We left Whitehouse Bay on St Kitts at around 1130 on Wednesday 15th in light to moderate winds and set sail for Virgin Gorda 130 miles to the North West. The winds remained moderate from the south east for the entire passage requiring us to motor for a couple of hours in the afternoon. After that we had an uneventful sail under goose-winged mainsail and Genoa.
The only thing to note being that the ships batteries which have been deteriorating over the last few weeks could not get us through the night and we had to run the engine for 30 minutes during the night to re-charge them. It looks as if I will have to replace them in the near future, no doubt at great expense out here. They are only a couple of years old!
We arrived at Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbour at 1700 on Thursday evening having had to motor for the last couple of hours. We were treated to an excellent but very expensive meal out on Thursday night by Richard and Rayelle. On Friday morning I spent hours going through the most complex clearing in process yet encountered - rather ironic given we were back on British territory. Once completed we motored the few miles across the water to Marina Quay, a small island complete with pretty beach palm trees, restaurant and bar. We dropped anchor as near to the beach as we could manage right up against the reef and swam from the boat. Most of the coral was unfortunately dead but there were isolated patches of live coral. Hopefully they were an indication that the reef was recovering rather than the last remnants prior to its complete demise. I found a conch shell too.
We spent another enjoyable evening eating and drinking with Richard and Rayell on their last night with us. On Saturday morning we had a lovely sail back to Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbour and after lunch waved good bye to Richard and Rayelle.
We then considered our options for the next couple of weeks. Fickle winds over the next few days followed by more sustained easterlies from Wednesday led us to decide that we would take a few short hops west through the Virgin Islands starting today, Sunday 19th and then depart for Jamaica from St John in the USVI on Wednesday. Prior to then we will have to catch a ferry from BVI Tortola to St John to enter on our ESTAs. Then apparently we will be clear to enter US territories on the boat for the next 90 days.