Friday, April 18, 2014

Lee Bay

                                      Lee Bay,   Great Camano Island,  BVI

Haven't been to this bay before, but it is very pretty and quiet, lots of coral to watch out for and as its a smaller bay, there was no room to move up into the sand.  Our awesome Rochna anchor had no problems.

Ran into Brian and Diane on Sea Quell II , Canadians from Edmonton, that we had met 3 yrs ago. So it was a happy hour catch up.

Bill and Donna on Moonraker, from Annapolis moved into Sea Quells spot when they left  and proved to be very interesting boaters that had done lots and were also into cave exploring.
Bill had great stories and so Gord had a rival for who could monopolize the conversation.

Bill and Donna  on "Moonraker"

Bill on Anchor duty ,  Donna on the Helm


About that time, the Puerto Rican Navy  ( Puerto Ricans in their big power boats)  started to move in for the Easter weekend.  They anchor way out then back the boat to shore and tie across the beach to the trees, rocks or anything else they can find.  The next one comes in, does the same thing.  Once they are in place they raft together, not only taking up the whole beach, but running their lines across the beach  so you can't walk the beach and putting their anchors way out 400 ft into the bay, so no one can properly  anchor in the sand where you are supposed to.

Puerto Rican navy,   lines crisscrossing beach almost invisible

Moonraker was understandably upset when they came bow to bow with him and proceeded to drop their anchor over his.  Shouting and gesturing ensued and the Puerto Ricans finally aborted and moved over slightly and off his anchor.  But,  he had enough and left for bays unknown.

The only problem is they do this in every bay, so there are few places that you can go to get away from them.

After our problems with the credit card captains on top of our anchor, we've devised an anchor ball routine.  If you attach an anchor ball right to your anchor, some credit card captain will just drive over it and pull up your anchor, leaving you both in a fix. So, we anchor, dinghy over it with our looky pail ( a pail with the bottom cut out and clear plexi glued in the hole.)  then we drop a spare dinghy anchor with  our anchor ball attached about 20-25 ft in front of our anchor. That marks the spot, warns them away and still gives us some maneuvering room to override the anchor when pulling it up.

We watched Puerto Rican after Puerto Rican cruise up ready to drop, then back off as they saw our ball. They don't want it fouling their props, so it kept them off our bow and worked better than we ever imagined.

In all,  10 big power boats rafted up against the shore, settled in for the holiday and proceeded to get out every kind and shape of water toy imaginable. They had lots of kids aboard , so for once the blaring music into the night was not a problem.

Monday or Tuesday night was supposed to be a full BLOOD Moon eclipse at about 3am. We got up for it , but it was too cloudy on Monday night. Tuesday was clear as a bell , but even though I got up every 15 minutes from 3am to 5am, No blood Moon, so it  must have happened behind the clouds on Monday night.  Win some, lose some!

Full Moon behind the Puerto Rican Navy

 We hung around a while in this bay as the snorkelling on both sides was awesome and you could walk thru to the next bay which was shallow and reef protected with a baby shark cruising the shoreline and many wrays hugging the bottom in water so warm it was like a bathtub. I found about 6-8 sand dollars ( a truly rare find).

Sue Snorkel diving for shells

Gord snorkelling


Sea Urchin

Parrot Fish


Some brand new boat owners ( purchased 3 weeks ago) moved in behind us and we had a few fun happy hours- Irv and Gwen on Assimic.  Gord was in heaven, as he got to do his favorite thing; give loads of advice, display all his toys and generally tell them exactly what they should do and when they should do it.  
Being new they actually listened.

After only three days the Puerto Ricans were rushing around gathering kids, toys and anchors and were making a mass, quick exit.   What gives, its only Thursday and the weekend hadn't even arrived yet??
The police boat pulling into the Bay to inform them that they could not tie their big power boats to the vegetation on park property, may have been the reason. They must have been warned they were on the way, as they cleared out all those boats in less than an hour.

Our anchor was wedged pretty good under 2 small pieces of coral  and I was awake most of the night planning and strategizing about all the ways to extract our anchor, without damaging the coral or breaking our anchor or chain, as by now the 20 knot winds had arrived and we were ready to head to Leverick Bay.
By 5:30 am I had settled on the 2 best plans and was able to finally go to sleep.

As we got ready to leave , we headed out to have a look, so we'd know which plan to go with , when much to our delight, the 2 pieces had broken off and our anchor was laying there clear of all obstruction and easy to lift.  It certainly does work to pray for what you want.

Trellis Bay

We haven't seen Mike and Betts all season due to their engine problems, they have been stuck sitting at anchor in Trellis bay while a new ( used ) engine was sourced.  They hit the jackpot as the moorings was changing out some Yanmars and they got 3 engines, one that definitely worked, 2 iffy or for parts-  for FREE.  then it was a matter of getting old out new in and matching up transmission fittings.

Unfortunately its been their whole season. We're hoping its running by haul out.

So, we decided we would head there to say hi and had dinner with them and Ken & Dorothy ( Bluestar)  at the Loose Mongoose.  Then  its off to find a quieter, less congested anchorage.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Who was that Brave Hero???

We're at the dock! Again.   Its still wickedly windy out there with 25 knot winds and we are scheduled for an in water insurance survey, doesn't seem fair to send poor Andrew up a 65 ft mast in a churning, rolling , swinging, salt sprayed anchorage, so we're on the dock at Village Cay Marina in Road town, Tortola, BVI.

Thanks to Gord's vigilance in always being on top of the maintenance, we had few issues and those were expected. Flares and fire extinguishers that are out of date and a couple of small things like our tri colour light at the top of the mast, which is in its package waiting for installation.  The surveyor, Andrew,  even complimented Gord, saying he was unable to find a single rusty hose clamp and those usually abound on all boats.

So, we went to sleep feeling really good about our safe, well maintained winter home.

At 3am , all hell broke loose.  Horns kept blasting till everyone in the Marina was awake and on deck. On the shore edge at A dock is Spaghetti Junction and a strip joint that was hot that night.

In fact it was shooting up flames over 3 stories high, filling the whole area with thick dark smoke and showering a rain of sparks over the boats in the marina. Now, fiberglass is highly flammable, not to mention it melts fairly easily, so all the boats in the path of the sparks were letting go there lines and heading for the harbour.   Did I mention there were 25 knot winds and a rolling, churning, swinging anchorage out there and now it was crowded with everyone trying to drop an anchor in the middle of the night in pitch dark frothy waters.

The boat directly in front of us, with a sizzling Jolly Roger flying

View from the bow of our boat

Looking  through our rigging

Boats getting showered with heat and sparks

We were lucky, we maneuver like crap, so we always insist on the end of the dock and we were out on B dock out of the path of the smoke and the sparks. We readied our lines just in case but stayed put while they fought the blaze and luckily did not have to move.

Those that stayed, were stomping out sparks, taking pictures or hosing down boats.

While videoing, Gord caught sight of a lone man in a dinghy, with his hoodie pulled over his head.
He headed into channel A directly in front of the fire, cut loose the lines on an unoccupied catamaran that was already starting to burn on the rear pontoon and backing up his dinghy, he towed that boat past the flames and out to a safe mooring. Then he put out the fire on the back, jumped back into his dinghy and disappeared into the night.

Intense Hot Fire
Gords video of the fire and the Hero in the dinghy

Who was that brave Hero???

the aftermath

the rescued Catamaran

A victim

Credit Card Captains

They abound, especially in the BVI's which is such a charter base.
"Credit Card Captains" are those that qualify to rent and run a boat based on the balance on their credit card.  The only experience necessary is the ability to sign their name. These are usually the ones that provide the most entertainment on Harbour TV ( the pastime of watching the credit card captains as they anchor, moor or lower the dinghy)  but just as often are both annoying and dangerous.

Their first love is to pull up in front of you, anchor on top of your anchor, then back up on you so you'll get to see what delicious delicacies they are having for dinner and so you can join into their dinner conversation.

Their next favorite place is right beside you, and I mean right beside you, necessitating fenders all round.

They  seem to think that through the anchorage is where they're supposed to show how fast their boat can go, how quick it can turn and how close they can come without bumping into anyone.

Cruising through the channels they have no idea of right of way, they just cut across your bow and wave hello like you're their new best friend.

Our most recent "Credit card Captain" was a family in a trawler, with her driving and him on the bow.
We had just managed to get our anchor up and out from under the catamaran of the Credit Card Captain that was directly in front of us, leaving us little room to maneuver past him and between the boat next to him, but we are on our way, when the Trawler drops off the mooring line and heads across our path.  Now we have a boat on either side and one blocking our path.

That's when the Credit Card Captain of the catamaran decides to inform the Credit Card Captain of the trawler that he's on an anchor, not a ball and the trawler is way too close and in danger of running into his anchor chain.
So, naturally the Credit Card Captain of the trawler stops dead 20 ft in front of us to discuss the matter and we have no where to go but into reverse.
Now , Ocean Wings is a temperamental old girl that does not like to back up and when she does she wiggles her ass  hard to starboard, which in this case will swing our bow around and over into the little boat on our other side.

He watches frozen!!! while we yell fenders, fenders, fenders. Finally he and Gord both push eachother off and no harm is done to either boat.
The Credit Card Captain  of the Trawler putts off on her merry way, quite oblivious to the near disaster she almost caused.

It's truly amazing that some people actually wonder why boats sink!

Credit Card Captains Go Home!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Another North Swell

Getting tired of these. Every time there is a large storm in the continental US, we get the swells from that storm, travelling down in about a weeks time. This year has been bad for those in the US and us as a result.
We don't want to head back around the island , so think we'll pop over to Jost Van Dyke, check into the BVI's and weather out the swell from there. Think we'll try Little harbour as we have never been there.
As we pull into grab a ball, we notice that Ken and Dorothy from Sarnia , Ontario. on  Blue Star have also just anchored. and they too are riding out the swell. Sydneys Peace and Love seems like a good place for dinner and there is a band, so the 4 of us decide its Sydneys for dinner.

A French boat grabs the ball beside us and its way too close. This could be bumper boats in the night. We were here 1st so have no intentions of moving. The French boat is much newer and takes one look at Ocean Wings, doesn't want our old boat putting any marks on his new one, so guess who moved????
We also met a nice young Barrie couple with 2 little girls aboard, down for a floating holiday and a look around for their own boat to take off cruising full time with their daughter.
Both Blue star and Ocean Wings decide to hop to the next bay to check out the bubbly pools.

Coming thru the cut to form the bubbly pools

Sue and Dorothy in the pool

birds eye view

We anchor on the inside of a shallow reef, with the waves rolling in toward that reef from the northern open ocean on the other side, yet calm as can be on our side.
Surf coming across the reef

A couple of locals were also in Diamond Cay, parked on the dock waiting out the swell as well

Back to the Boat

Man am I tired, I think I slept for 3 days when I got back.  Felt more like the wheels of Justice ran right over me.

Thanks to Carl and Leslie who entertained Gord once again while I was gone.

With what the weatherman predicted as a Huge North Swell coming, we decided to head for Lamshur Bay as a protected anchorage to ride it out.
As we pulled out of Brewers, we heard Tom & Megs on the radio, hitting the fuel dock at Crown Bay, by the time we got thru the channel, they were done and we were right on their tail. They had the same plan, so we spent 4 nights snorkelling, hiking and trading off making dinner.  Just a pleasant happy way to watch the huge swells out on the ocean as they went by our quiet anchorage.
Megs sister Teresa & hubby Greg

Tom & Megs -Dinner aboard Alpha Crucis

Our hike took us to the VIERS village ( Virgin Island Environmental Research Station)  which was home to the Textite experiment in 1969.  They wanted to see how astronauts would deal with confined spaces and close quarters in future space travel.
Two, 2 story adjoining capsules were developed with living, cooking , storage , work and laboratory space  for six aquanauts.  These capsules were sunk to the bottom of the bay at Lamsur and several sets of aquanauts, including an all female team spent months down there living and working.
peeking out the viewing window

Aquanauts outside their underwater capsule

model of the capsules

crazy wannabe aquanaut

 They learned a lot that was implemented in future space travel.

As luck would have it, we happened to hike there on the day they were holding their 40th anniversary celebration and there were some of the original aquanauts and some of the students that were there at that time, giving talks and explaining about their experiences.  The museum was open and we even got a free lunch. Not bad for a hike on a remote trail that looked like it led nowhere but more mangroves and rocks.  It also explained all the weird structures that we saw  attached to coral , rock and ocean bottom when we snorkelled the area.

VIERS camping village- mess haul, sturdy cabins, solar showers and the museum- all home to research students yearround.

Baby Palm- no it will not fit on the back deck

When the swell subsided, we headed to Maho, with the intention of taking the ferry back to St Thomas to pick up our new Amsteel line that was being shipped in.
As luck would have it Tom and Megs had dropped their guests at the airport and were heading back our way and offered to grab our parcel and deliver it, saving us a long hot day on the ferry.

So of course, I did dinner and she provided the rum for the rum tasting contest.

Hopping Home

Just me, leaving Gord in the sunny Caribbean with the boat while I head home to fight the justice fight.


front walk
This was most definitely a great year to be south. I could not believe the ice and snow that was still piled up even in mid March.

My Motion materials were all filed thanks to sister Wendy who ran around getting everything by deadline.
However, the judge only has half a day and is going to hear Biggars Limitation argument and my response. After stalling and horsing around this action for a year and a half, she presented only 7 minutes of argument, that I thought was pretty lame ( I'm biased of course)
I did 45 minutes of response and feel pretty good about what I presented.

She will not rule on what was presented until the balance is heard,  which is my motion for summary judgment on the whole of the statement of claim is argued.  Treating as a whole, as per the new determination on that rule.

Hopefully that will be the end of it all. I'd certainly like my life and my money back.

The bonus in going home was getting to see Sadie and Owen, Tif and Bob. That's always my favorite place to hang out.




Plus I got a family visit with a bowling night at Wendy and Elmers, as well as a little boat shopping , so I could take a few goodies/necessities back to Gord.
Bowling night

Miles took to bowling - check out that foot action

Sailboat owners Gord and Sue aboard their 55' Whitby Ketch "Ocean Wings" share their adventures and travels as they start their retirement, living their dream of seeing the world from oceanside.
Ocean Wings is a recent purchase and our first foray into the Sailing Lifestyle. We're excited and a little scared. Join us in our adventure.