Friday, March 14, 2014

Island Hopping - Distances Inbetween

Sunrise as we make our way towards Antigua
Wednesday, March 12th
I remember the first time we chartered a bareboat.  We flew into Beef Island BVI's at night and it was 2006.  We chatted with the taxi cab driver as he drove us over to Nanny Cay and the Horizon Yacht Charts Base.  There were various lights off in the distance but we didn't know what they were.  Other islands? Distance coves of Tortola?  Having never been to the BVI's at all, we didn't have a clue about the distances to the other islands.  Besides, I am always so disoriented when I fly into a place at night.   I am very sun dependent for immediate orientation when I land in a new place or emerge from a subway or big complex.  The next morning we discovered why Nanny Cay is such a terrific hurricane hole - we were really stuffed back up in there so we couldn't see out to the ocean.  It wasn't until we exited the narrow Nanny Cay harbor entrance and popped out into Sir Drake Channel that we discovered how incredible close all the British Virgin Islands are.....line of sight "hey let's sail over there for lunch" sort of close.

We have never been south of St Barths in our boat or any other boat so we didn't know what to expect.  Yes, we studied the charts, read the guidebooks, planned a route, checked the distances for departure scheduling and such but still....there is just something about seeing the other islands in the distance as you sail.  However, we set sail at 16:00 from Ile Fourchue just NW of St Barths so most of our passage was at night.  We could see the lights of Saba, Statuis, St Kitts and Nevis but we really couldn't make out the details of the islands and how close they really were. 
Now with morning, we see St Kitts and Nevis off our starboard.  Landho!  Antigua low off our port bow in the far distance.  The Kingdom of Redonda is very close off our starboard acting as a tacking point (turn) for our sail into Antigua.  And Montserrat looms ahead to starboard, should we change our minds about Antigua. 
The winds were light but we were still able to sail our rhumb line without the motor most of the way. The seas were flat and although the moon was just over 1/2, it was still bright in the night sky.  We didn't set any records but it was a lovely sail from Ile Fourchue to Antigua.   

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