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Next up was Virgin Gorda and The Baths, large boulders strewn down the hillside and into the water as if flung by a giant hand. Because of a strong surf that made landing the dinghy dangerous, Oliver instead took us up the island a few miles to Spanish Town, where we took a taxi back to the hill overlooking the park, part of the B.V.I National Parks Trust.


Steve was glad we did, spotting along the trail down a number of iguanas and red-legged hermit crabs living inside hollow coconuts. The trail through The Baths, dappled with sunlight and wetted by thunderous surf hissing through tight passages, is humbling and unforgettable.

Bitter End Yacht Club lies at the northeastern most end of Virgin Gorda, hence its name. Coming in, we saw Steve and Linda Dashe's Beowulf, hailing them as we passed. Later they dinghied over for a visit; they said they'd been invited to participate in Steve Black's Caribbean 1500 cruiser's rally from Norfolk, Virginia. At 78 feet, Beowulf was the scratch boat; when we left the next day, no others were yet visible on the blue-over-blue horizon.

Heading back westward, we stopped for visits at those anchorages we'd skipped coming east. At Cooper Island, we swam ashore and chatted up a couple from Oregon staying at the Cooper Island Beach Club. The man and woman sat in lawn chairs pulled into the intertidal zone. She was lounging with a book in her lap; he, flippers and face mask.

Given that there's neither town nor ferry service to the island, I asked, "What do you do all day?"
"Read," she said. "He"-meaning her husband-"likes to dive, so some days he has one of the scuba boats pick him up on the way by. Other than that, we just sit here. It isn't for everybody, but it suits us." They were, she said, going to be tranquilized for another 12 days. As we prepared to swim back to La Creole, the man offered to show us an octopus sucking the guts of a conch out of its shell.

It was very difficult to actually see this, and as he pointed and I tried to discern the brown blob of the octopus's head camouflaged in a crevice of coral, I realized the man must have spent a lot of time today staring down on this small reef. Then again, he had the time, mon, he had the time.

Sailing downwind, we rolled through Sir Francis Drake Channel with the verdant hills of the islands to either side. Rounding West End, Tortola, we coasted to a stop in a confused current and fickle winds.

A charter catamaran coming out of Jost Van Dyke did a 360 trying to head up so the mainsail could be raised.

Drifting between the rocky arm of West End to the east and Great Thatch Island to the west, we made, as if caught in a whirlpool, no discernible progress until suddenly, for no obvious reason, we were cast out.

Soon we anchored in White Bay, Jost Van Dyke, and there spent the afternoon snorkeling the reef and walking ashore. Before leaving, Oliver took us around the promontory to Great Harbor so that we might have a drink at Foxy's, the famous beachside bar that's said to host the world's second largest New Year's Eve party (after Times Square in New York City). Today there were but three or four patrons, and that's as I'd have it any day still and desultory. [Read on..]

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La Creole Sailing Yacht Charters
E-Mail: info@caribbean-sailing-yacht-charters.com
St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands
Contact Phone: 800-478-2029 (954) 724-9913

   

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