The Catamaran Adventures of Noel and Ceu
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img_2891 dsc07805 mon9 Port Quarter

Tying the Knot in BVI after 9 Years

Current Location: Deshaies, Guadeloupe
Current Position: 16 18.65 N 061 47.38 W Click to view map.
Distance sailed since last post: 206 nautical miles. View the map of our voyage track here

June 1st.

It was nine years ago, today, that Ceu and I flew out from Vancouver to here, British Virgin Islands (BVI) to pick up Life Part 2 from out of charter and start our sailing adventures. Now, here we are again, tying the knot after nine years having sailed up and down the Caribbean Islands, through the Bahamas to Bermuda and the Azores, and into the Mediterranean Sea intending to spend a year there.

We stayed five.

Then, via Morrocco, the Canary Islands, The Gambia, the Cape Verde islands and Barbados we came back to the Caribbean. And so here we are.

But the BVI look quite different to 9 years ago, thanks to a brief visit by hurricane Irma. All the trees are gone. Many buildings are still wrecked, and the crowds have gone too – all the bays are so much quieter. The snorkelling, though, is just as good.

BVI 9 years ago

 

Now look at it!

Beautifully clear waters and lots of fish. This is a French Angelfish.

Today we depart for Saba. An overnight sail to a little rock 82 miles to windward. We were waiting for a weather window, but this is the best we can get – a long tack on Port, and then a shorter one on Starboard for an extra 20 miles of sailing over the direct rhumb line.

June 2nd.

We made it. Bashing to windward is not may favorite activity, but actually the waves were not too bad, and Life Part 2 rose and sailed over them instead of crashing into them.

Saba is cute, and it is a 250 meter vertical climb from the harbour to The Bottom. Never have we had to hike so high to get to the Bottom.

The whole island is like this!

But we did tear our mainsail. Middle of the night we had some gusts up to 30 kts apparent. The main was eased out to minimize pressure but, somehow, it ripped right across the middle, just below the second reef. So now, like it or not, we are down to 2 reefs.

Our poor mainsail – so now we are permanently on the 2nd reef

Now we can catch up on some sleep.

June 3rd.

Saba is delightful. Quaint. Quiet. Friendly. Just 1200 inhabitants. Fantastic hiking, including 1064 steps up to the highest peak. From the sea it looks like a big rock, but get inside and it is all lush tropical rain forest.

The Bottom, viewed from up on one of the hikes

The evening was spent drinking and eating cheese with some New Zealand / Hawaiian neighbours. Good times.

June 4th.

Zach the Hawaiian brought us a spiny lobster he had caught. That made a very nice meal after our long hike today, thank you very much.

Our Kiwi / Hawaiian neighbours coming over for beers and bearing gifts of lobster

June 5th.

Time to leave again. The new Antal rope stoppers have been chewing through our brand new jib sheets, which is totally unacceptable. I see in the Island Water World that they have the Lewmar D2 stoppers that can handle our fat (14mm) jib sheets. So we are going back to St. Martin to buy and fit a pair of those.

And guess what? The Hawaiians beat us to it. They left Saba about 10 minutes begore us, but arrived at least an hour ahead of us. Well, having a 54ft monohull and full sails does give them an advantage over our half sail. Especially in light winds.

Still lots of debris from hurricane Irma two years ago – in Simpson Lagoon.

But the beaches and anchorage are still nice, and the restaurants in Grande Case are awesome. – the gastronomic center

June 7th.

New rope stoppers are fitted. Time to head south again. This time to St. Eustatius (Statia). We anchored outside the town with our yellow flag up, and walked ashore for a brief visit of the town. Looks like a cross between St. Pierre (Martinique) with all the 18th century ruins, and Saba with the cute town. The yellow flag means that we have not yet been granted ‘pratique’ – ie clearance to enter the country. So, technically we are not allowed to step onto land until we have done so. But we arrived after 16:00 hrs, when customs was closed, and left before 08:00 hrs when they open.

All these islands have a big volcano stuck in the middle of them, usually with a cloud permanently perched on top. All very dramatic.

Statia ahead

June 8th.

Onwards and southwards. Another 36 mile day trip, this time to St. Kitts. With stronger winds our 2 reefs were just right, so we made good time AND caught a small Bonito. Just right for two meals. A bumpy beat, however, as the wind is still from the SE – just the direction we are heading.

Again a quick yellow flag overnight stop. Some nice snorkelling though – saw and octupus, who quickly hid himself in a tiny rock crack, and a fleet of reef squid. Did you know that squid can travel in both directions? Tentacles in front or behind, seems to make no difference to them. Sometimes you see some of them pointing one way and the others pointing the other way, while they all swim in the same direction.

June 9th.

The wind does not seem to have swung around to the East as it was supposed to, so it was another beat to Montserrat – we sailed 60 miles to cover 40 miles rhumb line. Got to Montserrat just as the sun was setting. Another long day – but we did catch TWO fish – both bonitos, though we are not quite so sure on the second one.

June 10th

We set off early, around the north end of Montserrat. After a couple of tacks we cleared the windward side, sailed past the huge ash fields from the last volcanic eruption in 2015. Then we had a straight long tack all the way to Des Haies in Guadeloup. 40 miles and we arrived at 4pm – only to find everything shut as it is Whit Monday.

No fish caught today.

June 11th.

Sailed down the leeward side of Guadeloupe and then onwards to Isle des Saintes. That last big was a very slow beat with a lot of current against us – but we did catch FOUR mahi mahi – though one got away. Makes up for the slow passage.

We will spend one night here, and then press onwards again – always onwards and southwards.

 

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