A Travellerspoint blog

Virgin Gorda, Gorda Sound

N18 29.938 W64 23.426

semi-overcast 79 °F


An addition to the previous entry. We saw this boulder on the path leading to the beach at the Baths. In a Rorschach test I think that most people would see a skull; at least I did. I could just imagine a Voo-Doo queen, or even a mere princess, dancing with abandon to the beat of Carlos Santana's Black Magic Woman, or the Hollies' Witchy Woman.

From the 29th of April, the day we arrived in the BVI, to the 9th of May the weather was perfect, courtesy of the Truman Show. Clear skies with puffy cumulus clouds, the sun was always shining and it was good. Now we are in for some cloudy days. This is obviously good for Carol, the sun is not her friend. It will also be good for me. I have been wearing shorts and t-shirts; we're in the islands, on a boat so what else would I wear? In just three days I have crispy-crittered my forearms and shins. They are sore, one ankle seriously swollen. So, some cloudy days will be a relief. Although the cloud cover has changed, the wind has not. Every day the forecast is the same: 15 - 20 knots from the E to ESE, and gusts much higher. When I check the apps on my phone it looks like every day was copied and pasted from the previous day; they are identical. I wish we had gotten here sooner. It's like going to sailing heaven without the dying part, which never sounded like much fun.

I distinctly remember being at Virgin Gorda those many years ago. I had thought that we were in Spanish Town and taxied to the north side of the island. Now, I am not so sure. We probably were in Gorda Sound. Doesn't much matter because on this trip we will have done both.

Today was a true boating day, a trip down memory lane, bringing back all the joys and all the frustrations, in just four hours. The water gauge indicated that we had consumed about a quarter of the 80-gallons in the water tanks. That seemed like a lot, but maybe our water usage is not quite as strict as when we were cruising. Fair enough. Before leaving it seemed like a good idea to top off the tanks, not knowing when the next opportunity to di that might be. It took a lot longer than I thought it should, since this boat is, more or less, our former boat. Off we go. Same old story raising the mainsail, but worse today. Regardless we got the sails up and headed east, more major tacking. We are getting worse, not better. At one point on a tack, we were down to 0.5 knots after the turn, maybe a new age group record for 65 and above.

Then Carol tells me that the cabin is flooded and that the deck plates (the cabin floor) are awash. Well, that is pretty seriously not good; I could probably find the problem; we had it happen twice while on our boat; once in Miami and again in the Bahamas. But that is not my job now. But not to worry. There is a bilge pump that will solve the flooding problem. Except that the bilge pump is not working. OK, fine! We’ll deal with that later.

Theoretically, a tack should change the course by 90o. In practice 100o to 110o is usually the outcome. Today, I was trying to tack to waypoints, with the boat getting kind of close to the location at the end of the run. Never even came particularly close even using 120o. We were getting pushed sideways in some considerable relation to our forward progress. On the day’s last tack, I came within a 1/2 mile of our last waypoint, and thought that I had done quite well. We watched a catamaran and a monohull that had given up, choosing to motor through the wind. In the end we did the same, although much later than they, opting to motor through the passage to Gorda Sound and from there to a mooring ball. Even Stan and Ollie can moor a boat after enough attempts, so we did.

Meanwhile, the bilge pump had not started working while we were sailing. Gallons of water of water were sloshing from side to side as the boat rode into the variable wind. Waiting did not seem like an option, so Carol and I bailed for a half hour, or more, and got the water level down to a reasonable level. Called the Moorings in Tortola and after a while got to speak with someone in charge of something. Under duress, he agreed to send a boat out tomorrow to take a pass at the bilge pump and the water leak. With the mainsail on our minds, we also asked him to bring some dry lubricant. Then, in the way of these things, the bilge pump started pumping at warp speed, quickly draining the residual water. So, three problems became two problems and two is smaller than three. Boating progress.

The Virgin Island chain is not very wide from east to west. Norman Island is the western most edge except for a narrow peninsula on Tortola. We have now, in two days gone across the entire chain into the wind, tacking more times in the past 10 – 12 sailing hours than in most months when we were cruising.

We were moored, we had help on the way, and the sun came out. To make it even better, the Moorings guys cane by this evening rather than tomorrow. The problem is a crack on the top of the forward water tank, not easily repairable. But I can work around this now that I know the issue. Should not have to, but I will if pressed.

Haec vita in navi.

Posted by sailziveli 22:42 Archived in British Virgin Islands Tagged islands sailing british boating virgin bvi

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