Back to the BVI’s
After a far-too-short stay in St John, we headed back to the BVI’s. The plan, insofar as much as it existed, was to hit up a couple of the anchorages we had so far missed out on before heading up to the airport to pick up our friend Shiner. We hadn’t expected company, but when our friends Bo and Alison on Salah almost T-boned us trying to get our attention coming into West End (after several failed radio attempts), our plans suddenly became a lot more fluid.
After clearing back into the BVI’s, we followed Salah to White Bay on Jost Van Dyke. They assured us that there was plenty of room to anchor, but upon entering the narrow strip between the beach and the reef, we had to conclude that our idea of room and theirs were perhaps two different things. It was packed. I’ve never seen so many boats jammed into such a small space, ever. We circled a couple of times but, getting freaked out by the close proximity to lots of boats, both stationary and manoeuvring within the tiny confines of the anchorage, we decided to bail. Just as we were about to exit the channel, a mooring buoy became available, which we picked up without hesitation.
The original Painkiller
Ever heard of a cocktail called a Painkiller? I bet if you’ve ever been to the BVI’s you have- if not, probably not so much. It’s a concoction of rum (of course), pineapple, orange, coconut milk and nutmeg. It’s utterly delicious, and not unlike a pina colada. It was invented at the Soggy Dollar Bar in Jost Van Dyke, so named because everyone jumps off their boats with their money in their pockets (or secreted away… somewhere else) and the dollars become, well, soggy.
Sitting at the Soggy Dollar sipping on a Painkiller is a right of passage for anyone cruising the BVI’s. Unfortunately, no-one mentions the mayhem one has to endure in order to enjoy this privilege. We met up with Mike and Gena from Firebird and Ken from Sunshine on the beach and had a drink. Or two. The painkillers were indeed very good, although the mango one was actually better than the original as far as I was concerned. If it weren’t for the thousand or so tourists belonging to day boats also knocking back the Painkillers, I might have found the experience very pleasant. As it was, it just felt like I was on schoolies: loads of young, sunburned and drunk Americans took over the beach and it really detracted from what was actually a stunning stretch of white sand with bright blue sea and swaying palm trees. Luckily the crowds departed with their day boats around 5pm, after which a sense of welcome calm descended on the anchorage… at which point the real party gets started!
Private Full Moon Party
Mike and Gena, possibly the most welcoming and generous couple ever, invited us- along with what felt like every other boat in the anchorage- over for a full moon potluck grill BBQ party… thing. We arrived with enough food to feed a small army, as did everyone else, and before long I was munching away on the best BBQ’d pork tenderloin and steak fillet I’ve had for a very, very long time, as well as an awesome array of carby, cheesy sides of various descriptions. These Americans can cook! For once Nick was actually outdone in the culinary department, although he didn’t seem too unhappy about it. He was enjoying the awesome food as much as I was.
After several Dark and Stormy’s Bo and Alison decided the time had come for them to step up their involvement in our film-making. We headed to the flybridge- a spacious seating area as large as our cockpit. Nick, Alison and I were full of giggles, all “What should we do? What would be funny? What should we talk about?” However, Bo suddenly transformed into AN ACTUAL TALKSHOW HOST and left Nick and I gaping at his professionalism and ease in front of the camera. Guys. You need to start your own YouTube channel.
Off to the Bubbly Pool!
Tired of the unrelenting crowds, we headed over to Little Jost Van Dyke, home to the famous Bubbly Pool. Now, maybe we got it on a particularly non-bubbly day (we did; the swell was tiny) but it wasn’t quite as bubbly as I’d expected. It was a rock pool with a tiny opening where the waves could enter, filling it up and causing a bubbling effect like a glass of recently poured champagne. Expect perhaps not quite as satisfying. Nonetheless we had a refreshing dip and the hike to get to the pool and back was pleasant with some nice views of the anchorage.
Because our lives had suddenly turned into a non-stop party, we were soon joined by Freebird, Sunshine and Dave and Renne from Alegria. We were also thrilled to spot Kwanza in the anchorage and made sure they got the memo to head to the beach bar for sundowners. Not that they need any encouraging.
Our final night together was spent at the B-Line Bar, a cute little shack on the beach with a great view over the anchorage with Tortola and the USVI’s in the background. Not to mention awesomely fast wifi (which is what I’m using to write this blog, incidentally). We had had such an amazing few days with all these new friends and it was sad to say goodbye- but we had a friend to pick up and then a passage to the Turks and Caicos to do and suddenly our time in the BVI’s had come to an end.
Spoiler alert: things did not go as planned for our crossing to the Bahama bank, but I’ll fill you in on that next week!