We’ve been working on visiting some of our favourite spots in the British Virgin Islands over the past week or so and next week are targeting a few places where we didn’t really get to explore adequately last year. So here is what we’ve been up to.We spent a few days in the Virgin Gorda North Sound, swimming, hiking and snorkelling. We had contemplated moving Altera into Deep Bay to the east of Bitter End Yacht Club, but the skies were a little cloudy so we didn’t want to navigate the reef without good lighting that would allow us to read the water depth and pick our route. So instead we took advantage of our position to have a leisurely reach north to the Anegada. Unique in the BVIs as a sandy coral atoll, although a little less special now that we have been through parts of the Bahamas.
We certainly still like Anegada although as the tourism industry grows, the space between the secluded little hotels is filling in with more and more restaurants. We checked out a few menus so that we know what there is to offer if we do have visitors in February, but had planned to eat on the boat. That plan changed slightly, when we went for a happy hour at Neptunes to get our wifi fix, and found out they had a full ham and turkey dinner buffet for Thanksgiving. Great meal, and we love the atmosphere and the price was right too.
A couple days later, we were looking for a nice quiet and well protected place to get some rest so we moved on down to Little Harbour on Peter Island. This is probably one of the most consistent and flattest nights sleep we have found down here. You also get a bit of shade on the boat at some hours of the day which extends the hours where one is willing to climb into the cockpit locker where there is seldom a hint of air circulation. While we were here we also caught up with friends from back home on Sapphire Breeze.
So out came the autopilot drive unit for investigation. Considering Raymarine claims there are no user serviceable parts and that you should send it in for a $600 rebuild, the system is really straightforward, and just pulling the unit out of the boat seems to be at least half of the total effort.
The clutch is a simple electromagnet that locks a set of planetary gears to connect the motor to the feed screw, a belt, a robust linear screw and the stepper motor. I did find a slight hiccup with the clutch which has been addressed and explains why we occasionally felt a stiff spot while turning the wheel. Otherwise, all that remains is to open up and clean out the carbon dust from the motor and identify I need to order a new set of brushes. Admittedly, searching for more details on cleaning the motor was supposed to be the purpose of this wifi access, but here I am on the blog instead.
We had a rather wet day at Peter Island, certainly not complaining, but occasionally we do not have sun, snorkelling and happy hours, so to those that think all we do is sunbath, snorkel and go for happy hour, there is a bit more to our reality.
Our next stop was to return to Norman Island for more snorkelling and to actually hike the trails with Magnus. Although ‘the Bight’ is a major tourist stop, it still remains one of our favourites.
Hiking I saw all kinds of colourful wild life.
We saw hundreds of butterflies and I actually managed to get one that paused for long enough to get a quick shot. The bulk of the others were white and they seemed to fly in groups which added a nice touch to the hike.
From spyglass hill, I could easily spot Altera, where we had actually managed to find a place to anchor in and among the mooring balls and not far from the Pirates Bight Restaurant.
The night before we had joined the crews on Rum Runner and Kalunamoo, fellow Salty Dawgs for dinner at the restaurant, and we quite impressed. We had spent enough nights wondering, and finally took the chance to try it out while we had good company.
And to all those who think we are unfair to our dog by dragging him along on our adventure…. Oh the miserable creature…
Although he certainly was happy to find Chrissy with a shady spot to access the wifi from.
Next on the agenda is to visit Jost Van Dyke, catch the Bath’s again and then start thinking about finding a weather window to St. Maarten and coordinating Magnus’ paperwork.