Virgin Islands

We have great memories from last yacht charter in the Virgin Islands in 1986.


John  (who had been with us on our previous visit)

copy-20130305-2022and Lindsay left freezing Ottawa to join us for a week of sun and sailing on Sea Cloud. As a big northerly swell was running, we spent most of the week in the beautiful bays on the south coast of St John.


Salt Pond Bay with its reef, walks and nearby restaurant was a great place to spend a few days.




John and Lindsay are great cooks and treated us to some lovely meals. Ian acted as sous chef to John, we are hoping that he will have learnt some more skills in the kitchen!




We met Bob the Barracuda who seem quite attracted to the underside of Sea Cloud.

DCIM100GOPROSwimming with the turtles and snorkelling over the reef behind the boat were daily treats.




DCIM100GOPROWe had planned for a big dinner at Caneel Bay where John had helped us celebrate our engagement in 1986. Unfortunately it was too rough to take Sea Cloud there, so we visited the lovely resort by taxi instead.



followed by lunch at Cruz Bay.


John and Lindsay left us in Charlotte Amalie where we picked up Andrew, Emily and Sam, all very tired after a 40hours travelling from Sydney.


We headed off to Francis Bay in St John- to the delight of Andrew and Sam we caught 2 fish on the way.


As we’d all recently completed our scuba training, we took the kids on a dive out of Caneel Bay to Mingo and Congo Cays. Cruz Bay, always fun, was a good spot for dinner and an introduction to Painkillers at Joe’s Rum Bar.



Bob, the turtles and the eagle rays were still at Salt Pond Bay. Having a photographer (Sam) on board was great. We actually have some good photos of the whole family.


We stopped into check out of the USVI at Cruz Bay, only to find that we didn’t need to check out if we were only going to the BVI. Sam captured the sentiment of the local St John women in the rally held in the park in Cruz Bay.


Great Harbour in Jost Van Dyke was our next stop.


l9998948l9998944l9998960After dinner at Foxy’s and a big night with the locals for Andrew and Sam, we sailed to North Sound at Virgin Gorda, catching a few more fish on the way. We anchored off Saba Rock close to the Bitter End Yacht Club.



Dinner at the Bitter End Yacht Club

The other Sea Cloud was also anchored in North Sound, the last time we had shared an anchorage was in La Gomera, Canary Islands.

The Baths at Virgin Gorda, although crowded were a lot of fun.


DCIM100GOPROAndrew Emily and Sam prepared a lunch BBQ’d fresh fish.


Cooper Island (where Ian proposed in 1986) was an essential stop for us. We were one of 45 boats, quite different from our previous visit in which we’d been one of 2. It is still quite beautiful, much more developed but in a very low key way.




family-cockpitWe hadn’t realised that there was good snorkelling on the reef off Cooper Island.




Emily and Sam’s last night was spent in The Bight on Norman Island, with swimming and a last few Caribbean cocktails before they flew to Miami to start their US road trip. Sad to see them go!




Our last few nights with Andrew were spent in White Bay on Guana Island, then the beautiful Diamond Cay on Jost Van Dyke.



Caribbean – Barbados to Guadeloupe

The beachfront walk from Port St Charles to Speightstown made us realise we were actually in the Caribbean.

Speightstown was a very pleasant, quirky little town, quite a contrast to the busy capital, Bridgetown.


img_0930img_0931img_0932The anchorage of Carlisle bay off Bridgetown was pleasant enough, if you didn’t mind a bit of loud music at night.


Race horse training

Bridgetown itself was so crowded, but I guess 4 cruise ships in port do that to a small town. After hearing that flying fish were the delicacy here, we had to try the flying fish sandwich for lunch. It was surprisingly good, and fortunately did not in the slightest resemble the smelly creatures on our deck each morning.


Most of the yachts from the Cornell Atlantic Odyssey were in port amongst the Christmas trees.


Port St Charles is definitely the place to check into out of Barbados in a yacht. In Bridgetown, you have a long hot walk to the cruise ship port. We only spent 2 nights in Barbados, more had been planned until we saw the weather forecast. Unless we wanted to stay another week, we needed to move quickly to beat the predicted strong winds and big seas. After a boisterous and squall studded night at sea, we passed the Pitons of St Lucia


and arrived in Marigot Bay, a very pleasant spot to spend a few nights.



The weather is definitely still rainy season. One minute sunny, the next pouring.




We anchored off in Rodney Bay for a few nights. Although the ARC rally had finished, there were still quite a few ARC yachts still in the marina. The limitation of being part of a rally with a specific departure date was very obvious this year. We left when the winds were right, taking a total of 19 days to cross. Many ARC boats were becalmed for up to a week mid Atlantic, some taking 30days to complete the crossing.

The strong winds and 4metre seas dropped so we headed across to Martinique. Caribbean sailing is quite different from sailing in the Med.  Sailing is brisk, there are consistent winds 15-20knots, quite big seas between the islands then calm sailing up the lee of the islands. You need to pick your day to cross between the islands in this part of the world.

Martinique is lush, green and mountainous.

martinique-new Since arriving here, we’ve had heavy rain most days with beautiful rainbows.



We’ve anchored in Anse Dufour, good for snorkelling and St Pierre, the small seaside village where, in 1902 its substantial population of 30,000 were killed by the eruption of nearby Mt Pelee.

peleeWe only had one night in Dominica (more to come, we hope).




We picked up a mooring in the very windy main bay of Les Saintes, a small group of islands just south of Guadeloupe where we were to spend Christmas.


Les Saintes is a very pretty spot good walks, good anchorages and a pleasant local town with friendly people. Unfortunately the French Christmas dinner did not live up to expectations!




les-saintes-goatsOur last few days with Tine and Gordon were spent at Pigeon Island, a beautiful anchorage with fabulous snorkelling with the turtles right off the boat. We also had our first scuba dive in the Caribbean.


pigeon-sunsetLa Touna near the anchorage was a fitting farewell meal for Gordon and Tine – great food in a wonderful setting.

pigoen-dinnerTine and Gordon were great crew for our Atlantic crossing. They headed back to cold, dark Copenhagen while we sail north towards Montserrat for New Year.tine-and-gordon We have about a week island hopping our way north to the Virgin Islands where we meet friends and family in mid January.