Friday 8 Mar, BVI day 4: From Virgin Gorda to Anegada, where we rescue a boat which ran aground.
We must’ve been rather tired, as we slept 9 hours last night! Today’s mission is to sail to Anegada and celebrate 8-March with a lobster treat. Happy International Women’s day!
Glen dinghies ashore to return the hire car, unharmed. Phew. And on the way back he walks through the boat yard looking at the yachts which are stored there. Without exception, each sailing yacht either had no mast or the mast is broken 1/3 the way up. And many have holes in the hull with several clearly write-offs. Just how many yachts were damaged or destroyed by Irma? The numbers must surely run into the tens of thousands across all the islands.
As soon as he returns to Cloudy Bay we upanchor and start sailing towards Anegada.
Few minutes after our departure Glen spots a huge trimaran which he recognizes as Cuan Law. Last time he saw this trimaran was 16 years ago during a charter holiday here, and he went diving with the crew and their guests. Cuan Law is the larger version of Misty Law, both under the same ownership.
But the story starts many years ago (maybe nearly 50 years back) when Jeremy, Glen’s brother, crewed on the then new Misty Law (a 56ft trimaran) from Devon in the UK and cruised the Caribbean’s extensively for several years.
Once the excitement of seeing Cuan Law is over, we return our focus to the actual sailing. Passing on top of Seal and Dog islands, we are going slightly upwind. Then 20deg to port and we are heading for the west end of Anegada. In the 15-18kts of wind it’s fast sailing, averaging 8.5kts.
Halfway across our log passes a milestone: 15,000nm since we changed instruments back in early 2017.
The water depth between the islands is only 20m, so the sea is a beautiful light blue as we carve our way through it at great pace.
Just two hours later we are approaching Anegada and start seeing the forest of masts off of the ferry dock. A bit of a crowd there, plus Glen notes they are all catamarans. The chart shows it would be very marginal (in depth) for us to get in there, so we aim for the next anchorage along, just south of Pomato Point. Four yachts are already anchored in this quiet bay, and we go in to join them.
The turquoise water is just amazing, and with the white strip of sand along the very low island it feels like we are sailing through the gates to paradise. It is very shallow here too and we motor in slowly, choosing a sandy spot and dropping the anchor in just 3m of water. Surprisingly, the sea is quite cloudy here as opposed to Virgin Gorda where it was crystal clear. Must be due to the current that is flowing across the reef.
Along the shoreline there are few houses dotted around and low vegetation. It looks very much like Barbuda, except there all buildings were flattened down when we visited in May’18. Yes, flattened by Irma.
Glen dives as usual to inspect the anchor and he is a bit concerned that a nearby patch of sea grass is likely only 2.5m water depth, which is exactly what we draw. We let out a bit more chain so the grass patch lies in front of us. Maybe we were a little too enthusiastic to get as close to the shore as we could!
Early afternoon we take the 1 mile dinghy ride up into the other bay where all the activity is. It’s a bit of a wet ride weaving our way through gaps in the coral close to the beach.
As we approach the mooring field a guy on a 38ft charter yacht beckons us over to him. He and his wife are German and they speak hardly any English, but we do figure out they have run aground! They throw us a line and want us to tow their bow around to get them back into deeper water. To us, it looks like the wrong way to tow them, and we express our view. But they insist pointing in that direction and we tow them towards it anyway.
And sure enough they get even more hard onto the sand. So they put up their genoa to make the boat lean over while we pull their bow and they gun the engine. Slowly they come off the bottom into slightly deeper water. But now they are heading directly into the side of a catamaran at full throttle still with the genoa pulled tightly in. It seems they either have no clue how to handle the boat or the boat is not turning for some reason. At the last second the bow swings away and they narrowly miss the transom of the cat.
That wasn’t good enough for them, and they steer in a complete circle, still with the genoa out and full, and head directly at the same cat yet again! Just what are they doing? Everyone is shouting at them to furl away the genoa but they do nothing. By pure luck they swing away and pass inches behind the cat yet again. This time they manage to get the sail furled and seem to get back in control. For a while there it was like a runaway!
Now that they have recomposed themselves it’s time to actually pick up a mooring. The lady is on the bow with the boat hook but the boat is full speed ahead as they get to the mooring. So round they go again. This time, we lift the mooring pennant and hand it to the rather flustered lady on the bow and finally they tie up.
Oh …. that was a bit of a drama. Remind me again why we got involved?! Well at least it momentarily took my mind off my soaking wet dress from our rough ride here.
Ashore we find a few restaurants dotted along the shore all selling sea food dinners. But none are serving until dinner time which starts 7pm. Slightly inland there are a smattering of shops and scooter rental places. We decide we will rent one as we certainly want to see around this interesting little island. Plus Glen is keen to kitesurf off a beach on the other side of the island.
A walk back along the beach takes us through each of the restaurants and we settle on booking our lobster dinner at Neptune’s Treasure owned by Mark and Pam, who have been here for 53 years!
Hm, maybe Jeremy met them during his cruising era, we should ask him.
We settle for a cooling off beer at the bar and get chatting to a nice American couple from Ohio who will be chartering a catamaran from Tortola in a couple of days.
Dinner is not served till 7pm. It will be dark by then so we head back to Cloudy Bay to get prepared for our return dinghy passage in the dark. We bring back the iPad and a powerful torch and make a track plotted on the iPad as we come back to the restaurant. We will re-follow our track in reverse when we return tonight in the dark.
Pre-dinner drinks are at the bar where we meet some interesting people. One couple has been to this island no less than 13 times for their holidays! We wonder how people can have the same holiday year after year with no variety.
Our dinner is served on a candle lit table right next to the gently lapping water’s edge and a new moon dipping into the sea at the same place the sun had gone 1 hour before. It was one of those magical moons where you can still see the whole moon, with a silver rim around it, even though there is only the thinnest of crescents actually lit by the sun. All quite romantic.
Our lobsters are cooked to perfection and we declare that just maybe these Caribbean lobsters are actually as tasty as the New England lobster, when cooked correctly. Certainly these ones from Anegada were really delicious.
After dinner we chat for quite a while with another couple at the table next to us. They lived in Manhattan and we joke about all the odd things we observed in NY during our visit this year. Like: every building having scaffolding, none of the windows in the city seem to have ever been cleaned and why all the wooden water tanks in the roofs, even on modern buildings? They are a fun couple and apparently we will be seeing more of them on the kite beach because they are both kitesurfers.
Our dinghy trip back to Cloudy Bay is as interesting as we anticipated. In the pitch black darkness we certainly needed the previous track on the iPad to follow. The spotlight was good for checking our distance to the beach, but it also encouraged flying fish. We didn’t want any of those jumping on us. Gladly we manage to get through the reef without hitting the bottom.
Back to Cloudy Bay we find her rolling all over the place in the swell that is getting into the bay now that the wind has dropped. Why is it that the most interesting islands always have us anchored in swelly conditions? Better get straight to bed before we get sea sick!