Before we got married, Mick and I, made a promise to each other, that we would try and experience as many “firsts” together as we could. Well, this “first” week out sailing has proven to tick lots of first goes at everything.
First time grabbing a mooring ball
It was hell! I didn’t think it was going to be that hard, but it was. The first try was at The Bight in Norman Island. Luckily we got there early in the afternoon so there weren’t that many boats around yet. We had enough space to manoeuvre the boat back into position until we got the mooring ball. (3 attempts).
The second time we tried to grab a mooring ball was at Soper’s Hole. This time it was busier so the pressure was on; not only were we worried about hitting another boat but also we had more spectators looking at us while we tried to moor.
So there I was ready to attack the mooring ball, first attempt, grabbed it, and the boat hook broke and the hook went overboard, shit!!! Went down to see if we had another boat hook but we didn’t so we did the old Mc Gyver trick, grabbed a clothes hanger, broke it , and with some tape attached it to remaining part of the stick. We had to try a few more times but we finally got it. Seconds after we were safely moored I went down to the kitchen and cried; too much tension for me!
First time at anchoring
After our first night at The Bight, we decided to go to a quieter place. The Bight is one of the busiest bays around. It’s in Norman Island and is famous for having two bars where all the charter boats and locals go to party every night of the week. We didn’t have such a bad night, but after snorkelling around The Caves, which was wonderful, we decided to go to Peter Island and see if we could find a place with not so many boats around.
We sailed to White Bay at Peter Island, where we decided to try our anchor. White Bay is a private beach that belongs to the Peter Island Resort so not many charters go there, there’s no bars or restaurants so it’s very secluded, just what we wanted.
We had a wonderful morning there. We swam, relaxed and enjoyed the sunset, but there were a few storms coming by and in one of them, we had a wind change and with it our boat did a complete 360 swing and since then we were a bit nervous about the anchor dragging. That night was hard. We couldn’t relax and we were on constant watch, checking that we weren’t moving.
The next morning, it was a bit calmer, so we decided to clean the helm of the boat. Since the moment we arrived at the bay, we noticed a large fish swimming around our boat. At first sight we thought it was a little shark, but then we saw that it had no teeth and a flat head that looked like the sole of a shoe, so we named it “Reebook”. We fed him bread and he just hanged around our boat the whole time we were there, even when we were under the helm cleaning, he would just be around us, watching.
After lunch, we decided to try and go to a safer bay, because the wind was supposed to pick up overnight and we didn’t want another sleepless night. We started sailing to Soper’s Hole and arrived around 4:30pm. That’s where the boat hook incident happened. We spent two nights there, and although it was still windy, we felt a bit safer, moored to a ball.
Then on Tuesday we decided to keep on sailing to Jost Van Dyke, which was not far from where we were. We went to Manchioneel Bay, a wonderful spot with plenty of snorkelling action and things to do. We decided to grab a mooring ball and this time it happen on our first go, so we were really happy with ourselves. That day, we had a pivotal moment. For the first time, since we had left the mooring marina, we felt at ease on the boat. Mick set up a plate full of nibbles and the bottle of rum came out together with a nice cranberry juice for me; we had our first relaxed sun downer session and we were happy!
The next morning we decided to try anchoring on the same bay. Every time we moor the boat on a ball we have to pay $30. The first few nights we felt save and it was the easy way out, but after paying a few nights we decided it was time to have a free night for a change so we decided to move the boat and anchor.
We had a few stressful hours watching that the anchor wasn’t dragging because it was still really windy; we snorkelled a few times to check the anchor, and after we were sure that it wasn’t moving, we went exploring around the island. We went to the “Bubbly Pool” a rock pool where the waves get in and make it all bubbly and we also went for a dinghy ride to sandy spit, a mini island with palm trees and white sand.
That afternoon we met our first friends since we’ve been out there; George and Juanita. We saw them when we went snorkelling and said hi and later that day, they passed by our boat with their dinghy and we invited them to come on board. They stayed for a drink before heading out to dinner to Foxy’s Taboo, the restaurant near where we were parked.
They were a nice couple from Canada, sailing around for a week on a chartered boat. It felt nice to finally meet some friendly people; the last few days we were saying hello to everyone but not getting much of a response. I guess everyone is on a schedule, with their own groups of friends, which makes it a bit different to regular cruisers. So it was a great afternoon shared with some like minded people.
Today, we are back at the marina for some small repairs, hopefully the last one for a long while. The engine is running really well, and we are using this stop for restocking fuel, water and doing some laundry. There is lots to learn and we still need some more time to feel confident on our boat, but knowledge is gained by experiencing and trying and we are sure that each day we will get better at it. We will go back out there on Saturday morning. There’s some north swell coming so we are going to try and see if we can get some waves somewhere around here.