Tuesday, April 22, 2008

50 Not out - Day 3. The Baths and North Sound

We headed off after a slightly delayed start waiting for a boat to clear the Marina Cay fuel dock. The pitching of the boat into the waves yesterday had caused the shower head to crash into the tap in the heads, causing us to fill the bilges with all our fresh water, so we couldn't head off without filling up.

Fortunately, we didn't have a terribly demanding day planned, just a quick motor across to the channel to visit the Baths on Virgin Gorda for lunch before heading to North Sound.

We'd missed the Baths in 2005, due to trying to drown ourselves by swimming to shore against wind and current. What was surprising on re-visiting the area was just how close into shore we actually were, given the difficulties we got into. It was probably less than 100 metres. This time, with the wind abating, it all looked very benign.

You can't take the dinghy into the shore at the Baths, because of the number of bathers, so you have to leave it on a floating rope a little offshore. In another one of my great decisions, I dropped Missy off on the left side of a pile of rocks before heading over to the right side to moor up so that she could wade ashore with the camera and all the gear.

What I hadn't realised was that the "pile of rocks" actually splits the beach completely into two with no easy way round. After puzzling for a while, I figured that Missy was smart enough to realise that we weren't going to be able to meet up down there so I headed up the marked path to the restaurant, arriving just in time to meet a somewhat miffed Missy. Oops.

Virgin Gorda has a lot of chickens. This one spent much of the time searching for crumbs between the restaurant tables. Perhaps someone should have mentioned the obvious dangers of becoming a chicken burger to her!

We felt obliged to make at least a token effort to spend sometime looking at the huge boulders and pools that make up the Baths, despite time moving on apace. They're actually pretty cool. Something else to re-visit next time.

We had hoped to sail up to North Sound, but the weather was changing somewhat and the winds were lighter and much more variable than on the trip up to Marina Cay, so we managed about a mile of constant trimming and flapping sails before giving up and motoring the rest of the way, lightweights that we are.

We almost had a minor disaster on trying to pick up a buoy at the Bitter End Yacht Club, when the boat hook twisted out of Missy's grasp and into the water. It hadn't crossed my mind until this point what a critical piece of of kit the boathook actually is. Fortunately, a passing dinghy from the yacht club saw us lose it and were able to swing round and pass the hook to us. It was actually quite a neat piece of sailing from them.

The lovely thing about North Sound is the sense of tranquility, because of the amount of shelter from the surrounding hills and reefs. It's more like being on a lake than at sea.

After getting ourselves organised and having a couple of beers, we headed off to the Bitter End resort for dinner. It's very, very pleasant, but not particularly our kind of place, feeling a little too much like a theme park for the wealthy for our liking. That being said, dinner in the pub was very pleasant and the drinks went down just as well as elsewhere. Another good day, all in all.

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