Whilst in Soper’s Hole we used the dinghy to get to Customs and Immigration and the marina, both with excellent dinghy docks. On one trip, however, the painter didn’t get attached to the boat well enough and a few minutes later another yacht came by to ask if we had lost a dinghy and oops, yes we had! They handed it over and we were glad to see they were the same people I had helped onto the dinghy dock earlier in the day, so one favour was repaid by another.
During our trip to Norman Island to meet up with our friends on ‘Salila’ we went through a nasty squall with the wind increasing by over 10 kts and visibility in the heavy rain down to less than 100 metres. We were towing the dinghy with the outboard attached, as it was only 6 miles but in the end it was a 12 mile trip as we were tacking up the Sir Francis Drake Channel against the wind.
The dinghy survived the trip well but once we picked up the mooring buoy in The Bight, the large bay on Norman Island, the gusts must have caught the dinghy on a wave and it was completely flipped over and upside down in the water! Outboards tend not to like being submerged and we didn’t hold out much hope for it, even if it was still attached. As luck would have it, the outboard did run again after Rob immediately took the spark plugs out, changed the oil and sprayed it all with WD-40. It is a 4 stroke 6hp Suzuki, now named Lucky ☺
The first night Peter, Fiona and Larry came over for a drink, then we all went to Willie T’s the infamous anchored ship in the bay where in the past any woman keen to take all her clothes off and jump into the water from the high top deck would get a t-shirt. Sadly, this is no longer encouraged as the health and safety officials decided it was a bad idea and if you do jump now you have to buy your own t-shirt. So we passed on that one! We had a great meal there though and lots of rum punches, another expensive night on top of 30 US$ a night for the buoy. At least that is for any size of vessel, so we pay the same as a 60 footer or a 20 footer.
Next day we spent 12 hours on Salila, having a BBQ, more rum and snorkelling to the nearby reef to see the beautiful coral and different coloured fish. No sharks though. Salila is a catamaran and the trampolines are perfect for lying back and star gazing. We all sang along to Abba songs and generally had a great time. Around 8pm we heard some coughing and spluttering and a german doctor had decided to swim from his boat to ours to say hello. He was as he said, ‘in a critical situation’ i.e. completely naked, so we found a small towel and he joined us for a while. He promised the men aboard that there were 8 18-25 year old girls on his boat but we think he was dreaming as we didn’t see any! Very entertaining company and it was good to meet up with all on Salila again we haven’t seen them since December 18th.
We also managed to catch up with Brian and Penny and family during their holiday here. They have a boat a few berths up from where we were in Haslar Marina, so it was good to see familiar faces from our past life, although it does make us realise how far away we now are.
Jack has been with us a month now but returns to the UK tomorrow, apparently to temperatures of minus 10, so we are now back in Soper’s Hole so he can get a taxi to the airport. The immigration officer told me just to write ‘NOB’ (not on board) against his name on the paperwork and all will be well when we leave! We will take the ferry to the USVI tomorrow to obtain our passport stamps for the visa and then sail to a few other islands here before going to the US islands.