Back to being tourists.

After two months of Bay Hosting for the Virgin Islands National Park, we are now officially just plain-ole tourists again.  Our time living in Leinster Bay was not only rewarding and fulfilling, but also just flat out fun. From making new friends and hosting the morning broadcasts of the Leinster Bay Radio Net to epic snorkel runs right off the back of our boat, we felt a real connection to this place. We both have said, in separate conversations and together, that we hope to return to “our bay” as Bay Hosts again soon. 

With our duties officially over and our uniforms turned in, we are out exploring in the British Virgin Islands for a while.   Our first stop was a brief visit to Soper’s Hole at the west end of Tortola, to check in to the country and check out the rebuilding efforts in the bay.  It was a busy weekend in the area as the Loyal West End Yacht Club was hosting its 40th annual Sweetheart Regatta. Our friends Ray and Sandy aboard Megerin were there for the races and stopped by to say hi in their dinghy before Jeff went in to customs. They gave us the low down about the two-day race schedule, and then they were off to meet up with more friends.  After they left, Jeff dinghied to shore to get hassled a bit in the customs office, while I spent the hour scouting out photographs. 

With Jeff back aboard (and changed out of his church clothes), we put up the sail and headed SE into Sir Francis Drake Channel.  We had a rather leisurely sail to Nanny Cay, a marina and resort area, where we would spend the next 4 days repairing Bear and rejuvenating ourselves. Coming into a marina once every couple of weeks allows us to refill our water tanks, top off our house batteries, re-provision, and shower in a REAL shower.  At Nanny Cay, all of these things are easy to accomplish while we can spend a bit of time relaxing at the pool and petting the resident cats. The marina feels very familiar now as we have been there three times since arriving in November. We prefer Nanny Cat to the other similarly priced marina in the area, American Yacht Harbor.  The docks are nicer, the provisioning better, the showers are easier to access and cleaner, the dockhands are prompt, and the surroundings are more picturesque.  Though it is a bit of a splurge to spend 4 nights at the marina, it felt like a good way to unwind from our last 2 weeks straight of Bay Hosting duties and a way to ease back into island time and the culture of the BVI.  And It is always a pleasure to spend a bit of time with Deborah at the beach bar. 

The weather during our stay at the marina was quite windy and this pattern has not yet abated.  When we set out from the navigation channel at Nanny Cay, the waves were 5-7 feet with E/SE winds consistently at 15 with gusts to 30+. Though there were several boats in view in the channel, most were bare poled and motoring. Not us! We set up the staysail and made a sporty little run to Norman Island.  As we came around The Indians, a popular snorkel spot with large rock formations, we could see that the field at Norman was only partially full.  We had a pick of moorings pretty close to the no-boat zone near shore.  In a group of around 45 boats, we were one of a handful who were not chartering. 

Over the last few days we have read, relaxed, played games, hiked around the island, shot pictures, baked cookies, snorkeled, went for dinghy rides, and partook in free rum drinks at the bar in exchange for our mooring receipts.  We hope to do some really tourist snorkel sites and hikes over the next few days including the Caves, Indians, and Salt Island.  Then we will reassess our plans to head west.  At this point, we are making our plans one day at a time. 

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