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N18 43.350 W64 23.184

Getting to Anegada


We were underway early this morning, as is our wont. By 0730 we had cleared Great Harbor and we in our usual mainsail muddle. Got it up on the 3d try, which now seems about average for us. I am sure that I do not need a cardio stress test. If raising the sails did not kill me, then nothing will.

The weather forecast was for showers until noon, then partly cloudy in the afternoon. They got that one exactly right. We had a heavy shower sweep over us and, as it passed, we saw this rainbow in its wake. Carol thought it quite unusual that it lasted as long as it , did.


It took us about an hour to clear the island congestion. When we finally did we had a straight 23nm blue water run to Anegada. But we keep going up against the wind thing. This was an easterly run into a wind from the E to ESE. Having grown tired of tacking, we only did one this morning, I decided to just sail as close to the wind as possible and work out the details later. So, we did. This was a simple, one point of sail run for 23nm. And, mostly, the only action was to adjust the autopilot a point or to as the wind veered in small increments. Cruisers do not obsess over sail trim, however it cannot be completely ignored. Today, with little else to do, I started working on better, not perfect, sail trim by using the telltales on the jib. This jib has three sets: 3 telltales near the sail's foot; 2 in mid-sail; and one near the head of the sail. The object is to get then all streaming horizontally. As a practical matter, only the bottom ones are useful; to get the higher ones streaming, you need to use the leech line, built into the sail. This involves going onto the deck under full sail, reaching out, across the lifelines to grab a small piece of string, and then messing with it. I maybe tried it once, just after we bought the boat; haven't tried it since. Even though only the bottom telltales were streaming it made an obvious change in the boat's speed. Worth it.


We ended up about 4nm from the waypoint, not a surprise, and motored to the channel entrance. I remember the captain, Dave, all those years ago saying that this was a tricky bit. I have a Maptec chart kit for the Virgin Islands and I am assiduous about their waypoints. They were not good enough today. A cruising guide had some waypoints for closer in including one for the dead center of the first two channel markers. This was good. The same cruising guide gave guidance and one point was: if the water is less than 20-ft. you are in the wrong place. Clear and concise. Except that I am dead center of the channel showing 8-ft. then 6-ft. but I am not in the wrong place, I'm clearly in the channel. Eventually, we clear the channel and head for the mooring field which the cruising guide says is fairly shallow. I have some sea miles on my resume, but I have never been in water that had a negative depth. It's a little hard to see but we are anchored in -1.4 feet of water. This boat has a depth sounder and cannot tell the water's depth.

The depth is way out of whack, but I can fix this I thought, because it was a frequent check on our Raymarine system. How to measure the depth? There is no spare line on the boat but there is an anchor line for the dinghy, with an anchor. So, drop the anchor over the side and mark the depth with a clothespin. I have an 8-in. ruler for plotting on maps, the only measurement device on board. 9.5 units of 8-inches comes to about 6.5 feet. Now all I have to do is find the way to manually change the depth, which our Raymarine could. An hour with menus no luck. So, I drag out the B&G manuals. This is true because I have them at hand. There are Quick Start Guides in Deutch, Italiano, Nederlands, Norsk, Suomi, Svenska and Chinese. In fairness, Chinese kanji characters are usually readable by the Japanese, so I'll give them credit for eight languages, none of which are English, the native language of the British Virgin Islands, and, by the way, almost all of the Moorings customers in the BVI.

There are many obvious and not so obvious problems that can arise from not knowing the accurate depth of the water. In the event of an accident of anything, any of those problems would be caused by negligence, a failure to act as would be expected by a normal person. It will be impossible to recommend that anyone ever charter from the Moorings. They will send customers out on any boat regardless of its condition.

Setting all other concerns aside, it was a good day that ended with this sunset, which if not a 10 was at least a contender. The low row of trees are Australian Pines, which are not pine trees at all. They seem well suited to beach areas and are able to withstand many hurricanes. This put me in mind of Garrison Bight, the mooring field in Key West, FL. Carol and I saw many wonderful sunsets over a fringe of these trees.



Being on Anegada

Anegada is the stepchild of the Virgin Islands including British, United States and the Spanish. which are part of Puerto Rico. All those several islands have height above sea level. Some are over 1,000-ft. high; those that aren't approach it. The highest part of Anegada is 28-ft. above sea level which is why the name translates as drowned or inundated: an average storm surge during a hurricane would put most of the island underwater. It must be uninhabitable during almost any hurricane. The whole place belongs in the Bahamas or the Florida Keys. There are no rocks as seen on the other Virgin Islands. It is an anomaly.


The first picture, the island's VFD fire and rescue vehicle, is for our dear friend Stan. Carol and I wanted to explore the island and had thought to rent a motor scooter. Given Carol's aversion to the sun, we settled on the orange thing, sort of a golf cart with a transmission dressed up to be a jeep-looking dune buggy. It did shade her.

Off we went with absolutely no idea of the geography except for a small pretend road guide to drinking places. We must have driven over every mile of paved road, and many additional miles of sandy roads. Almost every mile of paved roads here are concrete, very little asphalt. Best guess: concrete roads can withstand hurricanes. Strange thing, to me anyway: they drive on the left hand side, very British. The speed limit signs are in MPH not KPH. These were the first speed limit signs we have seen. On the other islands they just put a speed bump every 100 meters. It does the job.

The sense of what we saw was this: the interior of the island is covered with tenacious and tangled vegetation, that is impenetrable in many places except by bulldozer. There is nothing of beauty or grace to be found in the interior. But the beaches and the water and the reefs will make you think of Polynesian islands. It is stunning. The pictures will tell some of the story better than I ever could..





This is the transition from beautiful beach to unbeautiful interior.



We drove down a sand road with no idea or end in mind. It was just there. What a fortuitous choice. At the end of the road, maybe 100-ft. from the water was Ann's. It was a Sunday, not much happening. I took several of the previous pictures there. I joined Carol in the shade of the bar and decided to have my first Caribbean beer called, what else: Carib. I don't know if it was great beer, but it was cold beer. And on that day, at that time any cold beer was good beer.


Going down another sandy road we came to Keel Point. There was an abandoned resort there that could have been in the South Seas. The guest rooms were all thatched huts. The beach there was the one with the blue beach chairs, above. I thought that the yellow rowboat was worth a picture.

We were gone about five hours, leaving around 9am and back by 2pm. Bought some ice and drove the dinghy back to the mother ship. My dinghy skills are not very good. I think that I can handle a 42-ft. sailboat better than a 12-ft. inflatable.

Today seemed hotter than most other days. Carol has struggled with that and has had a difficult time this whole trip. We are both tired and she looks like a train wreck survivor, bruised and battered. I suppose that I have pushed a bit, that's what I do. So, tomorrow we are off, and tonight I have no idea where we are off to. But, given that we are at the eastern edge of the island chain, I am sure that we will have a tack free trip.

Posted by sailziveli 21:15 Archived in British Virgin Islands Tagged islands sailing british boating virgin bvi

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