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Monday, December 31, 2018

Day 9: White Bay, Peter Island to Great Harbor, Peter Island

We got up to a very quiet morning, with no generators nearby to wake us up. We could hear crickets and birds from Peter Island, as well as a cat! I got out the paddleboard and got Bowen on it and we prepared to paddle to the beach, but on the way there, I knocked Bowen's hand with the paddle and the camera flew into the water. I swam after the camera but to no avail. I immediately restarted my Fenix to mark the location and paddled over to the boat to get Mark, as Arturo had gone snorkeling.

I was devastated, as I had neglected to  back up the superlative pictures from the day before, having only elected to pick a few to post on social media. In retrospect, I shouldn't have been so upset but at the time I was determined to find it. We strapped on our scuba gear with the last of our full dive tanks and used the Fenix to navigate back to my marker. I now know that we probably didn't visit the right location as I didn't really know how to use the device properly. But it wasn't a wasted dive, as we saw the giant nurse shark that Xiaoqin had spotted the day before. It was very well camouflaged on the sea floor against some canvas and dinghy ladder racks (quite possibly there was a pier on the island that got destroyed by the hurricane).

After we ran out of air, we went back to the boat, and got out the paddleboard and tried to find the camera but in vain. At 10:00am I declared the search a failure, just as a monohull pulled in to the Bay and set up anchor.

The night before, we had determined that we were out of food. So a night in Soldier Bay (which would have been quiet and isolated) was out of the question, as we would either have to reprovision (not worth it for such a short trip) or we'd have to stay somewhere with food. I'd previously radio'd the Deliverance but got no answer, and later found out that it was out of commission for the duration of our stay.

We motor'd out of White Bay, fully expecting to raise sails but upon exiting the Bay discovered that we were so close to Soldier Bay that by the time we got the sails up it would be time to take them down again, so we sailed to Soldier Bay, and got in some fantastic snorkeling, seeing some of the cuttlefish we'd seen last time, except in much larger numbers! Of course we had no pictures, having lost our underwater camera.

After eating the last of our food, highlighted by the fact that our lunch (frozen Pizza) was spoiled. We thought about how that could have happened and realized that it must have been spoiled before we'd gotten it onto the boat 10 days ago. We'd also had several loaves of bread spoil during the trip.

It was a nice easy sail to Great Harbor, where we got a mooring ball well away from the Wily T's, not willing to put up with loud music after the isolated, quiet night before. Arturo and I made a scouting trip to the Wily T's to pick up a menu and chat with the bar-tender, who told us: "No shirt, no shoes, no problem!" I took out the paddleboard and paddled around the harbor, graced by a rainbow.

Being on a paddleboard is like being on a bicycle. You can paddle up to nearly any boat and they will talk to you, so I took advantage of this. I first paddled up to Serenity Now, which had a Laser dinghy attached to it. The person who sailed the dinghy was a German expat now living on Costa Rica, but showed surprisingly little interest in the provisioning, only saying that he'd paid for it and had no idea how to dinghy came to be attached to the cat. Fortunately, the owner/master of the boat showed up, introduced himself, and told me that he'd had to go all the way to a resort in St. Thomas where he knew the manager, and persuaded her to rent him the dinghy for the duration of the German fellow's charter. Confidentially, he told me that the thing was a massive pain, as he had to demast it every night and haul the dinghy up onto the deck!

I then visited the Maverick, a Horizon Yacht Charters boat mastered by another German, along with his wife and daughter. They were on a long trip through the warm places of the Carribean, and were cheerful to chat about Hamburg and other places in Germany, also asking me about the diving in the area. Horizon didn't allow them to visit Anegada, and so they were curious about that as well.

I then visited a boat crewed by North Carolinas, and they told me that they also used to charter with Conch, but found a place 30% cheaper, called Captains Compass. They praised the owner's work ethic and said that he only had 5 boats, so we'd have to book early to get the discount. I would later work out that with the 10 for 7 deal, the discount over Conch was less than 10%, but for years when we couldn't get the discount they were definitely worth checking out.
It was Xiaoqin's birthday the next day, so we headed over to Wily T's exactly when the kitchen was opened for dinner and ordered a meal where everything was eaten, as there was nothing left on the boat to eat! The two boys of course ate up mommy' birthday cake, fighting over the Key Lime Pie as though it was the last dessert on earth! I'd last been on the Wily T's in 2008, 10 years ago, and it was a new boat in a new location. The bartender told me that the Bight on Norman island was now a much quieter place because the Wily T had moved here, but that this was a quiet night.

We had a short sail the next morning, but had to return the boat promptly, so the evening was spent packing up our stuff in readiness for our returning the boat.

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