Thursday, July 3, 2014

Jost Van Dyke, Sandy Cay, Cane Garden Bay - Sailing the BVI's (4 of 8)

With our last land adventure last night being a good time at Corsairs for a few more drinks than good judgement would have allowed, we slept soundly and late into the next morning.   
"I don't know, can you tell if it is on"
We awoke once again to the smell of coffee, which was a welcome start to this morning. WildMary had woke up early and had it perking in two pots. 

(Editorial note.  I mentioned having some absinthe shots and hanging out at a waterfront beach bar last night, but when looking for photos for this blog post, I ran across a video of Deb and T working very hard to try to take a selfie sometime late last night.  I don't think they realized that the camera was recording video the whole time.  Bonus ! )
Sandy Cay (Photo taken by Oday from bow of boat at anchor)

This trip has been a series of good meals and today was another day of a well cooked breakfast.  The plan for today was to sail from Jost Van Dyke to a small island called Sandy Cay and then on to Cane Garden Bay.  It was going to be a couple of short sails for the day, so we took our time leaving Jost.  We packed up our trash and made one last run to the dock where you could drop trash for free.  

We decided to just motor over to Sandy Cay, a short distance to the East from where we were.  Sandy Cay is an uninhabited island between Jost Van Dyke and Tortola and was owned by the Rockefeller Family and donated in 2008 to the National Park Trust of the Virgin Islands.  The island is very small (just about 13 acres) but has several great attributes.   There is a great sand beach, wooded trails, rocky ledges as well as a large salt pond in the center of the island.  
Oday and T decided to stay on the boat
and relax in a Hammock on the bow.

We moored on the Western side of the island in about 15 feet of water over a gorgeous sandy bottom.  The white sand and crystal clear water form that amazing shade of blue you see in just certain places in the world.  Here the blue was so brilliant that when the seagulls would fly a few feet over the water it reflected up onto their bellies and made them look like they were a light shade of blue instead of white.  We looked through all of our pictures and just couldn't find a great way to show that, but it was truly amazing and not something we saw in any other places we went while on this trip.  

We took the dinghy to shore, beached it and walked up the beach to a small sign with a map of the island and trail entrance.  Most of us didn't bring shoes, so we stayed on the trail for the most part.  We walked about a third of the way around the island and saw many birds and lizards or chameleons.  There was something pretty interesting on many of the trees but we are not 100% sure what it was.  
Walking the trails on Sandy Cay

Our best guess was termites.  There would be these small mud like tubes that would go from the ground up the tree trunks and out most of the major branches.  We were interested to know what it was, but not so interested to knock the mud tubes down to see what may come out.   We continued to walk down the trails and stop and observe all of the amazing sites.  The chameleons where pretty neat, you would typically hear them before seeing them.  They would scurry along the ground and as the leaves would russell we would see them moving along.  

A few of them would perch on a tree branch, but if we got close enough to get a picture they would scurry around to the other side and block the photo.  We saw beautiful cactus in bloom as well which surprised me to see Coconut Palm trees and cactus all sharing the same bit of ground.   We also kept hearing what sounded like doves, but never did see any. I am assuming they were just up in the trees and would fly off as we would get close but they made that very distinctive dove sound.  Robert found a great tree that was growing an an angle and looked like a great place for a picture, or to just relax.     We continued along the path until it came to the edge of the shore again but this time it was all rocky and with our bare feet we decided not to tip toe around them.  As we turned around to head back, we kept looking through the woods to see where we could come out of the woods and onto the beach.  
Deb and I on the beach after coming from trail
We found a spot, walked carefully from the path to the beach watching out we didn't step on any cactus.  As we stepped out onto the beach, it was a really neat site.  Behind us was where the sandy beach started to turn to rock and at the edge of the water you could see the different colors of the water from the contrast between sandy bottom and rock bottom.  The shades of blue were all dependent on how large the rocks were and therefore how much water was on top of them.  Ahead of us was something from a magazine.  

Robert waked behind all of us to catch a quick photo of just how pristine the beach, sand, water and anchorage were.  You can see a few of the boats anchored just off the beach ahead of us.  To our left in this photo is Tortola about 15 miles away.   

We decided to walk along the water all the way back to where we beached the dinghy.  This was the first time we had taken the dinghy ashore and beached it.  Getting off the beach was not too hard, after getting a great hint from Obarr.  I was getting ready to drag it back down the beach (Stern first) and Obarr quickly said, turn it around, it will be a lot easier.  And it was !!!.  Thank you.    We pushed the dinghy into a foot of water and got Mary to load first since she typically sits on the bow seat.  

The rest of us loaded in as Obarr held the dinghy.  As more of us loaded up, we had to push further from shore.  Obarr jumped in last and we headed slowly back to the boat, where Oday was there to take a line as we pulled along side the boat.   We relaxed at this beautiful spot for a while longer.  Sandwiches were made and devoured in the cockpit for lunch while we contemplated our very short trip over to Cane Garden Bay.  With the short trip, we decided to just tow the dinghy rather than hoist it up onto the davits for this short trip.  Below in this picture you can see where we started on the left and worked our way to the right at Cane Garden Bay with our stop at Sandy Cay.   So as we sailed into Cane Garden Bay, we played Jimmy Buffett's Mañana on the radio.  The lyrics were very appropriate for the trip as he sang out:

I hear it gets better, that's what they say
As soon as we sail on to Cane Garden Bay.

Please don't say mañana if you don't mean it
I have heard your lines for so very long
Don't try to describe the scenery if you've never seen it
Don't ever forget that you just may wind up in my song...

Obarr had been here before, on Charters but also when he and Kerri cruised on their boat some 10 years ago, they spent some time here in Cane Garden Bay.  When they did, they got to know the owners of "Myetts" which is a wonderful beach front restaurant, bar, hotel, gift shop, etc.  We walked up to Myetts to see if they were there.  Unfortunately they were not there today.  

We still decided to sit at a beach side table, enjoy some wonderful pain killers and Conch Fritters and Cracked Conch.  The view from this place was just amazing, you could see right out over the beach to the boats anchored right out front.  It was always pretty cool to see our Texas Flag waiving out there on our boat as well.  
After our Conch and Pain Killers, we took a walk through town.  We walked down to the Callwood Distillery but it was closed for a local holiday so we found out what time they opened in the morning so we could come back for a tour.  We found a place where we could drop trash here in town for free as well.  We didn't need to do so on this trip, but we planned on coming back to Cane Garden Bay on Friday when there was a full moon for the "Full Moon Party" at the BombaShack so we planned a trash drop for that day.  

We stopped at a market and picked up a couple of items we wanted.  On the way back to the boat, we stopped at Rhymers Beach Hotel and Store to pick up some ice.  They were one of the cheapest places we found ice on this trip and picked up a 20 lb bag for about $6.50.  When we got back to the boat, we swam for a while in the anchorage and again continued to be completely intrigued with the clarity of the water.  Here is a photo of our anchor chain in 25 feet of water and you can clearly see it go all the way to the bottom and head off in the distance.   We also got a chance to take some photos through our Floor Hatch in the boat.  We figure it is a safety issue if something were to go horribly bad and you happened to have the boat upside down, it allowed a place where you could still get out of the boat.  With that said, it was still very odd to see a hatch in the floor.   Someone captured a cool picture of Oday under the boat, with T taking a picture of him from inside the boat.  

We put our plans together for the next day.  We were going to get up in the morning, have breakfast and then head over to the Callwood Distillery for a tour of an old school distillery still doing things much the same way they did 400 years ago when they started brewing rum there.  

More in the next chapter of the blog !!  Here is a link for Callwood's Facebook Page, I would encourage you to Check it out. 

Below is a bit of a video capture of the days activities.  If you are reading this in any other way than online, you may not see the video below.  If not, click on this link to play the video.

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