A Travellerspoint blog

Cooper Island

N18 23.028 W64 30.917

overcast 80 °F


I took a lot of pictures today; few turned out to be worth the effort. That was a lot like today on the boat, a lot of energy expended, but much of the day was worth the effort.

We had decided to go to Great Camanoe Island, not far from Cane Garden Bay, and close to Lambert Bay where we spent our quarantine. Last night was very hazy, like this sunset over Jost Van Dyke. Same deal this morning but with cloud cover added to the mix. The sky was mostly overcast, thick with cumulonimbus and altostratus clouds to block the sun. When the sun found a crack in the clouds it was visible it was through various cirrus clouds, maybe fair weather, maybe not. The clouds did thin out in the afternoon but never enough to make a sunny day.

The wind started as promised: a brisk 10-15 knots, great for sailing. As we headed east the wind got patchy with some low speeds mixed up with extremely high gusts. It averaged out OK and the sailing was good. There is a Camanoe Passage that the books say requires some thought and planning. The boats we saw from Lambert Bay heading east were all going through the passage. This is a short cut to Great Camanoe. Since the day was nice, I decided to sail around the islands and approach them from the east, not the west. This was an OK plan; it should have worked better than it did. About noon we hit the point to turn south. The wind had shifted to the south. I am having trouble taking this is, because it should not be true, except that it is. No forecast had the wind south of SE.

So, we motor a long leg, no other choice and, eventually we get there, not really too sure about where there is. It is a bit tricky with islands and passages and we are looking for the boatyball mooring balls and coming up empty. So much for plan A. Plan B is Trellis Bay but it is at the end of the Beef Island landing strip. Plan C is Fat Hog's Cay, but that turns out to be too shallow to attempt without good depth data. Plan D became Cooper Island, not a place I had ever thought to stay. But it is sheltered from the east to the south; it has mooring balls and Plan E, which would have been Peter Island, again, would just have added more time to a, so far, tedious trip. So, here we are, moored and secured.


The harbor has about 40 mooring balls, most empty, and of those filled, most are holding catamarans. But there was a surprise for us: this old boat, reminding me a lot of Victoria's Cape Dory 36. It is a fact that modern boats sail better and have lots more room. However, none of them have the simple grace of this venerable boat. Most new boats, especially the catamarans look like Klingon War Birds, Star Trek vessels from some other watery world. But this boat looks like it is at one with the sea.

After the sailing day is done, Carol's other role starts food and cooking. Most of what we eat is simple to prepare; multi course meals are not on the menu although there are salads as long as the spinach lasts. In truth, it is warm, she would say hot, and the gas stove just adds to her misery. The Moorings lards their boats with so much stuff that there is little room for people. Last night Carol wanted to open a can. You would think that a can opener would be part of any deal. Not so, but my multitool came to the rescue. I am probably down a pound or two, but she has made sure that I get enough to eat, something which, on occasion, I forget to do.


Europeans have been sailing these waters for about 500 years; the indigenous inhabitants, far longer. These islands are rocky. If a ship founders on these rocks the hero of the story will not wake up on a sandy beach, covered in seaweed. There are no spots for a soft landing here.

We only have a few more nights. We will disembark on Monday, May 24th, as originally planned. The Covid machine must be served if are to get home. That narrows our choices since we have to moor in a place close to Road Harbour on Sunday to arrive on Monday. This will all work itself out. We may be off tomorrow, or we may stay here. That decision will be made tomorrow. We have not used too much water so tonight Carol and I will have regular, fresh water showers on the boat. Tonight we are tired and will enjoy our moments of cleanliness and repose.

Posted by sailziveli 21:36 Archived in British Virgin Islands Tagged islands sailing british virgin bvi

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