Sunday, 14 April 2013

We find dream cruising waters with friends- Nth to Virgin islands

Barbuda thong tree

Cruising with friends NE to the clear waters of Virgin Islands, via Barbuda, Antigua, ST Barts, ST Martin…arriving 14 hrs later in Virgin Gorda, BVIslands.     March 2013

Crew Peter Van Danzig
Antigua...  Our passage crossing to Antigua, became a race with the Peter Von Danzig 60ft ketch. Bruce filmed them passing, which won us a dinner invite on board at old English Harbor with 10 uni students from Kiel Sailing Club, Nth Germany.

The next night Jill and Rhys flew in and we all BBq’d at our “fav”, Shirley Heights Fort.  Antigua is going thru a downturn, but this doesn't stop the mega/ mega yachts visiting… for us some of the attraction is walking the Falmouth marina.

The Maltese Falcon 4 masted

We sailed a day hop to Jolly Harbour, then took a locals crowded mini- bus to ST John’s fresh market  to stroll the streets, lined with locals selling goods and buy DVD,s for movie nights on board.

Gina joined the Jolly Dive boat to go on fringe reef - drift dives - and was ecstatic seeing her first sleeping nurse shark and hogfish on the sand bottom............................................ close-up.

Barbuda Island Cay, a must visit, is a 100 miles of pink sand beach and rolling breaks, (we rolled a little too) and is mostly uninhabited, gave us a quiet few days rest.

Heading across lagoon to Codrington

All islands are different!  
Off to lunch in Codrington, only a water taxi ride away, walking 5 mins across this beach to a lagoon, is a dry, hot, flat, isolated small town of friendly people and concrete hurricane proof buildings - so we headed out to go for a hot Caribbean lunch.

The main harbour was crowded arriving in Gustavia, ST Barts Island. Wyuna in true CAT form with no wind, motored along all day, as we took turns on the auto helm and Rhys tried to catch fish, coming 40 miles nth at 5 knots with the heady up.

ST B’s IS the Caribbean French Ritz, a beautiful early Swedish territory- once mariners fishing village- is now the Vogue photographers dream destination- but we ate the not so ritz Jimmy Buffet Margarita and Burger bar!

Ranger classic J Boat
Gina is searching all harbours to eye off, the Herreshoff traditional American J Boats, built in the 1930,s for racing against Britian in the Isle of Whyte. Many J's race thru the regatta season in the Caribbean islands. How fantastic to see Ranger (1 of 3 originals refitted to original size) on the dock and crew next to her to quiz on the next regatta.
Here's the awesome sight of her leaving ST B's as we walked the port.

Stunning quiet bays are usually national marine parks. We all liked relaxing in clear blue water Colombier Bay on a mooring, just reading, swimming, walking and snorkeling for a few days.
Onwards we sail ..nth swells continued in Sint Maarten, ( rocks on a Cat too) to escape we motored into the lagoon thru The Bridge. All eyes on deck.  Jill & Rhys bused it around town and we met them at happy hours bars to people & plane watch.  On 23 March, after a lot of fun together we had to wave them goodbye.

At the Budget Marine sale- yachties DJ’s- we needed a $820 Rocna 33lb anchor - guaranteed not to drag- umm?  Gina nearly gave a neighbour on anchor a heart attack manoeuvring Wyuna in a tight spot in the lagoon while Bruce and Michael fitted the new anchor!

Michael a sailor and uni. student from Kiel, Germany who is living on Peter Van Danzig for 6mths, stayed with us for a week to take a break. We enjoyed his delicious cooking and fresh mango rum punch and shared many stories. We sailed a day hop and he hopped off at Anguilla  to backpack on land.

We ate dinner out with James and Roni, then arose at 4am and sailed downwind 85 miles, west to the BVIslands. Ahoy the passage was better than the weather forecast predicted, we were pleased to arrive 14 hrs later at our new destination Virgin Gorda, to anchor by sunset. Cruiser friends are in the Virgin islands so we are meeting up.

Life on board is easier this season, getting to know sailmates, the sea conditions, and how to replace parts, using new anchoring hand signals (avoids yelling), tasting all island rums, and when the going gets tough the tough jump in the water!!

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