I have spent the last few days on Spellbinder with my eldest Tom. We visited Anegada, a small island which is part of the BVIs and to their north. It proved to be a very special place, meriting its own blog post. We also spent a bit of time preparing Spellbinder for the next phase of the adventure, which will be a see her undertaking three long passages to return to UK in July.
Anegada is a coral atoll, no more than a few feet high. Only 250 or so permanent residents live there and there is little significant modern development. It was pretty much flattened by Hurricane Irma but has bounced back.
We had a good close reach up there in 15 knots or so of wind. Since arriving in the Caribbean I have had just a working jib as a foresail, as the breeze is ever present and a genoa would often need reefing. It has worked well, and was new out of the bag as Spellbinder’s previous owner barely used it. The trip to and from Anegada was a great example of a perfectly balanced rig making 6-7 knots without fuss.
Anegada has some of the most azure of azure waters:
You only see Anegada from a short distance off – it’s very flat, and the trees are the first things you see
The anchorage was at Setting Point, and we crossed the reefs with barely any water under our keel – I knew it would be tight, as we were at springs, but I reckon we had about 20cm under the keel. It was too shallow to pick up a buoy so we anchored off in hard coral sand, digging in the anchor as best we could then doing something definitely not taught in the RYA syllabus – diving down on the anchor and piling rocks and stones over it. You can do that when you anchor in 2.5m in tropical waters!
Setting Point anchorage – pretty shallow!
On arrival Tom and I hired a 4×4 and toured the island. It was the first time I had been driven by Tom, who coped well with a beat-up (no passenger side wing mirror) left hand drive automatic car driving on the left hand side of the road. Rental cars are easy on Anegada – cash, no deposit, few details required – you can’t go far!
My very casual-looking chauffeur for the day!
We saw many fine beaches, snorkeled on one (Loblolly) and had lunch at the Anegada Beach Club on the north side. We also visited Cow Wreck Bay, and saw pink flamingos in the distance from a vantage point.
Pomato Point, the other anchorage, which is more remote
Tom went for a run in the evening, cooled off in the sea and that evening we ate lobster – which seems ubiquitous – at a restaurant called the Lobster Trap. It was delicious. The lady who runs the restaurant and the Anegada Beach Club told us she orders 700lb of lobster a day – it seems the seas can sustain this level of fishing.
Sunset run, and cooling off in the sea…
…before a lobster fest
Before leaving back for Virgin Gorda and Tortola we had a couple of boat jobs to do. Nothing significant has broken on Spellbinder so far (except that which I have broken myself) but I was looking in the engine bay and saw that the water pump had sprung a leak. Fortunately I had a spare on board and we swapped it over quite quickly. I also noticed that the calorifier had moved on its mounting as a nut had come undone – this required us both entering the engine bay and despite the cramped surrounding achieving the fix. Sweaty job though…
Trying to find the source of the leak
We had a good passage back south, had a night in Gorda Sound (Leverick Bay) and Tom, seeing a mountain, duly ran up it.
View of Leverick Bay from above
After lunch in Cooper Island, we headed back to Tortola to our berth. The final evening was spent preparing Spellbinder for long distance cruising – jib down, genoa and furling gennaker bent on, and a trip up the mast to inspect the rigging and replace a block.
The view taken by Tom from the top of the mast. I do look small down there…
Anegada was wonderful, and a fitting final sail to the cruise of the BVIs. I have thoroughly enjoyed it here, and can see why it is such a popular cruising destination. It was also great father and son time – thank you Tom.
Next stop Bermuda – on current plans we depart Sunday. We should have some nice easterlies but a dropping high pressure means I suspect we’ll motor the last bit…