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Friends and fresh winds

Poor chipolata, (our dinghy) was being squished by the ferry. Road town ferry dock is the designated customs and immigration on Tortola (British Virgin Islands), and not really set up for yachties who have to anchor in a not very sheltered spot and then try to avoid being mowed down by the ferries in an attempt to land at a very hostile concrete pier. Arriving at 4.40 pm turns out to be rush hour! We joined a very long queue of incoming US citizens to be processed and were grateful to be on our way to pick up John & Helen – my friends who where coming over from Scotland at Nanny Cay – (a very expensive Marina).

All was going well until 8am when Emma announced the front toilet wasn’t working!! Not the day my friends arrive in four hours time…., and are joining us for 10 days cruising around the islands… Four hours later I feel like Meryl Streep in Mama mia meeting her friends off the ferry as John and Helen, looking pristine walk down the pontoon to be greeted by myself in filthy work cloths, hair bedraggled and all the pipes out of the forward toilet. It took me several more hours and a nights sleep to find out it was a wet wipe blocking the out let pipe….!

Toilet fixed, a visit to the hairdressers to get some grey roots sorted and off we set forth on our BVI adventure.

First stop Willy Ts on Peter Islands which gave us lots of entertainment with a few rum punches and lots of demonstrations of people in various states of undress. John, Emma and Brent eventually plucked up enough courage to jump off the back (clad in costumes) and we left with our heads held high.

The week was just full of fun and I only mention a few highlights –

We were evicted from the dirt track behind the beautiful

Deadmans beach on St Peter Island– apparently private property of the hurricane ravaged and closed hotel. We were allowed to wallow for a few ours on the pristine beach.

Babs Porter, a very intelligent US scholar on a campaign to get folk to stand with her for one minute in protest against Trump walking the beech at Jost Van Dyke.

We had a fun night at Foxys – made by the people there, not the food, which was highly overpriced and not that good. As you can see Emma lead the way in table dancing and there were several others in party mode which resulted in fun night all round and a very late rising the next day .

The beautiful Baths and Devils Bay were as beautiful as ever. – Awesome snorkeling and crystal blue waters.

Anegada and some out of the comfort zone anchoring as we inched our way to anchor with just 0.1(10 cm) under the keel! Having anchored we went out with a lead line to try and find a spot a bit more comfortable and found a perfect pool a couple of boat lengths with 0.4m – luxury. All worth is as Cow wreck bay was simply stunning.

Unplanned we rocked up at Leverick Bay( near Richards Branson's Necker Island) to find out it was BBQ beach party night. All you could eat, some dancing and the very vibrant Jumblies (folk dancing on stilts).

Sopers hole was the place where the hurricane damage was still most evident. With only one coffee shop open, and no

sense of urgency to repair this previously humming enclave – it was evident that it would be many years before it was back in full swing. We did have a great brunch at Omars café – well at least some of us did. Brent got attacked by the chicken who jumped on the table and swiped his omelette.

After a week of good beeches, some rather strong tradewinds, great home cooking on board and ashore, a lot of good chit chat and more then our fair share of G&Ts our last night was dinner at one of favorite spots – Cooper Island before heading to Trellis bay to drop John and Helen off at the airport ( literally 100 yards from the terminal).

The final mission for the BVI was sending a very disgruntled Emma to the US virgin islands on a commercial ferry from Road Town to ST Thomas to validate her ESTA. We thought Brent and I had already got visas and had US stamps in our passports with our current visas. Poor Emma had not, -so we packed her off, moaning how stupid the whole thing was. Eight hours later and several beers at the Pussars bar opposite the ferry terminal Emma emerged all stamped up. We went to St Johns only to out that I also needed to go and activate a 90 day period by entering the country on a commercial vessel. So back to BVI and it was my turn to endure the ferry trip to St Thomas. – Now we were ready for the US virgin Islands.

The hurricanes have left a big mark on the BVI. This is my fifth time here and it was different with damaged buildings and boats everywhere. The upside was all the charter boats are new, a lot of places have put in a lot of hard work to get things up and running, the beaches are still beautiful, the sailing easy ( except with a deep keel in Anagarda), and it is still a great place for a sailing holiday with some very good friends.