After a short rest at the BVI Yacht Charters’ marina at Port Purcell my friend Ergin I spent a week, sailing in the Sir Francis Drake channel, zigzagging among the surrounding islands, visiting picturesque anchorages, all the tourist spots of the BVI and enjoying ourselves in the sun between summer showers and thunderstorms.
Our first sortie was a short trip over to Norman Island, passing by the “Indians” a few peculiar rocks, visiting the “Caves” and spending the night at the Bight, a protected cove at the west end of the island.
The next morning we set out to go up to the eastern tip of Virgin Gorda to see the Baths, and then spend a night at Spanish Town. Well by 10 o’clock winds had picked up to 20 knots and gusting to 25 knots during storms, all coming from the direction that we wanted to go. The channel was filled with white caps, and sailing was not fun anymore. We were not up to a bumpy motor ride either after our recent 13hr crossing. So, we decided to take refuge at the east end of Tortola, at Trellis Bay instead.
Early next morning we motored across to the “Baths” where we spent most of the morning, visiting the Devil’s Bay after an “adventure” walk through the pathway among giant granite boulders where the sea washes in between forming unusual caves and ponds. We explored every crevice, every hole and every little pond that lay on our path. On the back track we had become such experienced explorers, so that we became tour guides to the “tourists” who had landed at the Devil’s Bay and were trying to find their way to the entrance of the “Baths”, where a small souvenir shop and a snack bar called “the Poor Man’s Bar” were located. The price of beer at the bar did not reflect the namesake, however.
In early afternoon we set sail to go to the North Sound (also called Gorda Sound) to spend the night there. Again the wind direction was not favourable and we would not make it to the safe harbour on time if we spent a lot of time tacking. We entered the North Sound through a narrow passage between reefs after rounding the Mosquito Island and the dangerous Mosquito Rock. We settled for the night at a mooring at the beautiful Bitter End Yacht Club.
It was a perfect sailing weather the next day. 15-18 knot south easterly winds, fairly calm seas in the channel (2ft waves with no white caps) and 8-9 miles to go back to Rod Town, most of which we did in one long tack and finished the course with a final starboard tack right into the harbour.
A few pictures below will tell part of the story of this wonderful week.