The "Live-Anywhere" Boat - The Trip South, 2010, Part II, Bermuda to the BVI
Updated January 24, 2011
Boats Crowded in the Camber Where Warships Were Careened

We were enjoying our time in Bermuda, and we really liked spending time with our friends, but we also had other places we wanted to visit, and other friends we wanted to see, so it was with very mixed emotions that we saw a weather window coming up after we had been there about 2 weeks. Weather windows are a little scarce in the North Atlantic in the winter. We look for a period when the sea has had time to calm down after the last storm went by, but when there are only highs across the southern US, giving us normally 4-5 days of pretty good weather.
The Boatyard Crowded into a Tiny Corner Against the Walls of the Old Dockyard
When we saw that Saturday, Jan 15th, looked as though it would give us a chance along, we paid a visit to the Glassworks and Rum Cake Bakery, said good-bye to Doug and our friends in the boatyard, and ran over to St. George on Friday afternoon.

We had our friends Steve and Suzanne Hollis for dinner aboard the boat, with lots of good discussion of boats and local politics, cleared out through Customs, and Saturday morning at first light slipped away from the wharf and out into St. George's harbor. At the same time, the pilot boat, berthed across from us, headed out, and we were held in the harbor by Bermuda Radio to let the LPG tanker Odergas down the narrow approach channel ahead of us.

The Dockyard Glassworks and Rum Cake Bakery in a Splendid Old Building
After we filled away on our southerly course, Bermuda Radio asked us to deviate slightly to check out a radar target they had been following along the south coast. We were glad of the chance to help, since they are so helpful to so many people, including us last year, and we ran the couple of miles out to the east to the position they indicated. When we got there we found a poly-ball (with something clearly hanging below it) tethered to a pole-buoy with a radar reflector. We duly reported this and were sent happily on our way without further comment. We did wonder whether it was just lost fishing gear or something more nefarious, like a drug drop.
Barbara in the Camber Under the Stern of Bermudian

On the morning of Sunday the 16th we met with a group (school? pod?) of dolphins, mostly small animals with one larger one. They played with us for a while, dashing up and then running parallel, turning on a dime. We imagined the larger one explaining that "this is how you play with these small ships. They are a little slow and poky, but they are fun for a while."

On the same day Barbara saw our first group of flying fish and we began to see patches of sargasso weed. That evening the wind rose and the sea became rough enough that we slowed down a little. We knew there was a left-over trough at about 28, but to everyone's surprise, including NOAA's, a low formed on it as we passed, about 25 miles west of us. We could see the circular pattern very clearly on the radar, and we headed south-east to get clear of it.

Before daylight on the 17th the weather was better and we could speed up again. At that point we began to see the traffic to and from the Gulf of Mexico via the North Providence Channel in the Bahamas. Some of the ships that passed us had romantic names and some prosaic ones; my favorite was Beluga Favourisation.

An Offshore Squall That Missed Us

There are really not very many ways to go between northern Europe and south Florida or Gulf ports, so the traffic is concentrated in narrow lanes. Where we had seen no ships for two days, we now saw (at least on the AIS) two or three in a watch.

Bermuda had temperatures in the 60s, a great deal warmer than Maine or Connecticut, of course, but when we left we were standing our watches in sweatshirts and jeans. By the second day out the sweatshirts were gone, and soon the jeans were replaced by shorts. We were truly sailing into summer, with temperatures even at night in the 70s and then the 80s.

Sunset Through Drops of Spray

We did have one eventuality; an alarm went off -- the engine was over-heating. A quick check showed the belt that drives the water pump was shredded; I had checked that belt before we left, but I guess its time had come. In any case, it did not take long to replace it, and within an hour we were on our way again.

Great Harbour, Jost van Dyke Island

The View to the Southwest With St. Thomas, USVI, in the Background
Between midnight and 2:00 AM on the morning of our arrival we crossed a steady stream of cruise ships coming out of the Caribbean through the Sombrero Passage and heading west after clearing Anegada Reef. We bobbed and wove, passing close astern of Carnival Dream and ahead of Carnival Miracle, young Italian officers very courteous on the VHF radio.

We reached our waypoint north of the BVI (a safe point clear of all dangers where we can be sure of our position and lay a safe course into whatever harbor we want), just after dawn on the 20th, exactly as expected, and by 8:30 we were anchored in Great Harbour on Jost van Dyke island.

The Traditional Sloop Endeavour II Under Construction for a Children's Training Program

We went ashore and cleared in, paying our harbor dues, and wandered down the beach that is the main street of this little village. We were very pleased to find that we had (briefly) a US cell phone signal, so we could call the children and tell them we had arrived safely.

Barbara, the inveterate teacher, arranged to talk to the school about the Near East on Monday, and we looked up our old friend Foxy Caldwell. He is getting on in years and no longer sings in performance, but is otherwise well, we were glad to find.

Country Lane

We met a new friend, Penny, a Kenyan working in the (new) dive shop, and one day while I was waiting for Barbara, our longtime friend Reuben Chinnery turned up and we had a good conversation. We were later to hear him sing several times, but that is for another chapter.
Pelicans on a Dinghy Dock

To see our track in Google Earth click:
here for Bermuda to Jost van Dyke Anchorage

Part I
Part III