Finally, the British Virgin Islands!

We arrived at Beef Island airport at 6pm EDT and took a cab to our hotel on Tortola.  It was a long day as we left the house at 3:30 MDT but Jacob still had plenty of energy for a swim and then he tried conch fritters for the first time.

Groceries for a week on a boat

2474129_cf3188b552_3We’re chartering a sailboat from the Moorings for seven days and we had to order all of groceries ahead of time.  It was hard to plan all of our needs for a week in an environment we aren’t used to.  How much water do you need?  How many cookies?  What to eat for breakfast?  We ended up planning for four meals onboard: cornish game hens, salmon, mahi-mahi and steak.  Frank is planning two of them and our friend Barbara is planning the other two.  Then we planned to eat most of our breakfasts and lunches on board with lots of snacks and appetizers included.  We didn’t skimp on anything and all our food and drinks ended up costing us almost $800 (for five people) from Bobby’s.

We ordered by downloading their spreadsheet, filling out our order, sending it back to them via email and then they sent us a quote.  They will deliver it to our boat at noon on Thursday!  I’ll let you know how it goes!

Not just dreaming of sailing anymore


I’ve been dreaming of sailing in the British Virgin Islands for a while now.  I even posted on how to plan a sailing vacation.  Well, I’m not just dreaming anymore – we decided to go ahead and do it.  The question is just which month and exactly how much are we going to spend on airfare!

I took a liveaboard sailing class a year ago September in the British Virgin Islands and loved it – I blogged about it.  (Remember the entries are in reverse order.)

Here are some reasons to sail in the BVI:

  • It’s beautiful.
  • The snorkeling is awesome.  I’ve seen turtles, octopus, squid, barracuda, … in addition to the regular coral and fish.
  • You can always see land.
  • All the islands have beaches with great sand and beach bars.
  • Sun.
  • Warm water.  Even I don’t get cold after a couple of hours in the water.
  • Everybody there is in a good mood.  (Probably because they are all on vacation. 🙂
  • Boats.  Sailboats.
  • Sailing.  Crossing the ocean silently with the wind in your hair and the sun on your face.
  • People.  Everyone is ready to sit back, have a beer and laugh.  Or dance.  Or party.
  • Willy T’s.  The bar on a boat.
  • Foxys.  The beach bar.
  • Great weather.  It’s the same 75-85 all year around.
  • The place on top of the Baths with the great hammocks.
  • The Baths.  Who doesn’t like scrambling through rocks and caves.  Especially caves that are open to the sunlight!
  • Good food.  Conch fritters, anyone?

I’m very much looking forward to going back!

How to plan a sailing vacation

  Ever looked at a magazine cover of a beautiful white
sailboat surrounded by gorgeous turquoise water and wondered how in the world
do people plan a vacation like that?  Well, I’ve been dreaming about
sailing lately, and since I’m not planning on taking my three month old sailing
any time soon (they won’t let me start him in swim lessons until he’s six
months!), I thought I’d share how I planned my sailing vacations and live
vicariously though those that might decide to go.  Feel free to send me

First you have to decide what type of sailing vacation you want.  In part
it will depend on how much sailing experience you have and in part it will
depend on how comfortable your traveling companions are with sailing.

There are five basic ways you can take a sailing vacation:

Continue reading “How to plan a sailing vacation”

Pictures from Sailing Class

I had a great week sailing in the BVI on the Moorings boat Salaway with Offshore Sailing School.  I made new friends and learned a lot.  One of the coolest things we learned was how to "heave to", how to stop in the middle of the ocean.  The joke of the day was several thousand dollars and a whole week of class and we learned how to stop!

Here are the pictures I took.

Back on Land

Today we had a smooth sail home with the wind on our side.  We tried to stop at the Indians for some snorkeling but there were way too many jellyfish.

Now if the land would just stop moving …

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!