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Wednesday, May 03, 2017

BVI 2017: Day 8 - Soldier Bay to Conch Charters (+ Epilogue)

The sunrise hit us nice and early, and we finished nearly all the food on the boat for breakfast, leaving only one Mac & Cheese box left and a few rolls of bread. Having had breakfast by 7:00am, we went for a nice long snorkel, during which we couldn't find traces of the shark, nor could we find the Sting Ray we had seen the evening before. Despite my best effort, I could not talk Bowen into one last snorkel. Boen, however, was seen sitting in the transom playing with water, indicating that on this last day he was finally thinking of the water as being friendly and not scary.
We left our mooring by 8:00am, and immediately raised out sails and turned off the engine. We had plenty of time, and indeed sailed back into Road Town harbor by 9:30am. Returning the boat to Conch charters is a relaxed affair. We simply picked up a mooring ball and waited until a dinghy came and the crew took over. Unlike the higher end charter outfits, Conch charters during a return doesn't treat you like a wrecking crew out to destroy the boat. As a result, we could pack, arrange transportation, and even enjoy the air conditioning without having to run the generator.

The return skipper told us we had run the generator for less than 12 hours during the entire trip. "Everybody's different. Just the other day I had someone return the boat with 125 hours of generator time for a week --- he had to refuel the boat mid-week!" We would later learn that we'd only run up $95 in fuel, a testament to how little we ran the engine and generator. They charged us $33 for the boat hook, which we had known about, but otherwise everything was fine.

Once ashore, a taxi took everyone except Arturo and I back to the ferry terminal, where we bought tickets for the return to US waters. (We opted to walk to save the $5/person cab fare) Once in St. Thomas, U.S. customs gave the green card holders a long wait while the US passport holders had no trouble, but we weren't in danger of missing the flight.

At the airport, Arturo kindly took our check-in baggage because his generous baggage allowance would let him took it for free. Bowen told me we were coming back again next year, while Xiaoqin said she wished we'd done more diving.

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