Friday, March 29, 2013

1945, March 29, East End Harbor, Jost Van Dyke

We awoke in Cam Bay this a.m., with a beautiful view of the beach, and only two other boats in the bay. It was truly the Caribbean experience we were looking for.

After a relaxed breakfast of pancakes, we sorted out the boat, and headed off for Jost Van Dyke. Coming back through Marina Cay, where we had been the night before, we noticed considerably fewer boats. It must have been extra full when we were there because of the full moon party. As we passed Monkey Point, where we had tried to snorkel the day before, we noticed that there were no boats on the national park mooring balls.

It became pretty apparent why, as we headed along the north side of Tortola, aimed at Jost Van Dyke. There were big swells coming in from the north, rocking us side to side as we took them straight on our starboard side. I turned a bit north to try and quarter the waves and relieve the rocking, but even so, all the kids were soon up on deck feeling a bit green from the motion. We all felt better sitting up front on the trampolines, where we could watch the waves come in. There was very little wind, so we just motored straight across to Diamond Cay.

As we approached the last available mooring ball in the field, another charter boat gunned his engine to beat us to it. I backed off without a fuss and let him have it, as I actually wasn't all that keen to spend another night in a crowded mooring field anyway (so there, nyaah).

We turned around and motored around a little spit, and found ourselves in lots of room to anchor in East End Harbor, with reasonable protection. We let out lots of chain, since there is plenty of room here, with only three other boats anchored off to our side, and no one in front or behind.

We had a quick lunch, then headed out in the dinghy to explore. We first headed over to Sandy Spit, which is a beautiful little beach with a tuft of trees and bushes in the middle, but ringed by sand. Unfortunately, the big north swell was wrapping around the spit, creating quite an onshore wave, and we weren't keen to try our first surf landing, so we stayed out a safe distance, and satisfied ourself with pictures instead.

From there, we headed back over to Diamond Cay to check out the famed "Bubbly Pool", which is a pool where the waves rush in through rocks to create a natural "Jacuzzi" type action. The kids had a great time playing in the rush of seawater, and after a tour group left, we had it all to ourselves for about half an hour.


We then headed back to the boat, hoping to do some snorkeling around the reef nearby. But shortly after we got back, the clouds that had been threatening all day opened up, and we had our first taste of tropical rain. We were expecting a downpour for only a few minutes, but we had steady rain for over an hour, and we learned where the leaks on the boat are (there are a few – it looks like Katie will be sleeping in a bit of a wet berth tonight. If it rains a lot more, we may have to move her in with one of the other kids). We battened down the hatches, as they say, and sat out the rainy weather. Once things settled a bit we cooked dinner, and we are now sitting at anchor wondering what the night will bring. The wind is gusting pretty hard, and there is more rain in the forecast for the next couple of days, so it may be a different look for our trip through the weekend. We have almost all our anchor chain out, though, and we are on a nice sandy bottom, so hopefully the anchor will hold, and we'll still be in the same spot tomorrow morning.

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