26 January 2011

Sailing to Fallen Jerusalem, BVI Day 8/10

Today we set sail for the tiny, uninhabited island of Fallen Jerusalem. This is quickly becoming one of my favorite stops in the British Virgin Islands. Underway, we pass a 390 foot long mega yacht with a giant letter "A" on its stern. We call this boat the "S.S. Hester Prynne" or simply the "Big A Boat". Its anchored off the Baths, and launches one of its three onboard 30 foot tenders to go exploring. Turns out it belongs to Russian billionaire Andrey Milinchenko.
We reach North Lee Bay on Fallen Jerusalem and pick up one of the two moorings. Then we take the dinghy in to shore to explore and take pictures of this beautiful anchorage.
I'd heard that one of the coves along this island has a large number of conch shells, and planned to spend several hours exploring all the way around the shore of the island.  
My first stop was to climb above the enormous boulders along the beach and shoot pictures. I'd hoped to be able to climb to the top of the island, but the foliage is so thick it would be impossible.
The crew spread out along the beach, everyone enjoying the sun and solitude on this remote stretch of Caribbean sand. The weather is absolutely perfect, gentle trade winds, 85 F air, sunny with a few beautiful clouds drifting past.
As the girls were relaxing on the beach, I noticed a slight change in the waves along the beach. The swells were starting to build out of the north again today, and I could see that soon it would be difficult to get back to the boat.
 By the time we got everyone back to the dinghy and I got my camera gear stowed, the waves were coming into the beach about 2-3 feet high, which was a challenge for the dinghy.  Fortunately the period was about 8 seconds, so we would have barely enough time to get the dinghy pushed out on an outgoing wave before the next one crested.
Unfortunately with the waves breaking on the beach, there was a lot of sand in the water along the shore, so we couldn't start the dinghy motor until we were about 15-20 feet out from shore, otherwise the impeller would suck in sand.  Randall volunteered to push us all out in the dinghy, where it would be my job to hurry and start the motor, then circle around just outside the breaking waves while he swam out.  We waited for a break between sets, then hurried to push the dinghy out and jump on board.  As soon as we were in clear water, I started the motor.  The plan worked perfectly, and a few minutes later we were pulling up behind the sailboat, preparing for an afternoon sail to Great Harbour on Peter Island.


  1. "SS Hester Prynne" - I just got that one. Hilarious!

  2. Fantastic pictures on Fallen Jerusalem. I've been trying to talk my wife into trying bareboat chartering for a couple years now, and these photos did it. We are looking at dates in December. Thanks!!

  3. Large number of conch shells doesn't even begin to describe it.

    Graveyard of all the conch of the BVI is more like it. First time we spotted them, I kept an eye out for the sea monster that ate them all and was disposing of them there!