So... Cynthia and I flew back down to the islands for more adventures. We ran into Rebekah and Bella, a mother and daughter down for a week, and took them out sailing for a couple days. Lots of fun, including getting caught in a torrential downpour, then having a nice hot lunch.
Then the post-flight incubation period ended and both Cynthia and I came down with horrible colds that lasted about five or six days. We still managed to take advantage of low winds to anchor in places that were normally too exposed and hunted lionfish and explored new reefs. Wonderful stuff, even sick.
We also unpacked our new sewing machine
|before (the foot has been poorly repaired over the years... and needs more repairs)|
|and after (trimmed off several inches)|
We took off to the BVIs (British Virgin Islands), checking in at Jost Van Dyke. The folks at customs made everything easy (just make sure to wear decent clothing and shoes and to be polite: I have heard that walking in shirtless, smacking your beer bottle onto the counter, and then belching may increase your fees several hundred percent.... after you have been sent back out to dress properly.). The folks on Jost are delightful and we enjoyed chatting with Foxy, the most famous inhabitant. The prices are rather high: expect to pay four or five bucks for a bag of ice.
We sailed around the islands, to Little Jost, to Cane Garden on Tortolla, to Little Harbor on Peter Island (one of our favorite anchorages), to Haulover on Cooper Island (we walked over to the other side and found incredible trash on the beach and pretty darned nice coral and fish in the water), to Spanish Town on Virgin Gorda
Cynthia read a terribly depressing bit about the die-off of the corals and, apparently, it is continuing apace through disease, sedimentation, algae, climate change, etc. Folks who came here a half century ago would probably be in shock at the change. Cynthia and I find so many places to be so sad (dead and rotten coral and nearly no fish) that we just climb out of the water and sail away. On a more cheerful note, I recently heard a piece about methods for regrowing even giant 500-yr-old corals in five years or so, although one needs to listen to the depressing bit of the radio piece first: Science Friday Future of Coral.
We found nearly no lionfish (until we paddled far from the beaten path and found an awesome reef), the wind died and we spent a week of frustration considering a 3 knot wind to be wonderful, I found the masthead welds had cracked (probably on our stormy trip to or from St Croix),
Now Cynthia is back home, trying to get back into real life. I got the masthead welded a couple days ago, reinstalled it yesterday, and will get a new one made soon. Every trip gives new memories.