We reluctantly raised anchor the next day and rounded Marina Cay on its north side, tucking up fairly close to Scrub Island to hoist the sails. The wind was blowing 15, gusting to 20 knots out of the northeast, of course right from the direction on the compass to which we pointed our bow. We were headed for the northwest corner of Virgin Gorda, straight into the trade winds. Since we had all day and were not in any rush, we decided to sail the entire way even though it meant working our way upwind tacking through the narrow passages. Several charter boats were headed in the same direction, and we snickered as our heavily laden 26 year old boat not only out-pointed but overtook everything in her path. Most of the charter boats gave up at one point or another and turned on the motors to reach their destination. We held off until we were just outside the reefs marking the entrance to North Sound.
Charter boats were converging at the entrance to the sound, so we decided to hang back allowing the frenzied charter boaters time to power their way at full speed up into the harbor. And damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead it is at all times for them. Every man for himself, so you better get out of their way and hold your breath until they’re past.
North Sound, or Virgin Gorda Sound is a large deep-water bay that offers protection from just about any wind. You can tuck up close to one shore or another to find smooth water. But unless you take a mooring, you most likely will anchor in deep water; here again, nearly all the potentially good anchoring spots are spider-webbed with moorings, and the only open water is typically 30 or more feet in depth. We wanted to anchor close to the Bitter End Yacht Club, but could not find a spot where we were comfortable, so we motored back out the bay and found a spot only 25 feet deep on a sand bar off the northern shore of the bay. Our Caribe RIB dinghy with its 18hp Nissan motor would make short work of the trip back to the Bitter End, so it was no big deal, and hey, there were no charter boats around, just two other cruisers.
Below is a view looking southwest towards Anguilla Cut which lies between Mosquito Island and the northwest corner of Virgin Gorda. This cut is one only vessels with very shallow draft may use as it shoals to less than four feet in spots. We saw only one or two power boats use the cut and I believe charter boats are forbidden to pass here. The deep water pass we used is well marked and would be safe in just about any weather, though I expect it might get a little bumpy in a strong northeast wind. We have been fortunate to have fair wind less than 20 knots any time we have come through here.
From where we anchored off Vixen Point on Prickly Pear Island we could see most of the bay except for the very north east corner. We could look across the sound to Leverick Bay and Biras Creek, and there was plenty of activity in those areas to keep our attention.