It’s currently the 8th, and we are indeed leaving the BVIs today ⛵⛵⛵.
As we are writing this post we have already been sailing for an hour, and are currently still within internet range and the protection of the islands.
Come 10pm (6hour time) we should be out in the open ocean for the first time in quite a while.
Our day in Road Town was a success, and our marina time was well worth it.
We went out for a final on land dinner last night, that we also didn’t need to cook (lots of cooking coming up during the crossing), and got an early night.
The hunger had really set in, so we failed to get any picture of our main courses. But you can see the pizza that we also ordered, in preparation for having leftovers to take with us.
During the morning of the 8th we did 3 washing machines full of laundry in the marina, bought an additional 200USD of food including fresh veggies, stowed the dinghy, generally cleaned the boat up and put things away, filled out water tanks for the last time and downloaded as much entertainment as we could from the internet!
As 2pm approached we had a little dip in the marina pool, had our first and last on land showers for quite a while, paid up the marina fees and got the Hannah on the move!!!
Good bye to the BVIs, and helllow open ocean.
We will be blogging on the way with help from Ollie (who joined us in Antigua), so keep an eye out for posts in the coming weeks.
Remember, you can follow us using the various tracking links / maps at the top of this site (Predict wind and Garmin will be the best while crossing), and you can even send us messages there.
This is one of our favorite anchorages in the BVIs, well protected and nice and flat, shore tieing with friends and a nice sandy bottom to land the anchor in.
We had a BBQ and bonfire on the beach. Burgers, salads, lobster, and steak.
We have had a lot of fun on SUPs and dinghies in this little bay, but we recently added fenders to the club for in-water beers.
One new addition to the dinghy fun was the invention of dinghy baseball. We were all playing so have no pictures, but let me try and paint a picture.
Take 1 SUP and 3 dinghies. The batter has a dinghy and uses a dinghy paddle to hit the ball with. The thrower is on a SUP tied to a shore tie line. The ball must be hit out into the bay and the batter must then untie and drive the dinghy around a boat and a bouy coming back to the shore tie line. The team of fielders has 2 dinghies and must retrieve the ball and get the batter out by making the ball hit them before they get back to the shore tie line. Probably not the safest sport, but very fun!
We were all running rather low on beer, but managed to grab a free 6 pack from a nearby charter catamaran 🎉, all it took was a little dinghy trip (with Tomas being towed still in his fender chair). They were however Bud Lights…
More great food was also had, we probably ate a whole pack of bacon in a day and a half across three meals. With freshly baked bread we made a magnificent breakfast sandwich. Also a bacon salad, and a tasty potato bake thingy.
The snorkeling in the bay isn’t super interesting, but the water is still, very clear and there are a few things of interest.
One thing we have recently been spotting is a turtle missing a leg!
But also these interesting little jelly things, known as “Crown Jellies”.
One not so great moment of the week was when Kathryn went into the aft cabin to get some chocolate M&Ms, and spotted a large cockroach on the ceiling. We managed to quickly catch it with a boat hook and a bowl and kill it off the boat, and while looking closely at it in the bowl we are pretty sure it was a male, so we shouldn’t have any future cockroach problems. Our only guess is that while filling up with fuel and water at the fuel dock a day or so prior it must have hopped aboard 😓.
We are writing this on the 7th May at 8am, and we have not yet checked the weather this morning, but last night it looked like we would be leaving on the 8th May (tomorrow).
It’s not ideal, with high pressures and low wind zones dominating the first week of sailing, but we should have enough wind to get going, even if we lose it in a few days. The forecasts are still quite changeable, so we will see how it goes!
The weather routing on Predict Wind still doesn’t look ideal, but at least one route on departure planning for tomorrow takes us in the direction we want to head.
Time for one last trip to the shop in Road Town, then heading to a Marina for 1 night if they have space, showers, laundry, a meal out perhaps, and then checking out and setting off in the morning!
After our little beach party, we all wanted to move anchorage to find somewhere slightly flatter and to explore the BVIs some more. Some of our boat friends such as Danae and Vela had already spent quite some time in the BVIs and had recommended a spot called Little Harbour, come to think of it SV Zoe whom we met back in Portugal also recommended this anchorage to us, as we have a waypoint set form them.
So our little convoy set off to Little Harbour.
Despite our best efforts, Blue Note, Extress and Escapade all beat us to anchor, but no worries, there was plenty of space to anchor and tie to shore (though that wouldn’t be the case in the coming days).
Escapade put their drone up and got what might be one of our favorite shots from the whole trip so far…
The water in the BVIs is super clear, as you can see in the drone shot above. The one downside of Little Harbour is there is not much beach, and what beach there is is rather stoney.
To get around this while enjoying the cooling sea we created a floating SUP bar for 8!
Little did we know, this was the start of a magical 4 days anchored in Little Harbour, including joint meals switching between the 4 boats, and 3 day trips out all on 1 boat per day.
Outing number one took us to The Indians aboard Extress where we picked up a buoy and snorkeled around some lovely rocks. There wasn’t much wind so motored there and back again, so taking one boat really made sense!
The snorkeling here included a bit of a drop-off filled with sea life, and a cave that we could swim through.
The second outing took us to Salt Island to snorkel around a wreck. The weather for this sail wasn’t so nice, and we ended up sheltering down below aboard Escapade to hide from the rain for most of the journey to the moorings.
Once getting in the water at Salt Island we found a fairly strong current dragging us past the wreck (just about okay to swim against), but snorkeling on the wreck was quite a bit of effort and it was fairly deep.
The wreck is of the RMS Rhone, which was a Royal Mail Ship that sank in a hurricane in 1867. The size of the propeller on this wreck was rather insane.
Thirdly we headed to Road Town aboard Blue Note to visit the chandlery, throw out some trash, do some shopping, and fill up a bunch of water jerry cans. To make this easier, as we would be shopping, we actually took 3 dinghies with us!
We even managed to sail on the way back to the anchorage!
That night the dinner was Paella aboard Hannah Penn for 8, one of the largest paellas we have had to make ever, let alone on board Hannah with smaller hobs and pans. It was delicious, but we were also apparently enjoying ourselves too much to have any foody pictures.
Fun was had, and as the night continued many hats came out…
Escapade were the first boat to leave Little Harbour, setting sail once again to Saint Martin where they would be restocking, picking someone up from the airport, and also leaving for the crossing from.
Extress and Blue Note also headed off to other anchorages one by one over the coming days.
For us aboard Hannah, it’s boat job time…
Fitting the water flow switch for the UV light
Adding string to mast steps
Some of this will be covered in future posts, and we can wrap this post up with the great turtle we saw with a shark sucker on its back in the bay.
We also went snorkeling and saw some Yellowhead Jawfish under the boat. These little fish swim backward into their holes in the sand when you approach, but also have these funny little faces.
We restocked in Saint Martin before heading off, also doing laundry on land, collecting some full gas bottles and filling up jerry cans with water a couple of times. We were having so much “fun” doing these chores that we almost missed the bridge opening on the French side to let us leave the lagoon.
Just a few minutes before the bridge opened we made it into the queue, though it felt list a lot of rushing around on land, and we didn’t manage to tumble dry any of our laundry like we wanted to.
Not the most exciting of pictures, but with all of the rushing around we didn’t take many.
We headed out through the bridge at 5pm and anchored just outside so that we could start getting the boat ready including stowing the shopping, and eat some dinner before starting to sail.
The plan was to mostly run (straight downwind) all the way to the BVIs.
Ideally, we would do this with 2 headsails up, our genoa and larger ghoster, so before the sun set we also prepared the poles to keep these sails more stable and stop them from flapping around on the crossing.
There are no pictures of this amazing setup that night, however, there are some from the following morning but with the ghoster already lowered, and also some great shadow puppets on the sails from the middle of the night.
The sail itself was a breeze, setting off at around 7pm once away from the weird wind that was happening near the shore of Saint Martin we put both head sales up and wouldn’t need to adjust until after sunrise the following day.
Overnight we once again tried our 6 hour watch cycle which also worked a charm and we both managed to get plenty of sleep.
We headed straight to Spanish Town where would do all of the normal formalities checking into the country. and spent the night in the Spanish Town anchorage.
Just south of Spanish town there is a tourist attraction called “The Baths” which we were keen to explore.
The Baths are a popular tourist attraction and are known for their unique geological formations, including giant granite boulders that form natural tidal pools, tunnels, and grottoes. The area is also home to white sand beaches and crystal-clear waters, making it a popular destination for swimming, snorkeling, and exploring.
We moved Hannah slightly down the island, anchoring around what felts like hundreds (but actually just 10s) of catamarans and swam over to the beach from which you could enter the baths.
It was great fun exploring the boulders, walkways, sandy beaches and little pools.
Off we went again, to a gathering on a beach we had organized with some other boat freinds.
In total 5 boats and 10 people were in attendance on a beach on Peter Island (Hannah Penn, Danae, Blue Note, Extress, Escapade)
Once again, there was lots of catching up to do as some of us had not seen each other in some weeks, or even months.
We did a potluck, which is where each guest brings a dish of food to share with everyone. In a potluck, the dishes are usually not coordinated or pre-planned, so guests may bring anything from appetizers to desserts. The idea is to create a shared meal where everyone contributes something, and there is usually a lot of variety and abundance of food.
There was bread, dips, pate, cheese, a cheesy spinach bake, potatoes, tuna salad, pasta and more.
And of course, there was a fire!
Much more to come from the BVIs, and we are happy to report that the night of the fire was 20th April, and at the time of writing this it is the 2nd of May, so we are nearly caught up. We might even be setting off back across the Atlantic in as little as 3 days, but only the weather can determine that!