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Backtrack to The British Virgin Islands

We skipped ahead in our blogging to tell you about the sail that earned us our “Big Boy Sailor Pants” and the fun we had with our guests in The Bahamas. But we never had a chance to share the joy we felt when we backtracked from Martinique to the BVIs.

We left the beautiful, very French island of Martinique and 44 hours later spotted the familiar beauty of Virgin Gorda, BVI.  Our sail was comfortable and uneventful with some dramatic sunset paintings.

BVI-1Gold sunset at sea.

Then the stunning hues of water and land greeted us as we entered North Sound, BVI via Oil Nut Bay channel. There were scattered clouds but the sun pierced them and the air was clean which allowed the full pallet of colors to show.

BVI-1To say seeing familiar land was welcome is a inadequate as saying the view was “nice.”

After anchoring and swimming to shore with Captain so she could enjoy some terra firma, we “had” to go to Saba Rock for painkillers and bushwackers.  The drinks were cold and the waitresses friendlier than usual. Or maybe the alcohol was strong and we were just happy to be back?

The wind allowed for a quick kite set the next day. Frank has become a huge fan of launching and landing his kite from the boat thereby avoiding sand, so we moved LIB waaaay up by the reefs in front of Saba Rock to allow boat departure and landing.

BVI-3That little building back there is Saba and Frank is to the left.

BVI-2Bitter End Hotel huts are in the background.

A big highlight of our return to the BVI was meeting up with Dave and Renee of Alegria.  We first met them in Puerto Rico and we were looking forward to catching up with them and swapping stories about travels over the last 6 months.

Of course I dragged Renee on a hike so Captain could run around and we could have some much desired “girl talk.”

IMG_2537Sweat, laughter and stories shared while hiking Bitter End.

Frank and I made sure to visit Norman Island where we enjoy walking the deserted trails and seeing the uninterrupted expanse of ocean from the hilltops.

BVI-2We hiked on Norman Island to get Cappy some exercise and to enjoy the view.

We even saw some famous people from our childhood while we were hanging out near Pirates.

BVI-3Gilligan and crew!

These “youngsters” dressed the part well, but we had to teach them the words to the TV theme song.  Apparently they were part of a group of 25 or so and this was their entry into the costume contest.  Others in their party had dressed as Poseidon which was very cute as they arrived to the dock, but once on land they dropped their inflatables and they looked like any other tourist in a swim suit.

IMG_2501Poseidon had an unusual following

We had noticed that our spinnaker had some transparent areas so we returned it to Doyle Sail Loft and they repaired it during our stay in the BVIs.  Since Doyle is directly above TMM, we had a chance to visit our former charter management company. It was great to see everyone at TMM and hear all about what was happening.  TMM has a ton of new sailboats so it was fun to look around and see some of the most popular new cruising sailboats which they have available for charter.

Jost Van Dyke and that people watching mecca of White Bay was where we met up with Dave and Renee again. We spent the day strolling the beach, lolling in chairs and generally enjoying ourselves as we observed the antics of adults at play.

Foxy’s Taboo has some of the best food available in the BVI, at least according to my taste buds. So while we were anchored off of Sandy Spit, we dinghied over for lunch. There was live entertainment, excellent food and the usual post card view.

BVI-4View from our lunch table.

The familiarity of the BVIs ratchets up our relaxation and removes the slight stress that accompanies new places. Frank and I loved absorbing the surroundings and taking in the plethora of beautiful anchorages.

BVI-5Dusky sunset on Jost Van Dyke

We visited most of our BVI favorite spots and enjoyed sailing within the calm that is the Sir Francis Drake Channel.  Seeing all the vacationers and their intense joy in their surroundings reminded us how fortunate we are to be “living the dream.”

BVI-6Our weather waiting spot – not a hardship!

Our final few evenings were spent in Cane Garden Bay as we waited for a good weather window to leave for the Bahamas.  Those last few days we definitely questioned why we were so intent on leaving the Caribbean and heading to the U.S.  Neither of us has spent any time on the east coast in a sailboat so we don’t know what to expect. We are leaving a comfortable, sailing paradise for the unknown conditions of the east coast…

Can You Say “Kiteboarding?”

Our friend, Al is here visiting which means that we now have three avid kiters on board. The result is that we are die-hard wind seekers for the moment.  Kiters love to see steady winds and, depending on what size kite they prefer, they like various wind speed ranges. Hunter likes winds in the 18-21 knot range so he can fly a 12 meter kite and do “unhooked” tricks.

Frank and Al prefer slightly higher wind speeds because they don’t unhook.

But regardless of the wind preference, every kiter I have met begins to gets jittery when the wind gets close to “ride-able” and once within a few knots of the range they begin watching the wind speed on the instrument panel like a dog begging for steak.

Here are several pictures of kiting for those who love the sport. I have taken a few shots from our different locations and those who don’t care about kiting can look to the background to get a feeling for the beauty of the islands and water.

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Catching air in Ashton.

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That is one jazzed guest.

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Frank executes a grab in Ashton

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Hunter scoots along in Clifton with Happy Island Bar to the right.

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Happy Island Bar

Janti’s Happy Island Bar. This great little island was built by Janti in response to two issues close to his heart: first a problem of too many discarded conch shells in town and second too few customers for his original establishment in town. According to the guide book, Janti worked for the office of tourism and decided to resolve the conch shell problem by building this little island in the Clifton anchorage. His island with the prefect view for sunset and sundowners does not suffer from a lack of customers. Gotta love a man who solves problems and makes something great from them!

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Frank cuts through the Clifton anchorage.

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Hunter ~ planning his next jump?

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The Method in Ashton.

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Love this pic of Frank in front and Hunter tricking in the back.

We have actually done some things off the boat. While anchored in Salt Whistle Bay, Mayreau, Al and I walked up the hill toward town. Since it was Sunday all the stores were closed, but we saw a very pretty Catholic Church and some rather stunning spots for pictures.

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Tobago Cays make a decent backdrop.

After six straight days of kiting, Al and Frank were ready to stretch their legs so they took a hike with me in Ashton.  This little town has more to offer than expected including the people who have been some of the nicest we have met along the way.

 

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This steep street leads to a great hike.

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Shaded and well defined, we enjoyed the hike.

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Overlooking Ashton on Union Island

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Goats wandered the town.

At first I thought I had turned into the pied piper and these four legged friends were going to come back to LIB with me. But they turned off into a nice green area between a couple of homes. I was told that because it has been a bit dry on Union Island lately, the locals allow the goats to roam looking for grazing ground. Not something I ever saw in Coppell, TX.

End of day seems to be the perfect time for a casual paddle or a swim before sundown. It’s pretty nice to throw on flippers and mask, hop into the water and watch the sea life as I get a little bit of exercise in.

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Frank, Captain and Al on a sunset paddle.

This week two more kiters join us on LIB, so I’m pretty certain you will be seeing a lot more kite photos. Sorry to be so myopic in our news, but this is the focus on LIB for the moment.

Let me know if you have any kiting questions…. with 5 men kiting on LIB this week, I am sure they will have (or make up) the answer! 😉

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Sunset from The Driftwood Restaurant, St. Vincent.

 

 

 

 

Front Porches, Rocking Chairs, Lemonade…. Not For These Retirees!

Whoever created the vision of retirement consisting of rocking on the front porch and watching the world go by certainly didn’t have the same ideas we have for our “golden years.”

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Gliding past St. John, USVI.

While we will definitely watch the world go by, it will be from the deck of our boat and the view will change often and not only because of the seasons.

For the next few weeks our “porch” will be remain in one place and will be topsy turvy as we begin and complete refitting tasks we deem “necessary” for life on board.

Our plan, which changes often, is to stay in Fajardo, PR until we finish our projects or until November 30th, whichever comes first.

Then we will sail back to BVIs to pick up a few items TMM is holding for us; but we will move on quickly.

I would like to spend a bit of time in the USVIs since we really have not explored them. The islands look fabulous and it’s always nice to be in the US.  Plus, I have yet to try Pizza PI pizza in Christmas cove and that is surely on my “to do, to see, to eat” list.

We plan on sailing back to Antigua in mid-December where we really want to meet up with our friends Amy and David on Starry Horizons.

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Amy and David, Captains of Starry Horizons.

We first met Amy and David way back in February 2014 in Ft. Worth, TX when Amy was running the Cow Town Marathon. At that time, Starry Horizons was just being built in France.  Since taking delivery of SH, Amy and David have sailed more than 8,500 miles and have accumulated much more experience than we have. You can read about Amy and David’s adventures in their blog, Out Chasing Stars.

Because we have the same model boat, it is really fun to compare notes with Starry Horizons.  Plus they are lots of fun and we are excited to sail and explore some anchorages together.

The only other set plan is to be in the Grenadines in February.  Frank has planned to meet some kiteboarding buddies there and LIB will be the home base as we move from one great kite beach to the next.  This will be a mostly “guys” week, but they are letting me hang around.

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Frank kiting in Antigua

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The front deck of LIB is a perfect kite drying spot.

I’ll get a chance to practice my kite boarding, but I have a feeling I will also play rescue support via Day Tripper.

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Our faithful, multi-purpose dinghy.

The two years we had LIB in charter, a few girlfriends and I enjoyed an annual sailing week in the BVI during the Fall.

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It’s always fun and lots of laughs wit this group.

Since LIB is undergoing so many changes right now, the girls trip could not be made this year. BUT the plan is to redefine our trip by expanding our locations. This all girl crew will join us somewhere this spring… I’m thinking the Tobago Cays and other parts of the Grenadines would be perfect!

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Photo credit to Three Sheets Sailing!

Our travel is now dictated by wind and weather which makes these plans less than firm, but it’s nice to have a vague idea of where we are headed.

Happy Tax Day 2015

Okay, so there isn’t much happy about April 15th in the U.S., so I thought I would just post a few pretty pictures to brighten your day.  Tomorrow will be here soon and you will have another 364 days to forget about whatever preparations you had to do to meet today’s deadlines.  Hope these turn your thoughts to more pleasant things…

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A beautiful start or finish to a day.

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Near Scrub Island

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Jaunty red spinnaker.

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Beauty in the land and sea.

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Nothing like kiteboarding to take you away.

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A spectrum of blues.

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Day’s end at last.

Nothing weighty here today. Just a wish that your April 15th isn’t too taxing. 🙂

Stroll on Virgin Gorda

Every time we stop at Bitter End on Virgin Gorda, I take this hike and post beautiful pictures to the Let It Be Facebook page.  I thought I would show you a bit about the hike itself:

The initial and steepest assent is a driveway that leads to the actual hiking path.  While the “path” is easy to see, it isn’t exactly easy terrain:

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                                  Fortunately all of the boulders are deeply embedded.

The climb is steep and usually pretty hot but it leads to fabulous views like this one:

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And some unique foliage:

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This tree bark looks like pieces of orange tissue paper.

The walk does have some easy sections that are also shaded:

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Plus the backside offers a bird’s eye view of Deep Bay:

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However, this time, my favorite part of the walk was the pictures I was able to take of Frank while he was kiteboarding!

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The water is so clear and the bottom so well defined, it almost looks like he begins on gravel.

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Can you imagine how fun it is to ride across this crystal clear water?

 

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