Back in ole Red

Had a great downwind sail to Sopers Hole with lightish winds but enough to get a good run going. Sopers was pretty full – as well as some mega private yachts anchored out and two cruise ships in the channel. Have never seen so much traffic here before….but then I’ve never been here this time of year so have nothing to judge it against.

During the sail the north swells were starting to make themselves known as we came along the coast of Tortola. After arriving we went ashore for a quick look round the shops – didn’t buy anything – and watched the cruise ship passengers being ferried in and out. Pussers the bar was rammed and it took forever to get a diet coke so we didn’t hang around for long although did bump into a couple of cruisers we had met before.

A quiet evening on board having dinner and then, as the sun went down, the mayhem started. We had already heard that the swells were bad on Jost……and all these charter boats (who are not allowed to sail at night) started turning up and driving around and around the mooring field looking for a free ball….and there weren’t any! Too deep to anchor for these boats at 60 ft as they won’t have enough chain on board. This was a dangerous situation to be in at this time of the day so many of them had to stump up and pay to go alongside one of the slips in the marina or run over to St John for shelter. Maybe next time out they will read the weather forecast before they decide where they are going to spend the night?

In the morning up early and checked out of the BVI after a great breakfast at De Best Cup and sailed downwind to St John to check into the US islands. Went ashore after the formalities were done and rescued a very drunk guy who had fallen into the sea under the ferry dock from his kayak and couldn’t climb back out….. don’t know how long he had been there but he was pretty distressed. But not so out of it that he couldn’t hit us up for a couple of bucks to get the bus home!

Anyway into Red Hook and met up with Blaine Parks who helped us deliver Morpheus down island in November 2008. Great to see him again. Blaine had just delivered down a brand new (huge) Island Packet for the fleet from Florida and came bearing goodies for us! At last….not long now before we are free! Really excited. So I spent the afternoon doing pink jobs like laundry, banking etc while Richard helps Blaine with all the last jobs to be done…. Fantastic….. A new (stern) anchor and the life raft were the main items we had been waiting on plus some extra jobs like putting new sacrificial washers on the gooseneck.

I virtually skipped back laden down with fresh clothes and bedding and as I walk down the dock I spot the problem. The damn sail is the wrong colour!!!! I try not to cry or get mad – Richard was angry enough for both of us – so we talked through the options and decided to pay to get it fixed locally and then claim back the cash… We really cannot wait for another sail to be produced and shipped…we’ve already lost weeks of our travels on the back of it – and if they can’t get it right twice, who can guarantee third time lucky???? Grrrrrr…… The people who could authorise this plan are on holiday until the 7th so we just went for it and sent assertive emails etc to start the process running. Notice no names? Yep – let’s give them the chance to put it right first – so watch this space!

We also went shopping for more stuff – new mats and extra bedding in the January sales. We even got a new blanket as it is a bit chilly at night at the minute, so we must be getting acclimatised….

After putting everything away and cleaning up we decamped to Molly’s for dinner and caught up with the bar manager Sharme, Blaine, Chandler and Dan (his crew as the owners didn’t do the trip)…..

then off to Duffy’s Love Shack – for a night of memories, dancing and drinking….followed by a visit to the Caribbean saloon for blackjack and more drinking….

How Blaine got his 6am cab to the airport I don’t know! Fantastic time and took us back to the start of our journey four years ago so a fitting way to start our cruising life. Shame that Brad couldn’t be here to share it again too – but he has a proper job now!!!

Friday we did jobs – I cleaned, waxed and buffed the topsides and gave some tender loving care to the stainless steel – Richard did some engine modifications and had an in depth walk through all the boat systems with a guy who knows these boats inside out. Headed off shopping in the afternoon for more crates, padlocks and other things on our spare parts list and loads of great meat which we’ve vacuum packed and frozen, taking advantage of being on shore power.

After a physically demanding day – and still emotionally drained after all the dramas – we headed back to Molly’s to have a quiet evening with Sharme who, unusually, was off duty and sat on the other side of the bar with us.

So now it is Saturday morning and we’re carrying on with the boat jobs…waiting anxiously for the local sail loft to turn up so that we can get out of here… Please please let it be right…

Bye for now


PS – phone reset and working again…… Phew!