British Virgin Islands

4/26/13  Enroute to Tortola

Up early to make a 07:50 flight from DIA to MIA.

Bev could not wait to try out her “Pre Screen” pass at Security in DIA.  It worked as advertised.  It is probably worth it if you travel a lot.  $100 buys you express entry through immigration and a special line at most airports that bypass some longer lines.  In addition you do not have to take off the shoes, haul out the computers, and disrobe or be radiated.  You can even leave your liquids in your pack.  The card is good for 5 years.

They check you out through a variety of security databases, FBI files, and then require an interview with customs.  After that it is some online stuff and you are cleared.  We’ll see how it continues to work.

Uneventful flight to MIA.  On time boarding for departure to San Juan.  Then…..the Captain comes on and says “Maintenance has an issue….”  Who is he kidding?  The airplane has an issue.

“I suspect it will be at least 30min. “ He mentions.  He doesn’t mention that they think they can fix it.

Half an hour later he comes on and says, “Maintenance is still trouble shooting the problem.  I’ll give them another 20 min.”  I just looked out the window and saw a fellow slowly walk up to the plane carrying a screwdriver.  This doesn’t seem like a problem that duct tape is going to solve.

The 20 min. have gone by and the Captain announces it is a problem with the pressurization system.  They haven’t found the leak yet.  “It’s going to be a while.”  Confirms the Captain.  “ You are free to get off the plan but stay near the gate in case we can fix the problem.  And if you do get off then take your luggage with you.”

Most of the folks are choosing to get off.  I can’t see the value in this.  We’ll sit tight until they announce we are looking for another plane.

Sitting now at the gate.  The airplane was scrapped.  They are looking for another plane.  Folks are grumbling.  They don’t get it.

“It is better to be down here wishing you were up there than up there wishing you were down here.”  – An old RAF pilot.

I’ll wait until they find an airworthy plane.

17:15 – American has decided it was cheaper to fix the injured airplane than find another.  Rumor has it the pressurization is fixed and we reboard.

We won’t be getting to Tortola tonight.  So I guess we’ll find out what the night life is like in San Juan.  Hopefully, we’ll find a flight to Tortola tomorrow.

 

4/27/13  – Road Town, Tortola, BVI

Seaborne Air has taken over when American Eagle abandoned the Caribbean the last few years.   It’s a little Saab turbo prop for the 93 mi. hop.   Immigration and Customs were easy.  Half an hour later we were at the marina.

Charters don’t begin until 12:00 and we were about 30 min. early.  I walked into the office and was pleasantly greeted by Irene and Kirstie. They pointed out our boat “Psalm 37” which was located next to Howie’s beautiful new boat Helios.  I thanked them for renting to me again and Tim and I went out to see the Leopard 4700.  This was a huge boat at 47 ft. and we were just two couples to occupy the 4 berths.

The real reason we go to the BVI is to visit my brother Howie.  He lives down here 6mo. a year on his boat Helios.  He was docked right next to us.  Before long we were catching up.  It was great to see him again.

philhowiehelm

We organized our gear,  Tim arranged for the dive gear.  We prepared for our briefing as we tried to adjust to the heat.

I walked ashore and saw a familiar fellow sitting at one of the picnic tables.

“I think I should know you .”  I observed.

“I’m Andrew.”

“Oh, yes.  I’m Phil Freedman.  You helped me the last time I was here.”

I was referring to the unfortunate challenge we had when we wrapped two props simultaneously with the dingy lines.

“I know who you are.”  He said quietly.  “You are a legend around here.”

That didn’t do much to boost my confidence.

For those of you unfamiliar with that former adventure I’ve copied it below.

11/14/12

By now Howie was arriving at the end of the day.  He anchored near Prickly Pear Island so he wouldn’t have to pay a buoy fee.  I decided I wanted to check out our windlass so we slipped the safety and peace of our mooring and headed over to anchor Howie.  This should be referred to in the future as the 1st mistake.

 All was secure, or so it seemed.  We selected a spot in front of Howie in around 20 ft. of water.  Focusing on the windlass I directed Glen at the helm to move us forward and backward while the very slow windlass chugged along.  While we were maneuvering the right engine failed.  We had about 50 ft. of chain out. 

 Engine oil looked low so we added a quart.  Engine started up and ran in neutral.

We engaged it again and it failed.  By then Howie had joined us.  Our dingy was on the starboard so he tied up to the port.  He climbed aboard offering to help. 

 Eventually he noted that our dingy line was rather tight over the side.  The dreaded line wrap around the prop.  Damn.  I had secured the dingy close to the boat but left the floating dingy line on the deck.  The wind must have blown it overboard while we were focusing on anchoring.

 With our port engine working we raised the anchor and headed for the safety of the mooring field as the wind was taking us too close to shore.  Howie asked Bev to watch his dingy line so the same thing didn’t happen to him.

 As we approached the mooring Glen said he was having trouble controlling the boat with one engine into the wind.  We missed the mooring ball on the first pass but with Glen’s skill at the helm passed near it again and this time brought it aboard and secured our lines as the sun started to set.

 Kicking myself for the rookie move of letting a line go overboard I grabbed my mask and snorkel and  was over the side.  Bright yellow dingy painter was tightly wrapped around the starboard prop.  As I swam back to the swim ladder to get a knife and my scuba tank I passed by the port engine.  It too had a good wrap of yellow dingy line.  This one was from Howie’s boat.  A double wrap.  This had to be a first.  We were incredibly lucky that this did not stop the port engine and leave us powerless.  Bev had watched the dingy line but didn’t see the rest of his painter go over the side and wrap the port engine.

 There was still enough light left so I got the serrated kitchen knife.  Howie had already prepared my scuba gear.  The knife was anything but sharp.  Sawing away at the line seemed to take forever.   Almost an hour later I had been able to free both props.  The seemed to turn freely.  No apparent laxity.  It was pretty much dark when I climbed aboard.  Everyone helped stow the diving gear.

 “We have to call Conch Charters first thing in the morning.” Howie informed us.  “This is a big deal and they often have to pull the boat out of the water to inspect the sail drives.” 

 It started to hit us how dangerous our predicament had been.  Had the second engine failed.  We were too close to the island and almost certainly would have run aground.

 “I’ve heard of prop wraps before, but can’t say I’ve ever heard of a simultaneous double wrap.  This has to be a first.”  I reflected.

 Denial set in.  Props turned freely.  Nothing loose.  We should be OK.

 

11/15/12  -  Gorda Sound

 Up just after sunrise.   Time to check the props.  Glen wants to be in the water and watch them from below as I gently engage them.  First the port side.  Forward and reverse seem to work without any difficulty.  Starboard side.  I start the engine and believe I have disengaged the gear.  But the engine starts in forward gear and the back wash takes Glenn’s swim suit down to his ankles.  But he recovers with style and it turns out we are good for forward and aft functions on this side as well.

 Time to call Conch.  It is around 08:30 when I call on the cell. 

 “Conch Charters, this is Kirstie.”  Greets me with the cheeriest English accent.

 “Hi Kirstie,  Phil Freedman here on Beenie.” 

 “Hi Phil.  How’s it going?”

 “Well, we have a little problem.  Last night we had a prop wrap with the dingy painter.”

 “Oh my that’s not good.”  She responds.  “Did it stop the engine?”

 “Yes, I’m afraid it did.”

 “Oh my.  Can you hold on a moment Phil?  I’ll get you to Andrew.”  We now have the very polite but somewhat concerned tone.

 “Andrew here.”  Responds a crystal clear baritone.  Same British aplomb as Crista.

 “Hi Andrew.  Phil Freedman here on Beenie.  I’m afraid I had wrapped a prop last night.”

 “Phil,  when this happens there is always damage to the seals that protect the sail drive.  Were you able to unwrap the line or did you have to cut it away?

 “Cut it away.”

 “Phil, we shall have to take off the propeller and examine the seals and drive gears.  If they are compromised we’ll have to replace them.  Unfortunately, to do this we have to lift the boat out of the water.  In the meantime salt water will leak into the gears and mix with the oil.”  He went on to tell me how to check the gear box oil and watch as the sea water mixed with the oil.

 Remember this is a 44 ft sailing catamaran.  I was trying to figure out how to tell the rest of the crew that our trip was over…

 “Phil, was it the port or the starboard engine?”

 “Actually, both.”   I said in my quietest voice hoping Andrew might not hear me.  An uncomfortable moment that seemed like 5 minutes followed.

 “Both!?”

 “Yes.”  I felt myself cringe as I confessed.

 “You wrapped both props with the same dingy line?”  Andrew queried incredulously.

 “Oh no.  I brought over another dingy and another dingy painter for that.”  I said.

 “Both engines?”  Andrew asked again.  It was obviously going to take a moment or two to sink in.

 “Yes Sir.”  I tried to sound respectful and contrite.

 “Phil,  I’ve been in this business for over 20 years and I don’t believe I’ve ever heard of that.”

 “I guess there has to be a first for everything?”  I was trying to appear meek.

 “Phil,  where are you now?”  Queried Andrew.

 “The Bitter End.”   This is as far away from Road Town Harbor on Tortola as one normally goes cruising in the BVI.  I would estimate at least 20 miles.  I was envisioning a long tow.

 “Hmmm…That’s quite far away.”

 “Do you want us to come in?”  I asked with trepidation.

 “No Phil.  Enjoy the rest of your charter.  Just monitor those gear boxes and we’ll arrange to deal with it when you return.”

 I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.  I thought our cruise was over.

 “Are you sure?”  I asked with a bit of disbelief.

 “Yes Phil.  The engines should run for a while even with a bit of salt water in the gears.  Not the best thing it should go.  When you get back we will need to have a little ‘sit down’”

 “I understand.  Thanks for letting us go on.  I think we’ll try sailing.   I’ll call you if we have any further difficulties.”

 “No worries Phil.  Cheers.”

 I went back to the waiting crew and relayed the story.  Everyone was thrilled we could continue our trip.  

Now it was 6 months later and I was determined to try not to do that again.

Bev and Terry returned with the provisions.  We stowed these, completed our briefing with Emma and were cautiously off.

Howie suggested we head for Benures Bay for our first night.  It was an easy 5 miles across the Sir Francis Drake Passage.  Our boat was named “Psalm 37.”  I am not particularly a religious fellow.  I felt I had gained a couple of pounds in the last few weeks so I renamed our boat “Jaba the Hut” after one of my favorite star wars characters.  It was also appropriate for this large lumbering yacht.

We had been to Benures before and it was a good first night beach.  It dropped off a bit so I deployed the anchor in 40 ft. of water.

Tim backed off as the windlass payed out the chain.  In a surprisingly short time I looked down just in time to see the bitter end of the anchor rode clear windlass.

I was able to catch the chain which was attached to a light line just in time.Tim was able to move the boat forward enough to take  the pressure of the chain so I could get it back on the wheel.  That was close.

But it should never have happened.  A boat like this should have at least 150 ft. of chain.  There could not be 100 ft. out.  We set the anchor.  The boat seemed to hold.

I grabbed my snorkel gear and went into check the anchor.  It was holding in the sand but when I looked back at the boat it was barely a 60 ft. away.  Not enough scope.

By now everyone had gone snorkeling.  I called them back and told my crew we had to reposition.  They climbed aboard and we found a spot where we could drop in 25 ft., back off, and still have 100 yds to shore.

Howie came over from Helios and that evening Tim barbecued the best sea bass I have ever eaten on the grill.  It is always great to see my brother and I could tell he too had been looking forward to the visit.

 

4/28/13 – Benures Bay

We dove Pelican Island in the morning and went into “The Bight” to fill our tanks.

The compressor was broken.  No worries we headed Cooper Island about 12 mi. away where the next compressor was located.

We arrived around 3:40.  But it was Sunday and while the dive shop was opened the attendant didn’t want to fill the tanks as it was near the end of the day.

Tim left the tanks and we headed to Salt Island to anchor for the night.  The water here was much easier.  We dropped the hook in 20 ft. of water and it set immediately in the sand.

TerryTim

Around sunset Howie and Helios wander in.  He doesn’t get going very fast.  His crew likes to sleep in.

Dinner was great and the catching up stories went late into the night.

 

4/29/13  -  Salt Island

We heard from our friend Christine Hanks who lives in Avon that she and her boyfriend Will are on Virgin Gorda and have one more day.   We agreed to meet them in Leverick Bay and take them sailing.   We were off at the crack of 09:30.

We picked up our tanks at Cooper Island and then headed north into the wind to make North Sound by 13:00.  Both engines seemed to function and we arrived 45 min. early.  We picked up Christine and Will and headed for the open waters north of Virgin Gorda.

ChristineHanks

Light winds of about 10 kts. were perfect for training.The sail on this 47ft. monster must weigh over 600 lbs.  No electric winch.  But Tim and Will got it up.  Before long we were cruising along at 8.0 kts. without a motor.

A glorious afternoon.  Bringing this hippo about was next to impossible.  We made it but lost our way most of the time.  The jibing was easy.  After a couple of hours of this we headed back into Gorda Sound and found Helios had finally made her way up and was at anchor at the west end of the buoy field.  We pulled in next to her and dropped our hook in about 15 ft. of water.

sailingcrew

That evening Tim barbecued another successful dinner.  Howie joined us and the stories kept going late into the evening.  Christine and Will had to depart the next day so Tim and I grabbed the dinghy and headed into the wind driven waves.

It wasn’t a dry ride but we got them to the dock avoiding the vacant mooring balls.

 

4/30/13 – Bitter End ,  Virgin Gorda,  BVI

After our usual crack of 10am start we sailed out to the Dog islands and dove off Great Dog Island.  We thought we were late as we hustled back to Gorda Sound and the Bitter End.  It was time for the weekly Beer Can Regatta.  Howie had done this often before.  You rented a Hobie Cat from the Bitter End Yacht Club and a course was set

http://youtu.be/nEE0nEaxl5M

Regardless of your finishing status ever time you passed the anchored “Committee Boat” they would offer you a beer.  Howie  and Time did well, winning at least one race.  Their accuracy at approaching the “beer boat” was remarkable.  I believe they both lost track of the number of beers they each consumed.  Suffice it to say on one of their tacks they miscalculated and went into the drink.  But Howie had done this before.  While laughing he instructed Tim in the technique of righting the inverted Hobie Cat.

At 16:30 they wrapped up the regatta.  Remarkably most of the boats were able to return to the beach.  At last the beer boat arrived.

“Any more beers?”  Howie asked in a friendly tone.

“I have one left.”  Replied the beer driver.

“I’ll take it.” Howie said proudly.

After that beer I decided Howie was in no shape to drive his dinghy back to his boat.

I became the designated driver.  Terry decided to drive Tim back.  As I pulled away from the dinghy dock I notice Tim step into the dinghy.  Rather he thought he was stepping into the dinghy.  He did manage to hit the tube just prior to flopping into the ocean.  He was able to stand up and blame it on the dinghy.

This was the only night Howie didn’t show up for dinner.  A shame too because Tim rallied to barbecue some great steaks.

barbecueflames

 

5/1/13 – Bitter End

We had hoped to sail to Anegada today.  But the winds were about 20kts and the seas were at least 5ft.  Scheduled to improve the next day.  We elected to stay in Gorda Sound and go the following day.  The seas were much calmer despite the wind.

We took a long hike in the morning to a bluff over looking the sea to the east.  Huge rollers.  We were glad we were not fighting them.  We sailed inside the sound in the afternoon and decided to anchor next to Howie at the end of the day.  I had a little trepidation here as that is where I wrapped the props on our last adventure.  Fortunately, Terry had become proficient at tending the dinghy and always had it up close to the boat when we went to maneuver.  A benign anchoring event.  Always welcome.

 

5/2/13 – Anegada, BVI

Anegada is a large island to the north east of the British Virgins.    It has an extensive reef  complex that has made it a lengend for ship wrecks.  The highest point on the isiland  is 28t. above the sea.  The reefs are hard to see.  Many ships on the way to the New World foundered here.  The local had quite a salvage history back in the day.

map_of_british-virgin-islands

Winds had lightened to about 14 kts.  Howie joined us and we were off early.  The wind was on our beam and it was a spectacular sail.  We were seeing 9 kts. on the meter as we flew up to Anegada.  For years charter boats were forbidden from going here.  The reefs were to extensive and too shallow.  But with modern GPS the tide had turned and we were allowed to go.

 

We dropped our sails as we identified the entrance buoys to the approach.  Modern GPS technology does not always match reality.  If we had followed the GPS map we would be on the reef.  As we motored in we appeared to be substantially south of the GPS course.  As Bev would say.  “Are you going to believe that GPS or believe your lying eyes?”  We chose our lying eyes.

As we entered the harbor we read 5.2 ft. on the depth gauge.  We draw 4.8.  We were not the only folks there.  20 other boats made it to the harbor for that night.

Anegada is known for its lobster.  Large spiney lobsters seem prolific up here.  We radioed the local Anegada Reef Hotel to make dinner reservations.  The pleasant voice on the radio asked, “How many lobster dinners?  And how many other items?”

She proceeded to give a menu on the radio and before I knew it we had just ordered dinner.

Ashore for lunch and then a taxi ride to Loblolly beach and snorkeling.  As we reached the dinghy dock  we noticed a large floating box in the water filled with huge lobsters.  Certainly was appetizing.

The taxi ride was in an open truck with comfortable seats in the back.  We had asked our driver to point out the flamingos if he saw one.  In the 90’s 100 pink flamingos had been introduced to island and they now numbered about 300.  He stopped on a bridge and pointed to a salt pond about a mile away.

“There be three there.”  Our guide pointed.  “Little pink dots.”  We searched the lake.  Nothing.  “They are quite far near the telephone pole.”  There was one pole that seemed to be about three miles away and barely visible.  I suspect he stops on this bridge every day and points out the non existent Flamingos.  Non of us saw the “pink dots.”

Loblolly was a beach as advertised.  Beautiful unpolluted white sand.  Over a mile long.  Bev Howie Loblolly

Howie and Bev had a great visit.

Sun, heat, beach, works for some folks.  Not the top of my list.  I welcomed our 16:30 pickup.

Back at the dinghy dock we found the chef pulling out tonight’s dinner.

Windam was our man.  “Each person gets 2 and ½ pounds of lobster.”

At dinner we found out how he did this.  You get ½ of a large and ½ of a small lobster.

howieandlobster   Howie reviews his dinner.

Sunset on the boat was beautiful.  Dinner was great.  Howie bought dinner and Bev found the most expensive wine she could when she heard Howie was paying.  Fortunately, we had a designated dingy driver for the ride home.

 

5/2/13 – Spanish Town, BVI

We awoke in Anegada harbor to dead calm conditions.  Most unusual for the BVI.

By seven we slipped our mooring and headed for the first channel marker.

I could not help but be a little anxious as the depth meter stayed in the 5 foot range and we were told we draw 4.6 ft.  Eventually, we were up to 7 ft. and I felt like we were in deep water.  The sea was calm.  We set a courses and engaged the auto pilot for the 2 hour journey to Gorda Sound.  We delivered Howie to Helios.  He planned to join us when Pam awakened.  We agreed to meet at Great Dog Island for some snorkeling and diving.

Tim took us out of Gorda Sound and headed for Spanish Town.  This was the original capital of the Virgin Islands.  For us it was a provisioning and fuel stop.  We completed our chores in an hour and were off for Great Dog by11:30.

Many of the dive sites in the BVI are National Parks.  They have buoys to secure the boat so you don’t chew up the bottom trying to anchor.   Red buoys are for the public, yellow ones are for commercial divers.  Most folks respect the yellow buoys.  Howie considers it a guideline.  If It is the last buoy is yellow he doesn’t hesitate to take it.

We were the only vessel when we arrived and there were half a dozen buoys.

To our surprise Helios rounded the bend around 13:00.   We snorkeled and dove the Great Dog and saw lots of fish and coral.

That evening we left the Dog and headed for Marina Cay..  We took a buoy as we were advised there were lots of underwater cables here and if we caught one the charge was $500 to get it released.  Howie felt he knew where the cables were, having snagged one himself earlier this year and he dropped his hook right behind us.  There is always a $30 charge for the buoy and anchoring is free.

 

The anchorage was about 2/3 full of  Moorings and Sunsail charters.  It is only about 7 miles from Road town and many folks use it as their first anchorage.  The first time charters on their first night were pretty interesting as they struggled to attach to the mooring.  This is an interesting crowd.  I remember from 20 yrs ago most of the boaters were younger.  Now many of them are our age.  Can you imagine that?

 

5/4/13 – Monkey Point

The purpose of the Marina Cay location was to put us close to Monkey Point.   A year ago we had the best snorkeling of the trip here.  So we were up early and departed for the snorkel site to ensure getting a mooring ball.  We didn’t have to worry.  We arrived at 07:00 and no one was there.

This is a spectacular dive with great coral and a huge number of colorful fish.  We snorkeled there for over an hour and a half before returning to the boat.  We spent so much time with these fish we felt like they were part of our family.  Tim found a great video and we could not stop humming this tune.

Monkey Point lived up to its reputation.  We were so impressed we spent most of the day here.   At 3 in the afternoon we returned to Marina Cay to pick up Howie and Helios.  We were looking for a place to refill our tanks.  We called the nearby Scrub Island Resort on the radio and asked if they had a dive shop.  The fellow who answered the radio assured us they did.  Howie cautioned that the last time he was here their compressor was not working.  We decided to dinghy in and give it a try.

Scrub Island is a fancy resort.  $2.75 per foot to dock your boat.  Fancy restaurant.  Fancy everything.  But the fact remained.  You could make this place as fancy as you want but it is still stifling hot if you are not on the water.  Why someone would electively live here was beyond me.

Howie had come over and gave us a ride in with his larger and faster dinghy.

The dive shop was easy to find.  I left the tanks in the boat just in case the compressor still wasn’t working.  “Tara,” the English lass who was manning the counter in the dive shop, was as pleasant as the air conditioning.

I asked her if they could fill our tanks.  She indicated that their compressor was still broken.

“I heard it has been out for about 6 months.”  I mentioned.

“Longer than that.” She replied.

“It hasn’t worked for 3 years.” Came a grumble from the back room.    It was the manager reflecting his frustration with the compressor.

They offered to take our tanks to Spanish Town where they have another dive shop and return them in the morning.  It was the best we could do so we dropped off the tanks, made a little tour of the resort, and returned to our boat.

On the way out we noticed a huge ketch had anchored near us.   This was a beautiful sailing yacht named ‘Roxane’.  She flew the Maltese flag.  We had to check this out.

I could never remember the difference between a ‘ketch’ and a ‘yawl.’  We approached the huge boat – she was around 140ft. and brand new.  The Captain was on the stern.

I knew it had to do with the position of the steering wheel in relation to the mizzen mast.  It turns out if the wheel is behind the mast, as it was here, it is a ketch.  If it is  between the fore mast and the mizzen mast it is a yawl.

“If the mizzen mast is equal to or talller than the foremast then it is a schooner.”  The captain patiently explained in a French accent.  I knew I would remember this.

After Howie’s inquiry he told us they had a crew  of seven.

Roxanne

 This boat was truly a work of art.  Back on the boat we checked Google.  She was commissioned in 2010 and could accommodate 8 passengers in the height of luxury.

If you wanted to charter her it was 84,000 euros a week.

 

That evening ,as Tim and I stood on the fantail of our boat admiring Roxanne I observed that the folks on board probably were not having any more fun than we were.  For the difference we decided to stay on our “Jaba the Hut.”

 

5/5/13 – Wreck of the Rhone

Tim and I wander over to Scrub Island and find our filled scuba tanks.  On the way back we notice a beautiful 50 ft. sailing sloop at the dock. It wasn’t there yesterday.  It was a modern version of an old wooden boat. Then we looked at the mast and noticed it was missing from 20 ft. above the deck. The occupants were gathering all their gear on the dock as if they were going home.The beautiful wooden mast was splintered and most of it gone.  We could only speculate what catastrophe hit this boat.  The folks on the dock were pretty somber.

It was a great reminder that ocean sailing can have its surprises.

Back at Jaba the Hut we loaded our tanks and headed across the Sir Francis Drake Channel for the Baths.  Howie was on the deck of Helios and we told him to meet us at Salt Island as we motored by.  We figured he wouldn’t get off the hook until noon.

By then we could snorkel the Baths and be all the way south to Salt Island for the classic dive.

When we arrived and found a ball Tim and Terry decided to go  snorkeling.  I decided to go for a swim to cool off.  As I proceeded past the dozen or so boats moored there I happened to look to my right and there was Helios on a ball.

“Where did he come from?” I thought to myself.

I swam over and Pam and Howie were there.  Howie had hauled his anchor on his own and made it across the channel before awakening Pam to help with the mooring.  I still don’t know how they knew we were here.

We departed the Baths and made it to the Wreck of the Rhone.   There were a couple of available buoys and before long we were descending on the classic dive.  As we reached the bow I noted my depth gauge reading 80 ft.  The water was remarkably clear.  As we start moving up from the bow I noticed Howie had entered a huge school of fish while he was examining some of the super structure.  A spectacular picture that my mind has been kind enough to allow me to maintain.

We decompressed for 3 min at 20 ft. and then climbed back aboard Jaba.  A great dive.

We dropped the hook at the nearby Salt Island.  Howie and Pam had invited us over to Heilos for dinner.  We were looking forward to it.  Helios is a 2012 Leopard 44.  This is the state of the art in catamaran sailing yachting.

Helios

it was easy to see how he loved caring for this boat and spending 4-6 months a year down here.

 

5/6/13 -  Salt Island / Dead Chest

Dead ass calm.  It has been this way all night.  You could see the light of Tortola clearly reflected all night along.  Not a breath of air.  Warm to say the least.  I know Howie is looking forward to having his generator repaired today in Road Town.  No air conditioning must have led to a warm night.

We are due in to Conch Charters later is afternoon but will find a spot to snorkel and work until then.   Tim suggest we try Dead Chest Island.  Just a few miles to the south.  Helios departed to get her generator repaired and we took off around noon for the new Island.  We are lucky enough to find the only dive buoy in this National Park and found beautiful coral and fish.

We returned to Road Town in the rain.  Checked out.  Found Helios.  Unfortunately, their generator was working when they arrived.  The electrician speculated on the cause and worked on it for a few hours.  They are hopeful.  But an intermittent problem is one of the most challenging.

We had dinner at the dock pub with Howie and prepared for our return to reality and cooler climes.

The purpose of coming here for me is the great time I have with Howie.  I am sad to leave him but look forward to our next visit in July.

Phil Howie Anegada

 

Our trip home will be the next adventure.  Little did we know how much.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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