This is Day 7 of our trip to the British Virgin Islands with BVI Yacht Charters on a Lagoon 45 Catamaran.
The reggae band the previous night sang a song that went something like “I crashed my car into a bridge and I don’t care” – kinda appropriate for my wake up call at 7:30 am. I was snoozing when my 2IC woke me up as we exited the North Sound Channel. “Grant you will want to see this”, from down in the cabin I called back “take a picture and show me later”. At his continued insistence, “you are definitely going to want to see this”. I finally prairie dogged my head out of the hatch. Oh bugger!
Here is an interactive Naviononics chart showing Mosquito Rock just outside North Sound. We never got the full story on this but it was a charter Power Cat being operated by a person with the charter company. The failure here is a classic – OVER CONFIDENCE. Over confidence in anything can often times get you in more trouble than lack of experience. At least with lack of experience, people are generally overly cautious. The ocean has no room (literally) for either of: over confidence or lack of experience.
What we figured was that since VISAR (Virgin Islands Search And Rescue) was on the scene but the crew was gone that it had happened in the last hour or so. Meaning that the captain was motoring under autopilot directly into the sun. Due to the height that he made it up onto the rocks, he must have been under full steam – probably 20 – 25 knots. Hmmmm – full steam into the sunrise? Or perhaps at night? Whatever the reason, we are sure that the crew must have been thrown hard into the bulkheads. 20 knots to zero in 30 feet. Ouch!
Is it time to talk about navigation and responsibility of the captain? Perhaps instead of a 100-word rant, I’ll just leave this picture as the proof that we are not all perfect. And btw don’t shake your head too much at this. We all make mistakes – ever run a traffic light accidently. Anyway, I’ll leave it at this; You should take NauticEd navigation courses.
Here is me prairie dogin out of the cabin hatch.
The reason we left North Sound early was to get to the Baths early. The Baths are a planetary anomaly – although easily explained with logic by the geologists, this still does not account for their sheer awesomeness.
This is directly from Wikipedia:
At The Baths, although volcanism accounts for much of the Virgin Islands, we see granite that eroded into piles of boulders on the beach. Granite forms from the slow cooling of magma at depth nowhere close to surface volcanoes. The granite only appears at the surface after geologic ages have eroded away all the overburden covering it. Once exposed, erosion continued to isolate the granite into large boulders and round their surfaces. The boulders form natural tidal pools, tunnels, arches, and scenic grottoes that are open to the sea. The largest boulders are about 40 feet (12 m) long.
The baths was a full day of fun and entertainment and awe:
We swam, we explored, we took tons of pictures, we walked to the restaurant at the top and had lunch, we swam some more, one of the crew go stabbed by a sea urchin, we sat on the boat and people/boat watched, we beached, we rock hopped, we had the most awesome day. No matter how many times you have been to the baths, you can not stop having a great day. Plan to get there early and spend the day.
You can not spend the night at the Baths. The mooring balls are red day mooring balls only. So at 4:30 we cleared out and sailed west to Cooper Island to Manchionel Bay which is a very protected bay from the east winds. At Cooper Island, there are about 40 mooring balls so you are pretty assured of picking one up late unless you are in the busy season.
On Cooper Island were walking on the beach and ended up randomly talking, as you do, to some other people having a blast on the beach with a pot of rum drinks. I’d spotted them earlier flying a drone around the bay and so happenstance lead us to them. They also were chartering from BVI Yacht Charters (and had only great things to say about them). We chatted about what I was doing here and so they offered up the footage of their drone. Check this out.
After mooring up we did fender rodeo. I highly advise doing this early on in your charter as a game. It ensures all your crew can tie the clove hitch fast. A note on that is that it is essential that your crew can tie knots fast and know how to handle lines including how to throw a line ashore. You can’t have your crew screwing up lines when you need it cleated down. Make a game of lines early on in the charter.
Obviously the crew need training.
Here is a more successful one we did in Thailand
And here is professional training after I realized the crew needed training
Double OMG, the Cooper Island Beach Club restaurant is soooo fantastic. So fantastic in fact that this is a must stop. The appetizers there are just incredible. We all were going to eat on the boat that night but once we saw the menu we dumped that silly idea and went ashore.
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