Saturday, March 25, 2023

Antigua & The Virgin Islands

 We are finally catching up (in the blog) to where we currently are right now… The Virgin Islands.  We didn’t know this, but there are British, US AND Spanish Virgin Islands (the latter are part of Puerto Rico).

After we left Guadeloupe, we headed due north to Antigua, which had a very British vibe to it.  We had to say goodbye to some close friends that we have loved traveling with over the past few months.  James, Kathy, Max & Bea aboard “Luna” have ended their boating adventure in Antigua and plan to travel around Central and North America before heading home to the UK in the summer. Simon, Penny, Oscar & Skye aboard “Starry Knight” were slowing their progress north because they aren’t heading to the USA as we are.  They will go back south for Hurricane Season.

We had so much fun with all of them. Here Officer Micah has Pirate Max prisoner at Nelson’s Dockyard, on Antigua.

Nelson’s Dockyard was a very interesting British Naval Outpost which was established in the 1700’s to protect England’s Caribbean interests.  The site is extremely well fortified and preserved with a great museum. 

The dockyard is still active today and has a marina, sail loft and lots of interesting things going on. Aria & Micah got along really well with Max & Bea which made traveling together so fun!

At the marina in Jolly Harbour, Antigua, Micah got to go up the mast to help with some lines that are led up there. 

Unfortunately, the time had come when we had to say goodbye to all of our amazing friends from “Luna” & “Starry Knight”. Until next time!

Next, we did a 48 hour sail to the British Virgin Islands. We checked in at Soper’s Hole and headed to the north side of Tortola where we found some surf!  This is Cane Garden Bay, but we couldn’t stay there because the anchorage didn’t feel very secure.  We headed further around the coast and found an amazing, quiet bay with perfect 2 foot waves. Stu caught a few nice waves on the inflatable SUP!

The bay with nice, small surf was called Long Bay, and the beach had a sign pointing to Tofino. 

We stopped in Road Harbour for the day and found a wonderful bookstore (and got really, really close to a moving cruise ship!).

Next, we sailed over to Norman Island (everything is super close in the BVIs), and went to a floating restaurant/pirate ship called Willy T’s.  Aria & Stu jumped off the back of the restaurant many, many times. 

Around the corner from this anchorage were some breathtaking caves that we snorkelled into

The life around the reefs down in the Caribbean continually blows us away. Here is a video of some really cool needle fish. 

We are starting to feel a bit of pressure to push northwest towards the Bahamas, so we moved onto the US Virgin Islands after only 5 days in the BVIs.  The USVIs have a very different feel, but we enjoyed them a lot. We anchored in the main harbour of Charlotte Amalie, the city on St. Thomas. There is quite a bit of pirate history here and we dove right into it.  There was a great pirate museum in town. 

We checked out Blackbeards Castle which was originally built by the Danish in the 1600s, but later used by the famous pirate as a lookout. 

It rained really hard one day and gave the boat a good rinse. The rainbow at then end of the storm was spectacular!

Before we arrived in Charlotte Amalie, we had been in contact with another kid boat on a WhatsApp Group especially for connecting kids.  They also had 2 girls, 13 and 8 years old. Our kids became fast friends and hung out together a lot while we were there. This life on boats is so interesting that way… total strangers can quickly become friends with so little effort because you already share similar interests. 

Today we sailed over to Culebra, one of the Spanish Virgin Islands.  We will stick around here for a few days before heading to San Juan, Puerto Rico.  There was a low bridge in the dinghy channel and Aria decided to grab the rope swing hanging off of it. 

We are really looking forward to getting back out to sea and doing more overnight passages to the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas.  We will then make our way slowly north through the Bahamas and really savour those amazing Islands and Cays. 

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