Monday, April 24, 2017

BVI 2017: Day 1 - Tortola to Kelly's Cove, Norman Island

Despite attempting to sleep in, I was too excited to stay asleep past 6:00am, a schedule I would maintain for the rest of the trip. It also didn't help that Boen, in the grips of the Nolo Virus, would complain all night and scream and shout, giving Arturo a hard time, since he had opted to sleep in the salon.

The night before, I observed that there was a Catamaran ahead of us, and that we wouldn't be let out until they were ready, but come 9:00am, our scuba gear was all delivered, and a second provisioning run had already been made. The boat  briefing came at 10:00am, and all was ready to go by 11:00! Conch charters upon being informed that we were ready, immediately motor'd the Catamaran ahead of us (who looked nowhere near ready), took us out of the slips, and gave us the thumbs up to go.

It was an exceptional experience.

Traveling on a sailboat in the BVIs is like nowhere else on Earth. There are few other places where you can sail out on any given day and see nothing but white sails on boats all over the horizon. The consistent winds and the beautiful scenery made it a crime to go anywhere on engine power, and we very quickly put up our own sails and turned off the engines. For our first night, I preferred Kelly's Cove on Norman Island. It's quiet, with moorings only for 4 boats, making it a challenge to capture a mooring.

It took 2 hours to sail there, and we discovered that nobody on board had binoculars, but  John had a monocular and some soon spotted a mooring buoy exactly where we wanted it, and we proceeded to execute a flawless mooring pick up and tie down. Unfortunately, after that we misplaced the monocular and couldn't find it for the rest of the trip. We eagerly dropped the dingy, put on sunscreen, and proceeded to dinghy out to the Caves for some snorkeling.

It was Bowen's first snorkeling trip since Florida, but he was clearly comfortable in the water, though I did hold his hands during this first trip. We explored the caves which unfortunately had too much surge for us to penetrate. Bowen got cold after just 20 minutes in the water, so I brought him back to the dinghy to wait for the others. When some of the other adults were done, I went back in for more snorkeling of my own. "Stop dragging him around next time," suggested Arturo. "That'll make him swim on his own and he'll not get cold so easily."
We returned for a classic sunset and barbeque for the evening. Unfortunately, Xiaoqin started throwing up, indicating that the virus Boen had was very contagious. We had tried to find hand sanitizer while provisioning but had come up empty, something that would haunt us throughout the trip. Nevertheless, the idea was to head for the Indians the next morning before making it over to Cooper Island.

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