And no, I'm not talking about the up and down, on and off hockey that the Vancouver Canucks are playing in the final. Yesterday was a real roller coaster of a day for us.
We started the day by saying good-by to our new friends on Jaru. We only had a short time with them but we sure enjoyed their company and hope to see them again some day (good luck with the bears this summer Cedar). These thoughts of parting brought on thoughts of how close we were to the end of this part of our adventure. We should be off the boat and on the road in 3 weeks. Yikes! We pulled away from our mooring with heavy hearts and even contemplated just leaving to the Bahamas right away. Reason prevailed and we turned east and into the British Virgin Islands (we just couldn't come this close and not see them).
The Virgins really are beautiful islands and we had a fantastic morning sail beating up Drake Passage to Road Harbor Tortola. The sea was flat, current was in our favor, there was enough wind to get us really moving at times and there were dozens of other boats out. Sailing doesn't get much better than this. We got to Road Harbor around 2pm but, as we feared from looking at the guide book, it's not the kind of place that we like to spend any time. The harbour is choked with marinas, dodgy mooring balls, cruise ship docks and ferries with no good place to anchor. We've had our fill of marinas (and have exhausted our marina budget for a while) so we turned around and motored as fast as we could to Virgin Gorda to get there before dark.
Virgin Gorda is *the* island of the BVIs that we really didn't want to miss. With the Baths, Gorda Sound and several other sweet spots we've learned about there are just so many nice anchorages and beaches and pretty shorelines. There are certainly more charter boats here than the USVIs. I don't think we'd really like being here in peak season, but things are still slow and the people pleasant. If we were to ever charter a boat here for a vacation I'd seriously consider coming at this time of year to avoid the crowds, get better rates and get some of the best sailing conditions all year (no north swell and the trades are tame and not howling).
Then, the last curve of the coaster ride. Once we anchored just off Spanish Town, we managed to make the most tenuous of wifi connection to shore and found out that our friends on s/v Bliss had departed St. Martin that day and were headed to the VIs and were hoping we were still there! We sure hope that we can meet up with them before we leave.
The weather window that opened on Saturday still looks good for our Bahamas trip. The wind is picking up and still going in the right direction. The hurricane forecasters are predicting that this spell of unfavourable (for hurricane development - IOW, favourable for us) conditions will last at least a week. Seas will be building all week but shouldn't get more than 6 - 8 feet on average (which means we can expect individual waves to be double that from time to time) which is manageable. Most of the trip is over very deep water and wind and current are both going the same way so the waves shouldn't get too steep until we get close to the Bahamas. There we'll have to pay attention and pick our way in with care.