Tuesday, Jan 22 --
Our breakfast of oatmeal and yogurt was quick to eat and clean up. The winds were quite light (5-10 mph) as we motored southwest out of Little Harbour. We hoisted the sails anyway in hopes of some good sailing once we were out of the shadow of Jost van Dyke. We tacked several times between Jost van Dyke and the West End of Tortola. The swells were small here. There wasn't any traffic through the Thatch Island Cut so we sailed through rather than starting up the motor again, even though the passage has shoals off each shore. We stayed on our tack until we were on the far side of the Cut and out of the way of ferry boats leaving Soper's Hole, then changed tacks to sail around the west end of Little Thatch Island and out into Sir Francis Drake Channel, being careful to not cross over into US waters near St. John.
The 10-15 mph wind in Drake channel was great for sailing. We tacked as many times as necessary to reach The Indians before switching to the motor in the day-mooring field. Lunch was the first priority, after which we prepared to snorkel. By then the sun had burned off much of the haze, making the water more inviting.
The Indians is a small cluster of rocks south of Tortola and east of the US Virgin Island of St. John. They are the second most popular diving site after the RHS Rhone. It is also a popular snorkeling spot so we were happy to find the water to be not as choppy as we had expected. Our day-mooring ball was on the windward side of the rocks but close enough to swim to the rocks across a short distance of deep water. The rocks drop down steeply to about 50 feet, so the coral and fish we could see best were on the walls instead of on the bottom. The deeper water gave us an opportunity to see fish that prefer various depths. Besides the shallow water tangs and parrot fish I saw my first Rock Beauty butterfly fish for this trip and several Flamingo Tongue snails. We also saw blue Chromis fish quite far below us and a school of blue-coloured fish. Someone saw an eel too. We only stayed in the water for about 30 minutes because the deeper water was cold and there was not much sun. If we had stayed a whole hour we could have explored all the way around the group of four rocks. We ate some warm soup before we raised the sails again for the short tack east to Norman Bight, our mooring spot for the night.
This island is most famous for being the setting used by Robert Louis Stevenson as he wrote Treasure Island. There are caves to explore at Treasure Point and snorkeling over the nearby coral reefs but they were both quite a long dinghy ride away. It was about 15:00 by the time we were moored. There was quite a wind blowing over Norman Island and down into the mooring field. Everyone decided to have an early night so we showered and read until the sun was behind the hills of Treasure Point and the US Virgin Island of St. John, to our west.
Hubby and I started to organize our bags for the earliest possible departure in the morning. The afternoon tea and nut snacks kept our stomachs busy until dinner was ready. It was a leftovers dinner using up the rice, cabbage, mushrooms, cheese, garbanzo beans, salami, pepperoni and pork teryaki marinade. After the big lunch we were glad to have smaller portions for dinner. This would be our last night together on the boat so we finished the chocolate - a double ration for each. We agreed to be ready to leave the mooring ball tomorrow morning by 7:00 so as to be outside the Conch Harbour, on the north side of Drake Channel, by 9:00. The two Canadian couples had planes to catch in the afternoon and did not want to miss them.
While discussing the plan and reviewing the final food expenses I cleaned the aft head while the other two women cleaned out the fridge and cupboards and made notes on what was still left. We made a final tally of the expenses for the trip and how much we still owed the captain for the food order from Bobby's. Hubby and I are taking a few food items with us tomorrow for our follow-on camping days but we will be leaving some cans of salmon, tuna, sardines and milk for the cleaning crew. We all agreed that the food planning was quite good considering how far in advance we had to place the order. There was not much left over and not a lot went bad before we could eat it.
The wind is still howling outside the boat. It sounds stronger than it actually is and we are happy to have the air movement in the cabins on this 76F night. There are almost no waves so although the boat is swinging on its mooring it is, thankfully, not rocking from side to side.