We woke up to a 3:30am rainshower and had to close all of the hatches. Luckily it passed quickly and were able to reopen them for ventilation.
In the morning, Lori spotted a turtle swimming by us. Then we had a light snack we moored over to the Caves for some more snorkeling.
No wind at all, so we will be motoring all day. Circled around the Willy T at its new (original) home in The Bight on Norman Island.
Motored over to the Indians for a wonderful first SCUBA dive. Lori stayed on the boat and weathered out the rains while Eric and I were underwater. Once we returned, Lori did some snorkeling and even swam with a turtle! Her words on returning were “World Class Snorkeling!”
There was a quick dinghy practice before we headed to Kay Bay on Peter Island to drop anchor near the newly sunk Willy T (the one that was damaged by Hurricanes Irma and Maria) for another wonderful night on the hook.
We started the day with an island rainshower just before the orientation @ 9am. As expected there were a couple of items that needed to be fixed before we set sail. Captain Morgan came to our rescue and showed us where everything is on the boat and made sure things were fixed.
After a wonderful breakfast at the French Deli we picked up some beer and wine for our after SCUBA beverages.
Dropping a light in the water at sunset ensured that we had a lot of fish action around the back of the boat, mostly yellow fin tuna.
We left the Sunsail base around 3:30 and slowly made our way to Norman Island for an exceptional snorkel at the Caves!
Oof, I hate these 5:30 departures from ABIA. in order to get to the airport 2 hours before my flight I had to leave Ripple @ 2:45am. Caught up with Eric in St. Thomas and had a wonderful stuffed lobster at the Green House and won $3 at the slot machines! Lori met us at the ferry landing and we took the 4:15 to Road Town.
We arrived at the Sunsail base at 6 and walked straight onto Ananda, a Jenneau Sun Odyssey 479 (47′ monohull sailboat) that will be our home for the duration.
After putting our luggage away, we wandered over to the Rite Way to provision the boat. That took about 2 hours to shop and stow all the groceries securely.
Once the boat was shipshape we made our obligatory trip to Pussers for a painkiller. Sleep came early and deep!
My duffle bag is filled to capacity with SCUBA gear and supplies for PAWS, the local BVI Animal Rescue group. With the exception of a tropical wave off the coast of Africa near the Cape Verde Islands all of the weather seems to be moving away from the BVI. We’re hoping this means that we will have some optimal weather for sailing, SCUBA, and snorkeling next week! Going to try to catch a few hours of sleep before I leave for the airport at 2:45am.
We have been watching the weather closely, and current indications show all of the storms moving away from the Virgin Islands, so it looks like this trip is a go! It’s time to load up the suitcase and find a ride to the airport. I’m filling all of the extra space in my suitcase with carriers for the local animal shelter, PAWS. They use these carriers to transport animals back to the States for adoption.
My heart it’s what everyone in the Bahamas and also In Harm’s Way that are being devastated by Hurricane Dorian. Please do what you can to help these people recover.
Dorian passed over the Virgin Islands stronger than expected as a Category 1 hurricane. While every storm presents danger, this was relatively mild by hurricane standards, and the Virgin Islands made it through with minor damage.
My thoughts are with anyone in harms way of this now MAJOR storm. If you are in the path of Hurricane Dorian EVACUATE NOW before it’s too late!
The concerns to our trip at present are: 1> Hurricane Dorian causing the Miami airport to close preventing us from travelling to the BVI and 2> the disturbance forming off the coast of Africa in the Eastern Atlantic
We will be watching both of these events closely before we board an airplane and head south to the islands.
Dorian has become a hurricane today, blasting the BVI with sustained winds of 85mph, and gusts to 110mph. Our current plan is to wait until things settle down in the BVI and see how bad the conditions are on Thursday or Friday before making any decisions on our upcoming travel plans. At present it appears that the eye of Hurricanee Dorian has passed over to the north side of Puerto Rico and the weather should begin easing soon. This is still a very dangerous time and I suspect that there will be damage My only hope is that there will be no loss of life and that damage to property will be minimal. My thoughts are with anyone in harms way during this stressful and dangerous time.
Both the US and British Virgin Islands were devastated by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September of 2017. After the storms had passed, a considerable amount of work was needed to infrastructure such as the docks and roads BEFORE the monumental task of restoring power and rebuilding the islands could begin.
Here’s what we saw while we were down there:
Progress is happening much faster on the larger islands. It appears that the supply path is Puerto Rico > St. Thomas > Tortola > outlying islands such as Anegada, Jost Van Dyke, Virgin Gorda, Peter, Cooper, Norman….. As a result supplies are slowly making way down the chain if at all. I met a man on Jost Van Dyke that gave up on waiting and made his own doors in order to reopen the first of his bed and breakfast rooms. Many people are still living in tents, and storm damage is still evident EVERYWHERE.
Having said that, rebuilding IS occurring, the cruise ship dock is back in service in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas and the Road Town, Tortola cruise ship dock is expected to welcome their first ship in November or December of 2018.
On Tortola, the yacht charter business was booming, with boats being brought back into service as we watched. Masts were being stepped, rigging and lifelines were being replaced, vessels were being either restored or scrapped for parts in a push to get things back in gear.
Many of the major resorts are 1-2-5 years out from reopening (if at all.) This impacts everyone on the islands as so much of the work is related to the service industry.
The people that we met were as friendly as we could have expected, everyone was happy to see us on the Islands knowing how vital the tourist dollars are to the economy.
What it boils down to is that spirits are up and the people of the Virgin Islands are working hard to rebuild. If you have ever thought about visiting the Virgins, book your trip NOW. Things are looking better every day, and more than ever before, they could REALLY use your business!
Morning found us wandering around Main Street in Charlotte Amalie window shopping diamonds, gold, platinum, precious stones and expensive watches. Lots of pretty shiny things which were all WAY over our price range.
Back to the hotel for more packing and a cab ride to the airport for our flights back to the mainland.
Lots of packing and a quick trip to the ferry landing, since we were early we hopped into a taxi and took a ride around the island and up into the hills. It was really nice to see the views from the tops of the mountains, and all of the rebuilding that was in progress.
A quick ~45 minute ferry ride later, we were in Charlotte Amalie and walked over to the Bunker Hill Hotel. Since it was Sunday most everything was closed so we hit the street market then the Green House for some Bang Bang Calamari for lunch. While there we popped into the back room where they have ~12 slot machines. 30 minutes later, I was the big winner with a $32 jackpot. This put us up $7.50 and we decided that it was time to quit while we were still winners.
Dinner was at the Pie Hole again, good Belgian ales and a great linguine alfredo with shrimp.