A Travellerspoint blog

Cane Garden Bay

N18 25.623 W64 39.625

semi-overcast 78 °F


The wind direction here has been very constant: E, ESE or SE. When moored the boat's bow will ride into the wind meaning that the stern is facing: W, WNW or NW. Over the stern, every night, there is a sunset, some spectacular, others have a more muted beauty, as was this one at Peter Island. I like them all. This, and all the others, will fill my two computer screens and help to recall wonderful times for years and years.


Well, Cane Garden Bay was the Nordic Princess's destination of choice, so here we are. The destination had less to do with the allure of exotic places; it was more about where to off load trash and where to buy ice. We have two coolers on board and buy ice in 3 or 4 bag increments of 10-lbs. each. They last at best 72-hours, more ice lost to melting than our consumption. I cannot believe, or do not want to believe, that Beneteau eliminated freezers. I am dead certain that I will never purchase another Beneteau sailboat.

The trip here ran some gamut to another. The wind forecast was for 10-15 knots all day, just like yesterday's and just like tomorrow's. Except, when we got underway, at about 0730, the apparent wind speed was 0.0 knots. We got to open water and hoisted the mainsail, it rising with little problem because there was no wind. We motored for a few minutes and there were no whitecaps, there were not even a little bits of frothy bubbles. Eventually we cleared Peter Island and there was a hint of a breeze. I am on a sailboat and I am going to sail. We put the foresail out at the 2nd reef point; there was not enough wind to fill the full sail. Even with shortened sail, it collapsed sometimes before slowly filling again. For a while it was 2.something knots, then 3.something knots. We were sailing through the narrows, again, the same route we had taken to Jost Van Dyke.

Carol thinks that she needs more than the 16% oxygen on which the rest of the world thrives. Fans and breezes. So, I try opening the "glass" panel in the dodger, more air, you see, more oxygen. As I should have expected, all the clips were broken, there was no way to roll it up and keep it open. Rather than go around the dodger, I tried to jump forward to the the companion way stairs, something I have done many times on our boat. Except this wasn't our boat. I fell about 7-feet, bounced off a couple of the stairs and landed on the cabin's floor. I should have broken something, maybe several somethings including my neck, but I did not. I know I will be sore tomorrow because I am already sore today.


We live in the mountains of western North Carolina. Many of the roads are steep, many of the driveways to homes are steeper yet. I was watching this scene at the very western edge of Tortola, which does have not the highest terrain. It struck me that people getting to these homes and to other areas of the island probably have tougher climbs than we do at home. Some of these roads are seriously steep and have severe switchbacks.

As we headed to the end of the narrows, we had achieved the remarkable speed of 4.something knots. We went around the headland and set a course for Cane Garden Bay, maybe 4 or 5 nm. We had hit a heavy rain storm leaving Jost Van Dyke for Anegada. Today we were in almost the identical place at the identical time. And the rains came, and they came hard. It was interesting in a way, as long as you were not piloting a sailboat. The wall of rain was like a gray shroud being tightened around us. Visibility shrank, islands disappeared, our world became very small. This could have been worrying, but I knew that the course laid in would avoid any trouble for at least an hour. And when the rains came they brought with them the wind, a lot of wind. The sails were set properly, the boat surged and heeled over, and we flew.

Ten minutes of hard rain, ten minutes of light rain, then no rain at all. The trip on the north side of Tortola was easy and quick. I had not given entrance to this bay much thought until we had the sails down and were motoring our way there. Turns out that this bay has a reef on each side and the two form the outer edge of the harbor. For me finding buoys comes in three stages. 1 - locate them on the horizon. 2- identify a red or green buoy, always Carol's job given my poor color perception. 3- From a distance the scene is in two dimensions, it's difficult to distinguish which are in the foreground and which are farther away. You have to get fairly close to get three dimensional perception.

It always works out. We cleared the channel, found a mooring ball and settled in. We arrived about noon and there were several other boats in the harbor. By the time were were secured, most had left. My guess is that they had better wind forecasts than we did.


This is a picaresque place, colorful buildings, a bright, white sandy beach, elegant houses clinging to the steep hillsides that form the bay. The first order of business was: two huge garbage bags off the boat; 4 10-lb. bags of ice onto the boat. I asked Carol, again, if she saw any restaurant that interested her for dinner tonight. She demurred again, too much fried food.

Posted by sailziveli 19:03 Archived in British Virgin Islands Tagged islands sailing british boating virgin bvi

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