Thursday, December 11, 2008

BVI Day Six: Cane Garden Bay, Tortola to Great Harbor, Peter Island

(map above) The map of our route on our last full day at the BVI. Not many photos taken on this last day. The camera was losing power, and we were spending more time dealing with the sails and with trying to work our way toward our destination against choppy seas and a strong channel current. Most of the afternoon was spent snorkeling around the bay on Peter Island, so not many photos got taken there either.

Arose early this morning and took a quick walk on the beach, hoping to find the restrooms open, but they didn't open until the 'cruise ship folks' showed up later in the day, so we untied and left the bay early today at 8 pm so we could do our morning constitutionals 'on the run' (our boat does not have a holding tank, and we have to dispose of materials 1/2 mile from shore). Our plan today was to sail around the west end of Tortola, then east again for Peter Island for our last night (across the bay from Road Town, where we have to deliver the boat on Friday morning).

The trip west to the point of Tortola was mostly motoring, since it was a following wind, similar to the day before, with large swells (although not quite as large as yesterday), and then once we turned the corner at the point, I had hoped to raise sail and make a nice easy beam reach to Peter (again, famous last words). Once we turned the corner, the wind grew in intensity, and the waves grew as well, mixing with the tight channel and the prevailing current to make forward motion very difficult. We ended up motor sailing for a good portion of the morning, working against the current, fighting 7-8 foot waves (of the 'Lake Michigan variety', very close together and choppy). Eventually, as we moved further into Sir Francis Drake Channel, the waves and wind chilled out a bit, and we were able to lose the engine, and sailed on a zig zag course towards our destination, of Great Harbor, on Peter Island.

(image above) not sure exactly when this photo was taken. I don't see sails up, so we must've been motoring, and I don't quite recognize the shorline, it may have been heading towards Peter Island after we doused the sails, or it may have been the last morning, heading towards Tortola.

Originally, we had hoped to snorkel over at Pelican Island and 'the Indians' where we had our first stop last Saturday, but the waves and wind were a bit too much for an easy landing there, so we decided to try some snorkelling in Great Harbor instead once we made our final stop around lunchtime.

We reached Peter Island around 1pm, and after lunch, we headed ashore to the beach for a beer and a little snorkelling around the ferry dock. Pretty impressive fish right there near shore, after we've been visiting all these 'unique locations' in search of good snorkelling grounds. Our first try was 'without flippers' thinking that it would be easier near shore, but after that proved difficult, we headed back to the boat and picked up the rest of the gear, and tried a few more beachfront areas nearby, and had probably the best snorkeling of the trip, at a nonedescript beach not 30 feet from our dinghy parked on shore. At our second stop, I saw a small shark, so made us curtail snorkeling for the rest of the evening (getting to be around 4ish). Not a big one, maybe about 3-4 ft long, but I didn't wait around to get exact measurements.

Our last sunset, as we sit around drinking our 'sundowners' and await the 'mooring ball guy' for our evening rent. Thinking of maybe going into shore for some key lime pie tonight. Tomorrow morning we return the boat at Road Town at 8am, and shortly thereafter catch the ferry and then the flight home. A great vacation. I don't want to go home.

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