28 February 2008

Waiting for those northeasterlies

February 28, 2008

Not too bad of a place to wait for weather.

We’re still hanging out in North Sound of Virgin Gorda waiting for some northeasterly winds to push us south to Saba then Antigua.

We came back from snorkeling and found this boat a mere twenty feet of our stern. The skipper came by later to explain his anchoring decisions. Apparently he dropped his anchor ahead of our bow and then fell back so he was behind us. Huh? That's a new anchoring technique if I've ever seen one. He told us to wake him up at any hour of the night and, rest assured, he had full insurance. Gee thanks. That will be really helpful when we miss our next weather window because our windvane is broken. Humph. He gave us a bottle of red wine to smooth things over...which did help. But we still don't quite understand the anchoring choice.

We set out on Tuesday morning with hopes of fair winds to sail to Saba, but they kept going southeast. Of course! Every sailor knows that the wind is always blowing from the direction you want to sail. After a couple hours, we decided it was a no-go and sailed north to Anegada instead. We spent a couple hours snorkeling the Horse Shoe Reef, a large reef (third largest in the northern hemisphere, we think) that basically separates the northern Virgin Islands from the Atlantic Ocean. The snorkeling was spectacular, some of the best we’ve seen. BUT NO LOBSTER!! We think that it is because the Horse Shoe Reef is the main commercial lobstering area for the Virgin Islands and is probably overfished, or the lobster just know where to hide.

We had a couple beers at the beach bar and were confronted by quite a few charter guests, aghast that our monohull was able to anchor is shallower water than their 40+ foot catamarans. We just smiled and hoped someone would buy us a congratulatory beer or two, but I guess they weren’t that impressed. Oh well.

The road in Anegada. Very reminiscent of the Bahamas.

Salt flats at Anegada..there were flamingos across the pond but we couldn't really see them.

It looks pretty solid...

oops..apparently not. Oh my god, the smell! What is in this croc-eating mud pit? (Hans lost both his shoes.)

Whisper at anchor in Anegada.

The next morning we awoke to find our propane supply completely depleted. We had to sail back to North Sound to get cooking gas and also find the next weather window.

A square-rigger tall ship we passed on the way into North Sound.

Hans returned from Nanny Cay on Monday night after spending a few days helping out the crew of Wakamizu: Hiroshi, Nobu and Nirai. They hit a rock north of Tortola which punched a hole in their port keel. Since Hans has spent countless hours doing epoxy work on Whisper, he offered to help them out.

Wakamizu was hauled out on Friday at Nanny Cay Marina and the damages assessed. We decided that the best thing to do was to hire a professional to deal with the structural damages to the keel, and then deal with some smaller jobs ourselves. A note to anyone contemplating yardwork in the Caribbean: it is painfully slooooooow. Two and a half hour lunch breaks are apparently OK… makes you a little bit crazy!
In any case, Hans had a great time helping out and made three great new friends in the process. Now we just have to figure out how to get to Japan to visit!
Hiroshi, Nobu and Nirai should hopefully be on their way to Aruba within a day or two, then they are off to the Panama Canal, where they cross in March, then onto the South Pacific and eventually back to Japan in December. Good luck guys, arigato, and be careful!

Hans and the crew of Wakamizu: Nobu, Hans, Hiroshi, Nirai.

The repair job on one of the bows.

Wakamizu being hauled out.

Water drains from the hollow keel.

More water in the hull.

Nirai using a snorkeling mask while cutting onions. Very resourceful, and pretty comical.

The keel repair.

Sailing from Anegada to North Sound, Virgin Gorda, BVI

A short movie from the 14 mile sail south from Anegada to North Sound. Two reefs in the main, four rolls in the jib, the wind about 25 knots 60 degrees off the bow. We averaged 5.8 knots. That's right Mik!
Yours Truly,
Little Miss 5 Knots