Thursday, December 24, 2009

Blue Tang and Parrotfish A Blue Tang and a Parrotfish feeding off the coral off "The Baths" on Virgin Gorda in the BVI
Blue Tang and Parrotfish
Cruising along With 20 knots of apparent wind the speed of 9.45 knots is pretty good, and only 4° of rudder shows that the boat is balanced quite nicely.
Cruising along

We started the day off by motoring the dinghy off to the caves and being surprised by what seemed like hundreds of snorkelers, but were actually somewhat less diving off 3 tour operator boats. And by the time we'd finished diving into the last cave they were, for the most part, already gone and those that were left didn't cause a traffic problem at all.
After snorkeling and enjoying some fresh coffee, we headed off in light winds and I had initially thought that we could sail to the site of the wreck of the Rhone and snorkel there in order to get our bearings prior to doing a dive there but once we got into the Sir Francis Drake Channel the wind picked up to between 10 and 15 knots and our angle of sail to the wind was perfect and, with 3 reefs in the main and full genoa we were barely heeled over and doing 9 knots constant. I then changed my mind and thought we should snorkel at Cooper Island, but it was so much fun sailing on a perfect heading towards the Baths that I changed my mind once again and though we could have a late lunch at a mooring ball at the Baths (it was already past 1pm at the time).
By the time we were close enough to the Baths to drop sails, I saw that not only were there only 2 boats there, but that there were red flags up ashore so we changed course and headed for the North Sound. All in all we were at or over 9 knots much of the time so our average speed was not much below that. There was a chop in the channel, but Zanshin I just sliced through the waves during the whole trip and made it an exhilarating sailing day. On the way we lost a cushion to the winds and performed our variation on the person-overboard drill - heave to and send a crew member back on the dinghy.

At first we thought to sail up the channel of the North Sound entrance, but that was directly into the wind so we dropped sail and entered the almost 100% full mooring field at the Bitter End Yacht Club / Saba Rock.
While Bernd and I opted to take the dinghy and do some snorkeling, Carmen stayed behind to make some garlic bread to go along with the steaks that we had thawing for dinner. We were greeted with a somber Carmen upon our return and she told us the bad news that the outer safety glass window of the stove had exploded out at 200 degrees Celsius while the oven had been warming up! It took quite a while to get all the little shards out and even the 12v shop vacuum didn't have a chance at getting everything out. Nonetheless she improvised and made some fantastic bread on the stove top and we had a tasty dinner outside, interrupted by a rain shower where we had to bring everything below. An espresso after dinner rounded off the meal and since it was still early we watched “Ronin” on the television, but I think that all of us were falling asleep throughout the movie and didn't catch too much of it.

North Sound square rigger While I'd rather be sailing aboard a modern sloop rigged yacht, the complex rigging of a square-rigger is impressive and evokes that sense of nostalgia for days gone by.
North Sound square rigger
Oven Safety glass While Bernd and I went snorkeling, Carmen was going to make garlic bread but the inner safety glass on the oven exploded and upon our return we found her picking up the safety glass fragments.
Oven Safety glass
Making Bread aboard Letting the bread rise before baking aboard Zanshin I
Making Bread aboard
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