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British Virgin Islands 1997 Ahhhhh, the summer of 1997. Well, we finally did it. I have been wanting to bareboat in the Caribbean for a long time. We met some really neat sailors from Big Water Sailing Club--our sister sailing club on Hartwell Lake. Thad invited us to lease a boat, get a crew, and go with them to Tortola, BVI and charter with the Moorings. Great idea! Lynne and I invited two couples to join us.....Lee and Joyce, Jay and Tanya, and Lynne and I decided to take the voyage. We started planning around the first of the year. Thad had a crew of seven for a Beneteau 505, Lynne and I chartered a Beneteau 445, and Jim and Lena chartered a Beneteau 405 for their crew of three. Thad and his crew have been taking the trip for many years, so they put together a "tentative" itinerary. Although we did not sail together all of the time, we met for diving, snorkeling, and for the evening anchorage/mooring. It was a wonderful time. Actually everyone seemed to get along...(lol). Below are some photos from the trip. I couldn't get the 3 hours of video on the web. (grin) Thad...thanks a lot for inviting us! I couldn't begin to tell *everyone* how great a trip it was.....perfect!

We spent a total of 11 days. First night on St. Thomas...then to Tortola for night two. We enjoyed lunch at Pussers Co. Store & Pub That is Lynne and I standing in front. Is this an omen?....a rainbow appeared as we were leaving St. Thomas. Day three found us eager to go to the orientation and then to our 445 (well, it was ours for a week). One thing for sure....a week isn't long enough....but, how much time *is* long enough.....few years? Couple of decades?

Armed with an ample supply of Jimmy Buffett tapes, a new GPS, a new VHF handheld, and a new 8mm camcorder....we were off. Ok, so I was in the dog house for a while... gosh, a boy and his toys! Give me a break!

Here we go:

  • Wandering Eye,our s/v for a week, ready for provisioning at the dock.
  • Big Easy, Jim, Lena and crew led the way from the dock.
  • Great Escape the 505 nearly ready....I don't know how they got that van on the boat......(grin)
  • A beautiful sunset welcomed the evening, as we anchored at Benure's Bay, Norman Island. Directly below the setting sun are the Indians, a rock formation, and to the right of the Indians is Pelican Island.
  • The Caves, as viewed from the boat.....is there really treasure in there? We really enjoyed snorkeling at the caves. Brain coral, small jellyfish, many fish, and coral were treasures that we observed while snorkeling. Oh...here's another photo of the colorful fish.
  • The Indians are interesting rock formations, emerging from the ocean. Another view, a little closer up. This was the site of the first dive.
  • Lee adjusts the sails for a reach to West End. While there we fill the airtanks and have lunch. Then it is off to Jost Van Dyke to anchor, have a balloon fight with the Great Escape and relax a while. The Big Easy's Orin, is pictured here talking to Foxy.....we had dinner that evening at Foxy's. On the left (port) side of the photo are Lee, Jay and Tanya (end of table) and on the right side are Joyce (front), Mel (me) and Lynne.

    The following day we headed to Sandy Cay, Cane Garden Bay, and on to Marina Cay for the evening. Lynne took this nifty photo of the US Flag shown through the Bimini....that ole gal looks great anytime! (ole gal refers to the Flag, not Lynne). We had a great time at Sandy Cay. Here is The Wandering Eye, our boat, peacefully at anchor. Several shots of Sandy Cay: Sandy Cay #1, Sandy Cay #2, and Sandy Cay #3. Sandy Cay #3 shows a closer shot of a path leading to the North side of the island...take that path and snorkel around the eastern side of the island. The current will take you back toward the anchorage. This is a photo of some coral...Jay took this photo of Lynne and I snorkeling.....that guy can dive like a fish!!

    Well, off we go to Marina Cay....neat place where we spent the evening, had a great dinner, replenished the water and ice and did our third dive the following morning. Here is a photo of Marina Cay in the distance. Lynne is all smiles....must have had a good evening. (grin) Photo of Wandering Eye at the dock....water, ice, and a little chart work before we head to George Dog for a dive. Ok gang....just one more photo before we cast off. This is the only photo that we have while SCUBA diving. That's Jay in front and me not far behind! Thanks to Karen for the photo. I think that it was taken on a dive at George Dog. This dive site is a must see!

    Now, to Virgin Gorda sound, entering from the west....to spend two nights at the Bitter End. A tropical wave is scheduled to bring some rain etc. for the next 24-48 hours. It rained a little, but was "no problem, mon" for this crew! We get underway and Lynne and I relax. This is a photo of the Bitter End from the harbor and a close up of the Bitter End Yacht Club.

    Now....let's hear a drum roll........here is a photo of the Western Carolina Sailing Club Burgee over the (where else) bar! Tadaaaaaaa! It is the blue burgee, just to the right of center.

    We kicked back a little and enjoyed Virgin Gorda. A few of us did another SCUBA dive (#3) near Mountain Point...others went shopping, hiking, etc. Nice place to spend a little more time (as well as let the tropical wave pass). Here's a couple of photos on the boat. I guess we need another drum roll.....on Monday morning at precisely 8:00am, I exited the salon, looked over Gorda Sound and saw...you guessed it.... another rainbow. Yikes....isn't that how Monday's are supposed to start off!!

    Time to head back around the islands. We'll head down Virgin Gorda to the Baths. Of course, we got a little rain. The ladies enjoyed staying below, while us crazy guys stayed in the rain. I know! I know! These women *always* outsmart us guys...they just enjoy letting us think that we are smart.

    Our next stop is the Baths at the SW end of Virgin Gorda. These huge granite boulders, stacked so precariously, are not indigenous to the area. Wonder how such massive pieces of rock got there??

  • Baths viewed from the boat
  • Another photo of the Baths from Wandering Eye
  • The Beach area
  • Entrance to the "path"...up, around, etc. the rock
  • Beautiful pool (Devil's Bay) at the "end" of the trail.

    Now....onward to Cooper Island where we will spend the night and do our 4th SCUBA dive. One thing that I failed to mention....The Big Easy experienced transmission trouble and was out of commission for a couple of days. They rejoined the group at Cooper Island Beach Club. Now that all of the group was together, we really told some lies! Table One and Table Two really enjoyed themselves. Don't use the restroom.....view this, if you have the courage. The sunset from Cooper Island was super!

    One more day and night......it was time for the 5th and final dive of the trip which was the "Wreck of the Rhone." Then we simply sailed aimlessly and enjoyed the remainder of the day....until.....until....no, no, no...the last night and *I*.....*moi* have KP (clean the galley!) I tried to stay busy after each meal...you know. ..out of sight, out of mind...drat they are on to me....there's gotta be some way to get out of this. OK, Lee....if I'm going down...you are going with me... Caught..(Lee on left, Mel on right).....drat again, the women got me again!

    Final Day....Got to get the boat back by noon......let's see... gotta really time this one well... where are the charts....Jay....chart and GPS at hand..... We reached the dock at the Moorings at 11:45 am....where could we have gone wrong. (Hahahahahaha!!!!) I could really get into this lifestyle...it's just that uh...money thing. Oh, what a short week. It was great....we had a blast. Here we are for our final group photo on the boat... with the WCSC burgee, of course! Now Lynne and I are on our way back to reality....what a bummer.....

    That was a super vacation.....not as exciting as 1996....well, have you heard about our date with Hurricane Bertha! Isn't life full of ......surprises.

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