11 January 2013

Sopers Hole and Treasure Island, Sailing Day 8/10

After a leisurely start to the day, we set sail under a beautiful blue, sunlit sky and steady trade winds over to Sopers Hole.  We picked up a mooring near the main docks and enjoyed lunch aboard while the Caribbean-colored waterfront stretching peacefully before our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  Then, into the dinghy and off to explore the Caribbean-colored shops along the waterfront.  

While walking along the dock, we happened to look over and see a dorsal fin swimming alongside the tethered dinghies.  This wouldn't have worried my six year old, but the 5 foot long shark swimming under the dorsal fin did.  I was worried she would be afraid to go snorkeling after seeing a predator bigger than her, but she seemed to buy my explanation that the shark was obviously leaving the BVI at the time we saw him, because sharks do not like the warm water and don't want to be around all the snorkelers.  (Note to my daughter: Princess, in a few years when you're old enough to read this and realize that I wasn't being completely forthcoming about the predators I made you swim with, please realize that your Mom put me up to it.)

Sopers Hole is a great place to resupply.  We deposited trash at the docks and picked up 10 lbs of ice, some ice cream sandwiches, and 8 more gallons of water.  Now that the storm system has passed and the sun is out each day, the eight of us are drinking about two gallons of water a day between us, along with a large bottle of juice at every meal.

We sailed out of Sopers Hole, around the end of St John in the US Virgin Islands, and on to Treasure Island (Norman Island), the setting of Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island.  Entering the island's largest anchorage, The Bight, we found a mooring in Kelly's Cove, a remote spot with space for only 5 boats.  The cove was completely empty, so we picked a mooring closest to shore so the kids could snorkel safely and easily in the water between the boat and the rocky shoreline.  In just 15 feet of water, they were over the side and snorkeling before the propeller stopped spinning. 

Beneath Kelly's Cove is a rock-strewn biological wonderland to explore.  In addition to all the usual fish, the kids chased octopus and several other creatures to our list of sighted marine life. My oldest kids spent about 4 hours in the water snorkeling along the shore, and the little kids all spent an hour snorkeling before they retired to the galley for a long series of uno card games together.

We grilled chicken on the barbecue, and then opened the coconut Scott found yesterday on Sandy Cay. The kids were fascinated by the process of opening the coconut. We swam it in to shore where we found a large, sharp rock.  We smashed the coconut on the sharp edge to pierce the husk.  Then, pulling on the husk, ripped it apart and pulled the coconut out of the center.  We brought the coconut and a fist-sized flat rock back to the boat so we could smack open the coconut at the dinner table. Once opened, the kids spent half an hour picking the coconut meat out for dessert.  We all agreed that if necessary, we could live off coconuts here for some time.

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