We are here in the BVI after our open ocean passage of 1475 nautical miles that departed from Hampton, VA on Nov 3. That makes a total of about 8800 nm we’ve done since we moved aboard in May of 2013. It’s hard to believe as it seems so incredible that we are actually doing this after dreaming about it for years. All of these miles were done with just the two of us. As we’ve mentioned before, we do 3 hour shifts and our bodies do magically adapt after about 24 hours, and they adapt right back when the opportunity for more sleep arrives.
This passage was much easier on all of us. We’ve learned to feed Charlie mainly rice for the first 24-48 hours and in any rough seas. He was not sea sick once this trip. When we left the Chesapeake Bay and entered the Northern Atlantic ocean we were greeted by dolphins swimming about. Too far off to get a picture, but I took it as a sign for a good trip; and a good trip it was. We had wind on days when it was not forecast, we managed to miss most of the storms at sea, and the only storms we hit met us with mostly rain and low winds. As we neared the islands we saw shooting stars on several of our night shifts. I counted 4 in one shift. There were no whales or dolphins on the remainder of our trip, but we did see the usual flying fish pretty much daily.
The only surprise was a little bird that hitched a ride for 10 minutes. At that point we were 400 miles from the nearest land so it was quite surprising.
On Fri. Nov. 14th we arrived at dawn into Sopers Hole in the west end of Tortola. As if to welcome us, about an hour after we arrived a torrential downpour appeared for about 10 minutes washing away the thick layer of salt that had caked onto the boat during the passage. That saved hours of washing the boat down. Thank you – and of course it was followed by a rainbow.
Once we got ourselves fed, we readied the dinghy to go and get everyone cleared in at customs. As usual, we had a bit of a battle with our electric dinghy motor and were late meeting the vet for Charlie’s clearance. Once that was done, Paul went to clear us and the boat in, but realized he left the boat paperwork on the boat. So we had to make another trip with out recalcitrant motor. ((P) Funny how the trip started and ended with fussy motors but the trip itself was great. In Hampton, we were in front of 4 other boats ready to leave. So of course the starboard engine refused to make a sound and we kept everyone trapped. After much diagnosing, a rap on the starter solenoid did the trick. Kind of like spurring the horse to get a move on.)
Charlie and I (G) sat in the dinghy waiting for Paul to get our passports stamped. Charlie gets a little excited and wanted to go ashore, and in his effort tried to jump from our dinghy to the one next to ours on the dock. He didn’t make it, instead he went for a swim. You can imagine those big black eyes looking at me for a rescue. So cute.
Once the clearance was done, we decided to keep our adrenaline up and head to the grocery store for a bit of fresh produce and then sail on over to the Bitter End at Virgin Gorda where majority of the Salty Dawg Rally participants sail directly to. When we arrived to the Bitter End a sea turtle swam right in front of us as we headed in. Another greeting – welcome back.
This morning we took Charlie for a romp on the beach with his ball. He loves to run full out after the ball. He immediately dropped the ball into the water after fetching it. This is his sign that he wants you to throw it into the water so he can swim for it. We spent a good long time playing with him. We’re now back at the boat ready to begin our day. We’ll empty the extra fuel we carried into the tanks and put away the jerry cans. We’ll also empty the extra water jugs into the water tanks. Everything will get tidied up. I’m most looking forward to putting away the feather duvet and our warm clothes and to pulling out our extra swim suits.