Tuesday, May 02, 2017

BVI 2017: Day 7 - Privateer Bay (Norman Island) to Soldier Bay (Norman Island)

The day started at 6:00am. At this point, everyone on board the Kokomo III had shifted to the schedule Arturo and I had set, and the saloon was positively bustling by 6:10, with coffee, Mac & Cheese, milk and cereal all in various stages of consumption. Our plan was to dive a site on Dead Chest island, but upon motoring there, we broke the boat hook trying to grab the yellow mooring ball! We called up Conch Charters and they gave us a choice: we could either use the deck brush, or swing by and they'll dinghy a new boat hook to us.

Conch charters was a beam reach from where we were, so we put up sails and were at Conch charters by 9:00am. 5 minutes of circling, and we had a new boat hook, at which point I just motor'd straight to site B for diving. Site B didn't look any good for snorkeling, however, so we went back to Cistern point, where Bowen and I would dinghy over with the divers and then swim back to the mooring ball by ourselves so we wouldn't have to wait for the divers.

Cistern point is just as great a snorkel site as it is a dive site, and Bowen had fun exploring the location. I pointed out a flat fish to him and even chased it around a bit so it would be easier for him to see, but he would later claim that he couldn't see it. I guess that camouflage worked really well.

When the divers came back, Arturo proclaimed that the dive had been a bust! "I got lost," Arturo said sheepishly. That's never happened as long as I've been diving with Arturo, so I was surprised. "It happens," said Arturo. "Well, we're on Cooper Island. We can dinghy over and get a refill!" To my surprise Arturo said "No. We're finished. You know what independent events are, right? What happened this morning was not a series of independent events." Reflecting on what had happened, I realized that we'd made mistake after mistake which led to breaking the boat hook, as well as not finding the dive site we wanted to find. We were probably tired and not making good judgements, which meant that we shouldn't keep diving.

So we put up sails and headed over to Peter Island's Little Harbor, which was our initial choice for a final night in the BVIs. Passing by the island in the morning, we had noted that there were a lot of masts there. The book indicated that good snorkeling was to be had there. Getting into the harbor, we took down the sails and motor'd around. None of the obvious anchoring spots were good, but there was a place where I could do a forward anchor and back out and then tie a stern line to shore. I thought about initiating this (we had done it in much tougher conditions in Canadian waters), and then I noticed that everyone on the boats tied up in that location had no shirts on --- it was cooking hot! I thought about it and said, "Norman Island."

I'd planned to head for Privateer Bay again, but while motoring towards Norman Island spied 2 bays I'd never been to before: Soldier Bay and Benures Bay. Soldier Bay looked quiet, so Soldier Bay it was.
Soldier Bay turned out to have excellent snorkeling! We got to see a Sting Ray feeding, and John even spotted a shark!
It was a great place to spend the night: it didn't have much by the way of a sunset, but it would have an early sun tomorrow, and we might even have time to do a morning swim before having to return the boat.

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