On Saturday evening, after enjoying our meal of freshly caught fish tacos, we turned on the generator briefly. A few moments later, it died. Oh no! My last encounter with generator maintenance turned into a 3-day affair in Titusville, most of which involved replacing the impeller. The error code indicated it was a raw water problem. I looked at the raw water strainer and found it to be full of seaweed. I cleaned it out and restarted the generator. It died almost immediately. The most likely culprit at this point was the impeller, which probably disintegrated from running with no water flow secondary to the closed strainer. I took a look, and yes… it was in pieces. Three days of hard labor flashed before my eyes. But, fortunately, with Tracy’s assistance, we completed the job in just a couple of hours. Three days of prior experience probably helped as well. Thank God!
The next morning we traveled the nine nautical miles to Road Harbor to take care of the necessities of checking into the BVIs. After dropping our anchor in 40 feet of water (a record for Beatitude), I took Dalí into the ferry dock on which Customs and Immigration is found. There were four docks from which to choose. I, of course, chose the one dock which the approaching ferry was going to tie up to. He blared his horn, I ran back to the dinghy, jumped in, and motored around to another dock. Of course, by this time, the scores of people had exited the ferry and were now in front of me. I had to wait approximately 45 minutes for them to clear before they would take care of me. Once the process was begun however, it was quick and painless. (And cheap! $27.00 vs the hundreds of dollars in the Bahamas.)
We soon weighed anchor and took a one hour ride across Sir Francis Drake Channel over to Pelican Island and The Indians, which are so-called because of the four unusual red rock formations which reminded someone at some time of indians. We picked up one of the National Parks Trust mooring balls, jumped off the back of Beatitude and snorkeled directly behind the boat. The water was nice and clear. Their was an abundance of beautiful soft coral, along with quite a few colorful reef fish. It was nice!
From there we continued our journey for another mile and a half to pick up a mooring in Pirate’s Bight on beautiful Norman Island, also called “Treasure Island” by the locals. The island’s history is full of legends of buried pirate treasure. Once settled in, we all jumped in Dalí for a brief ride around Treasure Point to our east. The purpose of our venture was to tie up the dinghy to the dinghy moorings and snorkel The Caves. There was very nice snorkeling along the wall and the mouths of the four caves. Snorkeling in the Caves was another first for Beatitude’s crew (other than my chance to snorkel Cannonball Grotto in Staniel Cay, Bahamas, last year).
After returning from snorkeling The Caves, we rested for an hour before heading into Willie T’s for a pre-dinner drink at this floating restaurant named for the architect of the U.S. Capitol Building. The vessel is a converted 100-foot schooner which is infamous for its wild nights of partying. There are apparently frequent outbreaks of nakedness on board, but for our visit in the mid-afternoon, fortunately, the level of craziness was moderated, and all clothing, no matter how little, stayed on. We did enjoy some good, cheap rum drinks however.
After spending a few minutes with all the scantily clad young folks and meeting a very nice cruising couple heading in the same general direction as we, we hopped back into Dalí for a short trip into Pirate’s Bight Beach Bar and Grill which commands a gorgeous view of the Bight from the head of the bay. We had seats right next to the sandy beach, front row seats to the spectacular sunset silhouetting the sailboats in the harbor. The food was excellent and we were very happy with our busy first day in the BVIs.