Its been a couple of days since our last posting so let’s catch ya all up. Things have picked up around the BVI lately and there are tons more boats cruising around, enjoying all the wonderment the BVI has to offer. As a result we were stuck at Sopper’s Hole on the West end of Tortola for a couple days, with fukall internet, as our home away from home Nanny Cay was full of mega yachts and catamarans and didn’t have any room for us. Then thanks to our friend BJ at Festiva Charters (nice captained boats if your thinking of coming down here), we were hooked us up with a prime slip at no charge, and as Thursday is volleyball night we decided to stay and have some fun.
This was instead of sailing overnight with our friend Albert to St. Marten. The wind has been cranking all the time at 25 knots and the seas have consistently been 8 to 10 feet and all straight east, exactly the direction we want to go. All the old salts said we were crazy to go, as the 80 mile passage from the Bitter End can be one of the worst in the Caribbean and reports of all the boats headed over for the Heineken Regatta was that it took them 20 hours to go the 80 miles, got completely beaten and broke all kinds of things.
We have defiantly learned a thing or two since leaving New Port, RI and one is to listen to those who have done it before. Heeding their advice was defiantly the right call and it all started with volleyball. Peg Leg’s at Nanny Cay has dollar beers and thanks to Odell who hooked everyone up with free hotdogs dinner was covered too. So we volleyed the night away on the crushed coral court where it is against the rules to wear shoes (unfair advantage) and were undefeated in three intense games of 6 on 6 jungle ball. I don’t think Brian or Jamie (my volleyball playing friends back home) could have put up with all the lifts, illegal hits and nets that were going on with our blowing a fuse and telling everyone they were cheating.
The next morning we awoke to a stiff breeze blowing and provisioned for the trip to St. Marten by way of the Bitter End. This was the point were you are glad to listened to people who know more than you. The trip to the Bitter End was rough and rugged as the typicaly protected Sir Frances Drake Channel was blowing 30 and had solid seas running. We had to back way off our engines and a trip where we can normally power upwind at 10 knots, was reduced to 4 knots and still doing some solid pounding. Salt crusted and battered we eventually made it to the Bitter End where the wind was cranking in Eustatia sound and the kiting was on.
We quickly tied up to the closest mooring to Saba Rock with a great view of Eustatia Island and quickly stared getting our gear ready for the quick dingy ride to the island and the kite beach. While we were standing on the bow one of the kiters already over there was picked up by his kite and launched into the dense vegetation and his kite was stuck in a palm tree 300 feet inland. We quickly jammed over there fearing the worst and thinking someone is going to be hurt as the island is covered with cactus and thorny plants. But to everyone’s surprise he was fine and his kite didn’t even have a tear in it, kudos to slingshot construction. We quickly made friends with Rimitto, his wife Nicole and lovely baby daughter Delphina. Everyone shared stories of kitemares and close calls and made plans to meet up later for dinner at the Low Rise (our friends place above the pub). So after an epic kite session where Al ripped it up, I had a blast and Ben shot photos and video we headed to the Low Rise and thanks to Drew and all of the local crew at the Bitter End were in heaven that night with a BBQ fit for a king and good times had by all.
Kiteboarding at the Bitter End and if you want to learn how to kite he is one hell of an instructor and has all the gear too. So bright and early at 10am Al and I watched as the beginners were geared up in all the helmets and impact vests they could fit on and after a beach lesson hit the water to do some kite flying on a 5 meter, it was blowing a solid 25. Ben was first to try the kite and after a few crashes he got the hang of it, as did everyone else. So, after a day of body dragging and kicking ass, every one had ear-to-ear smiles and was glowing with their newfound form of fun.
Then as quick as we could we packed up the gear, crammed down some food and headed for Mosquito Island for one of Westie’s (Necker’s former chief engineer and now Mosquito manager) famous beach parties. First a little background, Mosquito was recently purchased by Richard Branson the Founder of Virgin everything, owner of Necker Island Resort and environmental superstar. He is currently in the planning stages of constructing a self-sustaining eco resort on Mosquito and in the process of turning Necker green.
There was an environmental conference going on at Necker at the time and Tony Blair was there as well as a bunch or other rich and famous from around the world. We pulled up to Mosquito just as a board shorted Tony Blair was leaving, but still got to meet Richard Branson, who just seems like one hell of a nice guy. Most of the people already there were having a great time and as the sun set blood red against the deep blue Caribbean Sea the party kicked into high gear. Everyone just got loose, boat loads of people just kept showing up and soon the dance floor was raging with girls in bikinis dancing or grinding with anyone they could find while the strobe and disco lights turned the palm tree lined beach into the hottest disco floor ever. Dance offs were going on everywhere, the robot was broken out, brakedancing was back in style and weirdos were gyrating to their own rhythm anywhere and everywhere. It was friggin ragging and out of control as it could only happen in the Caribbean with its melting pot of cultures and people.
I was up early the next day to hit the Bitter End Sunday Buffet and ended up seeing victims of the previous night everywhere, we all relived the previous night’s moments and shared pictures and stories, good and bad. Al had to go home, he had hit the wall hanging out with us and caught the ferry back to Tortola that Sunday, heading back to recuperate and work. We will miss him and had a great time hanging out, kiting and parting with our Canadian Polynesian friend.
Then a hike around the north sound was in order where all I could think of was “wow there really is every shade of blue in this place” as I was blown away by the colors of the water and surrounding reefs from the high vistas, in this remarkable place. Nature is all around with colorful humming birds, crazy cacti, giant black/yellow spiny caterpillars and thousands of scurrying lizards of various types. As I came down from the mountain the wind was still up and some more kiting was the call for the afternoon. I don’t think Ben ever left the boat that day, as he was a bit hurting from all previous nights festivities. The Bitter End it truly a fun place to hang out and I have to say everyone needs to come here at least once in their lives to experience it.
The wind and swell still had not backed off, we had lost our delivery crew to St. Marten and so we have just been hanging in the Bitter End where life is good and the times are fun. We will let you know how it goes and keep you posted as to our progress towards our next destination.