June 28, 2008
It began about 8 months ago. Our good friends at Hill Country Yacht Club asked if we would be interested in spending 2 weeks on a brand new Lagoon 420 cruising the British and US Virgin Islands. This is the new version Lagoon 420 with electric engines and a diesel gen set. It took a little convincing but once Johni (my girlfriend) realized that she would not be out of sight of land and that terra firma would just be a short dingy ride away she decided it would be a "go".
This started the wheels turning. The yacht was booked through TMM (www.sailtmm.com) and plane reservations were booked with Continental. If you are interested in doing something this, be advised, the boat rental is the cheap part. 2 people round trip from San Antonio to Beef Island was around $1700. Today (June) they are over $2300 with the price of fuel. Provisioning is around $2000 for the initial order but keep in mind that includes food for many breakfasts, lunches, dinners and beverages to feed 8 people for two weeks.
The additional members of the crew will be introduced in the next post. The website (blogsite) shows me as the skipper but on this trip I am not, I am just the one that put this blog together. 4 crew members including the skipper (Dave) will arrive in Tortola on Thursday while Johni and myself along with John and Nancy will arrive on Friday the 4th. Dave was able to secure the boat for us to spend the night of the 4th on and then we will get our briefing and head out on Saturday the 5th. The crew consists of 2 school teachers, 2 registered nurses, an HR Manager, a merchant seaman, a computer manager and a financial analyst.
June 29, 2008
Dave and Renee
Dave and Renee are the BVI vetrans of the group. This is their 4th time to charter in the BVI and the second time on Martha R. Dave will be our skipper for this trip and Renee has the trip itinerary pretty much mapped out in her head. Dave is the Past Commodore of Hill Country Yacht Club (HCYC) on Canyon Lake where he and Renee keep their Beneteau 321 Reprise.
John and Nancy
This will be John and Nancy’s third trip to the BVI. John is the current Commodore of HCYC where he and Nancy keep their Beneteau 321 Winds Aloft.
Bill and Johni
Bill (me) and Johni are newbie’s to the BVI. I have sailed off the coast of Florida and Mississippi and Johni has sailed off of Panama. Neither of us have ever sailed on a charter before and we are really looking forward to this trip. We are also members of HCYC where we keep our Catalina 36 Lucky.
Barry and Kathy
This is also Barry and Kathy’s first trip to the BVI. More details and a photo of them are in the works.
July 04, 2008
We are on the way to Tortola. Johni and I left San Antonio at 7:30am on July 4th. We had a layover in Houston and meet up with John and Nancy for the next leg of the trip to Puerto Rico and then switch airlines to Tortola. The trip to Puerto Rico was right at 4 hours and was smooth. Nancy napped most of the way while John, Johni and I chatted off and on. After landing in Puerto Rico we saw iguanas sunning themselves just off the taxiways. The flight from Puerto Rico to Tortola was on Cape Air and was an 8 seat Cessna 402 twin engine aircraft. Our pilot was a young woman and she did a great job of acting as a tour guide too as she explained our route and identified which islands we would be passing over. Keep in mind, she didn’t need an intercom system to do this. She just turned around and spoke to us in the same way your parents would turn around and scold you in the car when you were on a trip.
The flight was glass smooth and as the sun set behind us it did a great job of lighting up the islands as we came in for a landing. Immigration and customs was quick and easy and we were soon in a cab.
The cab ride was interesting to say the least. About 30 mins of unpaved roads with lots of elevation changes and a bus with an engine that was barely up to the task. When we finally arrived at the marina he wasted no time offloading our bags and heading back to town. We caught up with Dave, Renee, Barry and Kathy who were already aboard Martha R and had just finished putting away all of the groceries for the trip.
After a quick introduction and tour the ladies wandered off to see what was nearby to eat. About 6 mins later Johni walked back and said the had run into the Commodore of the BVI Yacth Club and she had graciously invited us to dine with them. We all walked over and had a fantastic meal with them and visited until around 10:30pm.
Being spent from the trip here, we all retired for a good nights sleep aboard Martha R in the slip.
July 05, 2008
Checked out the boat with the charter company and tossed off the dock lines! Motored out of port and raised the sails into a crisp 15 knot wind. Seas were 3-4 feet and the water was crystal clear! We sailed towards Peter Island and then tacked back towards Tortola. Tacked again at Tortola and headed towards Salt Island. About this time Johni got a little green around the gills and began feeding the fish off the stern of the boat. We tacked again at Salt Island in a little rainshower and headed back towards Beef Island where we dropped the sails and motored around Beef Island and grabbed a mooring ball Marina Cay for the first night. Johni moved from the stern of the boat to the bow where there was a good breeze and she felt much better, We went ashore and walked around Marina Cay for a little while. We then headed back to the boat and fired up the grill. Dinner was ka-bobs for Johni and Renee and fish for the rest of us. There was a good wind that night and we all slept well.
July 06, 2008
Woke early and tried to figure out how to make coffee. Lighting the stove proved to be a challenge but managed to figure it out and get the coffee perculating. After breakfast we ran to shore to dump trash and get some ice. Headed dead into a strong 20-25 kt wind with 4-5 ft seas. Johni rode the bow and loved it! We arrived at Kitchen Point and spent a few hours snorkeling. The reef was beautiful and we even saw 2 small nurse sharks laying on the bottom. After snorkeling we had a light lunch talked about all the critters we observed while underwater. We then motored to Savannah Bay where we set the anchor and again jumped into the water. We were anchored in just 8 feet of water and this proved to be a perfect place for Kathy and Johni to practice snorkeling. Renee worked with Johni and Barry worked with Kathy. After a short period of time, they were both loving it. Once I reduce the size of the pictures so this website will accept them I will post photos of the day.
Renee found two small pieces of coral and set them on the back of the boat. A seagull mistook one of them for food and swooped in and stole it.
Kathy was sunning on the foredeck of the boat and had a seagull swoop in and land on her chest. Poor girl had visions of The Birds on her mind all afternoon. When a gull returned and decided to sit on the dinghy behind the boat she was convinced it was the same bird watching her.
We took a tour of the bay in the dinghy and then headed back to the boat for dinner. John and Nancy made a fantastic pot of Jumbalaya and everyone dug in.
The wind was strong and made for some great sleeping conditions!