BVI Departure

We just came back from town where we went to Customs and Immigration, paid our $5.21 departure tax and got our paperwork to go to the USVI with an arrival of June 1st.  The customs officer was the same one that checked us in on our arrival.  He remembered us and was super nice. We leave the marina shortly for a quick sail over to Norman Island, which will give us a quiet night and we can sail straight in to USVI from there in the morning.

I want to say a special thank you to Anthony, Laura and all the other staff here at BVI Yacht Charters.  They have made us feel so welcome and have been extremely helpful in helping us sort out the needs on board in preparation for our trip.

We hope to revisit the BVI next winter as long as we can bring Charlie. If anyone is looking for a Caribbean holiday, check out BVI.  If you are into sailing, BVI Yacht Charters will treat you right.



Charlie and I on Suchia Is. 2012
Charlie and I on Suchia Is. 2012

Chickens can run. I witnessed it myself today. A marine mate threw a half loaf of bread out and the chickens and their chicks ran, like a 50 yard dash towards the reward.

What a joy to see his expression and happiness in feeding the birds.  Acknowledging the experience with the chickens.

In my life, I have witnessed a lot of running. My brother, Gord, of Gords Running Store, runs nearly every day in Calgary. I have run myself in pursuit of saying I did a 5k, 10k and a ½ marathon.  He has done ultramarathons.  This I don’t personally need, but I have enjoyed running and still do to a degree.

We all run.  For example, you probably don’t think that cows run, but I’ve actually witnessed that they do. Several years ago, 2011 November, we landed a plane in an unexpected location. The cows ran from the plane at the latest possible moment.

Dogs too love to run. If they don’t they simply aren’t living fully.  The dog I’m missing the most right now, encourages running. Charlie and I play chase. I throw the ball and he retrieves it, only to be chased by me in hopes of him giving it up. He does give it up when he sees that I;ve run enough.  Dogs are smart that way.

Tonight I heard someone tell me that their legs seized up in the night because they hadn’t run in a week. Maybe there is something to that. All I know is that running is a part of our being. That said, perhaps I should run sometime soon, before I set sail. Or maybe not. My response to the legs seizing up, “there are enough steps on board that you can do step-ups enough that you will not experience cramps of any kind in the near future.  Not only that, but I’ve walked miles this past few days provisioning the boat. It’s amazing how much you can haul when you need to.

Running is good. Ultimately, if you are moving your body, you are moving in the right direction. While I won’t be running any distances over the next little while aboard Blue Sky, I hope to be running a little more when I have Charlie back to play chase in July.

Shakedown sail

We headed out on Friday, May 24th for a 3 day shake down cruise.  Got a bit of a late start to headed to Norman Island, where we’d been before.  It was a short sail of about 2 hours.  What a blessing to be out of port where we got bounced around quite a lot as the marina has no burm to break the water, so waves are constant. The sail was uneventful, however when attempting to get the mooring ball, Paul discovered a problem with the gear in the starboard engine would not consistently engage.  The clutch would need replacing before we head out.  Another cost and delay. We enjoyed a nice sunset and a relaxing evening.  The bay was fairly quiet compared to our last trip here.  Of course we knew not to put ourselves too close to Willy T’s (famous floating bar).

Saturday, May 25th we headed from Norman Island to Virgin Gorda.  This was a distance of 26.9 NM (naughtical miles).  Took a good part of the day in 15-25 knot winds.  Blue Sky likes the wind and the waves and keeps us comfortable along the way even in up to 6 foot swells. We anchored in basically the same location as our previous visit in February.  We opted to wait another day for going ashore and spent a quiet evening on board and we’re happily retired for the night by 9pm.

On Sunday, May 26th we opted to stay anchored for the day and do maintenance and chores.  Around 9:30am we noticed a number of motor boats of all shapes and sizes beginning to arrive to the dock and area near our anchorage.  Boats and people arrive for the race May 26, 2013 We’d heard there was a boat race on Sunday, so the start must be here.  Many of our fellow cruisers started to depart.  We opted to stay and embrace the experience.  Around 11am two helicopters, a ferry full of spectators and a plane arrived.  Then the lead boat started out for what we thought would be a start line.  However, only a few boats followed.  Most seemed more laid back and waited.  Then the gun went off and chaos happened.  Boats began heading in two directions out the only departure points in the bay.  There must have been at least 100 motor boats all at once, the noise was quite something.  Then peace returned to the bay.

We decided to get on with our chores.  The scrubbing of the hull was needed, so Gwyn got in the water and got it started. Paul joined the fun.  An hour and a half later, it was done.  Apparently in these waters, this is a weekly chore to keep the algae and barnacles from taking up residence.  Swim done, we fed ourselves lunch and took a nap (we deserved it after all that work).

We woke to the sound of the arrival of the first racing boat back into the bay.  Let the party begin.  Music, racing, and spectators were everywhere; on shore and on the water.  It was a fun people watching day.

Little racer again

We enjoyed watching this guy buzz around the bay
We enjoyed watching this guy buzz around the bay


Although majority of the boats left by dusk, some stayed and partied well into the night. One advantage of a boat is the noise doesn’t travel down into the bedrooms, so we weren’t kept up because of it.

Monday, May 27th. Awoke early to watch more of the racing boats depart before 7.  We also prepared ourselves for an early departure.  We arrived back at BVI Yacht Charters 4 hours later.  Almost immediately work got underway on the starboard motor.  This would take a full day to complete the repair to the clutch along with oil changes to both motors.  We also hired a canvas guy to replace the windshield on the boat so we’d have better visibility.  This will take until Thursday to complete.

At 6pm we opted to go for a walk to buy some more groceries.  When we got out to the store a major rain storm had hit.  We stood around for 15 minutes (this is a typical length of a rain storm here), but it didn’t appear to be easing up, so we decided to walk back in the rain.  There is a gate that saves us about 15 minutes that we cut through, but as luck would have it, the gate was locked and we had the extra distance to go in the rain.  We looked like two drowned rats when we got back to the boat.  We laughed at each other and then sat down to dinner and enjoyed a glass of vino.

Tuesday, May 28th Paul worked on maintenance while Gwyn headed to town to pick up items from the Chandlery. More investigation was done on where we can stop along the way to the mainland USA.  Turks and Caicos is one option, with the Bahamas another.

Today is Wednesday.  We hope to leave this port tomorrow and head to the USVI.  Paul is busy installing our new radio.  Later today we will go and buy the last of the heavy provisions for the trip.  The fresh stuff we will get just before departure from the USVI.

At Home in the BVI

Paul with our bags on arrival to Blue Sky May 20, 2013
Paul with our bags on arrival to Blue Sky May 20, 2013
Boat Family created by Katie Cooper
Boat Family created by Katie Cooper

We arrived Monday around 5pm.  Boarded Blue Sky with our 5 bags and 2 backpacks.  Discovered we underloaded our bags by approx. 20 lbs each.  Lesson learned, don’t pack the scale until you’ve weighed your luggage.  That said, we have more to bring next trip when we pick up Charlie in July.

The boat is in good shape. We will go for a 5-6 day shake down sail in the BVI.  Paul has just returned from the Chandlery with a necessary tools to get us started.  We took two trips to the grocery stores to get our pantry stocked.  It’s beginning to feel like home with the exception of the linens.  These are still the ones that have been used by cruisers who’ve chartered the boat in the past.  Our linens will come later also.

I wanted to mention to our son Lindsay that there are baby chicks here.  They are with their mama hens, as they roam freely in the BVI.  I tried to get some photos uploaded but the internet service is weak, so pictures will hopefully come when we get to the USVI sometime a week or so from now.Chicks

All I can say, is we are very happy to have the move behind us and to finally be on board.  Let the adventure begin.

The Move

The move out of our home of 8 1/2 years started last weekend. Paul and I, along with son Keith did it all.  Luckily I have been off work for a month and had a head start on boxing things up.  The bad news is not enough was boxed up and the storage facility closed at 8pm daily.  Paul had started clearing out the garage also in advance.  We had Russells Waste Removal for round one.  Just prior to moving weekend we had another pile of trash piled in our driveway.  We solicited another junk man for this load.  Then on Thursday morning we called Russell again for yet another load.  We could have done a fourth load, but Paul hadn’t the time to go through any more sorting.  Time was up. We were to be out of the house by 11am on Thursday morning.  This did not happen.  Called the new owners and asked for an extension.  They agreed we could take until Friday and leave things in the garage if necessary. We had to work flat out from 6am to 10pm every day for a week to make it happen and had everything out of the house by Friday evening at 9pm.  The garage however contained 5 more car loads for the storage unit which got taken over on Saturday morning.  Keith came again on Friday evening and helped with the final loads.

You may recall my earlier post where we secured out storage unit.  At the eleventh hour, we opted to go for a larger more accessible unit.  We are thankful that we did. We have managed to fill every nook and cranny.  It’s unbelievable how much stuff we had in our home.  I’ve asked Paul for a commitment not to bring so much aboard Blue Sky.  We’ll see how that goes.

Something to consider if you decide to move things into storage to go sailing. Everything in your fridge must go.  I had my daughter and her upstairs neighbor go shopping in my kitchen.  They took what they wanted.  This still left me with many jars to empty and put into recycling.  I borrowed an extra recycling box from a neighbor and still could have used 3 more.  It’s crazy how many containers fit in a fridge.  I will think differently when I shop for groceries going forward.

We got to the hotel late Friday night a realized that we had paperwork to finalize and we’d need the extra day in town.  We called the airline and they were able to accomodate a change in flight to Sunday.  So we leave tomorrow.  This along allowed us to be much calmer today than we’ve been in weeks.  Can hardly wait to get to the boat and truly start our new life aboard.  Thanks everyone for the well wishes.  We promise to keep you posted every chance we get.