Lat: 19 49.306’ N
Long: 66 50.661’’ W

We had to say good-bye to Kope and Julia and to the Virgin Islands on Tuesday. We packed in a lot of activity while they were here, much of it underwater, so I think they were looking forward to enjoying the creature comforts of their hotel room in St. Thomas for a couple of nights before heading back to work.

In case we haven’t made our case for the Virgins yet, they really are ideal for cruising and diving. We ended up diving six times while there, and each site had something new to offer. The RMS Rhone was site of choice for Julia and I. Nearly all of the sites had an abundance of soft corals (fans, plumes), but here there were lots of hard corals as well that really added to the visual array. In addition to bright red, orange, and even blue hard corals growing on the steel structure of the wreck, there were lots of tube sponges protruding outward, most of them light purple. There was no shortage of fish, either, many of them Sergeant Majors. These medium-sized fish are typically white with a yellow upper body and black vertical stripes, but occasionally we saw the blue variety, which is the same fish but in the blue phase, indicating that it’s a male guarding eggs. I have a few photos of the fish and the site to post that don’t do justice to the landscape but will give you a better idea.

PICT0016 For whatever reason, there were a bunch of these at the Rhone

PICT0068Sergeant Major with propeller shaft of the RMS Rhone in background

Most of our evenings, as Dallas noted, were spent on the boat under the stars. On Sunday night, however, we got a taste of local culture at the Bomba Shack near the West End of Tortola. This place was very Caribbean – open air, sand floors, people’s names written all over the wooden frame that comprised the shack in black marker, and even a few items of women’s underwear that were somehow left behind. (After sampling the Bomba Punch, we got a better idea as to how that happened!) The DJ was spinning a nice mix of dance, reggae, and pop, and Julia and I worked off our Bomba’s barbeque dinner by hilariously (to us) trying out our dance moves in the soft, deep sand. Initially it was just us and a few locals there, but a couple of groups of tourists popped in briefly and joined in the fun. The shack isn’t near the resorts and is in a bay that’s not suitable for anchoring, so cruisers/tourists have to take a taxi there, but Bomba has managed to put itself on the BVI map with its unique vibe and monthly full-moon parties.   

bomba As the sign reads, “Bomba Shack is an Adult Bar”

So now Dallas and I are back at sea, a place with which we have grown very familiar and comfortable. However, we weren’t looking forward to this passage in particular as the forecast indicated that we would have minimal to light winds for the bulk of the 900 miles. So far the weather report has been accurate (we’ve been motoring for most of the last two days), but now that we are out here, we are just relaxing and appreciating what is to be the last long (multi-day) passage of our circumnavigation. It is hard to believe that we are so close. 

Fortunately, we have one last bit of paradise to experience, the Bahamas. We are looking forward to being joined in the Bahamas by Dallas’ brother Tim, his wife Heather, and their two young children, so we will get a chance to expose more people to some of the activities that have brought us so much pleasure over the last couple of years!