Parting shots of Tortola, British Virgin Islands
Independence Day Parade in Roadtown, Tortola. The celebration lasts a week with each town on the island celebrating in its own way.
Charlie with a parade participant.
This sign especially comical for today because the town is packed.......
.....and the music on every float is deafening!
The venue for all the evening performances of musicians.
Yes indeed, the world was watching our elections.
Yes, the road is steep....
We did not try this rum, yet! We may have another opportunity in a few months when we visit the Island of St Vincent.
Boat storage at Nanny Cay Marina. There must be a thousand boats here playing dominoes. This is just one area of the storage lots.
What a tangled web of rigging should a hurricane visit.
The Underside View - jack stands as far as the eye can see.
To build more condos such as these. The construction zone is just beyond the house at the end of this canal.
Parting shots of the BVI's
Next morning we arrived at Sombrero, an island west of Tortola and north of Anguilla.
It is home to a now defunct guano factory, though a shortage of guano does not seem to be the cause of the factory's demise.
Time to explore and see if this would be a fine dive site for the owners.
Just a few of the hundreds of birds here
The dinghy landing. The ladder does not slide so you must have long arms to pull yourself up. If you are short it would require a fair amount of wriggling and throwing a leg up. All of this from a bouncing dinghy. There was no place to secure the dinghy away from the sharp rock once we were up, so we passed on climbing the ladder.
Five Brown-footed Boobies - Can you spot them?
View of town in Road Bay Harbor - the island has several restaurants ranging from barefoot beach casual to chic and expensive.
Charlie brought up a treasure to show me; a conch shell that had a guest inhabitant. The little octopus shot out of that shell faster than a blink.
Man-oh-man can they move!
We quickly returned him with his shell, safe and sound to his underwater hiding spot.
Gustavia is now a bustling hub of mega yachts, high end shopping - similar to Worth Ave in Palm Beach - and chic restaurants.
Looking out from the anchorage towards the rock formations and reef that are reported to be nice for snorkeling.
Les Gros Ilets on the left, and Le Pain De Sucre on the right.
Rain is coming
This cemetery is a resting place for many children that have been lost to hurricanes, cholera and diptheria.
Views looking out from a peak on St Bart's
....a turtle waddling along the narrow sidewalk.
He/she was not happy about sitting for a photo shoot and headed into the bushes at a rapid pace!
The waitress in her most gracious English, asked us if we wanted water with or without gas? We learned that that is how they refer to water that is sparkling or, not sparkling.
A good wine and water "without gas" as we await dinner.
Exploring the south side of St Bart's for snorkeling sites
This turned out to be a very nice dive spot. However to be sheltered we anchored close to the rocks.
A bay on the southwest tip of St Bart's. The pictures do not do the geology justice. The layers of rock and the resulting formations are spectacular. The point in this bay looks like a stack of disheveled books.
The layers here are perched on the sides of the cliff
Ile Fourchue - an island north of St Bart's and a popular anchorage with a beach and hiking.
The catamaran on the beach has seen better times.
The catamaran in the distance is us.
Time for a hike
Again you can see it is very arid and hot. Sun visor and linen shirt help keep me cool.
Charlie found the sargasso, the stinky stuff; and yes it has plastic pollution caught up in it.
No palm trees here.
The following two islands, St Eustatius and Saba were visited while we had owners on board. When we are working we do not have much time for exploring or photography. However, we managed to get a smattering of pictures.
Island of St Eustatius - otherwise known as Statia
Dutch Zeelanders colonized Statia in 1636. The Dutch worked hard at creating trade business and within a century Statia became know as the Golden Rock due to its storehouses full of treasures. Statia was a neutral port and in remaining such, they traded with all nations, much to the frustration of the quibbling nations. Statia acted as gun-runner during the American Revolution.
All came to an end beginning on November 16, 1776 when Statia's Governor Johannes De Graff saluted Captain Isaiah Robinson of the Andrew Doria. De Graf thinking he was returning a salute to a merchant ship was actually saluting an American naval vessel under a rebel captain. This act inadvertently placed Statia as the first sovereign power to recognize the newest nation, the United States of America. The British enraged by the gun-running and now further aggravated by the salute, declared war on Holland in 1780. In 1781 the Brits seized the island, impounded over 150 merchant ships, destroyed the harbor, sacked the town, plundered the entire island, including personal goods and fortunes and deported residents. Statia never fully recovered.
The prominent geologic figure here is, The Quill, a crater of a 1900ft extinct volcano.
A walk down the beach road on the island of St Eustatius
Which came first the tree or the building?
The Old Gin House a hotel across the road from the beach.
St Eustatius is now the fuel hub for the Caribbean. The island houses several gigantic fuel storage tanks; as large as any storage tank you would find at fuel depot in the States. Big tankers come in to off load fuel into the storage tanks and smaller vessels come in to load on fuel to take to the surrounding islands.
The vessel - pictured below- is on the rocks. Fortunately it was carrying cargo and not fuel; not fortunate for the ones awaiting their cargo however. We watched the rescue progress over the course of the three days we were here. The shipping company brought in a salvage company from Tortola, BVI. The same company we hired while in Tortola, to lift an engine off the boat and load on the new engine. All the cargo containers were removed and then the process of floating the ship off the rocks began.
Leaving Saba, we set sail for St Maarten. Time for the owners to fly home.
We dropped the owners off at the dock in Simson Baai to catch their taxi to the airport. We then headed into the lagoon under the draw bridge on the Dutch side.
We are heading into the lagoon to Island Water World Marina to dock the boat while we are on vacation. The lagoon is protected from most storms so we hope the boat will be fine while we are away. As an extra precaution, we hired a boat sitter to keep watch until we return.
Friends and family ask us with a certain amount of incredulous-ness in their query; "You are going on vacation?! Aren't you already on vacation?!
Well....yes and no. True we have a great job, but with that comes 24/7 responsibility. The owners give us a paid vacation every year of which we are most grateful. Usually we go to the States to see our family, however this year we have three weeks vacation, which allows us a bit more time to see other places.
To find out where we went - you will have to read the next post. Insert the Jeopardy theme song here.