Saturday, January 19, 2008

Stardate 62050.77 - Vacation, Day Six

On Wednesday we got up pretty early and immediately went over to The Baths on Virgin Gorda. This immensely popular spot fills up very quickly, and we got the last mooring ball in the field. The cruising guide was a little vague in how to get to shore and also warned that several of the beaches to the north (where we were moored) were private, so we got into the dinghy for what was our most stressful dinghy ride of the entire vacation.

Apparently there are 2 beaches where snorkelers congregate, one with a dinghy tie-up line and one without. The guide book says you can take the dinghy to the beach, you just cannot leave it there. When we got to the first beach (without the tie-up line), we saw a big sign that said, “No Dinghies on Beach” but we assumed that meant (like the guide book said) that you couldn’t leave them on the beach. Did I mention that the Baths were flying a yellow flag this morning which means that the water is rough? So as we attempted to bring our full dinghy into the beach one man in particular began yelling at us to get the hell out of there; “You’re going to kill someone!” were his exact words.

So we aborted and went to the other beach, where there was a line a little ways off the beach with other dinghies tied up to it. There was also that same sign on the beach that said dinghies were not permitted. Since we had a 2-year old and it would have been a water-over-your-head swim to the beach from the dinghy line, at this point we said screw it and beached the dinghy. We got everyone off (except for Thomas) and I pushed it back out into the water to Thomas could get it over to the line and get it tied up (actually, I think he had to first go back to the boat for something if I remember correctly). So anyway, the 4-5 people on the beach didn’t yell at us so we figured we were probably alright.

Then the nearby cruise ship disgorged its passengers and the beach went from 4-5 people to 200 people in 15 minutes. At this point Cheryl and I decided to walk a path back to a restaurant (or something similar) that Thomas told us was a “10 minute walk” so we could get some water. The “10 minute walk” turned into a 25-minute strenuous hike through caves, through water up to Loren’s chest, up narrow wooden ladders, across narrow wooden platforms through passageways with only a 4-foot clearance, and over rocks. Plus, this was apparently the main method the cruise ship people were using to get to the beach, so it was packed with people.

We finally made it to a small snack shack back in the trees from that first beach we tried to land on with the guy yelling at us. Of courses, while we were there we saw someone beach a dinghy to off-load passengers and by now there were about 300 people on this beach and in the water so it was much more dangerous than when we tried it and there were only 10-20 people on the beach and 4 in the water.

After our drinks we took the path back to meet up with Betty, Thomas, and Wei. On the way back it started to lightly rain, and that is when I remembered that we had left all the hatches open on the ship. By the time we got back to the boat, everyone had at least something in their cabin soaked (pillows, clothes, bed spreads, etc.). It was not a pleasant time, but in the end the rain stopped and everything dried out.

At this point we decided that we’d actually pay for a slip at the Bitter End Yacht Club, because some people at Marina Cay told us it was just $40 a night (and a mooring was $25 per night). So I called the Yacht Club and reserved a slip and we sailed up to the North end of Virgin Gorda and parked in the slip. Being in a slip meant shore power, a chance to re-fill the water tanks, and decent on-shore bathroom facilities a short walk away. We made a trip to their gift shop where Loren found balls, and we also ate dinner in their pub that evening.

Vacation Day Seven


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