Saturday, February 28, 2015

The "Not so Virgin anymore" Islands

In fact it seems like they are doing it with anybody and everybody these days - for money of course! 
What is it like to sail the Virgin Islands? It’s a lot like going to Disneyland except in boats. The place is completely overrun with people in rented Boats. And it shows in a big way. Here people are on a tight schedule. 20 islands in 6 days because they have a plane to catch next Saturday! When you wave at other boaters, they just stare at you. People are driving the boats in manner that we have not seen in a while (or ever). The anchoring places are limited, and there are so many boats that people are competing for places to anchor (or more likely for mooring balls). Most of the best anchorages are now filled with mooring balls - which serves double purpose - they make it illegal to anchor there, and they cost money. $15 / night in the US Virgin Islands and $30 in the British Virgin Islands.

So far we got schooled by this evil Customs lady (she made us come back 2 times to the customs office and then ran after us outside and made us come back to the dock for the third time to give us some more schooling lessons - turned out we were not supposed to visit customs coming from Puerto Rico to US Virgin Islands, but she never asked where we were coming from - but it was all our fault), we also got chased out of the area by a park ranger - we anchored on the left side of the bay but it was only allowed to anchor on the right side of the bay. 
The sailing distances here are so small that it is actually more work to put the sails up and after 40 minutes start putting the sails away than just to motor from spot to spot. The bay, we visited a couple of days ago (Caneel Bay), which is supposed to have a really nice beach, even after we paid our mooring fee, you are not welcome to bring your dinghy to the beach, you cannot hang your laundry in your own boat  - because the upscale resort on the shore does not wish it - but other than than you can pull out your credit card and pretty much shut up.

OK, how about some positive aspects? 
We have seen more topless women here on the boats than we have seen in a while. 

No seriously, the Islands are still very beautiful and very easy to sail. The land provides natural protection from waves, so you still have the steady trade winds without the ocean waves to go with it. Perfect for sailing.

We did talk about skipping the British Virgin islands and continuing sailing south, but the winds are so strong right now that we will have to stay here for a while, so we might as well get in line and “tour” the Virgin Islands.

We also went diving the Cow Rock. It was pretty good - except our photography skills are still lacking. Next dive will be better :)

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