Jeff’s (very long) guest post continues!
Day 4 represented our first change to the planned schedule. Originally the plan was to sail off-shore looking for whales, diving or snorkeling at the Dog Islands, then sailing back to Guana Island for the night. After talking to the local dive shop regarding local reef conditions, we decided to grab a mooring buoy at Marina Cay where a dinghy could be taken to nearby Diamond Reef. With the Dinghy Mount now perfected, the crew felt comfortable diving off the dinghy. Diamond Reef is a very well developed reef, providing considerable vertical relief and an assortment of large coral and fish. A noticeable current was present at both ends of the reef, but provided a good indicator of when to reverse course. During this dive we saw a small school of large sea bass, standard reef fish, and some good-sized lobsters.
Day 5 left us with empty dive tanks, which provided an opportunity to explore the luxurious Scrub Island Resort while filling the tanks at the dive shop. Rooms on this private island go for $800-$1,000/night, but the views are spectacular. We lounged at the bar and pool while absorbing the laid-back island life. After the island visit, it was a downwind sail in 20-25 knot winds to Jost Van Dyke. We arrived later than expected and most of the mooring buoys were taken, so we moored at the less-desirable, but quiet Little Harbor. The dinghy was piloted one cove over to Foxy’s Taboo Bar, where we sampled a couple of Pain Killers. After finishing our refreshments we hiked to the Bubbly Pool. The Bubbly Pool consists of a long narrow channel set in carved steep rock leading to a shallow pond. When the waves are high, seawater violently rushes up the channel and into the pond creating a back and forth washing machine action, which massages the body.
After a long dinghy ride back to the boat we cleaned up, then watched the sunset while sipping on cold brew. Our plan was to eat dinner at Foxy’s bar in Great Harbor, but a storm delayed our departure. The winds increased considerably during the storm, and our yacht’s mooring line somehow got tangled on keel. When we tried to untangle the lines, the poorly-maintained mooring line broke. After some quick maneuvering, the yacht was carefully weaved through the scattered moored boats out to deeper water in the harbor. First crisis averted!
Circling the star-lit harbor allowed time to evaluate options and potential plans, none of which were fully embraced. Pat and James were deployed to the dinghy to explore whether there were any open mooring buoys or available docks, while Jose and I continued circling the harbor pondering alternatives. Pat broadcast on the hand-held radio that he found a dock, so we navigated through the moored boats to observe the location. The first dock he located was not long enough, but a second option was possible. It wasn’t the best place to dock being fully concrete with no rubber or wood fenders, but it still offered the best solution to our current situation. Luckily the crew was previously briefed on how to properly throw a line and the usage of a spring line before departing Roadtown, so everything was in place for a successful night time docking maneuver. Once the dock was within range, Jose heaved the line to Pat who set the spring line on the dock. I motored against the spring line and brought the yacht to the dock for a soft, uneventful landing. Time for some more Pain Killers!
<MB comment: That was quite the sticky situation! Trying to maneuver in unfamiliar territory – in the dark – was not a trivial exercise. If they hadn’t found a dock, there weren’t a lot of good alternative solutions. Jeff texted me with their tale of woe late that night – and then I needed a Pain Killer!>
The last installment is next up …..