then motor sailed through the cut between Great Camanoe and Little Camanoe.   Having got through there safely and passed the rocks marking the entrance to Trellis Bay we pulled out the genoa again and sailed alongside Beef Island into the Sir Frances Drake channel. Once we had a visual on Cooper Island we let Captain Ron take the helm and he did brilliantly, especially as it was a bit like the M25 out there LOL.

Sailing smiles 2

Captain RonArriving into Cooper Island and the mooring field is full – so we dropped anchor in 65 feet of water – and I stayed with Morphie while Richard took them ashore to check in.   When he came back a boat moved off and a mooring ball came free so we snapped it up.   We then went ashore to meet Carolyn and Ron and had some lunch.   I then went to visit their room – OMG – talk about leaving the best until last!   Fantastic huge four poster bed, sofa, balcony, private garden, anchorage views, massive showers…. you name it, they’ve got it!   Me, jealous, er YES!!!!!

Balcony view Huge bed Balcony view 2 Nice room! Nestled in there....

Back on Morphie we rested up – feeling tired after all that sailing business – enjoyed a fantastic sunset and then went ashore for dinner.   Had dinner in the restaurant and then retired to the Rum Bar so that Richard and Ron could try out the special dark and stormys there before heading to bed.   Lovely day…..

Time for dinner Spectacular sunset

Wednesday morning and a mooring ball closer to the beach came free – so we moved to it.   We relaxed on board, swam off the boat and then went ashore to meet Carolyn and Ron. We made camp on the beach – and, yes, Richard really is drinking coffee!!!! Then we were just about to go in the water when we realised that Morphie was swinging a bit close to another boat – so we went quickly in dink to check it out.   Luckily the charterers had been on board when this happened so they had fended Morphie off….   Because of the swirling currents here – and our long keel – we often swing the other way when there is no wind…..and not helped by the length of their line either. Never mind, no harm done, the other boat picked up and moved elsewhere and we took the mooring ball pennant on board to reduce Morphie’s movement. Back on the beach and it started to rain – so we moved quickly to the bar to avoid the toxic sap from the manchioneel tree that we had been sitting under.

Morphie swinging around at Cooper Beach at Cooper Camp!

We weren’t hungry – but Carolyn and Ron had lunch – and there is a new contender in the conch fritter competition!  Cooper Island was awarded the winning rosette nudging Soggy Dollar into second place…..

The winner

Later on, as the weather cleared up, we went bobbing again – this time with style and wine!   Had a great time before deciding to call it for the day.   We met up again later and had dinner in the restaurant.   Unfortunately the kitchen doesn’t quite get it right at dinner time and we had to send Carolyn’s tuna back – but the replacement was good. My lamb was great – the potato salad was dire!  Very strange flavour combinations here….

Bobbing with wine

After dinner we retired to the Rum Bar for pontoonies again…. Richard and Ron again tried out the dark and stormys – their new favourite drink – and Carolyn and I made time for wine…..   Was a great end to a really nice day.

Time for wine Dark and Stormys

This morning up early to get this done – then we are going to meet up, have some retail therapy in the gift shop, and then enjoy our last full day together….

Bye for now


Friends reunited part 2 – Anegada to Jost van Dyke

Wednesday morning and we had breakfast before heading out in our good looking rental 4×4 to explore the island.

Our 4x4

It isn’t going to take that long as it is only 9 x 2 miles at its widest point – but we’ve never done this before so looking forward to it.   So we head off with the warning about quick sand in the marshes being the only restriction – oh yes, and no real map. There wasn’t any other traffic – just a few cows and goats wandering. Oh yes, and Carolyn and Ron fancied this prime bit of real estate for a holiday home – bit of a renovation project or what!   Richard was driving and we all enjoyed the concrete roads for a while before we then went onto the sand…. We found a viewpoint of the interior salt ponds – fantastic panorama – but unfortunately the flamingos were out for lunch and we didn’t see one!

Prime real estate Cows roam

Panorama of interior Anegada

We arrived at Loblolly Bay – stunning place and a personal favourite of ours. We had a beer with the owner of the Flash of Beauty and reminisced about playing with the little ones many years ago – felt old when she told us that the boy in question was now a trainee fireman!!!

Enjoying Loblolly beachBeautiful

Moving on we took diversions up and down sand roads and at one point we went up a steep incline between loads of bushes and, of course, if it doesn’t look like a road it probably isn’t!   So Richard had to reverse back down through the winding shrubbery and we were horrified by the noises of the bushes scraping down the side of the SUV….   Once we were back safely on a real road – lesson learnt – we inspected the damage and were pleased to see nothing to write home about – with most scratches coming off with the application of a few wet wipes!   Phew…..

That looks like a road!

We continued driving – stopping briefly at The Big Bamboo – before we ended up at the Anegada Beach Hotel.     This has the only pool on the island – well, actually, it’s more like a plunge pool – and has some spectacular accommodation. Now that is what I call Glamping – although you need deep pockets at $300 a night!   We stayed here for a while and had a nice lunch before moving on again…..with Carolyn tasting the conch fritters…. Leverick Bay is still in the lead in this competition!

Beach at Anegada Beach Hotel Only pool on Anegada Glamping Anegada style

Nice style bar

Back to Cow Wreck for a quick one – where I did the usual barmaid routine at the honesty bar – and then returning, finally, to Neptunes where we admired the views over the flat calm anchorage. Going our separate ways for a while we reconvened having freshened up and enjoyed the beautiful sunset together. Helping myself at Cow Wreck Anchorage view 2

Anchorage view....

Amazing sunset

We then all walked along the beach to the Wonky Dog – a new restaurant – and had a great meal, although we were the only ones in there!   The lady serving the restaurant and bar was the owner of the business and her husband was the chef.   She was lovely and friendly and then he came out to see us. Well, a big surprise!   He was a huge tattooed Scotsman from Govan, Glasgow.   We enjoyed good food…. and hope this couple manage to make this new venture work for them.

Dinner at the Wonky Dog

Back to Neptunes for a pontoonie and we chatted with Mark – one of the owners of the business – and he told us about the significant number of sharks that they were now finding in the anchorage. We knew about the two sizeable tiger sharks they had killed previously – but he said now there were bulls and hammerheads too…..   They are coming in hunting an increased turtle and stingray population. The recent ban on killing sharks had been strictly enforced when Mark had been caught on camera – which had gone viral – killing a very large hammerhead that was patrolling the edges of the waterline where the kids were playing. He had been questioned by the authorities as a result although there is a clause in the new law which says that you are allowed to kill if there is a threat to human life….   Interesting stuff – if you are reading this, and planning to visit soon, I wouldn’t recommend that dip off the back of the boat in the anchorage!  Morphie seems to be having fun anyway….

Morphie enjoying herself

Thursday morning and we survived the slightly shambolic breakfast service and enjoyed the views while chilling…..

View from breakfast

Later on we headed out to Cow Wreck beach. We had a great time bobbing in the water, chilling, eating lunch, and generally just having fun.   Carolyn and Ron particularly enjoyed walking the beach and watching the pelicans fishing…..   A truly magical place – and photos really do not do it justice….

View from lunch

Ron enjoying Cow Wreck Lunch at Cow Wreck Bobbing! Gone fishing!

Beautiful 2

Back to Neptunes in the afternoon and we headed off in separate directions before Richard ran ashore later to pick them up – tonight the plan was cheese and wine in the cockpit whilst enjoying our last spectacular Anegada sunset.   Was a great evening….

Amazing sunset 2

Sundowners 1 Sundowners 2 Sundowners 3

Amazing sunset 3 Friday morning up early to see the sun rise and a double rainbow.

Sunrise over the anchorage Somehwere over the double rainbow

Sadly it is time to say goodbye to Neptunes and Anegada.

Goodbye to Neptunes Treasure

All week the weather forecast had predicted wind of 10 knots on Friday – but, alas there was nothing! Oh well, never mind. Carolyn and Ron were picked up, luggage stowed, and then we picked up our anchor and worked our way through the mooring field.   As we came to the green marker buoy where you turn at 90 degrees into the channel a large bareboat catamaran came inside us and cut us up – er, hello, you are the overtaking boat, keep clear!   Anyway…. he didn’t…. so was treated to Richard shouting some working class language at him as he drove away at speed.

Leaving the channel behind we motored towards Great Harbour, Jost van Dyke.   No wind although the seas were not as flat as the passage up to Anegada….   Sadly no whales today either…. But we enjoyed the sight of Green Cay and Sandy Cay on the way.

Sandy Cay

Arriving into Great Harbour we anchored briefly in close so that Carolyn and Ron could be dropped off to check into their room at Ali Babas.   Richard and I then went further out and dropped almost 200 feet of chain in 40 feet of water….   Once we were happy we quickly freshened up and headed into shore and met Carolyn and Ron for a cold one at Ali Babas and some lunch – Carolyn still continuing with her conch competition. We decided to eat at Corsairs, so made reservations, and went our separate ways again for a little while – particularly important for our friends to get out of the heat into the air conditioning! Jealous – me? – OK perhaps a tad!!!!

Later on we met in the bar at Corsairs and caught up with the staff – sadly Vinnie was ill…   We had an excellent dinner and then wandered down to Foxys to join the party. Was a pretty busy night with a DJ playing and Carolyn and Ron actually met Foxy himself which was a bit of a treat.   Was a great end to a hectic and tiring day so we called it a night.

Dinner at Corsairs Meeting Foxy

Saturday morning and we met at Ali Babs for breakfast.   Enjoyed chilling for a while admiring the view of the anchorage before wandered down to visit Foxys gift shop.

View out to Great Harbour

Foxy himself was sitting outside entertaining the tourists with little singing ditties….. So that was fun – and Carolyn and Ron enjoyed looking at the photos when he came to Buckingham Palace to pick up his gong!   Purchases made and time to head to the beach. We wandered back to Corsairs – met Vinny briefly – and then got Bun to take us in his taxi to White Bay.   Amazing views down to Great Harbour and White Bay from the top of the hill….

View down to Great Harbour View down to White Bay

We arrived at the Soggy Dollar Bar to be greeted by Mic with the lovely comment ‘welcome back to my UK family’. Nice. Was a busy day in paradise so we bobbed for a while…. Did more shopping in the gift shop…. Bobbed again…. Watched the pelicans fishing…. Admired the huge black yacht – and were told that Sir Paul McCartney was on board and that this was his smaller yacht!   Hmmmmm…… Definitely can’t confirm this rumour…. We then had lunch – with Carolyn declaring that the winner of the conch competition was, to date, the Soggy Dollar who had retained their crown from 2009. Here is a photo to prove it!

Soggy Dollar Bar Mic White Bay 2 Are you there Paul

And the winner is.....

White Bay 1

We then wandered down to the beach to One Love to find Reuben entertaining the tourists…. Enjoyed listening to him and Richard started on the Bushwackers…..   Enjoyed chatting to others – but Carolyn and Ron were shocked when Seddy came in.   A shambling dirty skinny wreck – and a huge contrast to the smiling rasta magician of yesteryear….   The whole place actually looks pretty seedy and shoddy now too…

Reuben playing at One Love

Back to the Soggy Dollar to be picked up by Bun and we enjoyed the trip back to Great Harbour.   We popped into Corsairs to make dinner reservations and I managed to trick Carolyn with Vinny’s box of ‘stickers’. She really jumped when the rubber mouse came out – was funny. Obviously this photo is posed for effect LOL…..

Back on Buns taxi Playing a trick

We separated to clean up…. and then met again in Corsairs. We had another wonderful dinner and Ron got to meet Vinny briefly.  After dinner we returned to sit at the bar – chatted to Kenroy – and JR the chef.   Followed of course by shots!   And so to bed.

Richard and JR Kenroy Dinner at Corsairs2 Time for shots

This morning – we are meeting for breakfast – and then another Soggy Day beckons.   We’re having a fantastic holiday with friends with more adventures to follow.

Bye for now


Friends reunited part 1 – Virgin Gorda to Anegada

Saturday morning we got up bright and early for some last minute things … then up to the carpark to pick up our taxi.    We were watching all these nice air-conditioned minibuses driving through and, of course, when ours turns up it is an old safari bus type vehicle.   Oh well….   As we are just about to leave we get a text from Carolyn to say that the ferry has left on time! Wonders will never cease LOL.   We arrive in good time in Spanish Town and had a Carib from the local vendor while waiting – and then the ferry is seen off to the distance and we walk inside the fence.   And they’ve arrived – yay – hugs and kisses all round.

They have arrived!

We get a cold restorative Carib for the journey and climb into the safari bus. Although not built for comfort what it does offer is the chance to catch sight of some spectacular views over North Sound.   We haven’t gone across Virgin Gorda by road for a number of years and so it was great to admire the beautiful vista – although, of course, it is a bit difficult to get decent photos when the driver shares Richard’s racing driver tendencies LOL.

Spanish Town view 2 Spanish Town view

North Sound 1

Arriving at Leverick, Carolyn and Ron check in to their hotel room and the receptionist gives us a lift up the hill in a pickup truck – so Richard and I climb in the back for the quick journey!

Sitting in with the luggage

To the room – and we gave them all the bug stuff we had got for them – and we got pressies too!   A selfie stick for the camera, a nice bottle of brandy and beef hula hoops – lovely. Thank you.

View from their room

Richard and I then left them to it and went back to Morphie – we picked up towels etc – and headed to the small resort beach.   We then spent a few hours bobbing in the pool, having lunch, having a few drinks and generally catching up. Oh yes and of course we had to try out the new selfie stick! Then we went our separate ways and reconvened in the upstairs restaurant at Leverick for an excellent meal and some very nice wine…. Was a lovely start to their holiday.

Pelican fishing

Resort beach Trying out the selfie stick in the pool Dinner in the post restaurant Scallop starter

After dinner we had pontoonies in the Jumbies Beach Bar with Josh the bartender before retiring to bed…..

Pontoonies with Josh the barman

Sunday morning and Carolyn and Ron came on board for breakfast. We are going across the North Sound to visit Sandbox for the day with dink. Carolyn went for a wander and came back very excited because she had seen a poster which advertised ‘free beer tomorrow’.   When Richard and Ron fell about laughing she realised that, of course, it is always tomorrow and you never actually get any.   Was funny…. Of course, I have to say, I would probably have fallen for it too!!!

Free beer tomorrow

Richard decided it would be more fun to take Morphie rather than dink so we left the dock, motored over and picked up a mooring ball.   We had mimosas to celebrate just being there – and lazed around a bit taking in the views – before heading in to the beach. We had a great time bobbing, playing with the waboba, having lunch – with Carolyn on a mission to find the best conch fritters in the islands again LOL – before returning to Morphie. We swam off the back and enjoyed the breeze before heading back in.

Morphie enjoying the view Sandbox selfie

Back to our slip smoothly and all is well.   Carolyn and Ron then went back to their room for a while…

Tonight we had decided to take the ferry to Saba Rock. While we were waiting on the dock some American guy asked me if my accent was for real – thought I was putting it on!   How rude / stupid is that? But we got our own back when they told us they came from Texas – Richard quickly replied with “Where’s that?!?” The look on their stunned faces was hilarious!   The little ferry turned up – and we climbed on board. We were expecting a little put put across the North Sound not a speed boat ride – boy that thing moves!   We then walked into Saba Rock and bumped into Lyle and Julia with their friends Bill and Helena.   Quick intros all round before they headed back to Orion and we sat down to enjoy a really nice dinner. Back on the ferry again and the annoying group were returning as well – this time we had to put up with really bad karaoke screaming / shouting of “Roxane”.   We were glad to get off the ferry onto the dock at Leverick to realise that the bar was shut – so we had a couple of pontoonies onboard.   Nice end to the evening and so to bed.

Saba Rock ferry

Monday morning and Carolyn and Ron came over for a late breakfast. It was miserable weather – really drizzly and grey.   After breakfast we went shopping into Pussers and a couple of other shops – Carolyn and Ron managed to buy some stuff and I got a bracelet too…..   We were going to then laze by the pool but rain stopped play again – so we just ended up sitting in the bar chatting.   At which point Carolyn and Ron went off to buy her a bracelet and came back with rum for Morphie and a pair of earrings for me.   Very kind….thank you……

Later on we reconvened for the pirates show by Michael Beans.   We had made the reservation on Friday but didn’t get a great table – nice position but hard benches to sit on, rather than individual chairs. So had a word with the organiser and we got moved – much more comfortable.   The Orion gang turned up – suitably attired in pirate fashion – and we had a great evening watching the show, singing along, blowing conch shells, waving the jolly roger, chatting, drinking etc etc etc.   Was really good fun.

Pirate show 1 Pirate show 2 Pirate show 3 Pirate show 4 Pirate show 5 Pirate show 6 Pirate show 7

Afterwards Orion left to eat at the fancy restaurant upstairs while we hung about so Carolyn could buy a pirate shirt!   Then we ate downstairs by the pool off the more casual menu. Had a nice meal and then a relatively early night….. Amazing how tired you can get doing not much LOL!

Tuesday morning and we were up early preparing Morphie to leave the confines of the marina and head back out to sea. Carolyn and Ron turned up on the golf buggy with their luggage so we pulled out around 9 ish – bound for Anegada.   Unfortunately the weather forecast was wrong in that although we had a lovely sunny morning with flat calm seas there was absolutely no wind at all…. Nada…. Nothing.   Shame – so we ended up having to motor. The upside was that it was much easier to prepare the bacon butties to eat underway for breakfast!

Flat seas

After a few miles we saw a few catamarans going around in circles – as we got closer we realised there was something in the water near them.   So we slowed down and watched from a distance – it was a whale!!!!   Only a baby having fun broaching, popping his head back up, doing the dive thing with his tail…   What a sight – beautiful.   Was annoyed though by how close the boats were to him and wondered about his mum.   Respectful distance from these beautiful creatures please! Rant over…   Because we were so far away with our view often blocked by the circling boats it was difficult to get a photo – but here is a hazy one just to prove it happened.

Catamarans circling Whale!

Wow what an experience……   Richard then decided to go fishing. Yawn….. here we go again….   Anyway, it can’t have been more than half an hour and the lure goes screaming away   Richard excitedly pulls it in – no thrashing, no fighting, nothing. Thought he’d caught weed and was disappointed until it got close to the boat and then a fish started flapping about.   Yay! Oh dear, another barracuda so nothing for tea, but hey – he caught a fish!!!!!   Hurrah!!!!!

Fish 1 Fish 2

Arriving into Anegada we were surprised with how all the boats were laying in the water – no wind so they were facing 180 degrees where they would normally sit.   So this means that we are going to anchor the ‘wrong’ way and will swing back later – oh yes and there is a squall out there on the horizon. So we got set and then Richard took Carolyn and Ron ashore to check into Neptunes – I stayed behind to keep an eye out. On his return we decided to feel our way in towards Neptunes – very shallow water there – to see if we can get anchored closer.   We went down to just under two feet under the keel on at one stage – but managed to find a spot directly opposite the hotel – with two and a half feet under us.   Much better position here especially for late night dink rides.

Anegada anchorage

Once we were all set we took ourselves off to meet Carolyn and Ron – made our dinner reservations – and then headed off in a taxi to Cow Wreck beach bar.   Was stunned by the beauty of this place –photos really cannot do it justice….. We had a few drinks – enjoyed some bobbing – and was given a tour by Belle of her brand new kitchen.   Very nice!     We were then picked up by our taxi to return to Neptunes and went our separate ways until later.   Back on board we enjoyed a beautiful Anegada sunset.

Cow Wreck beach Cow Wreck beach 2 Bobbing at Cow Wreck Cow Wreck beach 3 Anegada sunset

Around 7pm we went ashore – met up in the outside bar – and then wandered to our table. Had a really good meal and some wine and a perfect end to a perfect day.

Dinner at Neptunes

We hadn’t noticed that it was raining – although we were sitting outside, we were undercover – oh no, that means a very wet dink ride back. We did stand around for a little while to see if it would pass – no chance – so we had to man up and get wet!   As we got to Morphie I realised that I’d left all the beach towels on the rail too – so off course they are all soaked now….   So put extra pegs on them and decided to leave them there overnight.   Richard and I had a pontoonie in the cockpit to warm ourselves up – decidedly cool tonight in the rain – and then to bed.

This morning – Wednesday – and we are going ashore to meet them for breakfast… And the plan is to explore the island by car today. Richard and I have never actually done this – so should be fun!   Really looking forward to it….

Bye for now


PS – Pat and June – please give hugs to Jamie, Rufus and JJ from us all – and remember to reply to your e-mails!!!!!   For other readers to know – Jamie and Rufus are Carolyn and Ron’s two dogs…. JJ is theirs….

Awaiting friends in the BVI

After blogging and provisioning we motored up the coast of Tortola towards Cane Garden Bay as the time was getting on.   After getting a good anchor set at the back of the mooring field and having cleaned ourselves up, we went ashore – definitely ready to celebrate my birthday!

Panorama of Cane Garden Bay

Tying up to the dinghy dock we came across this picnic bench boat!   Was a bit nervous when I realised that they were all drunk and were struggling to get on board, let alone manoeuvring this strange contraption!   Looked like an accident waiting to happen!

It will all end in tears!

Wandered down the beach – enjoyed Happy Hour at Myetts and caught up with Prince the bartender and watched the sun go down.   Always beautiful here…..

Sunset from CGB

We then wandered down to the Elm – was welcomed royally with hugs etc – and had a tasty  BBQ dinner.  This was followed by the Elmtones doing a great set and some dancing. Great fun had by all and back to Morphie suitably chilled – was a great end to my birthday!

The Elmtones Crowd getting jiggy jiggy

Monday and we are moving on again  – so picked up anchor.  The day started out beautiful but soon deteriorated to a windy and squally one…..and we were a bit fed up!   Richard decided to dance in the cockpit while under way to entertain me and I used the ‘ear’ of the bimini to keep out the worst of the rain LOL….

Running along the coast of Tortola Dancing in the cockpit Being silly trying to get out of the rain Here comes the rain

As we went through the Little Camanoe Cut – nice place for a retreat?!? – the weather picked up and we enjoyed the rest of the trip to Marina Cay.   We anchored again at the back of the mooring field and went ashore for happy hour and to pick up internet.   After a couple of beers we went back to Morphie for dinner onboard and an early night.

Little Camanoe Cut Nice place for a retreat!

Anchoring at the back of the fleet in Marina Cay

View from Marina Cay

Tuesday morning – and it’s raining again!!!!  Waited for it to clear a bit then picked up anchor – checking out Scrub Island on the way past – and started our trip up to Virgin Gorda….

Scrub IslandThe weather deteriorated….   Rain squalls with sustained winds at 30 knots and much higher in the gusts….   And we got wet….then we dried….then we got wet….and it was a white out….and more rain came….actually, it was pretty horrible.

Another rainy sailing day Horrible

We were thankful as we rounded Virgin Gorda near Mosquito Island and was quite amazed by the progress of the building works – rumour has it that Sir Richard Branson is going to use this main house as his own, and use Necker purely for guests…. Looks pretty nice!

Mosquito Island development

We passed through the reef and entered North Sound, to the back of the mooring field at Leverick, and got a nice set in about 15 feet of water…..   We went ashore – when the rain passed – just in time to do some laundry before retiring back to Morphie for an early night.

Leverick Bay resort

Wednesday morning and it was dull again – so another chores day…..   Came in for laundry again…. Then caught up on the internet…. After a few hours chilling on board we went ashore for the Pirate show by Michael Beans. We have seen this loads of times but always enjoy it – and had a nice chat with him during the interval.   While we were watching the show this English couple sat opposite us – and they were the people we had done the island tour with in Montserrat – what a small world!   Ended up a pretty late night!

Happy Arrrrrr show Getting into the spirit of it

Tall tales of piracy

Thursday and we had prepped the boat for another varnish day – but the forecast said rain and we couldn’t face having it ruined again….   So we lazed around and did a few jobs – and then wondered whether we should have just bitten the bullet and done it…..   But guess what – at 5pm, around the time we would have just finished varnishing, the heavens opened for about half an hour. Heavy enough to have ruined it again – glad we didn’t bother!  We didn’t even go ashore…..

Friday morning and we moved into the marina.

Leverick Bay Marina

We have a special deal with the manager for this as we have friends coming in to stay in the resort for three nights…..   Plus free water and ice…. So took the opportunity to wash Morphie down, get some more shopping, fill up the water tanks, plug into shore power, and generally tidy up and get ready for tomorrow when our friends arrive.   She sure looks pretty on the dock doesn’t she???

Morphie looking pretty

Anyway….this afternoon….. I took myself off to the Spa for a massage and Richard carried on working.

My afternoon retreat

Good job!   Finished….  We then went into the bar for Happy Hour….   We went back on board for dinner and planned to go back out to see the Jumbies – but decided to stay put in the end and have another early night.

We are really looking forward to seeing Carolyn and Ron again tomorrow.  They are not staying on board this year – they are going to be land based – with us being their personal water taxi, sailing them between islands. Should be fun!

Bye for now


Incommunicado on St John

Friday and the weather kicked in – we didn’t even go ashore!   It was pouring with rain….and then cloudy….and then raining….with very little sun. So we ran the generator to top up the batteries and made some water. The wind, actually, was not as bad as forecast but the conditions weren’t nice – and definitely no good for varnishing – so glad we stayed put and enjoyed a lazy day.

Saturday and the weather improved – looks like they got it wrong again…. Oh well, always better to be safe rather than sorry!   We did a few boat jobs and then went ashore later in the afternoon to catch up on the internet – during happy hour – and then over to the Willy T.   Nothing going on again – Richard was very amused by the tacky pirates ship lamp clock thingy that was on the bar – and we had a chat with a few people before having a very good chicken and chips supper, cooked by Branson. Back on board for an early night.

Tacky pirate ship

Sunday and it was lovely and we decided to spend some time on the beach….. It was nice for a while, but it was pretty busy, there was a lack of chairs, and lots of kids screaming….   So we retreated back to Morphie and sat on the transom drinking cold beer from the fridge.   Lovely way to end the day as the sun went down.

Goodnight from Norman Island

Monday morning and we were up early. We are headed over to the USVI today – our plan is to go into American Yacht Harbor to get our replacement temperature gauge fitted.   And of course the weather turned as we picked up anchor!  So we left Norman straight into bad weather and 30+ knot winds…. There was certainly a different view today of the Indians in the gloom. It is a downwind run from Norman to Tortola, so we actually had a fantastic sail under a reefed genoa alone. We did get wet a few times though as rain storms passed through.

Leaving Norman The Indians Bit of a wet sail

Arrived in West End and the first thing we see is this huge black yacht – all black, no name, no AIS, nothing!   We thought it looked decidedly evil….   And check out the size of the guy standing on the transom… That’s what you call a big boy’s toy LOL!!!

Huge black yacht

As we entered the mooring field there wasn’t a mooring ball to be found. People were stooging around waiting for balls even for customs – so we decided to turn around and perhaps go to check out from the BVI in Jost instead.   As we were leaving we were checking out the depths just between the Fish and Lime Restaurant and Steele Point – and found a sandy spot in 25 feet…. So decided to anchor…   We got a great set straight away and sat there for a little while to check how the wind would move us around. Happy that Morphie was safe we left her and went into the Customs and Immigration Office and checked out. Very quick and pleasant experience – makes a change!   Even the weather had started to improve….

Then over to D’ Best Cup coffee shop and we’d received an e-mail to say that the spare gauge had not arrived….. So we quickly cancelled our slip at AYH – rescheduling for early February – as we didn’t want to go into the marina for nothing… and debated our next move. Well – we have to leave the BVIs now as we’ve already checked out – so decided to go shopping at the Marina store for some bits and bobs and were very happy to find Branston pickle, French cheese, French baguette and English pork sausages. Sadly they had run out of English cheddar cheese… So got our fill of those LOL!

Back to Morphie, picked up anchor, and sailed downwind to St John.   Had another exhilarating sail in washing-machine like seas – but we enjoyed ourselves a lot!   And we almost got 8 knots out of Morphie on reefed genoa alone….   Great fun.

Leaving Tortola Choppy seas

We picked up a mooring in Caneel Bay and dinked round into Cruz Bay marvelling at the colour of the water – cleared customs into the US Virgin Islands – and then picked up our parcels. Two out of three only had arrived so we’ll have to come back again another day.   Got some drinking vouchers out of the bank and then headed back to Morphie where we had a quiet time on board and an early night enjoying the view.

Colour of that water! Cruz Bay 1 Cruz Bay 2 Caneel Bay

Tuesday morning and back into Cruz Bay – some more drinking vouchers obtained – and we had breakfast while we were out.

Breakfast venue Panorama of Cruz Bay

Then we found the local supermarket and did some more shopping. We managed to get some steak and some great fresh produce….. so salad for the next few days!   Yay!!   Back on board, provisions stowed, and then we dropped the mooring ball and motored upwind to Mahoe Bay – being passed by the huge yacht Erica VII.

Here comes Erica

We arrived into Mahoe – this is a beautiful bay with a white sand beach edged with palm trees, backed by lush hills, and spectacular clear blue water. We picked up a mooring ball – compulsory here as it is a marine park – and started taping up Morphie, getting the ropes all stowed out of the way, removing some stainless steel etc – all in preparation for her first rub down tomorrow.  No distractions here other the natural beauty of it all – no bars, no restaurants, no internet, no nothing! Just turtles popping their nosy little heads up checking who is around….and the fins of tarpon chasing little fry around the bay.   This is one of our favourite places and we enjoyed sitting in the cockpit having a quiet night on board.

Mahoe Bay 1 Mahoe Bay 2 Getting taped up 1 Getting taped up 2 Getting taped up 3 Ropes sorted

Wednesday morning and we started the mammoth job of rubbing down by hand…..   The teak needs some tender loving care with the varnish peeling and rubbed off in loads of places.   We pretty much finished the first rub down and collapsed in the cockpit – albeit with aching muscles – just had dinner and then straight to bed…..     Here are some ‘before’ pictures.

Before 1 Before 2 Before 3 Before 4

Thursday we got up very early and washed down all the dust and sanded a few more bits that we’d missed yesterday.   We then started to apply our first coat of varnish and were really pleased with ourselves – such a shame we have to rub it all off again tomorrow in preparation for the next coat!!!   While we were in the middle of all this – and I did get distracted a couple of times by a sting ray who kept swimming underneath Morphie – we saw a familiar boat in the distance.   It was Orion! They had just left the BVIs now that their friends had gone home – and wondered whether we would be here….   So when we finished our varnishing we all went bobbing for a couple of hours while Morphie looked all shiny and enjoyed her surroundings….

Morphie enjoying her surroundings

First coat 1 First coat 3 First coat 4 First coat 5 Bobbing friends Orion behind us

Friday morning – up early – and started rubbing down again…..   This took us until about 3pm – then we started applying the next coat.   During this time Julia came by on the kayak to invite us over for sundowners…  We said we couldn’t guarantee what time we would get there – but that was fine by them.   So when we finished we cleaned ourselves up, left Morphie to dry and headed over.

Second coat 1 Second coat 2 Second coat 3 Second coat 4

They had invited Kirk and Chrissie over too – and we realised that we had met them two years ago – what a small world. Well sundowners turned into a late night – fun times!

Saturday morning – up even earlier. We actually started rubbing down at 7.30 am! This is the final coat we want to apply so needs to be a good one.

Third rub down

We worked really hard and at 5.00 pm we had finished.   It looked fantastic – wood under glass – amazing!   High fives all round.   Quite relieved – that was physical hard work.  Although it was really our turn we couldn’t host sundowners as we have wet varnish everywhere – so back over to Orion again for a nice time catching up with Lyle and Julia.  They also opened a bottle of bubbly to celebrate my birthday early as we are going our separate ways again for a little while.   Well – during the evening it rained.   We had fingers crossed that the varnish was dry enough by the time it came down – oh well, what can you do? And so to bed and it rained again – hard.

Sunday morning – up early – Happy Birthday to me!!!   Opened my cards – thanks everyone.

Happy Birthday

And then we inspected the wood.   We thought we might have got away with it as there was water sitting on top of the rail…… But it looked milky….. So we dried it – and disaster – it’s ruined!!!  All that hard work – we’ve got to rub it down and redo it.  If only the rain could have held off another few hours…… Not the best start to our day.

It rained overnight.... And this is what it did to the new varnish!

So what to do?   We decided not to stay here in Mahoe Bay – we need to get reconnected and I needed to blog!!!   Oh yes, and I’d like not to have to cook on my birthday LOL.   So I tidied up, completed the customs / immigration paperwork and drafted this.   Richard worked hard on deck reinstalling all the lines and the stainless etc in preparation for us departing.   We then motored across – straight into wind and waves – to West End, Tortola.

Managed to pick up a mooring ball – and then went into customs.   Got some major bull from the customs guy – wants $200 for temporary importation duty for Morpheus as we are going to be in the BVIs for more than 30 days in a calendar year.   Hang on – we came in on 20 December, left on 5 January, and are returning today.  Surely it has to be 30 days consecutive???   After some discussion we persuaded him not to charge us – and we have until 2 February to get out or pay.  No worries mate – we’ll be gone for sure.    We have been coming here for years and this stuff happens all the time – but this is a new one on us.   On 20 December we paid $15 to clear in – total.  Today it cost us $55.  OK it’s a Sunday so there is overtime…. but really????   They just make it up as it goes along.    This really hasn’t been the best start to my birthday for sure……  Grrrrrrr

We are in D’ Best Cup now – catching up on news from home and was lovely to receive loads of birthday messages and to speak to my mum.  Thanks everyone for remembering.  Feeling more chilled now….   As the song goes, things can only get better……..

Later on we are going to Cane Garden Bay where we know there will be live music at The Elm tonight. We are both really looking forward to seeing the Elmtones again and maybe a bit of dancing??? The varnishing can definitely wait a few days. We are working our way up to Virgin Gorda as we have our friends Carolyn and Ron coming in for a holiday at the end of the week. So once we’ve arrived up there we can spend the time before their arrival varnishing – again…… Sigh…..

Bye for now


Happy New Arrghh from Norman Island

Saturday night we did go ashore for a couple of drinks….. and chatted with Brian who moved to Jost about four months ago from Alaska – luckily he is renting as it appears that he is struggling to cope with the challenges island life brings….    Will be interesting to find out whether he sticks it out or not!   We left relatively early and were tucked up in bed about 10 pm.

Sunday and we got up early and scrubbed the boat down inside and out….   It takes much longer than you would expect in such a small space – can’t believe how much dust accumulates and, of course, unlike at home you have to wash walls, ceilings, and doors constantly…  Well I do wash them at home, of course, but that’s not every time!    Done at last – Morphie looks and smells lovely…. Phew!

We then went ashore quickly so that I could phone mum to make sure she got back from her Christmas break OK.   Was lovely to speak to her for a little while…    Then back on board to get organised as this afternoon we have Vinny and Lori coming over for some nibbles and drinks.   Richard picked them up and we had a lovely time together.

Vinny and Lori leaving

As the light started to fade the big boats started coming in – first it was the Stad Amsterdam tall ship and we enjoyed the sight of the crew folding away the sails….  Not sure I’d fancy that job!!!   Then this absolutely beautiful British boat comes in – called Elena of London.   Wow!    Followed by a great sunset….

Tall Ship Stad Amsterdam Putting the sails away Elena Good night

We went ashore for a couple of beers and Elena’s captain and his first mate were in…  So we chatted with them for a while – to find out that the boat costs €85k per week to rent, and that excludes food, drink, customs, immigration, dockage fees, fuel, crew gratuities etc….  Dream on…..!!!!   Anyway, we said our farewells to the Corsairs crew and headed back to Morphie and so to bed.

Monday morning and we were up pretty early and headed out to sea….   The wind was a bit fickle and was coming from the south east – which is pretty unusual – and we pulled out the sails and enjoyed a decent sail across the channel towards the West End of Tortola.    Then the wind died so we doused the sails and motored….

Goodbye Jost van Dyke Motoring along

As we were coming into the channel Elena was coming up behind us – so we gave her a bit more room – and she passed us to starboard.   Beautiful boat…. And the crew waved to us when the guests weren’t looking LOL although didn’t manage to capture that!  Look at this impressive sight…..

Elena overtaking Elena passing

Having come through the passage we were hoping for a good sail across to Norman Island – but again the wind wasn’t playing ball with us…  So we carried on motoring – enjoying the sights of the Indians as we passed them and the large amounts of Sargasso weed floating – until we came into Norman.

Passing the Indians Lots of Sargasso weed

There aren’t that many anchoring spots in the Bight as it is a bit deep with much of it at 50+ feet – and we couldn’t find a spot straight away.    The only available place was on a lee shore and we didn’t fancy that….   So initially we picked up a mooring ball and enjoyed looking at the renovated Pirates Beach Bar and Restaurant.


Then we spotted that the boat that was anchored in our preferred spot was picking up – so we dropped the mooring ball – and stooged around until he had left.  Then we dropped our anchor in a small spot of sand amongst a largely rocky area in 25 feet of water.  Richard snorkelled it to make sure we were set and we were pleased as punch that we’d found the spot and the anchor was buried in the sand….   Yay!!!

Mooring balls here in the BVI cost $30 a night so we prefer to try and avoid using them if possible…..  So far so good!   We went into Pirates for a short time to catch up on the internet and then back on board for a quiet night watching the mooring ball fun….   It is really busy here now – the high season has definitely kicked in – and we were amazed that by around 3pm all the mooring balls were gone!    On the way into Pirates I got toy envy as a few of the charter boats had large inflatable water toys on them – dinosaurs, cows, ducks, swans – all sorts!    Really funny….

Toy envy 1 Toy envy 2

There were a lot of big boys anchored behind us here and then there is the sad sight of the charter boats coming in late desperately looking for a ball – and the looks of horror and desperation on the faces of the crew as they realise they have to anchor.  We did actually feel sorry for one Sunsail guy who tried about six times to anchor and failed – we would have gone and helped him but we had already raised dink onto his davits for the night.  But another captain had obviously spotted him and gave assistance…..   Thankfully he got set before it got dark – bet there were a few heated words on board that boat!

Surrounded by big boys Beautiful lines

Tuesday morning and it was wash day….  Not sure Morphie appreciates looking like a laundry as we hang it all out to dry – and we certainly got some strange looks from other boats around us!   Never mind – all done – and dried in the sun.

Washday on Morpheus

Later on in the afternoon we went ashore for a bobbing session at Pirates and then over to the Willy T (the William Thornton floating bar and restaurant).    Was great to catch up with Branson again but it was all rather quiet and sedate – although we did meet one family doing ski shots and another cruising family had their dog with them who decided to sleep on the bar.   How cute is that???

BransonTime for a ski shot

Cruisers dog at the Willy T

Wednesday morning – New Year’s Eve – and we got up late.  We had decided to have a late brunch / breakfast to set ourselves up for the day and, at this point, Lyle, Julia and their friends Kerry and Ken came over to say hi, as they had arrived into the Bight the night before….    So we made arrangements to meet up for bobbing later and they left to go on a mammoth snorkel adventure.    Around lunchtime we went ashore to Pirates to FaceTime with Rachel, Kiera and Finley – unfortunately it was a bit loud in the bar and outside it was difficult to see the screen because of the sun’s glare.   But we managed to say hi and make them jealous with the blue skies and sandy beach and to have a chat with the kids.   Ah bless…..

Lovely day at the beach


We then bobbed until we were joined by Lyle, Julia, Kerry and Ken – and we all bobbed together with Lyle deciding to still wear his Christmas hat – quaffing champagne would you believe it, that Lyle and Julia and bought with them.   Very fancy!

Bobbing friends

After a merry few hours we went back to Morphie to get cleaned up and enjoyed a beautiful sunset….

Spectacular sunset

We then headed back into Pirates for our New Year’s Eve dinner…   When we got there I managed – stupidly – to drop the dinghy kill switch into the water and, guess what, the automatic float thingy on it didn’t work!   And luckily I had a spare key to the padlock on me….   Never mind, it is possible to use without, but I wasn’t flavour of the month with Richard at that point….

When we finally got into the restaurant we were surprised to see MJ Blues playing – he is fantastic and one of our favourite local musicians – and we haven’t heard him play for quite a few years now.  So great to catch up with him again…..

MJ Blue strutting his stuff

Dinner was lovely and I was dancing when I got asked by the waitress to return to my table so that I could pay our part of the bill – apparently there was another sitting after us.  Didn’t realise – so we quickly evacuated and moved to the dance area and waited for our change.   And waited…. And then chased…. And then she was confused….. And then she tried to give us the wrong change….. And then had to redo the bills….. And finally we got our change.   They were under a lot of pressure though and I think they could have done with a few more staff…..   Never mind…   We carried on dancing and drinking for a little while – and then decided to move on to the Willy T.

Time to dance 1

So we piled into our respective dinghies – carefully motored across the mooring field – and climbed on board the Willy T.  Again, not a lot going on, but we made the most of it as you can tell by the pictures!

Silly faces 1 Time to dance 2 Silly faces 2

Then we counted down to midnight – Happy New Year! – and kisses and hugs all round.   We enjoyed our evening and then returned to Morphie and to bed.

Pirate New Year

This morning – Thursday – and Richard went out early to snorkel under the dinghy dock and managed to retrieve our kill switch!   Good job….. thank you!   We’ve now picked up anchor and moved closer to Pirates.  We were planning to leave tomorrow to go across to St John to pick up our parcels and tuck into Mahoe Bay to re-varnish the bright work (the outside teak for our non-sailing friends).   But the forecast is decidedly dodgy – with strong winds and gusts forecast – and that will reduce our ability to varnish as we need to do under the rail from the dinghy and this requires a settled sea state and low winds…    So we will probably sit it out here but will wait and see what tomorrow brings.

Bye for now.