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.