Wednesday, July 18, 2012

High and Dry

I was tempted to just repost last August's blog post 'Abandoned Ship' instead of doing a new post, but I can at least add in the photos of our last stop at Long Bay on Virgin Gorda. We spent a few nights here in the lee of Mountain Point, where the bottom is sand, sand and more sand but for a fringe of reef right along the shoreline. It's a beautiful spot and one that's only tenable in the summer months when there's no north swell likely. 

Saralane seen from our snorkeling point of view
Did I mention it was all sand here?
We procrastinated as long as we could, then headed into the Yacht Harbor for our haul out. 

The captain still keeps watch
Saralane gets a power wash
Skip and Maurice once again try to figure out how to fix the *%@# centerboard.
We let our food supply dwindle as we get close to hauling out so our meals are pretty meager at the end. Anything perishable we have left goes to the folks in the yard. Sadly we had to give away a big bag of chocolate chips this year, but we extracted a promise from the happy recipient, of chocolate chip cookies upon our return.

Haul out lunch.
Right about here is where I'd insert the rest of the photos from last August's haul out.... so I'll wait a few minutes if you want to go take a look.

Finished? OK... here's where Saralane sat when we left for the ferry to head back to the states for a few months of work, family, friends, plentiful water, flush toilets, air conditioning and countless other things we don't have and don't miss (except family and friends) living aboard Saralane.

I hate to leave with a photo of Saralane high and dry, so here's a shot from our last anchorage. Maybe this year while we're back we'll get around to those blog posts about the renovation of Saralane.....

Monday, July 9, 2012

Hazy Hot & Humid

Growing up in the mid-Atlantic, I remember the forecast all summer long was "hazy, hot and humid". I know there's been a heat wave going on back in the states but it's been really hot and hazy here lately too. Sand from the Sahara desert has made it's way across the ocean and has been hanging over the northern Caribbean creating overcast skies and leaving a fine layer of red dust on everything. We've been moving slowly in the heat and spending lot of time in the water too. We've wandered over from Culebra, sailing across the north shore of St. Thomas and in and around the BVI as we get closer to our haul out date. I've gotten lazy with the camera lately, but I do have a few photos.

Saralane under the clouds in Hull Bay

Above, from top left.... Skip in Culebra's little library; a little squid who must have been running from something and ended up landing on our back deck, inking himself in the process; "idiots parking only" by the surfboard stand in Hull Bay St. Thomas, American Kestrel seen on a hike on Peter Island, BVI.

Creative marketing....
Cruz Bay in St. John is an easy place to get things done.... so we made a pit stop there to provision and fill our empty propane bottle. Santos gives us a fill up under the mango tree in his back yard office.

We're getting in to moon jellyfish season here, but we haven't seen too many yet. I'm a big fan of most sea creatures, but I'm still not so keen on swimming with the biting, stinging or adhering-oneself-to-another's-body creatures. That means you Mr. Remora. These fish just plain old creep me out. Sometimes they ignore you, but most often they make a beeline for you hoping to hitch a ride on you and find something tasty to eat at the same time. Compounding the problem with remoras is the fact that when they're zooming up to you they look an awful lot like small sharks which freaks me out until I realize it's a remora. Eww.

Remora... this one was about 3 feet long.
Close-up of creepy sucker on creepy remora's head.
Moving right along.... we decided to skip the July 4th mayhem ashore this year and just hung out on the boat. It looked questionable whether the fireworks would even happen because after months of no rain at all, the skies opened up and the wind blew like mad starting late in the day. We saw wind speeds of 43 knots and more and were content to be sitting on the boat and not riding in the dinghy through it all.

There was one last hike we'd wanted to do on Peter Island from the anchorage in Great Harbour so we made our way there and hiked from the beach up to the top of the island. It was much more civilized than our usual hiking... there were stations along the way with icy cold drinking water and benches to take in the views.

Helipad on the windward side, with views out to Virgin Gorda
BIG wind generators near the top of Peter Island. The unit on the top of the generator is the size of a small bus!
Chairs at the top.... for sunset viewing.
Facing west with St. John in the distance
A little gato was at the top to greet us.
One of our favorite spots around here is Benures Bay on Norman Island. It's protected in just about any conditions, the hiking is great, the snorkeling and swimming are great, there are rarely any charterers here and often only one or two other boats. The evening views are pretty nice too.

Sunset in Benures Bay, looking out over the Indians
Benures is a bay or two to the east of the Bight, which is full of mooring balls and charterers who snorkel and dive during the day and drink as much as possible at the beach bars at night. Skip did his good deed for the day here by giving a tow to some of the above mentioned charterers who ran out of gas (literally) between their snorkeling and drinking activities and were attempting to row against the current back to their boat. 

The Sahara sand has cleared away over the weekend and it's fabulously bright outside today. We're up in the North Sound of Virgin Gorda and will haul out on Friday, giving us enough time to visit a few more of our favorite tucked away places before heading back to dry land.

Saralane splashes her way up to North Sound