British Virgin Islands
Hallovers Bay

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    • Day44

      More Peter and Salt Island, BVI

      November 30, 2016 in British Virgin Islands ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

      Anxious to cross the Sir Francis Drake Channel by dusk, we cast the lines and motored off at ferocious pace, pumping precious volts into our brand new power supply. Our planned anchorage was Great Harbour on Peter Island. Calm and enclosed, and packed full of boats, we nestled up close to the beach and dropped anchor. There were plenty of available moorings but at $30 per night we were happy to place our bets on the sandy bottom. The only disturbance that night was a school of 70cm fish who appeared to be so fascinated with the stern of the boat they forgot which way up to swim. No rods. Too bad.

      The next morning we took the dinghy to a nearby dive site. We'd managed to secure an excellent deal on dive gear for the full charter - a good swindle on Scotts behalf. Diving in warm water is effortless. No wetsuits, gloves or boots. No catch bags nooses or torches. Just shorts and mask. Okay, and maybe some fins and a dash of air, but you get my gist. It was diving without admin, just the way it should be.

      The ocean floor beheld one of many shipwrecks in the area. Fearless, the name of the old mine sweeping ship, was largely intact and brimming with wildlife. Notably out of place was a toilet mounted adjacent the cannon on the foredeck which provided great entertainment giving a whole new meaning to the phrase 'bombs away'. Who thought men couldn't multitask?

      With the wind swinging south during the day we meandered eastward in search of an afternoon and hopefully overnight anchorage. Lunch took place during a spot of sailing but a calm and sandy anchorage was becoming more and more elusive. Eventually we gave in and moored up almost on the beach in Machioneers Bay, Salt Island. The rest of the afternoon played out just like any other day: plenty of swimming and snorkeling, a windsurf, a spot of exercise on the beach all washed down with a cold beer and a hot fajita. Bellisimo!

      The boys are starting to settle into a cruisers routine. Here's what a typical day is beginning to look like:
      7-8am wake up, followed eagerly by a bowl of cereal and a book read. A quick dip (read: shower) and some house admin before firing the engine and setting off to a new destination.
      The rest of the day plays out with all kinds of marine based activities, with a quick break for lunch and maybe a lazy afternoon read. The days' activities usually culminate with Scott free diving the anchor to check it's set for the night.
      Evenings are lazy deck time as the sun sets quickly and early. Cold beverages a must.
      A wee planning session is usually thrown in the mix and the occasion is seized to voice our desired activities or destinations.
      Dinner comes when the hungriest person succumbs to cooking. This is usually chased with a game or two, a read, an episode of Limitless and a boat pack down. Tough life. Absolutely loving it!
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    • Day179

      Salt Island BVI

      March 17, 2016 in British Virgin Islands ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

      Once a salt farm, this island held a small village that was slowly abandoned in the 1940's... After diving on the Rhone we hiked around the island, leisurely roaming after small herds of goats. We ended a most spectacular day hiking to the top of the island and watching the sun go down over the VIs. Woot!Read more

    • Day179

      Scuba on the RMS Rhone

      March 17, 2016 in British Virgin Islands ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

      We eventually left Christmas Cove for Cooper and Salt Island of the Channel Islands, to dive on the famed RMS Rhone. We descended at the stern to 35 feet and descended our way forward to the bow (the bowsprit lay at 90 feet). Within minutes of our descent we encountered a giant green moray eel….. swimming! He swam right between us! I didn’t realize they ever left their little caves… This beast was at least 10 feet long and slithered through the water gracefully, finally diving into a compartment in the back of what was once part of an engine. I thought it exquisite but cute; while its head & body was hidden about 3 feet of its tail was still exposed as it had outgrown its old hiding spots. Mike later said he had the urge to pull on the tail; needless to say I’m glad he suppressed his 10 year old self. We swam back and forth over and under the old engine room and decaying hull. The RMS Rhone broke in two and now rests on its side so you can see old portholes from above and swim into what once was the deck. We saw some enormous lobsters and beautiful angel fish. The amount of coral and fish life was amazingly bountiful and beautiful.dive site.
      But not so much that it took my mind off the fact that I was now 90 feet underwater and every inch of me was compressed by more than a few atmospheres. It’s a little alarming how long it takes your air bubbles to reach the surface at 90 feet. Feeling a little cold and recognizing I was approaching low air, we both slowly ascended on a mooring line – zero complications. No fire coral to report of.

      Background on the RMS Rhone:

      RhoneThe RMS Rhone was a 310 ft mail steamer. Powered by sail (2 masts) and steam engine. On October 29 of 1867, Robert F. Wooley captained the ship and was preparing her for the return voyage to England. The end of October generally marks the end of hurricane season, so when a Northerly wind began to blow and barometer began to fall, he dismissed it as a northerly front. At the time it was a beautiful day but the captain directed the ship to Road Town, Tortolla to weather the “storm”. At 11 AM, the barometer fell to 27.9 and the sky darkened quickly. Immense winds blew from the NNW destroying the main sails & rigging. A lull passed over so the captain made a the quick order to anchor. But the shackle of the cable caught in the hawsepipe…. (And translation for all the non-maritime folk… ‘messed up their ability to anchor – real bad’.). They were forced to drop the 3,000 lb. anchor and all 300 ft of anchor chain (trans: ‘seriously not good’). Captain Wooley took the appropriate option of weathering the storm out at sea. It was with full engines running, the RMS Rhone turned out to cross the Sir Francis Drake Channel and pass the Channel Islands. By that time the RMS Rhone had almost navigated its way through the Channel Islands, the SSW winds had started up in full strength and forced the RMS Rhone into the rocks, just off of Salt Island. The boat heeled over and broke in two, sinking instantly. There were crew and passengers onboard; of the survivors, I believe, 18 or so crew & 2 passengers survived the sinking.
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    • Day65

      Cooper Island, BVI

      December 21, 2016 in British Virgin Islands ⋅ 🌙 26 °C

      Christmas is coming and so are the crowds.

      Felicity has been safely dropped at the ferry and begins her five day voyage home. Glad that's not me! It's been great having her aboard despite the numerous cups of tea required throughout the day.

      We had a fantastic days diving the RMS Rhone, wreck on the western shore of Salt Island. It was a spectacle to behold. The ship has broken into four or five parts and contains numerous swim throughs. It is home to all kinds of coral and fish including the green sea turtle and many large lobster - luckily protected from their greatest predator (Scott) by national park regulations. To give you and idea of the size - the propellor is 18 feet in diameter! I'll get some go pro footage up when I can.

      Planning is now in full swing, as we nut out how to play Christmas, new year, guests and the remainder of our charter.

      In the undernews, the boys are diving 45 feet on a single breath. Scotty probably a little more. Soon we will be fish and never need land again...except for the wifi. Everybody loves a wifi party.
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    Hallovers Bay

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