05 January 2013

British Virgin Islands Family Sailing Day 2/10

Next day, we walked through the boat systems with Conch Charters staff.  They were very helpful and explained all the systems.  I discovered that Conch now offered wireless internet access on their boats for half the price of ICE BVI.  Too late, because I'd already picked up my ICE internet device.  Internet access is fair down in the BVI.  You usually get a small cellular internet hub that lets you connect laptops or phones to it via bluetooth.  In most locations you get decent enough access to do email, but not much more.  Most restaurants offer wifi that is better than the cellular, so if I have to do something for work, that is usually where I connect.

The grocery store delivered all the provisions we'd ordered ahead of time through Conch, and it took about half an hour to load them into the boat.  The grocery stores deliver your food in boxes, but you need to be careful not to put the boxes on the boat because they often house a few undesirable bugs.  Keeping the boxes on the dock prevents them from entering the boat, which is generally appreciated by crew members.

There is a tropical storm forecast to be in the area for the next few days.  This will put wind into the 20's/30's some days, and bring quite a bit of rain.  I like the wind (after all, we're sailing), don't mind the warm rain (turns out you can snorkel in the rain without getting much wetter), so the only down side is that our pictures will lack that brilliant caribbean sunshine and azure-colored water.

As soon as checkout is complete, we set sail out of Road Town Harbor in a close reach up Francis Drake passage.  We sail through several squalls along the way, which completely block any view of the horizon or nearby islands, but they're brief enough that they do not hinder navigation.  It's Zack's first time sailing on the ocean, and we're both loving it.


After a few hours, we round Beef Island and sail up towards the airstrip on Trellis Bay.  It's dinner time, but we're both too excited to eat.  As soon as we pick up a mooring, Zack is headed over the side for some snorkeling.  I warn him that there isn't much to see in Trellis Bay.  Sadly, it's a bit littered from the hundreds of boats that frequent this bay.  Undaunted, he plunges in.  Seconds later, he is up for air, shouting through his snorkel about something in the water.  My snorkelese is a little bit rusty, but he doesn't wait for an answer anyway as he disappears out of sight for a minute.  And then he pops out of the water with this gorgeous conch shell!

Picking up passengers at the airport is one of the funnest travel experiences a skipper can have.  We turned on all the boat's lights for maximum curb appeal, and left our favorite sailing song playing on the stereo (the Muppets' "Sailing for Adventure") as we left the boat in the dinghy to run ashore as we watched the plane land next to the bay.  Passengers exit the tiny terminal about 200 yards away from the beach, so we stood waiting as a gentle rain fell.  It's a magical walk from the airstrip down to the beach, and out onto the dock.  With the extra luggage, we had to take 2 trips to ferry all 8 of us to the boat.

The next morning we were headed for the Baths, but the kids could not wait to snorkel.  Inspired by Zack's conch shell, they dove overboard where Jake found the first Sand Dollar of the trip.







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