On our own!

Today we dropped off Anne-Marie, our instructor, at the Moorings and sailed over to the Bight ourselves.  It all went very smoothly, no hiccups until after we moored and the fastening that held our mainsail to the halyard broke, but Jeanne managed to fix it.  Willy T’s wasn’t officially open but they fed us anyway.  Good food and a couple of Dark and Stormy’s.  After we finished eating they immediately informed us that we had to go and their boat left Willy T’s before we had even gotten in our dingy!  So we went back to the boat and had a few glasses of wine and several long philosophical discussions.

Snorkeling at Monkey Point

We sailed to Jost Van Dyke today and anchored next to Foxy’s Taboo. 

On the way over we stopped at Monkey Point for some awesome
snorkeling.  Big coral with lots of ledges.  Lots of fish of different
kinds and sizes.  Caves.  And I saw a turtle! About 2.5 feet in
diameter. I floated right over him for a while until he decided he
wasn’t sure what I was and swam off.

We motored a lot today as their was little to no wind but a huge storm coming up behind us.  After we anchored, we had our lesson standing in the cockpit so that at least our heads would stay dry because nobody wanted to sit in the hot steamy cabin.

We took our last test (of three) today and we all passed!  After the test we went over our wrong answers as a group and I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time!  We all went over why we had picked the answer we did and our reasoning (or guessing) was often hilarious – even to ourselves.


We arrived at the North end of Virgin Gorda today where we practiced docking, my least favorite of all boating activities.  We did pretty good and I asked to practice again in the morning.  50 foot of boat with lots of mass in winds and currents next to hard surfaces like docks just make me really nervous.  We learned how to do it with just two people.  Figuring out which spring line to tie up first is much less intuitive than you’d think.  We all had to think about it quite a bit.

Maneuvering and Man Overboards

Today we sailed from Marina Cay to Anegada.  On the way we learned how to turn the boat around in a space no wider than two boat lengths when motoring.  It’s called back and fill and it uses your prop tilt to help push you around.  Then we practiced man overboards which was a lot of fun.  Poor Bob the life jacket got tossed overboard 6 or 7 times as we learned two ways to quickly turn around (while sailing) to recover someone.  Be careful coming in to Anegada.  We ended up with less than two feet of water under our keel where we anchored for the night!


We are on Salaway, a Beneteau 494.  There are four of us, Anne-Marie, our instructor, and Larry and Jeanne, my fellow students.  We sailed from the Moorings in road town to Marina Cay where we anchored for the night.

According to Anne-Marie, the Last Resort in Trellis Bay has a comedy show on Thursday, Friday, Saturday nights that is well worth seeing.

Cane Garden Bay, the beach

I’m sitting here on Cane Garden beach on Tortola staring across the cove at blue and turquoise water with islands in the background and puffy white clouds in the sky and wondering what makes it beautiful. I could sit and watch forever.

On my way over the taxi driver, a West Indian, said "There’s Skyview."

"What is it?" I try to see what stands out. The mountain top? The building?
"Oh. Where?"
"Skyview!" He points at the sign.
"A restaurant?"
Clearly frustrated with me now, he says "Yes, a restaurant."

FYI, the last two weeks of September is the low of the low season and all the beach bars are closed.

P.S. Locals consider Cane Garden one of BVI’s most polluted waters because they don’t think the
waters circulate fast enough to deal with what’s dumped in it. Looked and smelled clean to me, like almost all of the BVI.

Mariner Inn

Mariner Inn is nice.  I was a little worried because the reviews on TripAdvisor were pretty iffy.  But it’s been remodeled recently and my room has tile floors, tall ceilings, balcony and king size bed.  Fridge, coffee maker and hair drier.  The bathroom wasn’t remodeled with the rest.  My sink squirts water sideways.

They kept the bar open until we got here.  Before we even checked in they asked us what we wanted so they could hurry up and close.

On my way to a sailing class in the BVI

I’m on my way to the BVI!  I’m on the Denver-Newark part of my DEN-EWR-SJU-EIS trip. 

As luck would have it I am sitting next to a woman from Colorado who is reading a Sailing for Kids book so I pulled out my Basic Cruising book and we had quite the conversation.  They just bought a 30+ foot Beneteau in the Florida Keys in anticipation of retiring in 18 months when the youngest is done with high school. They plan to keep their house in Colorado so they can live there during the summers.  She really liked their wind generator.  Said it kept their fridge cold all the time.

Prisoners of Age

originally uploaded by Storming.

Prisoners of Age is a photo exibit of elderly prisoners in the American prison system.  It’s an amazing experience.  I remember one photo of a man who got out of prison and went and robbed a convenience store because he just wanted a six pack of beer and a steak.  People in for life, that know no other life, for things that must seem petty after 20 years.  And then there was the 80 year old woman who was just creepy.  She’d kept her housemaid prisoner for years and tortured her kids.  And she was quoted saying she just loved little kids.

We saw it at Alcatraz.  If you go, be sure to take the time to walk around.  It’s also showing in Philadelphia, Ottawa and Dublin.

Working too much? There’s hope

Normally work hours go down when life gets better, but in recent history we’ve been working not only more effectively but also a lot more hours.  This Business Week article, The Real Reasons You’re Working So Hard…., does a good job of explaining how we haven’t yet adapted to the new business environment.  We don’t yet know how to maintain social networks and effectively manage hundreds of emails a day yet.  (Gee, and that’s news?)  The good news is that they seem to think we will learn.