28 April 2011, Tortola to Cooper Island, BVI

Marine Forecast: East winds 18-20 knots, seas 5 to 7 feet, scattered showers
Actual: wind 20-25, seas 5 to 7 feet

Up early, and while The Skipper walked to the new Riteway, I finish stowing food, etc. The big blue Ikea bag was perfect for all the dry goods and misc boxes. It can be tied shut and easily moved. The Skipper returned with the world’s biggest can of powdered creamer and news of a hole in the fence, which shortens the walking trip immensely. Not sure how that would work for a full load of groceries.

Since we were departing on an off-day, the briefing and walkthrough were quick, and we were off the dock by 10:30 and headed for Cooper Island. As we rounded the corner out of the Road Town harbor in winds clocking steadily at 25 knots in largish seas, I thought, “We could have gone to Venice. They have boats.” But, I got a grip, enjoyed the ride and The Skipper’s fine driving, and appreciated the protected harbor at Cooper when we got there at 12:50.

Out come the chilled Red Stripes and our traditional boat snacks of peanut butter-filled pretzels. And then it started to feel like we were on vacation. A late lunch at the Cooper Island Beach Club put us further in the vacay mood with a margarita, dark and stormy, conch ceviche, and chicken roti. The Beach Club is tres tres swanky now (vs. 2009), and I felt bad getting sand on their tile floor. I also learned that no one would be up at 5:30am the next day to turn on the TV for “The Wedding.” Ah well, belated congrats to William and Catherine!

We splashed around the beach after lunch and then lounged on the boat for the rest of the day. I couldn’t be bothered to dinghy in for happy hour when a cold beer on the bow put us that much closer to the sunset over Tortola. Shaking out the rest of the boat systems, I made bean and corn quesadillas for dinner and realized I forgot to buy cooking oil.

Sometime after the sunset, our lovely mooring spot turned into Roll-y Night #2. The swell and the wind went perpendicular to one another, the mooring ball came knocking, and the front of the dinghy slurped and bumped against the stern all night. There wasn’t much to do, though, when the wind died away at 4am and the boat really dipped in the swells. One of the (many) very good reasons to anchor. Since no one on TTOL has mentioned boat noise and sleep issues, I’ll just assume it’s me, but Ginger’s Nightly Boat Noise solution for the rest of the trip was to lash the dinghy lengthwise across the stern. And eventually rum, lots of rum.

27 April 2011, New York to Tortola, BVI

When the big departure day arrives, I’m a little sad to leave – I love where we live. But it’s our belated honeymoon(!), so we’re at JFK for an on-time morning departure, with sausage biscuits. I spent the flight reading Pride and Prejudice (juicy beach read!) and chomping on my “godfather” deli sandwich and a Bloody Mary. The Skipper read Masters of Atlantis by Charles Portis with his roast beef-on-a-roll and a Bloody, too. I felt sorry for the guy one seat over with the purchased meal reading about “maximizing his IPO.”

We arrived in Charlotte Amalie between afternoon ferries, hung out with the parking lot chicken, and watched the water. The roll-y ride on the Fast Ferry’s ‘Provincetown III’ indicated what was in store for us, but you can’t be too disturbed when St. John is sliding by all nubbly emerald in the blue Caribbean. We arrive at 5:30, clear customs, and taxi (Mike rocks!) to the marina by 6:30. The people at BVI Yacht Charter are a great mix of welcoming and helpful and quickly got us on the boat – Sapphire, a 31′ Beneteau SAC. Did some late evening provisioning at Bobby’s and then spent a very bumpy night with creaky fenders and jerky spring lines. The Skipper is a pretty good sleeper. Ginger contemplated the wisdom of sleep-aboards for a good portion of the wee hours. Next time: check the weather and maybe have a backup plan at a hotel. But whatever – we were on the boat!