This is days 4 and 5 of my trip journal of sailing for a week in the British Virgin Islands. For an introduction and day 1, please click here.
Days 4 and 5: Hat’s off to the Virgin Gorda
Sailing to Virgin Gorda today, we had an unfortunate casualty. My mother’s Tilley hat flew overboard. It didn’t sink (because Tilley hats don’t sink). So we decided to do a “hat overboard” drill and attempt a rescue mission. Ultimately, it proved to be too difficult a challenge. But it was interesting how easy it was to spot the hat, multiple times. The problem was lining the boat up to be able to reach the hat, and when we did get close enough, the strings of the neck strap were underneath, so I couldn’t get a good grip on it with the boat hook. (Yup, that’s the excuse that I’m going with…)
It was a good learning experience. Next time, I think we would just motor instead of trying to sail, and definitely bring in the jib, if feasible. We made a real mess of the lines, and my Dad got rope burnt trying to sort them out after our failed rescue attempt. Also, my Dad insisted on wearing a harness that tied him to the boat for the rest of the trip because he was so unimpressed with us. Not a lifejacket though because those are “uncomfortable”.*
We moored for two nights at Saba Rock at Virgin Gorda. This time, the mooring buoy didn’t have anything to catch onto with the boat hook, and we decided to be stubborn instead of sensible. In a vain attempt to pick up the buoy, we ended up breaking our boat hook. The boyfriend had to go for a swim in order to retrieve part of our broken hook, and help us to finally get onto the buoy. Our neighbours must have thought were pretty special.
I have a theory as to why we keep getting bad mooring buoys. My father always looks for the “best” location. Here at Saba Rock, it was the only buoy not taken that was more sheltered. And hindsight being 20/20, it wasn’t taken because it was broken… Like I’ve said before, failing at mooring buoys was a theme of this trip.
We stayed at Saba Rock for two days. When not exploring secluded nearby beaches, we spent a lot of time searching for sea turtles. We seemed to be in a bit of a hot-spot for them, and in one afternoon, the boyfriend and I saw them surface just a couple of meters off of the bow 5 or 6 times. Sea turtles and “flying stingrays”. I’m not sure if “flying stingrays” is the right name, but whatever they were, they looked a lot like stingrays, and would jump out of the water (delighting us and terrifying my mother). I am overwhelmed with the natural wildlife in BVI.
*Like I said in an earlier journal entry, my parents’ fancy, comfortable lifejackets had been confiscated at the airport, delaying their plane by an hour…