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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

April 1st: Nanny Cay Marina (Tortola) to The Bight (Norman Island)

From Screen Captures

The order of business was to get to Nanny Cay Marina bright and early this morning so we could take possession of the boat. Since many charters start on Sunday, I anticipated a mad rush for limited mooring buoys, and so got us a taxi at 7:45am. The taxi driver, however, showed up quite a bit earlier than expected and so we ended up at Nanny Cay Marina by 8:10am. While waiting for the office to open, we walked around and found the Escape in the state of being cleaned up.

From BVI 2012

Checking in with the office, we picked up the WiFi unit we ordered, and then got a chart briefing from a very casual staff member. I was quite familiar with the area, but attended the briefing anyway mostly so my crew had an idea of what's going on and why the itinerary was set the way it was. In addition, listening to other skipper's questions gave me ideas for what to do later on in the trip.

An hour after the briefing, our boat was ready and we started moving stuff in in earnest. We discovered that the two bow cabins actually had 2 beds, the forward most one intended to be for a small person, such as a child. This was great, as Arturo and Cindy could now share a cabin and keep the salon free. The boat seemed like it was in fairly good condition, and the air condition felt good. Equipment and provisions started trickling in: Tony showed up with all our dive gear, and Cindy's order for provisions showed up in boxes, one after another. The crew was kept busy stowing away stuff, while Arturo and I walked around the boat with the check list, counting off one item after another.

Despite our being entirely ready by 12:30pm, we did not get a captain from Horizon charters until 1:00pm to start our boat briefing on the various ship's systems. The briefing was very thorough, but it wasn't until 2:00pm before we were driven out of the slip, with our captain getting off at the fuel dock and then I found myself in command of the Escape and driving out of the marina into the Sir Francis Drake Channel.

From BVI 2012

The day was the last day of a multi-day series of regattas, but we quickly motor'd away from the center of activity and then raised our sails for The Bight on Norman Island. Given how late we were getting away from Nanny Cay, I made the executive decision to skip any diving for the day and just find a mooring Buoy.

From BVI 2012

Arriving at the Bight near 3:00pm, we dropped our sails and bee-lined for one of just a handful of mooring buoys left: it was undesirable because it was close to the Willy T, a floating restaurant known for boisterous parties. We tied up one line to the pennant, and I immediately heard a splash as John jumped into the water to tie the backup line to the buoy itself. He was so eager to get in the water he did not want to wait for us to get out the dinghy!

We piled into the dinghy and headed for a snorkel destination: The Caves on Norman Island. This set of 3-4 caves past treasure point shows off everything great about the BVI. The clear waters show off the caves exceedingly well, even in the dark, and while they look intimidating, seem almost custom designed by Walt Disney for a safe and fun snorkel while giving you the experience of exploring water-filled caves by flash light.

From BVI 2012

From BVI 2012

"OK," Arturo conceded, "This is way better than the underwater trail on St. John." We swam around enjoying the water until those of us who weren't wearing wet suits started getting cold. Then one by one we got back into the dinghy and motor'd back to Escape for a lovely dinner made by Shauna, who was declaring herself the official cook on the trip. We made plans to wake up bright and early to snag a mooring Buoy at the Indians the next morning. Arturo found a couple of candidate second dives, and XiaoQin and I went to bed wearing ear plugs so we could sleep through the Willy T's party. Surprisingly enough, no one on the crew wanted to visit the Willy T's, preferring to turn in early for a bright and early start the next day.

From BVI 2012


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