Finding Good Old Friends Again / Среща със стари приятели

 

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Sailing for over a year and a half now. We have met many cruisers, made many new friends. And every now and then we bump into people we have met on some of the islands months ago, and every time it is a thrill!

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Плаваме вече повече от година и половина. Срещнахме много хора, сприятелихме се с много крузъри. И често се засичаме с приятели, с които сме се запознали преди някой-друг месец на някой от островите и всеки път се радваме от сърце да се видим отново.

 

Harley and April

Harley and April

But a couple of days ago we bumped into some really special people- the first cruising friends we ever made after we left Key West for Cuba in July of 2013.

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Но преди два дена се засякохме с едни много специални за нас хора- първите ни приятели-крузъри, с които се запознахме след като тръгнахме от Кий Уест към Куба през юли 2013.

 

Harley and April aboard El Karma

Harley and April aboard El Karma

It was one year and a half ago when we showed up in Havana with a total of 2 days of sailing experience. There we met Harley from New Zealand and April from California aboard S/V El Karma.

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Преди година и половина се появихме в Хавана с общо 2 дена мореплавателски опит. Там срещнахме Харли и Ейприл на борда на платноходката El Karma.

 

April and Harley, Cuba

April and Harley, Cuba

They shared with us some insane moments, like a rental car which wouldn’t stop braking down in the rain in the Cuban countryside; or the best tacos made by April which saved us from horrible starvation; snorkeling in the reefs at Cayo Levisa and a fire-dancing lesson on the beach in front of the disco club booming Michael Jackson songs; dancing aboard Fata Morgana. They also helped us a lot with information and advice, with the new watermaker which would not run properly, with fishing lures, which brought us the biggest tuna we ever caught.

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Те споделиха с нас няколко незабравими мигове: кола под наем, която се повреждаше непрекъснато под дъжда в кубинските села; вкусни такоси приготвени от Ейприл, които ни спасиха от гладна смърт; гмуркане в рифовете край остров Cayo Levisa и урок по танц с огън пред дискотеката на курорта, от която бумтеше майкъл Джексън; таци на борда на Фата Моргана. Те също така ни помогнаха страшно много с информация и съвети (много малко знаехме за мореплаването тогава, а те имаха над 12 години опит), Харли ни ремонтира машината за десалиниране на вода, която нещо не работеше както трябва, дадоха ни рибарски такъми, с които хванахме най-голямата риба- една 17-килограмова риба тон.

 

Harley

Harley

Harley

Harley

We kept in touch via Facebook, after they continued from Cuba to the Cayman Islands, Panama and across the Pacific to French Polynesia, and we continued to Mexico, Guatemala, and the Caribbean. So, when we found out they were back in the BVI, not aboard El Karma, but a 62-foot sloop Elythia we diverted from our rout and came to see them. They work as crew on S/V Elythia for some time, kite-surfing every spare moment.

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Поддържахме връзка с тях по фейсбук, след като т продължиха към Кайманите, Панама и Френска Полинезия, а ние към Гватемала и после Карибите. Така че, щом разбрахме, че са се върнали в Британските Вирджинки Острови, не с тяхната лодка, а като екипаж на 62-футовата яхта Елития, решихме да се отклоним за малко от пътя ни и да ги посетим.

 

April

April

April

April

We sailed from St Martin to the BVI and the very first evening we had a nice little get-together with our cool sailing buddies April from California and Harley from New Zealand, on the beach with beers and treats. There, we also met Harley and April’s friends Helen from New York and Andre from Grenada, also crewing on a big shiny catamaran named Lotus.

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След Ст Мартен доплавахме до Британските Вирджински Острови и още първата вечер си организирахме малко събиране на плажа с Ейприл от Калифорния и Харли от Нова Зеландия, с бири и мезета. Там срещнахме и техните приятелите – Хелън от Ню Йорк и Андрей от Гренада, които също работят като екипаж на един голям луксозен катамаран наречен Лотус.

 

Ivo, April and Harley

Ivo, April and Harley

Get-together with old and new friends on the beach, BVI

Get-together with old and new friends on the beach, BVI

The next morning we were invited for breakfast aboard S/V Lotus, which turned into a feast of epic proportions… I think, we have never had such an extravagant buffet-breakfast aboard a boat, which included: Johnny Cakes, Caribbean salad with salt fish, bacon, poached eggs, French toast with fresh pineapple and jelly, turnovers, sausages… We finished eating sometime in the afternoon…and crawled back to the boats for short recuperation period, before dinner aboard S/V Elythina…

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На следващата сутрин (вчера) бяхме поканени на закуска на борда на Лотус, закуска, която придоби епически пропорции. Мисля, че за първи път имаме щастието да присъстваме на подобна екстравагантна закуска-бюфет на борда на яхта, която включваше: бухти, картофена салата с лук и солена риба, бекон, варени яйца, панирани филийки с пресен ананас и сладко от череши, банички, наденички… Приключихме да ядем по някое време след обед…добрахме се до лодките за рекупериране на силите и после отидохме на вечеря на борда на Елития…

 

Catamaran Lotus

Catamaran Lotus

Helen preparing breakfast aboard Lotus

Helen preparing breakfast aboard Lotus

 

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April, who is a professional cook, and we adore her cooking, made 3 meats, 4 salads, and 5 sides (she likes to “keep it simple”, right…)

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Ейприл, която е готвач по професия и ние страшно харесваме гозбите и, ни сготви 3 вида меса, 4 вида салати и 5 вида гарнитури.

 

Breakfast aboard S/V Lotus

Breakfast aboard S/V Lotus

Tomorrow is our turn to barbeque things board S/V Fata Morgana. Expect more delicious up-dates.

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Утре ние сме наред да печем разни неща на борда на Фата Моргана. Очаквайте вкусни подробности.

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British Virgin Islands. Empire of The Cats

 

British Virgin Islands

The BVI, a British Overseas Territory east of Puerto Rico, consists of over 50 volcanic islands and cays, some big and some small, of which 15 are inhabited. The inhabitants, full British and European Union citizens, are descendants of African slaves brought to work on the sugarcane plantations in the 18th century. Today, the main economy in the BVI is tourism accounting for about half of the national income. The other half is generated by offshore banking.

Sunset Cats in the BVI

Sunset Cats in the BVI

One of the world’s greatest sailing destinations, the anchorages around the islands are crowded with sailboats even off-season, mostly chartered catamarans. We have never seen so many cats in one place. It’s truly phenomenal. Our boat, Fata Morgana, a 38 foot Leopard, was once chartered in these waters too. But now newer and bigger cats rented for a few days’ vacation zoom motoring back and forth between the islands, rarely sailing at all. People chartering boats in the BVI don’t always know how to sail, navigate or even be civilized. (They think a boat is like a car and love to go ‘full-power’.)One boat hit us in one of the anchorages but didn’t cause any damage, and another, ironically named Serenity, with 6 or 7 older folks aboard, drunk and ignorant, kept us and the rest of the anchored boats awake all night with their loud stupid conversations and music.

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We clear in in Jost Van Dike anchoring for a couple of days in the bay near the beach. There are many mooring balls $30 per night, but we have the option to anchor for free instead, and that is what we do. Apart from the $37 entry fee and $2 for 2 slush drinks we don’t spend a dollar more during our two-week stay in the BVI, eating and drinking from our provisions, hiking and hitchhiking to places on land, and sneaking in national parks afterhours.

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In the next days we island-hop to Tortola, Lee Bay in Great Camano, Virgin Gorda and we finally stage our next big passage to St Martin at Saba Rock.

Even though too crowded for our taste, we loved all the places we visited in the BVI, each one for a different reason, but if we have to recommend one it will be The Baths on Virgin Gorda, of course.

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And I have to mention Lee Bay again, a small secluded unpopular bay on the west side of Great Camano island with incredible snorkeling which a young cruising couple we met first in the Dominican Republic and again near Tortola, Stephen and Natasha Smith (skydiving instructors and gravity coaches) told us about. Thank you guys! We loved Lee Bay and we loved meeting you again in the BVI. And (if you are reading this) thank you for the chicken and beef broth-base and seasoning! Hope our paths will cross again someday!

Lee Bay

Lee Bay

Jost Van Dike

The smallest of the four main islands of the BVI, 8 square kilometers or 3 square miles, Jost Van Dike offers a deep protected harbor for boaters on the south side, Great Harbour, with customs and immigration on shore, a nice little beach and various beach bars and restaurants; and a challenging steep hike to its highest point, Majohnny Hill at 321 meters.

View of the anchorage from Majohnny Hill, Jost Van Dike

View of the anchorage from Majohnny Hill, Jost Van Dike

Mira and Maya on Majohnny Hill, Jost Van Dike

Mira and Maya on Majohnny Hill, Jost Van Dike

 

Beach and anchorage, Jost Van Dike

Beach and anchorage, Jost Van Dike

Beach Bar, Jost Van Dike

Beach Bar, Jost Van Dike

 

Beach restaurant and grill, Jost Van Dike

Beach restaurant and grill, Jost Van Dike

Tortola

The largest and most populated of the BVI, Tortola is a volcanic mountainous island with an area of 55 square kilometers or 21 square miles. We anchor on the north side where the best beaches are and spend a day hiking up and down a winding mountain road all the way from Cane Garden Bay to Smuggler’s Cove, the beach where The Old Man and the Sea with Anthony Queen was filmed. On the way we also visit an old rum brewery still working, and the North Shore Shell Museum in Carrot Bay. We hitchhike on the way back.

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Evo and Maya watching the anchorage from the top of the hill.

Evo and Maya watching the anchorage from the top of the hill.

 

The old rum brewery

The old rum brewery

Smugglers Cove

Smugglers Cove

 

Beach at Smugglers Cove, Tortola

Beach at Smugglers Cove, Tortola

The North Shore Shell Museum

The shell museum is a funky old house full of local shells and wisdoms both carefully collected and preserved by the artist for over 25 years. A magical labyrinth, very much like the soul of a black Caribbean  man. Among the thousands, maybe millions of seashells stuck on the floor, hanging from the ceiling, there are signs painted on wood, for sale, quotes given to the artist by friends and family. A heartbreaking collection of authentic local voices. “I ask my friends what do you remember your father or mother said, and they tell me. I just write it down on the board.”

North Shore Shell Museum, Tortola

North Shore Shell Museum, Tortola

A MAN IS LIKE A BIRD. LOOK INSIDE

 

MR JOE WIFE TELL HIM. YOU IS A SICK MAN.BUT O BOY. WHEN JOE SEE A YOUNG GIRL. HE JUMP FOR JOY

 

MR DICK SAID. JUST FOR PEACE SAKE. SOMETIME YOU WALK OUT THE HOUSE LEAVE WIFE AND ALL. O GOD HELP ME

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TWO LADY LIVE IN ONE HOUSE. JANE GO TO CHURCH ON SATURDAY. MARY GO TO CHURCH ON SUNDAY. AND FIGHTING OVER A MAN

 

TELL ALL THE BOYS AND GIRLS COME

 

THE OLD MAN SAY. I AM SO DOWN. HE SAY O GOD HELP THE FALLING BROTHER. HELP COME HIS WAY. MARTER SAY PUT SOME IN MY CUP

The Artist

The Artist

OLD LADY TELL HER SON. DAN WHEN YOU DO GOOD GOD BLESS YOU

 

THE LITTLE BOY SAY. SEA WATER LOOK GOOD BUT I CANT SWIM

 

THE OLD MAN TELL HIS WIFE. I HAD TWO FOOT.SHIT WILL FLY ALL DAY LONG

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COME HOME MARY. YOU DON’T KNOW HOW SWEET LIFE IS ON TILL YOU WALK IN MY HAND. I LOOK UP. I LOOK DOWN

 

SOME MEN SAY LOVE IS LIKE A TREE

 

THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN IN HIS HAND. HE JUMP WITH JOY. TO SEE HOW MUCH HE HAVE IN HIS HAND. BUT O GOD HE NEVER SHARE. I HAVE SO MUCH BUT MY SOUL IS LOST

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COMING SOON. CAPTAIN COOK. SEAFOOD MARKET

 

THE OLD MAN. WITH THE BUTTY FULL LADY. BUT HE CANOT SLEEP WITH HIS TWO EYES CLOSED. HELL

 

MISS JANE TELL HER HUSBAND. I GOT A ROOM IN HEAVEN FOR YOU. BUT YOU GOT TO PAY ME FIRST NO WAYET ME ON THE OTHER SIDE. WHEN HE COME-A-MAN

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MARRY SAY. JANE YOU IN THE SAME BOAT TOO. HELP ME

 

COLUMBUS LIE. HE TRY TO FOOL THE PEOPLE. THAT HE DID NOT SEE ANYONE. BUT HE HAD TO RUN LIKE HELL

 

HARRY GO TO THE TOP FLOOR. AND GET A DRINK

 

JOHN TELL HIS WIFE JANE LIFE IS SO HARD SHE TELL HIM GET UP YOUR OLD ASS AND LOOK WORK

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Lee Bay, Great Camano

Hidden between rocky shores is a small bay not everyone knows about. There are no mooring balls here and anchoring is tricky as the bay is deep and rocky getting shallow and sandy only too close to the beach. And not many venture this way. It is fun watching the charter boats arriving and trying to anchor unsuccessfully again and again sometimes for hours. But the best part of the bay are its volcanic rock formations covered with corals below water which are like a fish nursery with dense schools of tiny fishes swimming around. We spend two days here snorkeling for hours and kayaking along the rocks and many grottos.  

Rock in Lee Bay

Rock in Lee Bay

Grotto near Lee Bay

Grotto near Lee Bay

 

Snorkeling inside a fish cloud

Snorkeling inside a fish cloud

Viktor hovering above baby fishes

Viktor hovering above baby fishes

 

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The Baths, Virgin Gorda

On the west tip of Virgin Gorda there is a spectacular geological wonder. Huge granite boulders of beautiful shapes and impressive proportions once imbedded in volcanic lava stand near the shore and in the water forming grottos and saltwater ponds. It is a different world above and below water, a world of coral cities and fish citizens, of ancient labyrinths and giants. We have been cruising since almost one year now visiting many places, spending months in Florida, Cuba, Mexico, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and the Bahamas, but we have never seen anything like The Baths: the best snorkeling site hands down.

Maya, Viktor, Evo and Mira. The Nomadik Family

Maya, Viktor, Evo and Mira. The Nomadik Family

The Baths is a park with mooring balls getting filled with boats, 40 to 50, by noon each day, and no overnight mooring permitted. But just a short distance to the east, there is a small bay, Spring Bay where we drop anchor in front of a fabulous beach and spend 3 days kayaking and snorkeling to The Baths every afternoon, when the many boats and tourists have already left.

The Baths, Virgin Gorda

The Baths, Virgin Gorda

 Spring Bay Beach

Spring Bay Beach

 

Fata Morgana anchored in Spring Bay

Fata Morgana anchored in Spring Bay

A short hike in the park, The Baths

A short hike in the park, The Baths

 

The Baths, Virgin Gorda

Mira, The Baths, Virgin Gorda

Maya and Viktor, The Baths, Virgin Gorda

Maya and Viktor, The Baths, Virgin Gorda

 

Maya, The Baths, Virgin Gorda

Maya, The Baths, Virgin Gorda

The Baths, Virgin Gorda

The Baths, Virgin Gorda

 

Viktor, The Baths, Virgin Gorda

Viktor, The Baths, Virgin Gorda

Viktor, The Baths, Virgin Gorda

Viktor, The Baths, Virgin Gorda

 

Viktor, Evo and Maya, The Baths, Virgin Gorda

Viktor, Evo and Maya, The Baths, Virgin Gorda

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Mira, The Baths, Virgin Gorda

Mira, The Baths, Virgin Gorda

Evo, The Baths, Virgin Gorda

Evo, The Baths, Virgin Gorda

 

The Baths, Virgin Gorda

The Baths, Virgin Gorda

Maya

Maya

 

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Evo

Evo

 

Mira

Mira

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Viktor

Viktor

 

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Mira

Mira

 

Maya

Maya

Saba Rock

On the east side of Virgin Gorda there is a vast bay among mangroves near Saba Rock where most cruisers heading across the Anegada Passage to St Martin stage their departure. On the east shore there is a marina, luxurious resorts and restaurants, and a few small sand beaches. The village is on the other side. We wait here one day before we start the 90 mile passage to St Martin taking advantage of the incredibly strong Wi-Fi coming from the bar on Saba Rock which everyone in the bay can catch from the boat, to check the weather and update the blog.

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