Posted by: rosyroadsadventures | November 18, 2011

Stuck

N 18° 30.3′   W 64° 22.2′

Prickly Pear Island, North Sound, BVI’s

We are having a little weather dilemma here.  Getting to St. Martin is proving to be a big challenge.  It requires an open ocean passage with no protection from adjacent land masses. We have done them before and have always been blessed with optimal conditions.  This time it hasn’t been easy. 

We checked out the marine forecasts and there appeared to be a small travel opportunity Monday night and Tuesday. We decided to give it another try, this time direct from St. Thomas for a 16-hour trip. The back-up plan was to come in at Virgin Gorda if we didn’t like the conditions.  

The waves in the open seas were worse than predicted and we had to slow down to 4 knots to keep from being beat up. I hated to go with the back-up plan but was not up for what was now looking like a 21-hour upwind slog. It was nothing the boat couldn’t handle, just miserable for the passengers.  Bob agreed that it was a reasonable decision to abort.  He might have persevered if not for his reluctant crew . . .

We are back in the BVI’s in the North Sound. Bob is reviewing the weather models each morning and evening. It is blowing like crazy. The forecasts show either high winds or high seas or both for the next several weeks. I’m not wanting to go out again in what seems like the roughest conditions we have encountered. Bob is worried that the winter “Christmas winds” have arrived and we’ll be stuck here for months. I can’t imagine that we won’t find a smoother ride within a few weeks. He is ready to buy me a plane ticket to St. Martin. I’m not going to let him single-hand this passage which is looking troublesome. It is not so much fun aboard right now while I am dreading this trip 😦

We’ll sort it out I’m sure. There is a bottle of champagne in the fridge waiting to celebrate a successful St. Martin passage.

 

After deciding to bail out on the St. Martin passage we came in to Spanish Town, Virgin Gorda and anchored around 4 am on Tuesday. We took a nap and when we got up the Club Med 2 had joined us in the anchorage.

 

The north swell had worsened and it was too rolly to launch the dink so we moved to the North Sound. Passed this beautiful Star Clipper ship along the way.

 

We left Mar Azul in Leverick Bay and got transportation to Spanish Town to check in to the BVI's once more. We hadn't traveled the roads along the peaks of Virgin Gorda in 20+ years and enjoyed the outing in a rental car.

 

Hog Heaven Bar N Grill was a delightful new place we found perched high on the mountain top. The view was spectacular. We stopped for photos and a beverage. Wow, it was windy up there and about 10 degrees cooler!

 
 

The North Sound must be one of the nicest places in the world to be stuck. Colquhoun Reef and Drake's Anchorage on the left, Prickly Pear Island, Necker Island and Eustatia Sound in the distance, Saba & The Bitter End on the right. Mar Azul is the little speck, lower center left.

 
 

Comparing different computer models is helpful in indentifying possible weather windows. Wind speed and direction, wave height, swell and whether conditions are forecast to improve or worsen are considered in deciding if a passage is a "go". This GFS model is showing some lighter winds along our travel route next week, but strong waves with a developing storm system (reds & oranges) to the north.

 

Bandit has a sprain with a small fracture and vet says 3+ weeks for recovery. Her life vest serves as a little suitcase and Bob uses the handle to carry her up and down the stairs to the dinghy. She is a little bummed right now but has a good appetite and enjoys the extra attention.

 
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