February 1995 - Anguilla to BVI

1 February 1995 Road Bay to Spanish Town, Virgin Gorda (Day 1)
We have an overnight sail to the British Virgin Islands, so we spent the day tidying up and doing a few maintenance jobs. I checked the batteries and found that 2 batteries are completely flat. I tried to charge them with no luck, so I disconnected them. Dad checked the bottle screws and scrubbed the bottom of the dinghy, I checked the rigging.

Before we left, Mum, Dad, Craig and Brett were returning to the beach in the dinghy to pick up a small bucket that Brett had left behind. About 15 metres from the beach, Brett jumped out in front of the dinghy and the dinghy motored over him. My dad managed to pull up the outboard and Brett popped up at the side. Brett escaped with a few cuts and a bad scare. It really scared Mum and Dad.

We decided to tow the dinghy as it should be mild weather. I rigged up the poles for twin, downwind sails before we weighed anchor. We left at six o’clock in the evening and motored for an hour before we had enough wind to sail. As night fell, we were sailing downwind at about 4 knots with a very pleasant motion. We did two hour watches.

2 February 1995 Road Bay to Spanish Town, Virgin Gorda (Day 2)
I started the engine at midnight and dropped one of the sails because the batteries were down to 21.4v even though I had turned the fridge off. We motor-sailed all the way to the Baths arriving at half past nine in the morning. The batteries are still only showing 24.4V so I expect that I’ll have to buy 4 new batteries in the very near future.

We had a great time on the beach at the Baths. Dad, Brett and I went snorkelling and went through a cave. The cave is about 5 metres down and about 20 metres long. Brett went through with me following him. Dad came through and ended up scraping his back because he didn’t go deep enough. He had to turn on his back and push off the cave roof with his hands! As Brett and I came out of the cave, we spotted a turtle which went to the sea bed to hide. It stayed still while we all dived down to get a closer look.

After lunch, Dad and I left the others on the beach and did Confined Water 5. We then motored around to the anchorage in front of Spanish Town. I cleared in and we had a few beers at a bar. We were all tired and grumpy, so we had frozen pizzas and fell exhausted into bed at eight o’clock.

3 February 1995 Spanish Town to Gorda Sound, Virgin Gorda
Up early and motored around to the Dog Islands. Glenys, Dad and I did Open Water Dives 4 and 5 and I awarded Dad with his Open Water Diver certification. We had two good dives, but I had an anxious moment when he did his mask removal and swallowed some water - we were at 18 metres and I didn’t want him bolting for the surface. Fortunately, he sorted himself out.

We then motored around to Gorda Sound, visited the Pusser’s shop and anchored by Saba Rock for the night. The others went to look at the shark pool and visit a bar while I ran the compressor. I filled 7 tanks. What a nice steady anchorage this is!

4 February 1995 Gorda Sound
A lazy day. I went through navigation and multi level theory with Dad and Glenys for their Advanced Open Water Course. Mum and Dad took the boys to the beach in the afternoon while Glenys and I mooched about. I read my book and played the clarinet.

5 February 1995 Gorda Sound to Marina Cay, Virgin Gorda.
The two domestic batteries that I left in circuit are discharging very quickly, so I swapped them with the engine batteries which I hope will be OK for a couple of weeks while I get some new batteries.

We motored over to Marina Cay, where Dad, Glenys and I did their Advanced OW Navigation dive. Dad had problems with the natural navigation and I was much too strict about their performance. Consequently, we had to do the natural navigation exercise 3 times and then ran out of air. I’m so annoyed that my expectations were greater than the PADI standards. We filled up with water and I filled 3 tanks. We went back to Marina Cay so that Mum and Dad could go out for a meal.

6 February 1995 Marina Cay to Road Town, Tortola
We motored around to Road Town, Tortola and anchored just outside the Moorings marina. Glenys did some food shopping and I ran about looking for batteries, fan belts etc. Mum and Dad took the boys into town and we met them for lunch.

We met James and Fay from “Only Blue”, Steve and Marylyn from “Vintage Port” and Dave from “Adagio” who are all skippering Moorings crewed charter boats. It sounds like a good job. They get £15,000 + £10,000 tips for the two of them with no food bills to pay!

I bought 4 dive torches so that we can do a night dive tomorrow - £80 on torches has put my diving budget back a bit! We dropped our gas bottles off and Dad and I went for a walk to a dive shop. He ended up paying out £300 on a BCD and a gauge console! Glenys and I went for a meal by ourselves and had a great time.

7 February 1995 Road Town to Manchineel Bay, Cooper Island
A hangover this morning. We motored over to Cooper Island and picked up a dive mooring over the wreck of the Marie L. Glenys didn’t feel up to diving, so Dad and I went and did his deep dive.

After the dive we went and anchored in Manchineel Bay. We then waited, prepared, waited and prepared to do the night dive. Eventually we kitted up at quarter to seven. This was the first time that I’ve led a night dive so I was a bit nervous, but we had no problems. I had an interesting encounter with a small squid - it was attracted by my light and actually grabbed hold of it! I was able to touch it with my finger a couple of times before it jetted off.

8 February 1995 Manchineel Bay to The Bight, Norman Island
We motored around to Salt Island and anchored in Lee Bay. I filled 6 tanks.

Dad, Glenys and I went for a dive on the RMS Rhone. I swam through the hatch used in the film “The Deep” and went through the wreck while Glenys and Dad swam around. There was a very strong current and they struggled against it until I re-appeared and got them to swim close to the sea bed where the current is not as strong - lesson learned I think.

We went to Great Harbour and anchored for lunch. We then went to Key Cay but it was too rough. We eventually ended up in the Bight, Norman Island.

9 February 1995 The Bight, Norman Island
Dad, Glenys and I did the second half of their navigation exercise. After lunch we went to the caves to do a bit of snorkelling. A lazy sort of day. I filled 3 tanks - I’m a slave to this compressor.

10 February 1995 The Bight, Norman Island
We went round to Benures Bay so that we could go diving. Glenys and Dad did a multilevel dive and achieved their Advanced Open Water Diver certification. After lunch we went to the Indians and guess what? – we did another dive! I went snorkelling with Mum and the boys. We then went back to the Bight. I filled 3 tanks.