We returned to St Martin to pick up our friends Filippo and Mariella who were arriving on the 28th from Rome. We spent about 3 days making some maintenance work and reorganizing the cabins to properly host them.
We docked at Simpson Bay Marina where – a few boat boats apart from us – there was Richard Parker, the boat of Dominique and Vera, a young Swiss couple that was part of the Cornell rally and that we last met in Dominica. It was a great pleasure to have them at dinner and exchange experiences and plans, cheering up to our next steps with a good white wine.
Drawbridge leaving Simpson Bay Lagoon
The morning following our friends arrival, we moved to Anse Marcell, where we docked at a very cozy marina. Here we met Lilly, a beautiful German boat from the rally as well! The day after we made a stop at Grand Case , from where we left around 5pm starting the passage to the British Virgin Islands, where we planned to spend two weeks with our friends.
The British Virgin Islands, or BVIs, are an autonomous crown colony of the UK. They were discovered – together with the USVIs, by Columbus who was so enchanted to give them a single name, the “11 thousand virgins”, commemorating the 11 thousand companion of St Ursula who were martyred by the Huns. In the 17th century the islands were haunt of the filibusters, mostly English, and of the French buccaneers, who launched themselves against the Spanish ships to get hold of the rich booties.
Beach at “The Baths”
The first island that you encounter coming from south is Virgin Gorda, where we arrived on the 3rd in the morning. We decided to sail during the night to give the opportunity to our friends to sleep during the passage, to prevent them from getting too sea sick due to the swell and wind that was forecasted. Virgin Gorda has a huge lagoon and multiple small islets surrounding it. Some of these islets are private and feature beautiful villas.
However, the real highlight of the island is a place called “The Baths”; we were able to moore just in front of this spectacular site. “The Baths” are a set of huge granite boulders that form several natural pools; the space between the rocks gives way to the sun rays to create a fantastic lighting.
Unfortunately, the forecasts for the following days were of very strong winds and rain, so we decided to find shelter in a marina in Road Town in Tortola, that is the biggest and most populated island in the BVIs. The coast line is scattered with long white beaches, and offshore islets in the Drake Channel.
On our way to Road Town harbour we moored for a couple of hours at one of this islets, Marina Key, a little paradise where we enjoyed the afternoon, before recovering in Road Town, where we ended up staying for a couple of days.
When the weather settled, we sailed to Cooper island and the following day we crossed the passage to Anegada, a flat, small island sitting on an immense coral barrier, with turquoise cristal waters.
It very much recalls Barbuda, including the only village here called simply “The settlement”. While we enjoyed very much its white beaches, we did not had a chance to dive to one of the 300 wrecks that lie along the coast line – ships that were attracted by false light signals created by the inhabitants to plunder the rich loads.
The inner part of the island features a number of lagoons where several bird species, including pink flamingos (which we could not spot!!!), make their nest.
Mariella and Filippo at Anegada
After such an isolated paradise, we took a chance to experience some mundane life in Jost Van Dyke, the westernmost of the BVIs, getting its name from a Dutch pirate. The main attraction of the island for us was the “Foxy’s Bar and Restaurant” in Great Harbour, a very unique meeting point featuring live music performed by excellent bands specialized in very different kinds of music, from jazz to dance. We had a very enjoyable evening, accompanied by good food lubricated with rum punches and beers. We discovered the hidden freak soul of Filippo, who was filming the bands while walking at music’s rhythm.
It was a perfect celebration of a vacation that for Filippo and Mariella was coming to an end. In fact, on March 13th at dawn we accompanied them to the taxi going to the airport of Tortola, where they took the first of three connecting flights to get back to Italy. We had a good time with them and we are missing their company.