Wednesday, April 17, 2013
After spending most of the week in the North Sound we decided to head for some different scenery, and maybe somewhere that would put us a little close to church on Sunday. So we headed around the corner to Long Bay, still on Virgin Gorda. We still had one more dive to complete our advanced course so we needed to be close by for that, and then hopefully close enough to make the drive in the tender to church.
We weren’t sure how the anchorage at Long Bay would be. David had taken Madison and a couple of the kids a few days before over to that area for snorkeling and said there were a few of the crewed charter boat there. The guide book says that it can often be a swelly anchorage. But it turned out just fine once we got settled—which took awhile.
David drove us in and headed for the very edge of a patch of sand next to coral, but by the time he got from the helm to the anchor to drop it, we had drifted over the coral and I wasn’t interested to damaging the coral or in getting our anchor stuck in the coral and rocks. So I circled us around and drove back in heading a little more towards the sand area. David started to drop the anchor and got out about 50 feet of line—enough for the anchor to be in the sand—and then our anchor windlass completely stopped working. Since we were in 30 feet of water we could easily drag our anchor, 50 feet wasn’t enough we needed lots more, but couldn’t make the windlass work to put out the chain. Also we hadn’t yet pulled in our tender which meant I could use reverse so as not to run over our tow lines and suck them into our prop. So, we needed some time. I watched how we were drifting, because the wind was blowing, to make sure we didn’t run into any other boats and David pulled in the tender so that was out of the way and the lines pulled in. Now we can use reverse. So I pulled us back and away from the other boats. David dropped our spare anchor and put out enough rope for it to hold us while he looked at the windlass.
Now you might remember that our anchor windlass had broken about a week ago and we had just repaired it. This time it turned out to be a simple fix. David had put it on wrong. It had worked a few time since we had anchored 3 times in the North Sound, but apparently it had had enough of being connected the wrong way and wanted to be hooked up right. So he fixed it and it worked again. Hurray! Now we could pick a closer spot for better protection from the winds.
We pulled up our spare anchor and went back to our spot closer in and dropped anchor. Time for dinner!
We had a nice time in Long Bay. It was closer for church, but kids were all sick with runny noses and upset stomachs so we decided not to go. We held a church lesson on the boat instead. Again I am so grateful for modern technology. It was easy to open our LDS App and look up a primary lesson. What a great blessing!
Savannah and I went snorkeling and it was different then other places we had snorkeled. It was missing all the colorful sponges but it was still a fun place to snorkel. The water clarity was more than 35 feet, it was excellent. I could clearly see our anchor buried in the sand near the stingray at 35 feet depths. Madison went on another day and loved it. She spotted fish she hadn’t seen before. Savannah and I found that in the corner of the bay, the most protected area, was a huge sandy area all 7-8 feet deep all the way up to shore. Plenty of room to fit our boat. Currently there was 2 catamarans in that area. Every day we were there we thought about heading in the big sandy area, but when the cats left, another one or 2 would take it’s place, and there wasn’t room for us. We had a calm spot, it just would have been fun to be in the very corner.
While here at Long Bay we celebrated Matthew’s 3rd Birthday! The kids were hoping for a day off from school, as is our tradition this year on Birthday’s. They were disappointed to learn that because Matthew doesn’t go to school, there would be no day off! They were still excited for his party in the evening. We had fun eating cake and watching him open his few presents. He loved each one.
From Long Bay David and I tendered down to Spanish town to meet up with the dive boat to head out for our last day of diving to get our advanced certification. We were wreck diving on the RMS Rhone. I was a little worried we had seen most of the wreck when we snorkeled it and that I would be disappointed, but I was not disappointed at all. The bow section was in about 80ft of water and is quite intact still. We could swim thru parts of it, it was very cool. Our instructor noticed what looked to me like ping pong balls, but she knew they were turtle eggs. Since they were dropped in water, they would never hatch. She had worked in a turtle hospital for a couple of years, so she was really examining it and could tell us that it was a Hawksbill Turtle egg. How can you tell that from looking at it? Something about number of membranes… She tore a small piece off the shell and handed it too me, and it wasn’t brittle like a regular egg, I know I was in the water and maybe that was why, so I asked her later, and she said that out of the water the shells are the same way. They are more leathery. You can bend them. It was pretty cool. We also saw some neat fish. Two large porcupine puffer fish swam close by David and I. I found a large crab hiding in a hole on the wreck. It was a great 2 dives.
We had been watching weather, waiting to see when we could leave the BVI’s and head to our next destination, Saba. This was requiring some patience. The wind had been blowing for quite some time. We had been hoping for a drop in the trades, but felt like it wasn’t coming. So we planned to leave and bear through it. The winds were normal 15+ knots, and the wind/wave charts showed the waves to be decent, our main concern was the anchorage at Saba. It is exposed, so we had been waiting for a bit calmer so we could really enjoy our time there, rather than rocking on the boat at anchor.
We decided to head back into North Sound to clear out and then leave at dark to travel the 85 miles overnight, arriving in the morning at Saba. Well, by the time we got settled, in a rolling spot in North Sound and headed over to customs—they were closed. We had been distracted by other things and did not make the best use of our time, and now we can’t clear out. Well, we figured that might be for the best, as the weather files weren’t showing it – but the current winds had definitely picked up and we did not want to be out all night in these winds anyway. So, it was a blessing—our procrastination. Time for a new plan!