Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Just The Two Of Us!

Culebra, Spanish Virgin Islands
18 18.3N 65 17.9W

We are back in Culebra and it's just the two of us again after 5 weeks of visitors - not sure what to do with all this space!

We dropped Neal and Hwei Ying back in Fajardo, PR and then spent a few days food shopping and stowing and now we are on our way back out to the Virgin Islands, before heading south down the West Indies chain towards Trinidad.

With hurricane season fast approaching we are looking forward to getting further south, it will be a shame to race past the many wonderful islands on the way, but they will still be there next year (with the possible exceptions of the volcanic ones!).

Since our last post we spent more time in the BVIs and then a couple of days in Charlotte Amelie, St Thomas in the USVIs. We had all sorts of form filling and messing about to do with customs there, but it was worth it, a lovely little town despite being a huge cruise ship destination. A little unsettling in the anchorage when one of them turns up early morning and tries to berth - see photo.

The trip back to PR was great, we sailed down wind for the first time since January, quite a change from bashing to windward. Of course we now have to go back to windward again, but finally once we reach the West Indies proper it should be over!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Crowded But Lovely

Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands
18 26.5N 64 45.1W

We are now in the BVIs, they are stunningly beautiful, but after the Bahamas also very crowded, not many cruisers but lots and lots of charter boats.

We have Neal & Hwei Ying staying with us at the moment, cruising friends from Australia who now live in Fiji. We have been passing the days snorkeling, swimming and lazing in the sun, as well as some great sailing. The stormy weather we had for my brothers visit has changed abruptly and we now have 15 knots of wind and clear blue skies every day. Sailing is fun but there are lots of charter boats with fenders out sailing around erratically, and we also met the Oyster regatta the other day, $50m worth of boats all sailing on starboard tack, that we had to dodge!

We finally managed our first dive for a couple of years yesterday, we dived with Andy from L'Aventura who has several thousand dives to his name so great to have an expert along after so long out of the water. We dived the wreck of the RMS Rhone which sank here during a hurricane in the 1867, the wreck itself was not too spectacular long ago having broken up, but the marine life around it was excellent, lots of big fish and some fabulous coral and sponges growing on the ribs of the ship. It's nice to be back in clear water again, we were spoiled in the Bahamas, but the clarity here is pretty good too.

We racked up our 5,000th mile on Matsu today too, we have travelled a long way in a year, we are now only about 600 miles from Trinidad, and several thousand from Annapolis, it doesn't feel like we are nearly there but we are!

We will head back to Puerto Rico to drop off the visitors on the 25th and then start the trip to Trinidad, which will involve back tracking through the Virgins (oh dear how sad, never mind) then probably a night passage to Guadeloupe.
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