Sailing in the BVIs – Day 5: The Bitter End

We really have no idea where the name Bitter End comes from. There is really nothing bitter about this place. The “Heavenly End” would be more appropriate. 🙂

Day 5 was another mostly uneventful and super relaxing day. For the first time we were not in a rush in the morning so we woke up late, cooked some serious eggs (and vegan granola) for breakfast, and took our time before we motored for 10 minutes between Leverick Bay and The Bitter End Yacht Cub. The Bitter End is next to Saba Rock, and the mooring field for both places are almost merged. The dividing line is the channel connecting to the Eustatia Sound. We decided at the last minute to pick up a mooring in the Bitter End, which ended up being a mistake. We realized later that Saba Rock gives you 250 gallons of water and a 10# bag of ice for free with the mooring fee. The next morning we had to top off our tanks and get ice at the Bitter End, which added another $30 to the mooring bill, but gave us another chance to practice our docking skills :). So save some pennies, and moor directly at Saba Rock instead.

After picking up the mooring, we decided to take the dinghy to go snorkeling at Eustatia Island. We knew that the path to the island was narrow with multiple coral heads around. The guidebook recommended to take a dinghy instead of your yacht, which sounded pretty reasonable. The problem was that once we were in the sound with the dinghy we realized that only the entrance to the sound was marked and it was unclear what areas were safe for the dinghy outside the middle deep channel. We proceeded with caution and everything went fine until we were coming back when we had a near close encounter with the shoal that is north of Saba Rock. We tried to cut the corner too close when the water changed colors to light blue on the channel, which made us think we were approaching shallow waters. The shoal is well marked on the chart but if you are not familiar with the area you need to have your Navionics on on your iphone, or get bearings to know when it is safe to turn right.  So keep a 90M heading when going east on the south side of Eustatia Island and wait to start your turn when Saba Rock is at least at 235M or more to your starboard. Then make a wide turn towards the channel markers. I know this is over kill after you have been there once, but it is a good idea to keep these bearings in mind if you venture into the sound for the first time.

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Above: The safe dinghy route to return from Eustatia Island. 

Luckily nothing happened. We quickly realized we were in shallow waters and immediately got back to the deep channel. Lesson of the day: keep Navionics open on the Ipad even when on the dinghy when exploring a shallow sound!

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Above: Our crew member Ashley enjoying the sunset.

The snorkeling at the north side of Eustatia was actually a bit disappointing and probably not worth the dinghy ride there (we did manage to see a barracuda and a handful of really colorful fish, but that’s about it). Although maybe we were on the wrong area of the island. It also didn’t help that we had to anchor the dinghy in 10ft of water. The anchor held fine despite the strong wind and current, but this also meant that Nestor had to stay near the dinghy because he was anxious about the anchor holding. So it was not really a relaxing snorkeling outing, at least for Nestor.

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After snorkeling we went back to the Bitter End and sat on the beach while enjoying the amazing sunset. This is really one of our favorite spots of the entire trip. It is a close call between this and Cane Garden Cay!

Coming up on day 6: We finally have our first downwind sail to Jost Van Dyke and had drinks at Foxy’s!

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