An Up & Down Day, Ended on a Good Note

Friday January 30, 2015

Genevieve & Jessica

This morning was a bit of an adventure.  Full of ups and downs.  Come to think of it, the whole day was like that really.

When we decided today that we finally needed to get our anchor up from Big Trunk Bay and move ourselves over to Tortola we had to go through the hassle of upping our stern anchor which had been pointing us into the wakes and swells (I forgot that this was the method we were using, not a bridle).  Matt had taken the dinghy over to pull it up but wanted to dive on it first.  Having left his snorkeling mask on the boat I thought I’d just toss it over to him since he was only about 50 feet away.

Yeah….kind of forgot I can’t throw an object of sustainable weight on a good day, let alone an 8 oz snorkel mask.  It didn’t even make it half way to him before it started sinking down into the water.  Well at this point in the morning I hadn’t even put my contacts in yet, so while I was being yelled at to retrieve it I scrambled to get from my pj’s into even part of a swimsuit and into the water while half blind.  Let’s just say that Matt’s mask was not recovered.

On my swim back from the search to the boat I ran into my first ever jellyfish with a bite to it.  I’ve swum through hunreds of those itty bitty things that are basically half the size of your palm.  I didn’t see whatever I ran into, but I know that it was painful.  Nothing I got tangled in, thankfully, but enough that it felt like I got caught in a swim by stinging from a few bees.  Once back at the boat I was able to get the rest of my suit together and took Matt out with the dinghy so I could motor next to him while he used my goggles to search for his on the seabed.

We could tell there was a bit of a current and that they had been most likely swept away further than we were willing to search.  Oh well, we’ll be back in Florida soon enough where we can buy him a new set and in the Bahamas and Caribbean again in a year to get some use out of them.  Motoring back to the boat we heard a call for help and suddenly realized that Matt’s snorkeling mask was not the only thing being swept away by the current.

There was a French flagged boat anchored behind us and in broken English we heard one man on board yelling to us that his friend went swimming and couldn’t make it back to the boat, could we please go get him.  We turned ourselves around to go behind the boat and found a man floating on his back about 150 feet behind the boat.  Luckily he was being smart and not tiring himself out by trying to fight his way back.  Coming slowly up to him we could see this poor man that was getting carried away had lost one of his arms, making what would have been a swim back even more difficult.

The dinghy from the boat he belonged to had just left with a few of the crew members, most likely to go to the Baths, and had we not been there, there’s no telling how or if he would have been able to get back.  Using his one arm to grab onto the lines of the dinghy we hauled the rest of him on and brought him back to his catamaran.  Just as we were dropping him off and his friend was helping him back on board we saw the other dinghy headed back.  We just smiled and waved as we headed back to Serendipity to get the anchor up and get moving.  Our good deed for the day had been done and we wanted to go before having to refuse a bottle of wine or any other kind of gifts, something we have found the French are famous for giving even for the smallest of favors.

With the sails up we were once again traveling in perfect conditions.  I seriously love the Virgin Islands.  15 knots of wind pushing us at 4 knots over calm waters to our next destination only 10 miles away.  If only all our sails could be like this.  Our intended stop for the night was Sea Cow Bay.  This is because in the bay right next door was Nanny Cay Marina, and sitting in that marina was my friend Brittany of Windtraveler.  Although I had been chatting online with her ever since her and her husband Scott left Chicago to go cruising in 2010, I already had the chance to meet up and hang out with her in the Exumas when we passed through there two years ago.  A ladies night on the beach that was quite fun and memorable.

We’ve still been keeping in touch and when we found out we were both going to be in the BVI’s at the same time we knew we needed to get together again.  Find a nice spot on the beach once more to drink a little (or a lot of) Sangria while she got some well deserved time off from watching her three adorable little girls, and I once more had a chance to get in some QT with a long long friend.  It sounded ideal.  Only, making it a reality was not quite as easy as I’d hoped.  Getting to the neighboring Sea Cow Bay, things weren’t looking very good for us.

Although our charts showed this as an anchorage, all we found when we pulled in was an extremely small space that has squeezed two sets of docks in, and what was supposed to be the anchorage was littered with moorings marked with milk jugs.  Which in my mind does not go synonymous with strong holding.  Something I’d normally be willing to forego this for one night, but the winds were beginning to pick up and these moorings were surrounded by land on one side, docks on another, and a reef on the other.  The only good place for us to drag if we did was into the channel and unfortunately we weren’t going to take that chance.  As much as it saddened me, I was going to have to give up my date with Brittany.

Road Harbor, Tortola

Road Harbor, Tortola

Moving just a few miles further up the coast we pulled in to Road Harbor and found that was lacking for spots to anchor as well.  With the sun getting lower in the sky though, we weren’t willing to find yet a new spot.  Pulling up to a mooring at the mouth of the bay we tied ourselves off and jumped online to an open signal we found.  Imagine my surprise when I saw a post from my other friend Genevieve that she was also in Road Harbor that night!

I first met Genevieve the same night in the Exumas when I hung out with Brittany, and we’ve been close online friends ever since.  She was also someone I desperately wanted to see while we were in the Virgin Islands, only I thought they were still in St. John at the moment.  Quickly typing in some messages while hoping I’d get a speedy reply, I asked if she was available to get together that night and if I could dinghy out to see her at the marina she was staying in.  Luckily I did get a quick reply and she said she’d be more than happy for me to come hang out.

Going through a lightning pace to make and then eat dinner, I was getting in the dinghy just as the last bit of dusk was turning the sky black.  It was an interesting motor to the interior of the bay, running into some in-water construction that I had to find my way around, but soon enough I was at Moorings Marina and wandering the docks while looking for Necesse.  It wasn’t too hard to find since it was one of the only two non-Moorings charter boats there, and before I knew it Eben was tying off my dink while I was jumping on the dock to give Genevieve a big hug.

Coming out to greet me as well were her two super cute daughters, Arias and Ellia.  I had come prepared with gifts for them and if they had been excited to see me at first, they were even more excited to tear into the coloring books and temporary tattoos I had brought.  Genevieve was given some milk chocolate that I had brought from the Canaries, and Eben, well…..sorry, I didn’t have anything manly for you except a Star Wars coloring book.

For the first 20 or 30 minutes the five of us sat in the cockpit where the adults enjoyed some wine and the girls (now joined by their boat friend) were trying out the tattoos.  Ellia looked a little sad when she came out to show hers and at first I thought Genevieve said it was because she was worried it would rub off too soon.  So trying to make her feel better I said, “Oh don’t worry.  I put one on before and it stayed on for a month!  I was pretty sure it was going to be permanent!”  When her eyes widened even more I found out she had originally been worried that her temporary tattoo was in fact never going to come off.  I probably scared the little thing half to death with my ‘assurance’.

Just after that though, all the girls went next door to s/v Mirador and it was just us adults left to hang out and drink wine.  Although I had never forgotten, I was instantly reminded what a cool couple Genevieve and Eben are.  The conversation never had a lull in it and there was plenty to catch up on since the last and one time we had seen each other.  They have a very interesting Rickshaw Run coming up in India in a few weeks, but there was also lots of talk of the Virgin Islands and things to do there.  I had been devouring Genevieve’s latest posts about the area and had plenty of questions for her.  I quickly leafed through their guidebook of the area since we did not have one, and Eben was even nice enough to write down a list of the ‘must-see’ places with our limited time here.

As that conversation was winding down we were joined by the adults of neighboring Mirador, Joaquin and Maria.  A bottle of Moscato was opened and the hours continued to fly by.  There was one casualty of the night when I kept pestering Eben to take out his tripod to get a group photo of us and there was a distinctive plop noise when the connector piece when in the water, of which I take full blame for since it wouldn’t have been brought out in the dark in the first place if it wasn’t for me.  Do you still need a replacement guys?, I promise I’ll have one sent to you.

Other than that the night was nothing short of perfect.  I stayed out way past my curfew (What?  It’s past 23:30? I have to go!!) yet was already counting down days until we might be able to hang out again, hoping we’d cross paths again before my long trip home to Florida.  For a day full of ups and downs this was definitely a high high, and the perfect way to end the night.

Ellia with tattoo

Arias with tattoo

Eben & Genevieve

Eben & Jessica

Maria

group shot

 

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