Blood red moon.

I woke up in the wee hours this morning to experience the lunar eclipse.  One day I may have a camera worthy of capturing such a moment, but I managed to get a few ok shots with my reliable Canon PowerShot D10.   These are 5 shots, shown in order, as the Earth’s shadow passed left to right across the surface of the Moon.  1-April3

The circle of life.

Today we met Julie’s new dog, Blake.  She’s a good doggie, and I know will bring much happiness into eachothers lives.

IMG_3264 Today we also learned that another one of our canine friends, Kokopelli (aka “the Admiral”), left us for the big boat in the sky.  Farewell, Koko, you were a great boat dog, and a good friend to Marty and Sue for many years.  Sail on…. we’ll miss you.1-DSCN3701

I’ve missed my birdie.

First day back.   Buried in email.  My feet are sore from the decks.  I have a plethora of bruises and scrapes.   We have a pile of laundry to do.  The fridge is empty.  I still feel the sway of the waves.  But I’m still smiling at all the laughs we had.

I miss my birdie, though, we’re going to pick him up tonight.


Pretty bird.


April 9 – Heading home.

Wednesday, April 9.

We all flew to San Juan together.    Then headed to our respective destinations.  What a great trip!   Monte, you were an awesome Skipper.   Susanne and Laura, you are TROOPERs!  We’re so glad you could come along on this adventure.

This is our third charter with ProValor Charters, thanks Jim & Cecilia!

Thanks to Doray and Tom for Keeto-sitting.

And thanks, too, to Marty & Sue for teaching us the charter ropes on our past trips with them.   We are looking forward to you joining the next trip with the crazy B-dockers.

I go to come back!


Our route…


So…. would I want to do the whole check-out-of-BVI, check-in-and-out-of-USVI, then check-back-in-to-BVI Customs & Immigration thing again?   Not sure.   St John was amazing, but it did burn some of our days planning where and when to check-in/out.  I guess the take away is that it is best to be flexible….especially with the weather… and just roll with it.

April 8 – Our last night.

Tuesday, April 8.

This morning we dinghied over to shore to tour the shops and artists’ wares at Trellis Bay.

Welcome to Trellis Bay.

Welcome to Trellis Bay.


One of the bathyspheres that they cut away to make the fireballs for the full-moon parties.


We missed Full Moon by about a week this trip.  Next trip we'll definitely have to book during a Full Moon!

We missed Full Moon by about a week this trip. Next trip we’ll definitely have to book during a Full Moon!

IMG_3114 IMG_3118 IMG_3120

On the sail back to Fat Hog’s Bay today, Susanne was at the helm and Laura worked the lines by herself.  They’ve both done really well with learning the ins and out of the boat, and they’re bonifide sailors now!

We got to the marina in time to finish up the closing paperwork on the charter.   We’ll spend the night on the dock, since our flight leaves at 7:30 AM tomorrow.  It’s a bittersweet day.   Sad that it’s almost over.   But ecstatic to use the showers at the marina!

We walked over to Red Rock for an amazing dinner.   A perfect last supper for a fantastic trip.  So many great memories and experiences.   As always, I already can’t wait to come back.

April 7 – The Baths.

Monday, April 7.

This morning we are headed to Virgin Gorda to see the Baths – always an awesome sight no many how many times you’ve been before.   The winds and waves were strong, but not too strong.   We made it to the Baths with one tack.

Heading to Virgin Gorda

Heading to Virgin Gorda

When we arrived, the mooring field was already full, so we had to wait a bit for a ball to free up.   One finally did, and when we tried to get the ball, we approached it from windward – a mistake in our haste to get the ball.  We drifted too quickly after hooking the ball with the pole, so that we had to drop it and the pole in the water.   I jumped in to retrieve the pole and we were able to hook it the second time, before the other circling boats did.   Never a dull moment.


Approaching the Baths.

There was a yellow flag warning at the Baths, so the swim from the dinghy dock to the baths was a challenging one.  Some of the sights from this trip to the Baths:


Looking out at the mooring field from the Baths.


A view from inside the Baths.

A tide pool inside the Baths.

A tide pool inside the Baths.

We all enjoyed a cheeseburger in Paradise at Poorman’s Bar at the foot of the hill.  For extra points, we all had to execute a dinghy flop one more time for the ride back to the boat.  No pics of that, though.   :)

After the Baths, we headed for Trellis Bay on Tortola to spend the night.   We hit the Loose Mongoose for happy hour ashore (and a quick update on the Final Four and Championship game).

Sunset over Tortola - from Trellis Bay.

Sunset over Tortola – from Trellis Bay.

Then headed back to the boat for our last dinner aboard, and we played Rummikub until we couldn’t keep our eyes open.  Noone made it ashore to watch the NCAA Championship game.

April 6 – Staying put.

Sunday, April 6.

After the marathon day we had yesterday, we’re taking it easy today.   We all dinghied over to Cistern Point and snorkeled for quite a while.

More swimming with the fishies.

More swimming with the fishies.

Between Cistern Point and our boat, a turtle was hanging out.  He was one cool dude – he didn’t mind that we floated close by to watch him for quite a while.   These are the best pictures I’ve gotten of a turtle of all my Caribbean trips.  I like how the colors get clearer and more vibrant as he gets closer to the surface.

Turtle dude surfacing - 1

Turtle dude surfacing – 1

Turtle dude surfacing - 2

Turtle dude surfacing – 2

Turtle dude surfacing - 3

Turtle dude surfacing – 3

The guys are headed back to Jost again today.   Tan-a-na’s crew leaves early tomorrow morning, so they are headed back to Tortola to spend the night at the marina.  After lunch we shopped ashore and enjoyed people/boat watching all afternoon, before hitting happy hour again on Cooper.

Cooper Island palms.

Cooper Island palms.

For sunset, we dinghied out to the mouth of the bay, beyond the anchorage, to get an unobstructed view of the sun setting over Tortola.

Sunset behind Tortola - viewed from Cooper Island

Sunset behind Tortola – viewed from Cooper Island


April 5 – A long day.

Saturday, April 5.

We headed out early this morning, by 7:30AM.   Winds are still 20+ knots.  3-5′ seas, very rough.  Luckily the rain seems to have passed.  We sailed it to Soper’s Hole, to go through BVI Customs & Immigration again.  We picked up a few more provisions there, but quickly headed back out to make Cooper Island by sunset, and join up again with Maggie and Tan-a-na.

The BVI Spring Regatta is in full swing this week.  We got a front-row seat of some of the races as we cruised across the channel to Cooper Island.


We pulled into Machioneel Bay at 4pm, at exactly the same time Maggie did.  After a quick dip we all met up at the Cooper Island Beach Club for Happy Hour and dinner.  It’s good to have the gang back together.

Cooper Island has the best sunsets…..


I ♥ Cooper.


April 4 – Just another day in paradise.

Friday, April 4.

Sunrise view from the v-berth hatch:


The winds have turned nasty, 25-28 knots out of the east.  Here in Lameshur Bay, we are very protected, so you’d hardly notice.   We’re staying another night.   Tan-a-na is going to make a run for Road Town on Tortola to check back into the BVI, as they discovered an error with their visas – they expire today, instead of the day they leave.   The guys are heading back to Jost, I think, for the night.

So we look forward to a very relaxing day and night here.   We made the right decision, as Tan-a-na told us that they had a terrible passage to Road Town.  6 foot waves, 28 knot winds, rain.   Once in Road Town, the winds were so strong, they couldn’t get an anchor set, so they made a run to Norman for the night.

Nestled into Great Lameshur, we went for a long snorkel this morning.

Fan coral.

Fan coral.

A pair of cuttlefish.

A pair of cuttlefish.

Now, what is it they say about snorkeling among a school of baitfish...?

Now, what is it they say about snorkeling among a school of baitfish…?

Rugged beach at Great Lameshur Bay.

Rugged beach at Great Lameshur Bay.

In the afternoon Susanne, Laura and I headed ashore to hike the Lameshur Trail.  We got lucky and missed the rain completely.  We had gorgeous views from the hills along the trail.

View from the Lameshur Trail, overlooking the plantation ruin and Little Lameshur Bay.

View from the Lameshur Trail, overlooking the plantation ruin and Little Lameshur Bay.

View from Lameshur Trail.  Great Lameshur Bay in the distance, Little Lameshur Bay in the foreground.  That lone boat in Great Lameshur is ours.

View from Lameshur Trail. Great Lameshur Bay in the distance, Little Lameshur Bay in the foreground. That lone boat in Great Lameshur is ours.

Hermit crab on Lameshur trail.

Hermit crab on Lameshur trail.

Looking SSW from Lameshur Trail.  Reef Bay in the foreground.

Looking SSW from Lameshur Trail. Reef Bay in the foreground.

Another dinner aboard tonight and then we will head back to the BVI in the morning.

April 3 – New day, new country.

Thursday, April 3.

This morning we topped up the water tank, got some ice and emergency provisions (i.e., Dove Bars) before heading out from Great Harbour.

Dove Bar wisdom.

Dove Bar wisdom.

Destination:  St. John’s of the U.S. Virgin Islands.  Since we’ll be leaving BVI and entering USVI, we have to visit Customs & Immigration to check out before leaving here, and check in at Cruz Bay once arriving in St. Johns.   This is our first time to go to USVI by boat from BVI and deal with the Customs/Immigration thing.   I’ll let you know later if it’s worth it.


We didn’t go ashore in Cruz Bay other than to clear customs.   We caught a ball in Caneel Bay and ate lunch, then waited through some rain showers for the other 2 boats’ crews to come back to make a plan for the night.   The original plan was to stay in Leinster Bay on the north side of St. John’s.  But we’re getting intermittent rain stroms, and the wind is really kicking up now.  So, the NE swells would make for a very rough mooring.  Instead, Monte suggested Lameshur Bay on the south side of the island.   Maggie stayed in Caneel Bay, since they were unable to anchor if it turned out they didn’t get a mooring ball.   But Tan-a-Na and Jim’s Dream decided to make a run through the rain for a very remote and unspoiled Great Lameshur Bay, and got two of the last remaining mooring balls in time to watch a beautiful sunset.

A rain shower in the distance, from Lameshur Bay.

A rain shower in the distance, from Lameshur Bay.

Sunset over Great Lameshur Bay, St. John's, USVI

Sunset over Great Lameshur Bay, St. John’s, USVI


April 2 – Sandy Cay.

Wednesday, April 2.

Today we took a daysail to Sandy Cay.   It was a beautiful day for it.   This is our 3rd trip to the BVI, and this is our first time to stop here.

Sandy Cay, coming from Jost

Sandy Cay, coming from Jost

Susanne and Laura are getting the hang of this sailing thing…


We set an anchor and ate lunch on the boat before snorkeling to shore for a walk around.  Tan-a-na joined us.  Unfortunately, Maggie’s windlass was not working, so they had to sail on to Cane Garden Bay.

Tan-a-na and Jim's Dream anchored off Sandy Cay.

Tan-a-na and Jim’s Dream anchored off Sandy Cay.

We had intended to moor overnight in White Bay, but its been getting a bit stormy and the wind is really picking up and driving up big NE swells so it would be too rough in there tonight.   Instead, we all ended up back in Great Harbour for one more night.

Back to Great Harbour for the night.

Back to Great Harbour for the night.

We cooked up our first meal aboard tonight.   This is not roughing it!



April 1 – Destination Jost van Dyke.

Tuesday, April 1.

We got up and headed out for our first snorkel of the trip at the Caves in Privateer Bay on Norman.


Afterwards we sailed to Great Harbour on Jost and all three boats met up again.
We took the taxi-ride-from-hell to Abe’s in Little Harbour for dinner:  11 ginormous lobster, many painkillers from the honor bar, and nonstop stories and laughing.  :)

It’s a good thing we ordered “medium” sized ones, i’d hate to see the “large” ones!


Afterwards we spent the evening dancing at Foxy’s – and seeing some of the more bizarre sights of the trip.

Some found objects from today:



March 31 – I’m on a boat!

Monday, March 31.

Today we flew the puddle jumper to Tortola and started our sailing adventure – 10 days/9 nights aboard a Beneteau 39′ Cyclades sloop from ProValor Charters, sailing through the British Virgin Islands along with 2 other boatloads of our sailing friends from Austin.

While Monte finalized the boat paperwork, the ladies hit the grocery to get provisions for the trip.  We met up with Wally, Kevin, Ken and Kurt (aka “the guys boat”), and we left the marina together by 3pm, headed for a long sail to Norman Island to meet up with Lori, Dave & Lisa, who arrived yesterday.  Here is our home for the duration… 3 cabins, 2 heads, and a big cockpit for happy hour!


The guys boat, Maggie, is exactly the same as ours – one year newer.  Here’s a shot of them as we both headed to Norman.


We all made it to the Bight on Norman in time to grab a ball near Lori, Dave and Lisa (their boat is Tan-a-na) and our first float and sundowner of the trip.


Sunset from the Bight at Norman Island.

We all went ashore for dinner at the Pirate’s Bight.  It burned down last fall, but was amazingly rebuilt and back in business already.  Afterwards, we all headed to our boat for one heck of a party into the wee hours – ipod wars, dancing, and carrying on.   Yes, we were “that boat” tonight.  I’m on vacation!