22 January 2011

Sandy Cay, BVI Day 4/10

Michelle had harbored a secret desire to go on a cruise this trip instead of sailing. She only acquiesced to a sailing trip because, well, I'm not sure why.  But this morning Randall and I were up early and decided to treat the girls to cruise ship service by sailing the boat to its next destination while they slept.

It was a one hour trip across to Sandy Cay, where we were early enough to grab one of the few mooring balls off the shore.  When the girls awoke, they were treated with a great view of tiny, uninhabited, palm lined, Sandy Cay's beach as it was just being kissed by the morning sun's first rays.  

We thought briefly about giving them the complete cruise ship treatment by making them line up for the ride to shore, wait in long lines at the island, and charging them $50 each for the excursion, and then demanding tips afterwards, but we didn't.  These are very lucky women that married such great guys.

With winds still out of the southeast, Sandy Cay was a little rolly.  So we had a quick breakfast of yogurt and fruit, then took the dinghy in to explore the island.  

On shore, we pulled the dinghy far enough up the beach that it wouldn't be in the waves, then we took the dinghy anchor and buried it in the sand for good measure.  And I even had the foresight to tie the anchor's rode to the dinghy, I seemed to remember reading that advice somewhere.

We started walking around the island along the beach, until we came to the cliffs on the southeast side.  We then cut up into the trees and found a beautiful trail that slipped serenely along the island's thickly forested interior, passing through tunnels of overgrown branches.  At the far side of the island, the path rose up and over the cliffs on the east end.  The cliffs here have a greenish tint to them due to traces of copper.  The island is owned by the Rockefeller estate and is being handed over to the BVI National Parks Trust for ownership and management.

The island's east rise gives a great view across the island to the west.  The palms along the shore partially hide our sailboat anchored off the beach.  It was somewhat cloudy when we hiked past, so when the sun peaked out 20 minutes later I ran back up the hill to re-take the pictures from the hilltop.

There are several species of birds, lizards, and lots of hermit crabs all around the island.  Whoever walked in front had to keep a sharp eye out for the large hermit crabs who blended in perfectly to the rocks and plants on the trail.  Away from the sea, the only sounds on the interior of the island were the birds in the trees and the curious lizards trying to catch a glimpse of the passing explorers.  This is a great island for photography and quiet exploration.

We could have stayed longer on Sandy Cay, but we wanted to sail up to Gorda Sound and Bitter End Yacht Club today.  The winds were forecasted to shift eastward later in the day which would require us to do a lot of tacking.  We took several pictures along the shore, and then climbed back on board to take advantage of the southeast wind for our 20 mile trip to Bitter End.

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