Wednesday, June 15, 2016

23 & 24. Goodbye, BVI!

    View from Hog Heaven, Virgin Gorda.  
This weekend is “dance recital week" back home, our favorite time of year!  The girls and I spend all year honing our skills and working on routines to showcase what we love.  As many loved ones as we can sucker into coming to the performance are treated to the best show in town.   Tonight I would have everything packed from spare tights, extra bobby pins and plenty of makeup, to costumes of all sizes and colors and all the lineup sheets and anything else we would need to make the day run smoothly.  We would get to bed as early as possible to wake up with the sun and head to the theater to claim the perfect spot in front of the mirror and have one final rehearsal before the show begins.  Instead, tonight we are on the open water between Virgin Gorda & St Martin.  Our last night passage was way back on April 19, heading into Culebra, PR.  We have been so far and seen so many things since then.  Even this week we did things we’ve never done before.  So, even though we are sad not to be back in Jax where the anticipation is stirring and we wish all our family at Scott Jones School of Dance the best of luck; I can't imagine not being here and having this adventure with my family.  This year the twinkle of lights in our eyes are the millions of stars in the dark ocean sky and the only glitter we need are the tiny bioluminescence dancing on our wake!

    Anegada sunset
Our trip to Anegada was perfect!  We originally hadn't planned to even visit this beautiful little island in the northeast Carribean, but I am so glad we did.  
    Dance party on the way to Anegada.
We anchored at the back of the mooring field and took a long dinghy ride around to the southwest beach for some kite surfing and beach fun.  
Andrew did a few tutorials with the kids and had a great little session, even in light wind while the kids were quick to make their mark on the sandy shore.  
    Castles and holes and moats, oh my!
The fun continued as we ventured to the northside of the island to the Anegada Beach Club, 
via their free shuttle, to a perfect piece of paradise.  
A sweet swimming pool,
complete with beach bar 
and a beautifully unpopulated beach that stretched out endlessly.  
Andrew was able to work on kite handling with the oldest Take Two boys before wearing himself out jumping and rolling and freaking out the snorkelers that were unlucky enough to to be in his wake :)
They even had strong enough wifi for me to video chat with all my family- bonus!
With a chance for the kids to do more kiting and me to do more pool laying, we headed to Anegada Beach Club for a second day.  Just as beautiful as the first w/ the hint of a storm brewing over the horizon.  What we didn't realize was that the storm was right over the mooring field and kicked up winds sustained at 50knots!  Poor Abby was left all alone and so she tried to go on a walk about and almost ended up on the sandy shore behind where we left her.  Some nice local fisherman from Neptune’s Treasure and Jay from Take Two chased her down, reined her in and got her re-anchored in her proper spot.  
    Abby's Adventure
To receive a call at the beach club on the other side of the island that your boat has dragged was quite un-nerving, as you can imagine.  Andrew raced off to make sure everything was alright but they guys had it all under control when he got there.  So, not only does Neptune’s Tresure have the best smoked fish dip I have ever had but they also have some salt of the earth guys working there that refused any sort of payment for their help, just our gratitude.

As if that wasn't enough Anegada excitement, on our way back to Virgin Gorda our engine cut out.  So after an hour of bobbing around in the waves while Andrew tried to fix the problem at sea with no luck, we sailed in through the cut and had the help of a local dinghy to get our hook set again in Leverick Bay.  
    Leverick Bay sunset
We really enjoyed being at Leverick Bay.  The girls entertained themselves and stayed out of trouble, mostly, while we tackled some projects.
    I'm sure work is getting done, never mind the beer under the arm ;)
After multiple days of hard work and Andrew being very productive getting the engine repaired,  jib bags sewn and our new main sheet traveler installed; 
it was time for some new fun!  We headed over to the Bitter End Yacht Club to try our hands at Hobie Cats.  
Having never sailed a Hobie before, we thought we would start with a challenge and entered the Beer Can Regatta.  They had a great course set up and every time you cross the finish line you can grab a beer or other drink of your choice.  We finished second in 3 out of the 4 races we ran and Andrew drank at least a six pack, but who’s counting?  We had a blast!  
So much fun that we had to do it again the next day!  
We got two Hobies and split up with the girls.  Andrew’s was the go fast ride and on mine I operated the sails while whichever girl I had was in charge of steering.  They would zip through the mooring field and into open water and would have to count down if they wanted to turn.  I had Sky first, who did a great job and wanted to push the speed as fast as possible.  Paige just wanted to tip over right up until the moment we did :)  Andrew was so far out of site he didn't even know we needed assistance, luckily a near by charter boat came to my rescue and helped me right it and we were on our way again.  We even got the Take Two gang in on the action and they quickly kicked off the grown ups and were racing girls against boys, some healthy competition.  
While the girls and I watched the feeding of the tarpon at Saba Rock, Andrew actually met the designer of Hobie who was in town on vacation and at the bar enjoying a drink.  We got a chance to thank him for all the fun we had just expereienced.
    Feeding the tarpon & Elvis the Eel at Saba Rock

We also rented our own safari bus (fancy name for pickup truck with benches) 
and toured the entire island of Virgin Gorda.  
We hiked to the highest peak.  
We toured the abandoned copper mine.   
Enjoyed some local flavor at the Island Pot.  And had our own private bay to play in at Spring Bay.  
    Look closely and you will see the king of the mountain enjoying the view with a beer.

That sealed the deal - Virgin Gorda is my favorite island.  Not to live on, like Culebra; but to visit and vacation to.  It has such a wide variety of landscape and unique features, you can never see it all.  

So after soaking every minute out of our month in BVI and even squeezing in one last sleep over, 
    Fort building & fun w/ Sky's latest partner in crime, Kaylee.
it was time to head out.  
   Goodbye, Leverick Marina.  

So we are off to St Martin.  The trip started like all the rest, One Direction on the radio and spirits high.  It took a while to get our sea legs on and a night time passage always turns Andrew’s stomach when he looses the horizon, but all was well.  But just to make sure we pack all the fun we can into this expected 19hr trip, the engine cut out at midnight. 
So ahoy, we sail!

Things learned this week:
We have mad Hobie skills! 
The cruising community is like a weird little family:) Our support of each other is vital.  It is great to feel close to people even when you've known them such a short while and to share a meal w/ perfect strangers and come away friends :)

We made it back to civilization since I was able to post this blog, but you have to check back in next week to see how we made it and if anyone was thrown overboard when our 19 hr trip took 31 long hours to complete!


  1. Okay.....I'm all in, loving your blog, saving your photos, but missing you all terribly! So glad you're having fun, learning a lot, meeting such great folks, and enjoying your journey!

  2. Great blog. Looks like you are having a great time. Scary having your anchor drag. Glad it's ok.
    Greg Ketterman
    VP Engineering at Hobie Cat

  3. Great blog. Looks like you are having a great time. Scary having your anchor drag. Glad it's ok.
    Greg Ketterman
    VP Engineering at Hobie Cat