Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Virgin Islands 2014: Sandy Spit to Leinster Bay

The morning revealed Sandy Spit to be empty, with only 3 boats choosing to anchor overnight there. This was a great anchorage, for not only was it sheltered, Little Jost Van Dyke and Green Cay were both uninhabited, so we had no mosquitoes, which were unwelcomed guests at Leverick Bay. We ate a quick breakfast and dinghy'd over to Sandy Spit, where we were the only group on the island, having it to ourselves until we left at 9:30am, whereupon a visiting boat dropped off a lone snorkler to add some company.
From Virgin Islands 2014
From Virgin Islands 2014
From Virgin Islands 2014

Occasionally, you would hear of people renting entire islands, such as Richard Branson's Necker Island for about $60,000 a night. These come with luxury accomodations, water toys, and all sorts of other things, including a large wait staff. But you can't pay for the experience of being on Sandy Spit or Sandy Cay by yourself, with nobody there (not even wait staff) while you walk around the island, snorkel, or build sand castles on a deserted beach. Even better, Sandy Spit had no mosquitoes (which was a problem on Sandy Cay in April), and was small enough to walk around even for a toddler. The only way to see such places is on a sailboat or tiny craft. Those who stay at land resorts don't get to visit such places easily, or overnight there and experience these gorgeous little places (such as the Baths) in solitude.
We had earlier debated doing more diving, or going over to St. John. I'd been very disappointed by the diving and the visibility of the water, so pushed for a visit to St. John, especially since my mom and Bowen wouldn't get very much out of diving spots. So we headed over to Great Harbor for a Mooring Buoy and Arturo, Amy, and I went over to the customs and immigration office to check out of the BVI to visit the U.S. Virgin Island of St John.
The checkout was relatively easy and painless, with an exit tax of $11. We then sailed most of the way to St. John's Cruz Bay, but discovered as we approached the harbor that the main sail would simply not come down! After a few failed attempts I gave up and motored into Cruz Bay with the main sail up and anchor'd off to the port where a few other boats were also anchored. There was only 4 feet of water below the Sail Pending, but since the Carribbean essentially has no tides, it was a reasonable temporary anchorage while we sorted out our problems.
I was all ready to get out the harness and go up into the mast to untangle the problem when Amy had the bright idea of pulling down on the reef line to pull the sail back down. Fortunately, this worked and I was saved the trouble of a hoist up the mast. Following that, we visited the customs and immigration office of Cruz Bay to check in (and out for December 2nd), and do some provisioning. Cruz Bay was tiny but there wasn't much to eat ashore from restaurants, so we chose to simply buy some ice cream and provisions and eat on the Sail Pending.
After that, we turned on the engines and headed back East along St. John. Eschewing Trunk Bay and Cinnamon Bay, I settled on Leinster Bay as a destination because of a short hiking trail available there, some ruins, and good snorkeling.
From Virgin Islands 2014

The hike took us to an old sugar mill that was relatively intact, complete with the windmill tower.
From Virgin Islands 2014

The hike took us the rest of the day, leaving us no time for snorkeling as we got back to the boat just as the sun set and it was time for dinner.
From Virgin Islands 2014


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