Blog Post 14 by Jon Sanders: British Virgin Islands
Sorry everybody, for the lack of communication. I somehow mucked up the Wi-Fi on this yacht. You get that. Do so!
I am now at a restaurant ashore at Spanish Town, British Virgin Islands.
32 days back, I departed the British Island of Saint Helena – clearing port, customs and immigration were simple. Easy for like me anyway.
A lot of yachts check into Saint Helena; some are circumnavigating.
Few or fewer yachts are going via Suez Canal, because of Somali Pirates (ransom) – my Visa Card is a bit useless to them. Also, ships (and yachts) must pass within a few miles, even less, of Yemen Islands and the mainland where there is Civil War; so more ships now go around the Cape of Good Hope.
But back to St Helena – British. The perimeter of Saint Helena Island is cliffs…
The town ( a city so to speak), Jamestown, on the lee side of the island, is in a narrow street valley that leads into the ocean. On each side are cliffs: the edge sides of the town.
The towns Folk housing is on top of the cliffs. Lucky things. Nice views.
The island is a volcanic structure with steep hills and valleys. Absolutely beautiful!
The roads, narrow, winding corners around steep sides. One must be extremely aware of traffic coming from the other way. Th vehicles going downhill give way to those going uphill.
Rhys and Trevor said they were hiring a car. “Wanna come?” I sure would, and did.
Strange, because Rhys is the tall, engaging, easy for anyone to talk to, (he must be the dominating one) but it was Trever who negotiated the price and the hire of the car; it was Trevor who drove, whichever way he thought. It was Trevor who spotted a grocery store ( mini-mini supermarket) amongst the trees, hills, and valleys. It was Trevor who stopped and thought Rhys and I might like to buy something. We did.
On we went, Rhys and I downing an ice-cold beer. Gosh, we wouldn’t want to buy a packaged tour of the Island for quids.
Back at sea.
On leaving St Helena, I was sailing the South Atlantic, the Doldrums, North Atlantic and the Caribbean Sea. I sailed St Helena to British Virgin Islands, some 4100 nautical miles. I probably logged a few more miles than that, as I would, and you would too.
The south-east trade winds were mild, with the wind behind me – heading north-west; quiet and good. The nearer to the equator the wind faded.
Normally the Doldrums are north of the equator – by several degrees. Things seem different. Six degrees south, quiet motor sailing. Four Degrees, motor sailing hours on end. Two and three degrees the wind came on strong and quickly went. Sloppy sea. So all is.
The sky in the Atlantic Doldrums is something unique to see. Believe me! Clouds at all levels; light coloured, black, huge and massive, tops blowing off this way, others a different way. Some flat and skinny, others weirdly shaped.
It rains a bit, it rains a lot, and down it pours, clouds thick and heavy – then it doesn’t rain.
A Bit of wind here, a bit of wind there. Different direction and no wind at all. Hours and hours of calm.
Motor sailing Yanmar at low revs 5. 5 1/2 knots. Steered by Simrad Electric Auto Pilot. Course and adjustments all done on the B&G screen on the chart table. Life in the Doldrums not bad!
I crossed the equator and more of the same. This time Doldrums were where they were supposed to be. (Just burnt up more fuel south and north of the equator.)
Sailed Perie Banou sailed out of the Doldrums – as you do. And now I’m back in the trade-winds.
The trade-winds were north-east (NE). Winds behind and on a broad reach. 18/25 kts sometimes direction variations NE – ENE – E. Sometimes windy 20/25 kts.
I crossed the Atlantic and, finally, reached the windward islands.
Passing close to Barbados, 3,600 NM from St Helena; thence between St Lucia, and the French Island of Martinique – lit at night like a major city. Then passing the islands of Dominique and the French island of Guadeloupe – an active Volcano. Onwards to the British Virgin Islands, I planned on my yacht.
Arrival BVIs. My friend Captain Paul Stratford should be there (on a major boat). If he is, maybe he can sort out why I cannot commute on yacht Wi-Fi.
Regards to all.
Wish you were all here.