Monday, November 21, 2011

Boating in the Virgin Islands: Day 1

    The Virgin Islands offer a unique opportunity for boating unlike any other area.     Recently a group of four of us rented a 29' Fountain center console boat from Nauti Nympths in Red Hook and went out for an adventure around the islands.      This means of transport gives you the freedom to rove the waterways in any manner that you choose.     We had the boat for 3 fabulous days, and got to experience adventures that we will be talking about for years.
     The first day we checked in with British Customs at Soper's Hole, Tortola and took off for Road Harbour.      There we visited Pusser's Outpost for a round of cocktails and a bit of exploration.     After wandering around the city for a while it was back to the Sir Francis Drake Channel and more exploration of the South side if Tortola.     The channel can get a little bit rough with all of the ferry's and boat that use it, but the Fountain slices through the waves and chop like butter.

     We kept heading East up the channel to Virgin Gorda where we entered the Gorda Sound and the Saba Rock Resort.     This is a great little spot that is a cross between a museum and an resort.    They have antique outboard motors, racing boats, salvaged gold and silver from old sunken ships, and even some Toucans.      Thought that was all very fun and interesting, we had stopped there for lunch and another round of cocktails.     This place offers some of the best food anywhere in the islands.    

I had the conch steak, others had fish taco's, and all of us were stuffed and smiling as we moved away from the docks.       As we exited Gorda Sound we met up with a 12 to 14 foot wave that gave us a real lift, especially on a full stomach, but all ended dwell as the boat settled on the backside of the wave.

      Next we decided to venture around the North side of  Beef Island and Tortola to visit Cane Garden Bay and the Callwood Distillery.      As we got on the North side of Tortola we were greeted by some 16 to 18 foot rollers.     These were long frequency waves that were not breaking, so we kept right  on our course for Cane Garden Bay.     As we approached the Bay, we noticed that these very large waves we had been running up and down for the past hour or so were breaking at the entrance to the Bay.     We chose not to deal with the surf there and decided to go to Great Harbour in Jost Van Dyke instead.

     Great Harbour is home for Foxy's, a great watering hole and restaurant.     We found Foxy there and had a great opportunity to spend some time there with him in a very relaxed atmosphere.    The project that Foxy heads up, making a traditional native sailing vessel is nearing completion.   This vessel is being built by the High School students as a way to understand and appreciate the way their ancestor's built boats to travel around the Virgin Island waterways.

     Our conversation with Foxy and a chance for Carl to pose with him by the picture that he had sent him from a previous visit was really nice.     We were able to share some experiences with Foxy and his daughter as we sipped still another cocktail.      The day was getting short, and it was time for us to head back to Red Hook, after a stop at Cruz Bay and the US Customs office to check back into the US Virgin Islands.

     This was only the first of three days that we would spend on the waterways and islands that make up the Virgin Islands.     We came back to the dock, filled the boat with "Petrol", and put it away for the evening.   Next up was a visit the the "Island Time Bar" and a chance for the captain to enjoy a cocktail or 6  before going back up the hill to the resort and supper.   ;o)