British Virgin Islands Part 1 – February 11th - 19th 2011
Friday 11th February
A weary but excited party arrived at Beef Island, Tortola, to a welcome greeting from Scott for the last leg of our journey to Boo Too, this entailed a short walk from the airport to the RIB, moored at Trellis Bay – at last we are reunited with this beautiful vessel and meet the remainder of the wonderful crew Ashleigh (aka Kate Middleton), the lovely and sunny South African cook and Mike (aka Smasher) from Manchester, the equally good natured and entertaining engineer. A late night swim followed by a delicious light supper restored flagging spirits in time to greet Boo and Oliver, the party is now complete – let the holiday begin!
Saturday 12th February
Bright blue Caribbean skies makes the grey cold winter of home a distant memory – with calm seas and gentle wind we set sail to Guana Island, a privately owned island where we swim in turquoise waters and stroll along a deserted white beach before returning to Boo Too for breakfast – life’s hard but someone’s got to do it! Later on in the morning our course is set for The Dogs, our lunchtime destination being West Dog, where we find chickens playing hide and seek amongst the vegetation running alongside the beach. The end of Saturday finds us anchored in Little Dix Bay, Virgin Gorda, from where Scott heads off to Spanish Town to sort out permissions to go to Devil’s Bay whilst the idling holidaymakers indulge in delicious rum punches.
Sunday 13th February
Today’s adventures begin early as we arrive in Devil’s Bay at about 8:00am to walk through ‘The Baths’ – a fascinating area of mighty granite boulders which we wandered through, managing to completely ignore the most photographed part of The Baths, a cave where the colour of the sea is particularly beautiful – a point highlighted by a passing friendly American tourist.
Eagle-eyed Boo spotted a snake on the path down to The Baths. We return to the boat ready to move on to our next destination – Salt Bay, a much wilder, but equally beautiful beach where a short walk from the beach takes you to a Salt Pond. The afternoon found us heading for the island of Jost van Dyke, the highlights of this sail were the spotting of a turtle and Paula catching a Barracuda which was returned.
Jost van Dyke provided our first shopping opportunity, where the girls raided ‘Foxy’s’ for baseball hats and T shirts. Word on the street was that the partying was at Ivan’s that night – ignoring this vital tip the Boo Too after dinner party-goers felt duty bound to liven up Foxy’s Bar, ending yet another near perfect day in a very beautiful part of the world.
Monday 14th February
Happy Valentine’s Day! Ashleigh had even gone to the trouble of decorating the Valentine’s Breakfast Table with beautiful flowers. By mid-morning we could see on the horizon Little Jost van Dyke beside which is the perfect Robinson Crusoe island ‘Sandyspit’ – this was hastily claimed as Skenfrith (cartographers have been notified). Whilst Sandyspit was being claimed a diving party set off for the first dive of the trip – rather a shambolic start to the dive due to Kirsty not having dived for several years having problems with her mask and rapidly bailing out of continuing the dive, in the meantime Smasher broke one fin but carried on with just the other.
During lunch a huge Ray was seen jumping.
A 2-3 hour sail took the boat back to Virgin Gorda to Leverick Bay arriving after dark to a popular destination – en route James caught a Spanish Mackerel. Valentine’s dinner that night was a lively and delicious affair at the Leverick Bay Restaurant – a welcome break for the hardworking crew, and the place where Mike earned his nickname ‘Smasher’ after an incident with an empty bottle of wine close to the edge of a balcony……..! (he got it quite soon on the trip when James and I noticed he was smashing bottles off the deck!)
Catch of the day: James’s Spanish Mackerel
David’s Spanish Mackerel
Tuesday 15th February
This morning’s pre-breakfast swim is off Mosquito Island before we depart for Anegada.
Once again the day brings plenty of adventures – as we sail past Necker a car transporter comes alarmingly close to Boo Too – forcing Oliver to rapidly change tack – followed by several profuse apologies from the car transporter over the radio.
The three sunbathing belles at the bow were then distracted by the local Necker paparazzo trying to take shots from his RIB whilst managing to entangle himself in Boo Too’s fishing lines, not a popular move!
Arriving at Anegada curiosity takes us on a detour around the gin palace ‘A’, a $70,000,000 creation owned by a 30 -something year old Russian and described by Paula as an upturned ‘yoghurt pot.’
A walk along the beach at Anegada showed remnants of the damage done by Hurricane Earl which hit in October 2010. Anegada, where you find the Caribbean on one side and the Atlantic on the other, is a popular destination for lobster eaters.
Catch of the day: Tif’s Guppy or whatever it was
Wednesday 16th February
An action packed day for one and all. Boo and Paula set off with great excitement to go bone fishing in and among the beautiful mangroves, where Boo managed to catch a ‘King’ of a bone fish so large it broke her rod in two places. Meanwhile David, James and Kirsty set off, by bicycle, on a mission to swim in the Atlantic – this involved a 10 mile cycle ride in the heat of the day, David resembling a pack horse having been loaded up with 3 sets of fins masks and snorkels! There must be easier ways to see this beautiful island.
The afternoon found us sailing towards The Dogs, Great Dog being a particularly good snorkeling area. The boys did a quick dive recci around Cockroach Island an area Oliver remembered previously as a good site.
The evening entertainment was a hilarious game of charades – girls .v. boys.
Thursday 17th February
Whilst Oliver and Scott were diving everyone else went snorkeling along Great Dog – a breathtaking array of fish, coral and plant life. The divers didn’t return empty handed as Scott managed to catch a lobster tail (ssshhhh!!!).
Mid morning saw us departing for Norman Island, sailing past The Indians. Norman Island has a beautiful stony beach and the island itself is rich in vegetation.
At this point it has to be noted that it has taken a while but even David, by this stage of the holiday, was becoming accustomed to the familiar sight of Oliver at the stern of the boat performing his thorough (and thoroughlyentertaining) cleaning ritual – we bow to Captain Clean!
Catch of the day: David’s Tuna (later sashimi).
Friday 18th February
The last day’s sailing of the trip!
A small amount of housekeeping by everyone was required first thing as it had rained very heavily overnight drenching pretty much everything.
Oliver and Scott have their final dive off The Indians before we return to Sopers Hole, on the West end of Tortola. This particular journey was a wonderful opportunity to catch some beautiful house spotting on the islands – a huge cross section of the big and beautiful (and not-so beautiful). Lots of left hand drive SUVs driving on the left hand side of the road.
Ashleigh completely surpassed herself over lunch with a stunning banquet of seafood – how anyone is supposed to return to normality after the week we have just had is a complete mystery to me. Soper’s Hole provided another window of opportunity for a bit of retail therapy before our final party ashore. The venue for bar-b-q, live music and rum punches was The Jolly Roger, a lively and fun place to spend the last night of a truly incredible holiday.
Saturday 19th February - ! Our last morning aboard was not without incident, BooToo had a little bit of a scrape with some numbskull septics who wanted fishing hooks and managed to scrape down the side of the hull – Scott dealt with them!
Bye Bye Boo Too and Thank you.