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Friday, April 28, 2017

BVI 2017: Day 5 - Soper's Hole to Long Bay

Bowen joined us on our usual 6:00am reverie, as did Boen. I made him Mac & Cheese for breakfast, after which the rest of the crew proceeded to explain to me that Mac & Cheese is not breakfast food like I'd thought, but was in fact, lunch and dinner food. I'm just bringing up my kids all wrong by feeding them Mac & Cheese for breakfast!

We raised the dinghy, turned on the engines, puttered out of Soper's hole, and once past the channel between Great Thatch and Tortola, raised the sails and turned off the engine.

The original plan was to visit Sandy Spit or Sandy Cay and enjoy a morning on the beaches, but upon arrival, we observed that the place was pretty rocky, and so proceeded to look for a less rocky anchorage. We found a mooring ball right off of Foxy's Taboo. No one was using the slips next to the bar, since it looked like it would beat up your boat just by sitting at the slip. The forecast was for the swells to slowly die off the rest of the day, so in the mean time we decided to visit the bubbly pool, which should be excellent during times of north swells.
The hike to the pool is best done in dry conditions, there are several Manchineel Trees on the trail that would blisters the skin if you stood under the tree in a rain storm! The day was dry, and except for Bowen feeling out of sorts, we made it to the pool easily and in short order. The intermittent waves from the Atlantic would blow past the rocks guarding the entrance and make a natural jaccuzzi out of cool water. With the swells, we certainly had lots of bubbles to play with!

After we had had our fill of the pool, we explored the cliffs above the pools, which presented views of the Atlantic as well as an astonishing blow-hole.
On the way back at the boat, we walked past a sign that said "Jewel's Bakery." We stopped and Bowen ordered a pineapple tart. We brought it back to the boat and checked the forecast again. To our dismay, the forecast for the swells had been pushed off and we were expected to have swells the rest of the day into most of tomorrow. We had a quick debate as to what to do --- we still had plenty of time to sail over to Norman island, forgoing Sandy Spit and Sandy Cay. But the place was nice, we had plenty of sunshine, and we were on vacation, so staying put was also a good option. In the end, we opted to stay put.
We had a cold lunch, then as the day warmed up, got into the water with mask and snorkel. The shallows were a lot of fun, having a lot of coral and feather dusters to play with. In fact, Bowen wanted to touch every feather duster he saw, though with a wet suit on, he was far too buoyant to be able to dive! I helped him and he could submerge and touch a few and make them shrink.

After a long 40-minute snorkel that even ended with me cold, Bowen took a nap, though not before asking for more pineapple tart. What I noticed was that there was a strong current coming back to the boat. I talked Arturo into running the dinghy back to get the tart from the bakery, and then after dropping it off at the Kokomo III, we ran the dinghy over to Sandy Spit to see if it was a viable place to anchor for the night.

The currents were fairly strong. At one point, it felt like the dinghy had stalled, and Arturo had the throttle on the outboard motor run all the way! The looked at various potential anchorages on the way back from Sandy Spit, which didn't look appealing at all. In the end, nothing looked appealing: the one boat which had anchored in what looked like a quiet spot was actually (illegally) anchor'd on a coral patch, while the others looked like they would be very bouncy. Our mooring ball looked good by comparison.

That evening, we ran the oven and made pizza, and used the BBQ for the last time to make chicken. Our plan the next day was to spend time on Sandy Spit, and then find a place to dive if the swells had come down. In fact, if the swells did come down, we could visit Great Tortugas, which I had never been.

At night, I started an evening star-gazing session with Bowen. He really wanted to see a shooting star, and I had actually spotted one near the start of the trip, and Mark reported he saw one the day before. "Did you make a wish, Daddy?" "Yes I did. I wished for you to be safe and grow up healthy." "I have a wish for when I see a shooting star." "Really? What is it?" "I wish for my brother to have swimming lessons and learn how to swim!" Bowen's such a sweet kid.

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