25 February, 2013

Virgin Gorda - British Virgin Islands

Malua is at 18:30.316N 64:21.845 near Saba Rock in Virgin Gorda part of the British Virgin Island on 23/02/2013 
One can stay for weeks in Simpson Bay in St Maartin. There are chandlers, services, restaurants and more importantly other cruisers who just seem to spend week after week in the same spot. One entered the bay via the lifting bridge - in my case at 17:30 and can choose between the empty bay in the Dutch side or the less convenient and crowded French side. Where you anchor is where you check in. I did the Dutch side for a week and the total experience cost US$40. Some people just go through the bridge and check in on the French side and the cost is EU10 or so. Do check in if you anchor in the Dutch side. My friend on Pinball Wizard was boarded by the Dutch authorities and asked for his papers which he had completed properly. A sailing cat had the authorities along side for more than an hour then both vessels left together to destinations unknown. 
Well I checked out for a further US$5 and I was free to leave. I went through the bridge at 11:00 rather than the 16:30 outgoing and anchored in the roadsted then returned in the dinghy for some money, food and to access the slow wifi at the yacht club. Having done all that I returned to Malua with a kilo of Uruguay beef to prepare a stew for the passage westwards. It had great chunks of meat that turned out, with a bit of French wine to be three great meals, one of which I had that night and the next the following night. Still one remains in the freezer. 
I had prepared Malua for the voyage across the Anegada Passage with the weather window open for a good passage on Thursday/Friday. The seas and wind were predicted to rise on Saturday. I set off at 1:00 am Friday from the bay outside Simpson Bay. The moon was up, the wind from the east and for most of the passage very little swell. It was the best passage I have had all season. In fact it was so good I read, fixed the dinghy and cleaned up in my cabin - sorted my 12 T-shirts. 
I arrived at about 15:00 and was coming down the channel when the AIS picked up the yacht Distant Shores which I met at Navy Services in Port St Louis France in July/August. They had crossed with the ARC and have been sailing up and down the Island chain with paying guests. 
The AIS system I have - Watchmate has four profiles that one can select, Ocean, Coastal, Harbour or at Anchor. The parameter for the alarm and list of vessels changes from wide and many to few and only those within a mile of so with the at Anchor. I was able to see who was in the bay as I entered. It is a great facility if one wants to find a friend assuming they leave their AIS on while at anchor or coastal cruising. 
Today I checked in for up to a 30 day stay. So far the water looks good and clear and the anchorages great although the traffic on channel 16 is constant with yachts calling marinas and restaurants so I will have to find a way to block out the chatter. 
A magical moment on Malua

No comments: