2 Jan 2016, The Far Reach, Anchored Cane Garden Bay, Tortola, BVI–We departed Jost van Duke this morning and beat up-wind (of course!) under a reefed main, working jib and stays’l to Cane Garden Bay on the west side of Tortola. The indications are the winds will slacken a bit to about 15-20 kts and it was a pretty comfortable, though short, sail.
Cane Garden Bay is beautiful. Lots of boats here of course. We decided to drop sails just outside the entrance as we counted about 40 boats anchored in the small cove. We secured the inflatable with the new motor as a yawl boat (tied along the aft port quarter of the Far Reach) to power in between the charter boats and anchor in 20′ of gorgeous gin clear water. I dove the anchor to find it buried completely. All these bays would be easy to sail into and out of but with 40-100 boats in them it can be very difficult. We are looking into shipping the 9.9 high thrust long shaft Honda down. It will be expensive but will help us gain access to some of the coves that we might otherwise have to bypass due to the loss of maneuvering room. In the mean time we are developing new skills. We are not picking up any moorings as they cost about $30 a night and by anchoring a little further out we have a great breeze all day and night with out any bugs (knock wood). There are way too many boats here for my taste but I knew it going in. It does not take away from the stunning beauty all around. For forty years I sailed here a thousands times in my mind as I fell asleep at night so this was always going to be the initial destination. All the work, dozens of drawings, hideous grinding of fiberglass, milling thousands of board feet of wood, installing thousands of bungs, endless sanding, applying gallons of varnish, and splicing the standing rigging are but a distant memory to me now.
So far, most places along the beaches seem to have free wifi. Our kerosene lanterns, both interior and navigation, are working well. We are getting pretty good at wick trimming. The solar panel is doing an amazing job of keeping our little 100aH AGM battery fully charged. We run the little Caframo clip-on fan on low and it only uses 2.5 amps over the whole night. The battery is fully charged by 0900. Being able to move the panel around and keep it in the sun makes it much more powerful than the 30 watt size would suggest. We charge our phones and the little Bose Color Link wireless speaker without problem. I have not seen the battery below about 97 percent to this point.
We do lock the outboard and the dinghy. One was stolen at Jost van Dyke on New Years Eve. The Spade anchor is working great digging in and holding us tight to the bottom. I don’t miss anything that we didn’t install on the boat. I am, in fact, delighted with her simple elegance. I can see possibly adding a few things later but I’d like see what skills I can develop with the boat as is. Once my sister Tricia flys home it will be more challenging sailing in and out of some of the tight bays and coves until the family joins. Again the issue is the number of boats jamming the harbors and the corresponding loss of maneuvering space.
We are meeting some other cruisers and learning the ins and outs of provisioning and island transportation. We need to find a shipping point for the Honda outboard in the USVI to avoid customs dues on something I already own.
We will check out the large grocery in Road Town, BVI and see what that is like then clear BVI and clear in to the USVI to find the best shipping point for mail and then spend some time around St John. Probably back to the BVI after that. I look forward to seeing my family.