Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sopers Hole to Cane Garden Bay & BombaShack Full Moon Party - Sailing the BVI's (8 of 10)

Today after awakening in a great anchorage with a nice breeze, we fixed breakfast and coffee.  We all decided we would head to shore today and check out the stores and shops on Soper's hole.  There were still a few souvenirs that folks wanted to get and there were several shops along the water front that had t-shirts cheaper than a lot of other places we had seen them before.

We loaded up to the dinghy and returned to the Pussers Landing dinghy dock where we had drinks with the O'Day's the night before.  We walked along the water front and stopped in a few stores.  Mary bought a really cool shirt that was of a woman in a bikini so when she wore it, it looked like she was wearing a little red bikini.  There were shirt and gift shops, there was a dive shop and some clothing stores.

They also had an island spice company which was pretty cool.  It was a place to get whole nutmeg and a grater but we knew space was limited in our bags returning.  (The whole nutmeg ground on top of the PainKillers made them so much better.)

We had a short sail today from Sopers hole, west and then North up the western side of Tortola.  We decided to get over to Cane Garden Bay a bit early to see if Sandman was over at Myett's.  Obarr really wanted to try to catch up with him.  Deb had ordered that glass turtle that we didn't have time to wait for last time we were here so we told them we would pick it up today.

Today was Friday, it was a full moon and it was the night of the Bomba Shack Full Moon party which  we planned part of our vacation around.  We planned our itinerary such that we would be here in Cane Garden Bay on Friday and planned the week of our trip to coincide with a full moon.

We dropped our mooring in Soper's hole and sailed Southwest and then West around the tip of Tortola.  There is a great property right on the southern tip there that has some rooms for rent, a great dock at the water level and it seems to be built hanging over the rocks on multiple levels.  As we passed  Mary took a great picture of this place.

From the point in this picture we headed North and kept the island of Tortola to starboard as we went the short distance to Cane Garden Bay.

True to form and based on Obarr's tradition we tuned the music to the Jimmy Buffett Album, Son of a Son of a Sailor and cued up Track 9 "Mañana" as we sailed into Cane Garden bay.  (See one of the earlier blog entries on Cane Garden bay for the lyrics and why we play it when entering this harbor.)

As we sailed in we found place fairly close to where we stopped earlier in the week when we stayed in this bay.  We picked up a mooring ball and just relaxed.  At this point in the trip, we were completely into the island lifestyle and did nothing in a hurry.  We milled around and cleaned up the boat a little bit.  Played some cards, had a few drinks, sat around and shot the bull with each other and as Oday and T decided to take a swim, Me, Deb and Mary decided to head to shore.

Earlier in the week when we were here, Deb found a glass art studio where they used recycled bottles from the beach and all of the funds went to support the local waterfront community.  Deb liked one of the turtles but wanted a different color, so they started to make a custom one for her, but we had to get going and let them know we would pick it up today.  That was one of the errands we would run on shore.  Mary also wanted to head back to Myetts to pick up a couple of souvenirs and we were going to get ice on the way back to the boat.

Dinghy ride  to shore (this is a CT/Formosa-Deb and I love this style boat)
As we were loading in the Dinghy, T and Oday dove into the water off the side of the boat, and we motored through the crystal clear water to the Dinghy dock.  This time Deb took the helm and she drove the dinghy.  We walked over to Myett's first and Mary picked up a few things she wanted and then we stopped at the Glass studio on the way back to the boat.  The turtle looked great, right along with the blue swirl deb wanted inside the clear glass shell.  We picked up a 20 pound bag of ice, and loaded back up in the Dink.    After getting back on board the boat, Obarr wanted to see if SandMan was at Myett's so we decided that we all wanted a few pain killers and cracked conch anyway.  (The cracked conch at Myett's was unbelievably good).  Sandman was there and Obarr got to speak to him for a little bit which was really cool.  Sandman said he didn't remember Mike's name, but he did remember quite a few good dinners and parries on their boat.   (this goes back 10-15 years).
View from the Myett's Patio.
The Good news is that the View from Tony's is the same
We found out Sandman would be driving tonight to BombaShack so if we needed a ride, he said to just give him a call.   Sadly, Myett's was out of Cracked conch, so we decided to walk down the beach to a place called "Tony's".  They had 2 Painkillers for $6 so we figured if we were just going to have a drink, we would go to the cheaper place.  The view of the water was the same.

I swore to myself I would only have one painkiller because these things, combined with the heat, and not doing a whole lot, put me to sleep and I wanted to save some energy for the full moon party.

We went back to the boat, had a great dinner of marinated MahiMahi on the grill along with fresh veggies and some rice.  Another great meal aboard Kastor Pollox.  We all took showers as the sun started to set and then got ready to go to BombaShack.
Sun Setting  from Cane Garden Bay

When I say, "get ready" it doesn't mean get all dolled up, nope, this is a dive.  A dive may actually be considerably nicer than this place.  So by get ready, I mean we ensured we had cash, cigars, and some bug spray.  Robert and Mary decided to stay at the boat, mainly because of how winding the road over the mountain would be and Mary had a touch of motion sickness on the first day when we did this on the other side of Tortola.  We loaded into the dinghy again and headed back to shore.  Right at the top of the dinghy dock there was a cab waiting there so we just hopped in.  The cabs here are really just a mini van with a lot of seats in them and all of the windows open. To have some extra room, you tend to hang some part of your body out the window (it may be your arm or even your head).  There were five of us and only 3 other people hopped in, so it was not too overloaded.  I climbed all the way into the back and off we went through some very winding roads.  In the BVI's the cars drive on the left side of the road.  When we were coming down the back side of one of the hills, the switchbacks were so steep, when I looked out my window to my left as we went left around a hairpin turn, it looked like it dropped straight down.  (If you want the video at the end of this blog, I traced the road on a map to show how sharp these hairpin turns were.)

We arrived at the Bomba Shack and it needs some explanation.  On one side of the road is the shack, 2 bars and the beach (and bathrooms), on the other side of the road is the place where you can buy drink tickets, there is a kitchen, large outdoor bar and huge stage and dance area.  When you walk up to this it kind of looks like someone built it out of old pallets or wood that washed up on the beach.  There are t-shirts, bras, panties, hats, flags, roadsigns and you name it that are covering the walls.  (Walls that don't really keep much out, most walls have gaps and holes in them.  
As you walk into the entrance on the beach side of the shack, there is a bar to the left and a few make shift benches out of stumps to sit on.  There is no floor, so you kick your shoes off and enjoy the soft sand on your bare feet as you walk through the bar.  It is not really small.  Maybe 200 feet long or so when you get inside.  There are areas to sit, there is a ledge you can put a drink on and look out over the beautiful bay.  Oh, this is also where there are a few local entrepreneurs offering up mushrooms for sale that will surely "take you on a ride"   There is hand written notes all over the wall.  Some are funny, some are more like "ABC was here".
On Full Moon Party night, they don't take cash, you have to go across the street and buy tickets.  (Essentially drinks were $5 each if you bought the tickets).  I bought $20 worth of tickets and walked back across the street to get a painkiller.

We decided to walk up the street a little bit as we could see there were some things going on there too.  They had a stand making snow cones.  Someone was selling jewelry, and several folks selling shrooms again.  Then we found the most entrepreneurial of all of them.  A guy had a card table with a whole bunch of bottles on it.  He was selling drinks for $3 about 100 feet from the entrance to the BombaShack and there were about 20 people hanging around there.   He was working hard trying to get Deb and T to do Mushrooms with him but they passed.
Game where you had to swing the ring on a string and get it on the hook

As we walked back, deb decided she wanted to do the "All you can drink pass" that they were selling.  It was $50 and included all you could drink all night, a BBQ dinner and gave you access to the Mushroom tea that BombaShack makes and a t-shirt.    We decided to check out the other side of the street since we were at the ticket shack.  We walked around into the dirt path that led behind all the bushes/shrubs and trees and there was a huge bar and raised stage and picnic tables.  We met Bomba who was hanging out near the back door of the Shack.

We also ran into Sandman and hung out with him on and off most of the night.  The band was good and as it got later more and more people started to show up. I guess by about 11pm or midnight, there were a couple hundred people there all together.    It was a great place for people watching.  We saw one person so drunk that he couldn't really walk on his own.  We saw one poor girl stumbling and throwing up near the bushes and went to check on her because we thought her friends had left her, but her boyfriend had just gone to get her some water.    I also saw a guy selling shrooms way in the back of this outdoor field/dancefloor/bar/stage/dining room or whatever you want to call this giant outdoor area cut out of all of the trees and kind of hidden from the road.

I heard the band yell "So how many people do we have here from Texas" and there were a bunch of cheers.  I walked over to talk to some in front of us that had cheered and when I asked where she was from, her response was "I am from Oklahoma, he is from Kansas, close enough, right?"    I just shook my head as I walked back to our group.

Before the party was really getting going, Deb and T decided that they wanted to dance, so went right up in front of the band and just started dancing with each other.  We were all back near the road talking to Sandman and got a kick out of the whole scene.  There is something funny that happens when girls dance together, all of the guys stop what they are doing and watch, so at one point, there are maybe 75 people milling around this large area, Deb and T are the only ones in the middle of this field dancing with each other, and of the 75 people milling, 50 were just kind of watching them.   It was pretty funny, but to their credit, they got others to start doing some dancing too.

I wish we had more pictures of this place, but it is not like being in a well lit area, so most of our pictures didn't come out very good at all while we were there.

Sandman with OBarr, T and Deb (at the BombaShack)
We finally decided it was about time to head out and asked Sandman for a ride.  He said yes, but that he was also taking 3 other guys back so we all decided to go back together.    The other guys are nice enough, one was from the Coast Guard stationed in St. Croix.  They were on a holiday for a few weeks and sailing with one of the guys aunt and uncle.    On the way back, I remember hearing one of the guys talking to his buddy about the plan when they got back to shore.  They were going to try to shine a flashlight at the boat they were on in hopes that their Aunt or Uncle would see it, get in the dinghy and come get them.  If that didn't work, they were going to swim out to the boat.

Of course we said we would take them to their boat.  So now we had 8 of us in the 10 foot dinghy.  We certainly had this thing loaded down so we just kept it slow.  The water was flat as could be anyway in the bay so it was a nice quiet smooth ride out to the boat.  So as we left the dock, we asked which boat they were on and sure enough if it wasn't that gorgeous CT (Formosa) that we had seen in Cane Garden Bay, Jost Van Dyke and The Bight.  Deb and I love this boat, it is the style and size we really like/want eventually.  When we pulled up next to the boat, there was no boarding ladder, but these guys were young and nimble, they just climbed up the port holes and rigging up onto deck.  His Aunt came up into the cockpit with the commotion and we complimented her on the boat.  She invited us to come over tomorrow in the daylight and she would show us down below. (Sadly we slept in a bit and when we woke up they were gone the next morning).

All in all, the BombaShack was a good time.  OBarr did say that it was not nearly as big as it had been many years ago and when we talked to some locals about it, they said that it used to be the only one on the island so everyone came to that full moon party.  Now they do one in Trellis Bay, Cane Garden bay and Cappoons Bay where BombaShack is.

Below is a short Video for the morning in Soper's Hole on Tortola and sailing up to Cane Garden Bay for the Full Moon Party at the BombaShack.    If you are don't see a video below, please click this link to go the the video on YouTube.

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