April 1st was our original target leave date. We knew we weren’t going to make it a few months back, when we took longer than planned to get the house on the market. And now we are awaiting a buyer for our home. New target is mid May with June as an absolute if going this year.
It’s hard trying to be patient, knowing we will be in a panic packing once the offer comes in and it’s time to go. Meanwhile, we are still selling items online and reducing our stuff. Making decisions on what to bring from home. What needs to come immediately and what can wait until we are in the USA. No definitive plans to our route or places to go with the exception of a marina in July in order to do some work on her.
Attended the WOW (Women on Water) seminar in Victoria in March. Met a lot of women with similar interests, some who have sailed all over the world, others who are just starting out. It was a day of fun and laughter and I did have a successful docking experience on the docking simulator. You can view pictures of the event in the SNAP Victoria magazine. Link: http://www.snapvictoria.com/index.php?option=com_sngevents&id%5B0%5D=502219.
We’ve been aboard Blue Sky since ~7:30 pm on Friday night. The ferry and customs entry to BVI took much longer than anticipated. We are now on island time … slow and steady. That’s the way it is. We walked over to the grocery store in the dark on Friday evening to buy a few essentials for dinner and breakfast. Ate and immediately fell into bed.
Day 2 – Saturday was yet another day of island time. We finally dragged ourselves to the grocery store around 10:30 to provision for the week. Grabbed a taxi back to the boat and prepared to leave. Meanwhile we had the BVI Yacht maintenance crew install a new refrigerator (the old one leaked water and had been causing problems for cruisers for the entire season). The BVI Yacht club was grateful for the approval to proceed with a new one and I must say it works great.
We proceeded to go to the office to get our official instructions about the islands and the rules of the road (sea). It was well after 2pm when we finally set out to destination #1. Norman Island. We had a good sail, reaching 8.8 knots at one point. The boat is a comfortable one, that allows us to cook while underway. No real heeling over. The roominess is difficult to describe after 5 years of sailing on a 38’ Catalina (monohull), which I thought was plenty big. But this will be home, so the added space and storage room will be welcome.
First night on Norman Island we were on a mooring buoy very near Willy T’s (aka very popular floating bar). We arrived at 5pm in time for the happy hour start up. While we were not willing to board and join the excitement, we were well within hearing range of it, happy to be in our own space. When we went to bed, it was surprisingly quiet below. We were exhausted still after the travel to get here. Norman Island is known for its pelicans. We saw plenty of them. Just like sea gulls back home, they are seeking free handouts from any cruiser willing.
Day 3 – we sailed back towards Tortolla to a place called Scrub Island. We attached to a mooring buoy between the island and a reef. Today was our first swim off the back. The water is cool but inviting. The breeze never stops here so sailing again was fantastic. I enjoyed a sit on the bow through large wave action. Little bit of a joy ride.
Day 4 – we sailed to Virgin Gorda Island. We had another perfectly lovely sail, the winds in the Caribbean are very consistent 12-15 knots. This was our first day at anchor. It took two tries to finally take hold. I’ve become the person in charge of the anchor, while P steers the boat to set it. Here we went ashore and tested out the dinghy and enjoyed our first Caribbean happy hour at a bar with the sandy beach as its floor. A Rum Punch for me and a Painkiller for P at $3 each. Very nice.
Day 5 & 6 – we took a longer mainly downwind sail to Jost Van Dyke island where a rainbow pointed the way to our anchorage where we spent two nights at anchor. Winds were higher today, but Blue Sky performed as expected keeping us comfortable. Sailing a multi-hull is definitely more comfortable when compared to a mono-hull.
This island has many small islands near it. The most popular being a small spit (Sandy Spit) consisting mainly of sand. You can walk around it in about 5 minutes. The water is clear and blue with lots of wave action to play or body surf in. We visited it on day 6, but forgot to throw in the dinghy anchor, so one of us had to stay with the dinghy while the other explored.
We headed to another sandy beach with an old boat wreck on it where we met a cruising couple from the UK who’ve been on the water for over 5 years now. Their boat is Sheila (noted as a reminder for us to watch for her when we return). We may run into them agan.
Today we snorkeled also. We swam from where Blue Sky was anchored about 100 yards to the nearest shore, snorkled and swam back. We followed the snorkling with a final happy hour on shore at a small beach bar. Here we enjoyed a platter of hummus and pita, some of the best ever. We opted for glasses of wine over the rum or beer since this would be our last night on board.
Day 7 – returned Blue Sky to BVI Yacht Charters by noon. We headed out from Jost Van Dyke at 7am. An early start for us. Winds were low so we motored the 3 hours around Tortolla island. Had a successful docking at the fuel dock and packed up for our travels home. We caught our taxi to the ferry and left at 2:30 for St Thomas where we spent the night and caught our flight out the next morning at 10am.
All in all the trip was fantastic, but obviously too short for two people who take a few days to wind down enough to really take everything in. We look forward to heading back.
Two more sleeps. Are you like me where you count down to major events in your life? This is my countdown to heading out to visit Blue Sky for the first time. P says he can hardly wait to see my excitement when I step up to her. For me, well I’m giddy, like a child awaiting the arrival of her first bike. So much so, that I’ve started waking in the night and have to get up and read to tire myself out enough to fall back asleep. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt this much anticipation and excitement.
I’ve been looking over the pictures of her, waiting for the day that I can take her in first hand. The actual day, after travel, will be Friday that I step aboard, God willing, around 5 in the evening. Just in time to settle in and take in the sunset.
The trip will be short, just 6 sleeps aboard. Just enough to escape the winter blahs and I know it won’t be long enough. However, I’m so glad we planned it, because we need a break from all the planning. Not that we won’t continue to plan and work things out while away, but we will be on Blue Sky while doing so. This will definitely break the ‘too much workin’ pattern we’ve been in for months now.
Here’s the list of things I most look forward to: 1) waking up to sunrise and roosters (I’m told to expect this as the island is full of them). 2) sailing where the water is blue. 3) seeing dolphins off the bow (if I’m lucky). 4) testing out the new dinghy and exploring the islands. 5) having time to read, sleep, and relax. 6) having time to do something with P aside from a renovation project. 7) swimming and snorkling 8) living in flip flops and bare feet. 9) being there. 10) enjoying every minute and being ever grateful for the blessing of it.
The reality of the purchase has lit a fire under us. We are madly finishing things on our existing home readying it for sale. This has meant painting, painting and more painting for me. I’ve also been posting things online for sale. So far we have sold our Christmas tree and kayaks. It would be easier if work wasn’t necessary, but every cent towards the cruising kitty will mean a potentially longer cruising life. This is the first time in my life I’ve got a five to ten year plan. People who know me are placing bets on how long it will take for me to get bored. I’ll be signing up for the WOW Women on water session which takes place in March. Doing this to help releive the captain from some of the chore of teaching me how to dock. The course promises some practice on a simulator of sorts.
Christmas was the simplest yet this year knowing that we are moving, we purchased nothing that needed to be stored. We still haven’t figured out where we will store what we plan to keep for our eventual return to land, but that will come in some forced motion. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. The adventure is just beginning. I look forward to sharing each piece of our puzzle as we transition to our new life at sea.