After clearing Customs we tacked up the Sir Francis Drake Channel then took a left turn meandering off towards Marina Cay and Trellis Bay. From here on it would be easy relaxing days for the new crew; no big water passages; no dangerous sea conditions – just fun every day.
We spent the first day at Marina Cay anchored on the outskirts of the big mooring field. All four of us climbed into the dinghy to head to shore for lunch at the restaurant where we looked out over all the boats crowding the mooring area and sailing out in the open water. The anchorage was a bit bumpy that night, so the next morning we decided to move south to Trellis Bay to take a mooring there for the day, but not before I made an adjustment to the outboard so it would idle better. As soon as I smoothed out the idle, the motor stopped pumping cooling water. Not good. We were now minus an outboard.
But, from the mooring in Trellis Bay Pete and I could row in to snorkel and swim; Brenda wanted to wander down to the little village to see what was shaking there; Joy planned to catch a nap and maybe do a little reading while we were out and about. We all had a nice afternoon doing our own thing.
While cruising in 2010 and 2011, one of the things we found we liked to do was to discover what countries different boats represented. We saw flags from all over the world that we didn’t recognize. So this year Joy found a laminated world flag chart which we packed in our luggage to add to the boat’s permanent gear. Off to the left the crew are comparing some of the flags spied on yachts to our handy little chart, and in most cases, we’re no longer in the dark when we see a new flag on a yacht. We’ve discovered yachts from just about every seafaring nation you could imagine. It’s fun and it helps us if we happen to chat up a fellow cruiser from some foreign land.
The next morning we sailed east over to the Baths, a national park site, where we spent a few hours climbing through the ancient rock formations and water pools. We then headed north and east over the top of the BVI islands to enter North Sound where once again we had to joust with all the charter boats to find safe passage into the harbor. Since we were minus the outboard we took a mooring close to shore so we’d be able to row in for lunch and exploring.
We spent the better part of the next day wandering around the Bitter End Yacht Club, shopping, enjoying their wonderful lunch buffet, then relaxing with some tropical drinks by the pool before rowing back to the boat in the dinghy.
After spending just over a week on the boat Pete and Brenda were beginning to understand what I meant when I wrote to them about scheduling a time and place to join us. When any sailing distance is involved, it’s almost impossible to pin point both place and time where we can meet guests with the boat unless Joy and I are willing to arrive long in advance. We often just can’t make it work out, and for some reason, the winds and waves don’t listen to us at all. So we all have to be flexible, and our flexibility began to develop a long time ago.
Thirty-one years ago, Pete and Brenda were supposed to join another couple and us on a charter boat vacation in the BVI. (yeah, I know what I said about those boaters). That trip was to be Joy’s and my first journey into the world of cruising. As we made plans for the sailing vacation, only Joy and I knew about our upcoming adventure. We’d not told anyone, but we’d already bought our first big boat.
Well, a few weeks before we were to fly south for the sailing vacation, Pete badly injured his back, and they were unable to join us. So Joy and I along with sailing friends David and Jane, chartered that boat, an O’Day 37, on our own. While in the BVI in 1981, we told David about our upcoming change in lifestyle. Pete and Brenda were supposed to be part of that celebration, but sometimes life has surprises in store for us. When we arrived home and told Pete and Brenda about the upcoming changes, they thought we’d lost our minds.
We hadn’t quite lost our minds; here we are, 31 years later on Ocean Angel, taking them to the islands we’d dreamed of sharing with them. Our time couldn’t have been better. Life is good, and Joy & I enjoy sharing it with our friends.