The British Virgin Islands: Third Time's a Charm

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February 23rd, 2017 at 12:01:53 PM permalink
Face
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Member since: Oct 24, 2012
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Posts: 2990
Day 5.

Today was supposed to be Anegada, and it was also Snack Shack's b-day. I think this was where Lana was dubbed "Snack Shack", as while all were housing down their breakfast, she was munching cookies. A comment about cookies at that hour led to the revelation that it was actually the second bag of cookies, as the first bag, as well as one of the whole bulk bags of candy, had already been consumed within the last 14hrs entirely by her. That girl can put down the snacks, I tell you hwat =)

The day started off well. Everyone was running at just about 100%. The hangovers were gone, everyone had fallen into a good hydration regimen, and the sunburns were being addressed and fading. My only personal complaint was my hands were just ravaged, mostly from the damnable jib line. It's just so hard to pull in, so much so that it took both me AND Cody using all of our legs and back to retrieve it every time. But hands heal fast, we're up and at 'em, time to start the day.

We were fed, loosed from the ball, and heading to the supply dock before 0800. And again, I had all mooring lines up and attached in a flash, The Fed got me close, I jumped off the boat onto the dock, and we were moored in tight as if we knew what we were doing. The "island time" theme of course meant the 0800 opening time really meant about 0817, but the shopkeep tended to us before any other comers, and we were back stocked full of water and ice and ready to set out. I was worried a bit, as even at 0845, we were still quite a bit behind the schedule I thought we should be keeping. Remember, Anegada only has a handful of balls in just one port for the whole island, and The Fed makes a big deal of not throwing the hook. I was half wondering if he might call off, but there wasn't a hint of that. About the time I got the mooring line detached and stowed, he was full tilt out of the harbor and calling "All Hands On" for the big sailing run up to Anegada.



The winds were just as stout, and I could see a squall up ahead, reminiscent of our last trip. The squall blew in front of us, showing a clear cold front, but I reckon wind is all those make down there. If the temp dropped, it did so up high. At sea level, it remained just as sweltering as it had been all week. With not much of anything to do, we sort of focused on tuning the ship. Messing with the topping lift, swinging the boom out, trying to be actual sailors instead of a credit card crew. And once we hit and then eclipsed 11knts, there was that same sporting feeling as good as any win at hockey or football. It's just a rewarding thing. We broke all our personal records, and did it with The Fed as the most experienced of all, with me just behind him. Good stuff =)

Cody, thankfully, is an ocean fisherman himself, having gone on numerous trips for marlin, tuna, all the big name, big dollar challenges. As such, he was all over the fishing gear, setting out ballyhoo on trolling lines and sparing me the effort. The wind direction plus the expanse of the open ocean meant The Fed got to crawl down and walk about, spending some time on the bow with the Mrs before one of the lines lit up. He jumped to it and had a bit of a fight, but the fish never came to be. Somehow, it pleenked off.



Once the boat was set, gear was set, and everyone seemed comfy, I f#$%ed off to the bow, standing on the bow seat and using the mast line to keep balance. That was my bit of alone time, seeing nothing in front of me but a landmark-less expanse of pretty blue. It was my moment of Zen, my time to give thanks, stop, and smell all the roses. Not much of anything happened, obviously, but a pair of dolphins did race up into our wake. Huge, must've been 8' or so, and literally right at my feet. I called to everyone and hoped they'd give a display, but they just stayed right dead under me for maybe 30 seconds and then they were gone. No photos, no one else got to see. Nuts =/

We were hauling ass, though, wind just perfect to keep us over 11knts with no jibe or tacks the whole way. In fact, it looked like we'd make a bee line dead for the harbor. We saw other boats and knew, whether they did or not, that we were in one hell of a race. A call by Cody numbering the boats ahead, behind and all around us engendered one more tuning sessions as we tried to squeeze every bit of speed out of the old girl to ensure we had a ball to latch to. And it mostly worked! Most of those who we spotted out as "competition" either lagged way behind or had strafed too far away from the channel mouth, opening the door for us to slide into. And it's a good thing, too, because there were masses of folks all vying for the same limited spots.



But late start aside, we arrived spoiled for choice. The Fed piled us deep between two sand bars, pretty much at the entrance to the Whistling Pine, aka the restaurant that took us for some four figures last go around. Snack Shack was inquiring about more fishing, but I had to let her down stating that it was all sand and likely wouldn't produce. I half promised I'd take her by dinghy to the reef for a birthday fish, but buoyed her spirits telling her Anegada was likely going to be the best stop of all. God, but I do like being right =)

I took my typical place, standing in the bow of the dinghy, and pointed out where we were to go. Mostly in jest; the place was right there and it was broad daylight. The Fed gave me shit about it, as he always does, and then proceeded to barrel right into the sandbar, just as he did last time. And of course, the Captain shoved all the blame back on to me, because that's what he f#$%ing does lol. We didn't get hung up, fortunately, and I guess it sort of kickstarted what was to be a f#$% around day.

We approached the WP and the singing restaurateur apprehensively. By this time, we had a handful of run-ins with other proprietors that matched the run-in with our first night at the Bight. It seemed a total random grab bag, and some of those grabs left us with asshole employees. Just rude for no reason. I think it was around this time that The Fed, who on the first day gave thanks that he no longer had to hear the constant whining about Trump, offered that maybe that was the cause. I mean, personalities and proclivities aside, we all are absolutely amiable at all times on this trip. Other than perhaps a unit t-shirt worn by The Fed, or one of my 2nd Amendment Warrior garbs I sometimes sport, nothing about us is outwardly hostile or even goading. And still now, the Trump thing is the only thing any of us could come up with. To not have a single incident in all the years to having several in this trip alone, I suppose it's the only thing that makes sense.

Fortunately the worry was for naught, as the singing restaurateur was as chipper and cheerful as he'd ever been. He greeted us in the same sing song-y manner and we made reservations immediately. We ordered some drinks straight away and began inquiring about the scooter rentals as we did not see evidence of them, but he assured us he could find us some steeds. As we milled about he caught a glimpse of my reservation smokes, grabbed the pack for study, then set it down with a notice that they were "illegal on de islands". I gave him a sheepish look and queried "They are?", to which he replied "Yeah, mon! When you be down here, you must be smoking the real thing!", and then gave me a huge grin and a tipped wink. Lol, I guess we know why he's so chipper all the time ;)

But I wasn't down there to smoke dope all day and sit in a haze, so I laughed it off and we got back to the scooter mission. After a call to confirm and then some uncertainty in how we'd acquire them, he basically said "F#$% it" and offered to give us a ride in his personal. So me, The Fed, Frank, and Cody snatched up our beers and dove into his bitty Subaru Impreza. Though Anegada is damn near desolate, housing just 230 residents compared to Tortola's 40k, he still drove in a manner that even I could only cringe at. Everyone down there is like me at 17; the accelerator is not a pedal, it's a goddamn switch. And they leave it on. We screamed down the 30kph road at near 60mph, right up to the traffic circle where he so much as burped the brakes before flinging the aging ricer into the roundabout. We were at the scooter joint in negative 2 minutes, no joke. Crazy driving down there.

At the scooter joint, the Fed and I stood in wonder. No more was it handful of mishmashed shitboxes. Now it was an entire brigade of machines, all of which were in good-to-like-new condition. They even had an enduro or two! We were once again spoiled for choice. The Fed and Cody plopped down the cash as me and Frank milled about aimlessly, trying to pound down the drinks we were still toting. I noticed the lids so went to pick out mine and Lana's, and that's when I caught a glimpse of the girl arriving with our steeds. A sea of green, and at the end of the line, the lone red rocket. "I call red one!" Nailed it. Eagle eye, first call, and I got th... "Captain's choice! i get red!" "The fuck you do, dude... called it" "Yo bit, looka the shirt! Says 'Captain. Red is mine.' "The fuck it is, dude, I swear..." and as two grown men are yelling at each other in the store, a little girl hops on the red one and scoots away. Sonofabitch XD



Now, as we suited up,...er... put our lids on and found holders for our beers, the lady walked around them taking pics of any damage. There was very little. A few scrapes and scuffs from normal use, but none of the gouges or cracked and hanging panels of yesteryear. The caused the Fed to chirp up. "Listen! Now when that testosterone hits, you gotta tamp it down! No fucking around, no ones getting hurt, we ain't paying for these machines!" I just ignored his self important ass, as I simply wasn't going to get hurt on a goddamn scooter. I begin to putt away, wanting to take the lead to ensure everyone knew they needed drive on the wrong side of the road here. I no sooner round the about doin about 40kph when "MMMMMMMeeeeeeoormmmm" Frank and the Fed rip by me hell for leather in a goddamn drag race. Jesus wept. One of the mental defectives missed the restaurant entirely, the other caught his mistake but not in time and damn near dumped it in the sand. I putted right in, arriving first as they scrambled to correct and beat the other, and waited as these two "men", with a combined age of like a hundred and nine, to arrive, giggling like school boys who've set a whoopie cushion on teacher's seat. Oh yes, it was gonna be one of those days =)

We fetched the ladies as well as another round, putting it down pretty much immediately. I got Snack Shack suited up and gave her a slight briefing, while The Fed did burnouts in the sand and Frank repeatedly pulled his up in a wheelie. So much for tamping testosterone, eh boys? =D But after copious giggles, all were suited up and ready to roll. The Fed called me leader and instructed me to "Show 'em the whole island!", so that what I did. A left onto the main (only) road headed west; first stop - CowWreck Bay.

I had warned them all to watch it, as the road will be dirt. Some places, real rough. Others, wash out sand. And still others, wet clay as slippery as oily glass. Fortunately, no water was present. A few bigger holes had a bit of moist muck in their bottoms, but the entire ride was bone dry. And the steeds, being so much newer and unabused, gave us a stable and pleasant ride the whole way there. Much too quickly, we were pulling into CowWreck Bay.



I had warned of its beauty; still, there were audible gasps. It really is one of the prettiest places on Earth, and I pretty much hate lands of tropical sun. There was a decent party already going, and we all were in the cusp of a real mean buzz, so our party continued on. CowWreck seems to have maintained it's liberalness, with at least Snack Shack bowing out of finishing her very stout drink. She went on to play with some of the local goats, while I pounded down her painkiller in between fist fulls of my own beers.













It was getting late enough that we had to scoot, so I left the group to retrieve Becky and Snack Shack from the shops. And I was tore up. I got them notified and started staggering back, seeing a fence in my way I for some reason just had to jump. Jumped it no problem, don't get it twisted. But in doing so I lost one sandal, and I came down in a swatch of some sort of spiny plant. Imagine like a burdock, only instead of annoying velcro spikes, they were actual woody spikes. I sunk 20+ of those bastards dead into my foot, and had to spend 2 full minutes pulling them all out. Fortunately, while painful, the removal left me with no further discomfort or infection and I forgot about it by the time I hit my steed. And hit it I did, post haste, as the Fed berated me and Frank continued to pull wheelies, this time with Laurie on the back. We got all lined up and continued down the winding path to Loblolly Bay.



The Fed blew by me once, both he AND Mrs flipping us the bird while he did so. That was good for a laugh. Equally as funny was when he had to pull over as the road forked into 5's and he had no idea where to go. The booze hadn't yet seeped into my internal SATNAV, so I scooted through confident as could be, eventually taking us directly to the main road. Here, the roads met at like a 4" ledge, an impossibility in these scooters. I went off the road to access the main via the shoulder, but Frank figured he'd have me there. He went straight into the berm, figuring he'd get around us, and hung his whole scooter up, teetering on the ledge. We all just laughed at his struggle while putting away at a blistering 40kph. Along the way we found a newly built joint and stopped in for a drink. It was nice but uneventful, being only partially completed. One thing that was finished were these secluded perma-tents. Just a one room, sort of round building, on a sand berm overlooking that beautiful reef. Definitely a chill, very chill, place. Probably the building equivalent of heroin.

Anyway...

We got to Loblolly but never saw that particular beach. We hit the bar, most of us getting booze while Snack Shack decided on ice cream. It began to rain at that point, so we took shelter under a canopy of tropical trees, barely catching a drop despite the intensity of the shower. As always, it no sooner began than was finished, culminating in a decent rainbow seemingly just out of reach.



The ride back was a shit show. We were all drunk indeed, I was leading the idiot parade. I kept her at 40kph, even when Fed and Frank ripped by in yet another drag race. I pepped it up a bit, if just to keep them in sight, when the ol' demon got ahold of me. Came down like a curtain falling from a stage it did. And as it fell, I twisted the throttle, and when I ripped past them, I never let up. Dunno how fast we were going, but I went as fast as it would. Sanity hit me eventually and I began to slow, but before it set for good, we came to the looptyvroom. Right back on the throttle I went, hard to the wall, lift, lean, and we scraped the GD muffler! This caused a noticeable tensing from Snack Shack, but I've done this before. I just stayed in it and powered out, none the worse for wear. This got the rest of the crew animated indeed, and Fed began again to do his burnouts, and Frank again began to do his wheelies. Man, what a show! Everyone was having an absolute blast. God, I love Anegada. We ended the scooter portion with a pic, which Fed had on auto, set upon the singing restaurateur's car. Several attempts it took, each one becoming more comical than the other. Seeing his giant self trying to set it then hump frieght back to his steed in time over, and over, and over, and over again, finally left us with such hilarity and faux anger, we ended up with this "badass" pic XD



USDA Grade-A "Wild Hogs" lol =)

Things finally settled at that point. I reckon everyone knew a hangover was imminent, so the drinking scaled way back. We sat down for dinner at the beautiful Whistling Pine.





Learning from last time, I got a NY Strip instead of a whole lobster. Several others also deviated, whether it was a chicken salad (Snack Shack) or splitting a lobster (Frank and Laurie). And damn if that wasn't the best steak I ever did have. I mean good, one of the few times I am wowed by food. The bill came to round about $400 this time, to which we all threw in a hundo as a couple, sealing the night well.

Wasn't much to do after that. All expressed how they just enjoyed the absolute hell out of the day, all super keen on the scooters we had rented. The one grunch, though small, is Snack Shack never got her birthday fish. Now knowing that Anegada has a huge Tarpon industry, I set out a line using a sliced up sergeant major she had caught days earlier. A few slices down it's side to let the juices out and I set her adrift, again in just 6' or so of water. I didn't expect anything, it was already far too late. But I promised, and honestly, that the good fishing spots are all yet to come. Plenty of reef, several tarpon opportunities, we'd have good fishing yet.

The night pretty much ended with that. It was a full day drinking and the mega-meal to cap it off. I don't recall what we even did or were doing. The Fed and Mrs were bunked in a flash, Snack Shack was, of course, having a desert of the last bag of candy, all were just sort of chilling in a food fog and digesting before a fast approaching bed time. But somewhere, in those memories I can't quite recall...

ReeeeEEEEEENT!

I fly to the side, yank the rod out, and ReeeeEEEENT! Idiot, I tried to set the hook without flipping the drag. Flip it, reel in the slack, yank, and FISH ON!

I immediately yelled to Snack Shack, pumped on the chance to put her on a b-day fish. I then insta-regretted it, because I'd felt nothing whatsoever. No idea what it could be, and I snap handed off the pole. Well, it didn't rocket out of the water, so no tarpon, but a run damn near teetered Shack off the boat, so... maybe? That's when her tone snapped me out of my inner monologue, and I saw distress. It just "didn't feel right". A bit of light and searching revealed the problem, and a possible big one at that - the line had snagged the running gear.

I had swam little at this point, and due to our anti clockwise route, hadn't gotten to the place I typically swim under the boat. As a result, I had no idea what the underside looked like, and was wayyy too geeked on adrenaline to intuit it. After a mad scramble, I got my panicked brain to stop spinning long enough to let a hinkle in, and I ran from the swim deck to the bow, returning with the painter hook in hand.

I figured, due to the little time granted to allow a tangle, that it wasn't so much tangle as just wrapped. So, with a moment to think, I decided to slide the hook down the line, which, in my mind, would take me right to the snag. Just pop it off, we're back in the fight, right? Nope. I had no tactile feel; I could feel it slide down, feel it hit, knew it was the fore side of the rudder, but that's it. Couldn't tell if it was wrapped, tangled, hung, nothin'. I decided to give it a "pop" to break it free, then thought how much an ass I was as I might break the line doing that. Next time I went down the line pulling away, hoping I'd force it out and around whatever it was hung on, but I couldn't reach the hang up that way. I laid right down for extra length, following it down and way out, sinking to the elbow in the dark salt water. I could tell I was doing what I wanted and was passed the hang up, but it still did not come free. I leaned way over, in one last extreme attempt, got about wrist deep, and....

"SHARK!"

And holy s#$% was this one big. Now I was out of my head. We NEEDED to get this fish in the boat. I thought for half a sec when a partial idea came - it has to keep moving, when it comes back around, use the painter hook to nab the terminal end of the line and just bring it in by hand. By jove...

I dunked the hook and made a sweep. Nothing. Did it again and this time I had it. I got it close, lost it, dunked again, and there were no more f#$% ups. I grabbed the terminal line this time, no chance I was letting go. It was a mad scramble as everyone was excited, and I was too geeked to think, and think I must do because this isn't any kind of fishing I'm savvy with. But I basically did the same as done with the little guy. Sweep him close so I could get the tail and then just hang on for dear life. An Attenborough snippet hit me, so I called to Cody if it was true that they went catatonic if oriented upside down. He confirmed (I think he did anyway) so that's what I did. I then wafted it over to him where he was ready with the pliers, one yank breaking the hook right off (3/0's at least, that's one tough mouth)





Now there was nothing to do but pick it up. It had thrashed a few times by now, and damn, was it strong. No tail dangle this time, wayyy to big. So I called for cameras ready, got Snack Shack in behind me, and hoisted the sumbitch into the air.



SUCCESS!

Her face in the video, when she finally gets to touch it, about sums up what I tried to explain in the previous post. It's such an unexpected feeling, you can only lose yourself to marvel. But there we had it. About a 4' yellow shark, certainly the longest fish I've ever caught, the biggest by far she's ever caught, a bangin' birthday surprise, and the perfect end to a more-than-perfect day.

***There's some weird edit because of camera removal and subsequent rotation, but good enough for .gov work. And the lighting doesn't kick in for a bit, so it's mostly pitch black until the end. And finally, perhaps obviously, a big MA rating for copious cursing ;)***

Be bold and risk defeat, or be cautious and encourage it.
February 23rd, 2017 at 12:07:38 PM permalink
stinkingliberal
Member since: Nov 9, 2016
Threads: 17
Posts: 731
Quote: Evenbob
What other board am I on besides this one,
and a rare appearance on WoV, which is
basically the same people as here. If you
think posting here is the same as interacting
in person, you don't get out much either.


Not the same at all, but given your stated circumstances and choices, possibly all that's available to you.

Anyway, thanks, Face, for the detailed trip report. Makes me want to go find a British virgin of my own.
February 23rd, 2017 at 12:55:01 PM permalink
Evenbob
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 101
Posts: 9815
Quote: stinkingliberal
Not the same at all, but given your stated circumstances and choices, .


And what are my circumstances and choices
again, I forget. You'd remind me but you have
zero knowledge of what they are.
If you take a risk, you may lose. If you never take a risk, you will always lose.
February 23rd, 2017 at 1:11:37 PM permalink
Ayecarumba
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 78
Posts: 1201
Quote: Face
Day 5.



SUCCESS!


What a great birthday memory! Crazy!

Knowing that there are things that big, and much bigger and hungrier, cruising around just under my feet gives me pause every time I'm on a boat.

Great write up Face! And indeed, the Fed's shirt did say "Captain" hehe.
February 23rd, 2017 at 1:21:28 PM permalink
Evenbob
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 101
Posts: 9815
Why so much rudeness from locals, don't
they totally depend on tourist $$ to survive?
If you take a risk, you may lose. If you never take a risk, you will always lose.
February 23rd, 2017 at 3:25:14 PM permalink
Ayecarumba
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 78
Posts: 1201
I didn't know it before, but the BVI's are a shark sanctuary. Commercial fishing and trade in sharks and their by products is prohibited. Maybe that's why you have come across two hungry ones already.

February 24th, 2017 at 1:16:51 PM permalink
Face
Administrator
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 61
Posts: 2990
Quote: buzzardknot
Definitely the type of dude who might make me decide the sidewalk on the other side of the street somehow looked more inviting !


Please. That smiling face is how I deal with everyone. To begin with, anyway =p

Quote: stinkingliberal

Anyway, thanks, Face, for the detailed trip report. Makes me want to go find a British virgin of my own.


You're quite welcome. Please do find an adventure, and return with pics!

Quote: Evenbob
Why so much rudeness from locals, don't
they totally depend on tourist $$ to survive?


Like i said, the Trump thing is the only thing that makes sense. And yeah, near as I can tell, tourism is the only thing going down there. There's zero commercial fishing, unless you call a lone dude in a 10' dinghy an enterprise. There's no farming whatsoever, as the topsoil is nonexistent and the hard scrabble foliage no good for any amount of livestock. There's no mining, no manufacturing, nothing. It's just pretty.

I didn't get it, either. We're not a battalion of 20something bachelor's coming in like a hurricane. It made no sense.

Quote: Aye
Great write up Face! And indeed, the Fed's shirt did say "Captain" hehe.


Thanks, Aye, glad you're enjoying it. Re: the shirt, I'll just say what I must've said five hundred times on this trip...

DON'T ENCOURAGE HIM! ;)
Be bold and risk defeat, or be cautious and encourage it.
February 24th, 2017 at 3:15:36 PM permalink
petroglyph
Member since: Aug 3, 2014
Threads: 12
Posts: 1604
Quote: Face
Please. That smiling face is how I deal with everyone.
Permission to come aboard?

Quote:
I didn't get it, either.
Jealousy, IMO. The workers probably aren't the owners.
Everyone gets thrown from the plane to maintain altitude
February 24th, 2017 at 3:33:22 PM permalink
Evenbob
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 101
Posts: 9815
Quote: Face

Like i said, the Trump thing is the only thing that makes sense. ;)


What Trump thing, were you all wearing
Trump hats?
If you take a risk, you may lose. If you never take a risk, you will always lose.
February 25th, 2017 at 12:32:36 AM permalink
stinkingliberal
Member since: Nov 9, 2016
Threads: 17
Posts: 731
Quote: Evenbob
What Trump thing, were you all wearing
Trump hats?


Fairly or unfairly, people all over the world see Americans and blame them for the Trump stupidity. They don't seem to realize that a randomly selected person probably didn't vote for him. They just feel that we are collectively responsible for the Trump shitstorm.

I spent two weeks in London right after Putin sewed up the election and I must have been asked by fifty people...WTF????? I told them that America wanted to be the world leader in everything, including stupidity, and electing an insane orangutan was the only thing we could do to top Brexit in that regard.

I usually had a good laugh with them after that. I did get the sense that the Brits are genuinely baffled by what happened. Maybe that has percolated down to the BVI?
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