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Sailing in the BVIs – Day 6: Passage to Jost Van Dyke

Today was the second longest sail of the trip. We sailed close to 30nm mostly downwind from the Bitter End to Great Harbor in Jost Van Dyke.

We woke up early and Yolanda and I had the boat ready to go before the rest of the crew woke up. We had to top off our water tanks before leaving and we were worried that there would be a line of boats trying to do the same in the early morning. We knew the dock opened at 8am so we decided to be at the dock before they open. That meant that it would be our first docking with no line handlers who could help. It would do just the two of us.

We went through the steps carefully: I would back the starboard stern corner (right back end) of the boat into the a specific area of the dock. Once the dock was touching the boat fenders, Yolanda would jump out and tie the stern line onto a dock cleat. Then I would put the port (left) engine in forward which would move the bow (front) of the boat towards the dock. Yolanda would then quickly walk on the dock towards the front of the boat, grab the bow line that was perfectly positioned for easy reach, and tie the bow line onto the dock cleat. It worked beautifully! We seemed like a well-oiled crew of two and we high fived to celebrate our first docking on our own.


Above: From the water/fuel dock we could see a yoga class aboard paddle boards. Like yoga is not hard enough on its own, lets do it on a moving floating piece of inflatable plastic. 

After toping up the water tanks and getting ice, we motored out of the North Sound and then started the long 4-5 hour sail downwind towards Jost Van Dyke. By then the crew had slowly woken up and they took their respective places relaxing and reading on the cockpit. We luckily had a completely uneventful sail with no squalls and no false “loss of steering” scares :-).


Above: On our way out of the North Sound we motored by this GunBoat. For our non sailor friends: The Gunboats are like the Ferrari of sailing catamarans, except slower and more overpriced. 🙂 Although I would not complain if I had to sail this 2.5 million dollars work-of-carbon-fiber-art. 

By mid afternoon we decided to make a quick stop on Sandy Cay.  This is a super cute and tiny island next to Jost Van Dyke with very few National Park Moorings. Luckily for us there were only a couple of boats so it was easy to pick up a mooring. The guidebook said to be careful about bringing the dinghy into shore, especially if there are any northerly swells. The waves may look deceivingly small from the boat but they are large enough to create some major dingy drama when trying to reach the beach. We didn’t see any waves and thought that it would be safe and easy to bring the dinghy to shore. Well safe it was but easy it was not. Let’s just say we looked like what you would see in the “before” section of a TV Infomercial for some product designed to bring your dinghy to shore without problems.


Above: Yolanda dancing on Sandy Cay.

After the short stop we decided we had enough sailing for one day and motored the last few minutes to Great Harbor in Jost Van Dyke. We were expecting that we would have to fight for a mooring, especially since we were arriving there relatively late, but once again the mooring field was relatively empty. We slowly began to realize that this week (the week before the Christmas week) is one of the slowest week of the shoulder season. I guess that is why it is priced as a low season by most charting companies.

At Great Harbor we did the only thing you could do if it was your first trip to the BVIs: have drinks at Foxy’s! This is a beachside bar and restaurant that probably leads most lists of “top ten beach bars” in the world. Foxy is an entertainer who opened this beach side bar some 40 years ago. He, and his bar, are legends in the cruising community and we were so happy we got to visit this bar during our first official “cruising” adventure – even if it was on a charter boat! So we finished the night drinking beers and cocktails and making new friends with other cruisers.

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