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The End of the Charter - A Life Changing Experience

Bob had fallen in love with the CSY


View Chartering a Sailboat in the Virgin Islands in 1997 & Bermuda on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

Wednesday 3 December 1997

We were up early (0630), got dressed and had fruit and bread/toast for breakfast. Gwen and I took SHOUT (the dinghy) and got a mooring to dive the Rhone. She wanted to get there early before all the tour boats took the moorings. (Anchoring is not permitted as the Rhone is a national marine park.)

The Rhone is one of the best dives in the BVI. You can see the whole outline of the ship where she broke up. The HMS Rhone was a mail ship that was sunk in a hurricane in 1867 off the end of Salt Island. The wreck lies on a slope with the stern in water shallow enough for snorkelers. Some things, like the huge propellor can really be better seen by the snorkeler from the perspective high above it. The wreck is covered with coral and attracts many fish.
large_39584778709691-Wednesday_Dec..in_Islands.jpg Dive instructor

Dive instructor

Porthole from inside

Porthole from inside

Fish swimming in the Rhone wreck

Fish swimming in the Rhone wreck


We went inside the wreck and Gwen pointed out to me this air bubble
Air bubble from diver's air trapped inside ship

Air bubble from diver's air trapped inside ship


She also found a brittle star
Brittle star

Brittle star


The wreck is part of Rhone National Marine Park, which also encompasses Dead Chest Island. Both Salt and Dead Chest Islands are accessible only by chartered or private boat.

After we left, Bob and Don took TACKLESS II over to a mooring and snorkeled the Rhone. We both saw turtles in different places.

Picture of me after the dive taken by dive leader

Picture of me after the dive taken by dive leader



We came back aboard, and had more juice after going from the mooring to anchor off Salt Island. Salt Island is named for its salt ponds. Before the days of refrigeration, salt was harvested from two large ponds for curing local fish and for sale to passing ships. Up to 1,000 pounds of salt was harvested here annually. Locals were allowed to harvest salt for 2 days of the year, and the rest of the time, it was restricted to island residents. According to the law, all harvesters were required to give the government one bag of salt for every three collected as a lease payment because the island was owned by the Crown.

The island is most famous as the location of a ship wreck and dive site. When the R.M.S Rhone (Royal Mail Steamer) went down in 1867 in a hurricane, the Salt Islanders were the ones who rescued the crew.

In thanks for the rescue, the islanders and their descendents were given the island and only had to make a payment of one sack of salt a year. Now there is only one resident on the island, and he is over 75 years old. But he still harvests salt.
Salt Island

Salt Island

00309532298720110308184034888.jpgCatamaran Dive Boat anchored off Salt

Catamaran Dive Boat anchored off Salt


Here we had lunch and I got the film together.
d18487f0-f9d7-11ea-9acc-dfe9375b6353.jpgSailing to Sopers Hole

Sailing to Sopers Hole


We sailed toward Sopers - Don saw his fender, but when we tried to pick it up, it was attached to something, so we let it go. Was sort of like a MOB drill (MOB is Man OverBoard).
4750535-Sail_Charters_Tortola.jpgFerry dock

Ferry dock


Got to Sopers and picked up a buoy. Took SHOUT to shore (there is a 100 foot dinghy dock) and I bought a T-shirt for my son-in-law and some jewelry.
Scaffolding (I took photos of scaffolding because I was a safety and health inspector)

Scaffolding (I took photos of scaffolding because I was a safety and health inspector)

Scaffolding

Scaffolding


Our charter captains called a cab for us. They couldn't get the man they usually used, so they flagged this taxi down outside Pussers and negotiated a rate for an island tour. I think it was about $15-20.
Gwen and Don outside Pussers - from the taxi

Gwen and Don outside Pussers - from the taxi


Pussers has hotels, eating establishments and shopping. They've even got Pussers in Annapolis Maryland, Ft. Lauderdale, FL and Munich, Germany. The original Pussers in the BVI was based on the rum that the British Navy issued to their sailors until 1970. (Pussers is a corruption of the word purser)

The driver's name was Carlton and he was with with the Long Bay taxi. Taxis in the Virgin Islands are basically vans that deliver you to your location along with other folks. He had some folks to deliver from a boat that had come in to their hotels, before he could do the tour. That was OK with us. We dropped a couple off at Frenchman's and then the skipper of DONNYBROOK to Customs and then another couple to Prospect Reef.
Dropping people off at their hotel

Dropping people off at their hotel


After he delivered the other folks, we continued through Road Town and he drove us up along the top of the mountain.
Road Trip

Road Trip

Tree covered islands

Tree covered islands

View from the hill

View from the hill

Road to the harbor

Road to the harbor

Harbor

Harbor

large_03-1605.jpgChain link fence by the road

Chain link fence by the road

Looking across to the road

Looking across to the road

Looking through long grass

Looking through long grass

More little islands

More little islands


The back roads of Tortola are quite narrow and twisty.
Twisty roads down on the side of the mountain

Twisty roads down on the side of the mountain

Looking over the taxi driver's shoulder

Looking over the taxi driver's shoulder


And they do drive on the left with LHD cars. There are also people and livestock on the road.
Livestock on the road

Livestock on the road


Someone walking on the road

Someone walking on the road


We stopped at Skytop (?) restaurant (which was not in operation) and I went up on the observation deck to take some photos,
At the top of the mountain

At the top of the mountain


while he let the engine cool off. (Carlton was having a hard time with smoke coming out of the engine - probably something leaking on the manifold). I took this opportunity to change film.
Taxi driver looking t his overheating engine

Taxi driver looking t his overheating engine

Looking out from the cab

Looking out from the cab

St Thomas in the distance

St Thomas in the distance


We went up the backside and came down by Carrot Bay,
d637d6d0-f9d7-11ea-a2c0-5de9728bbc33.jpgRainbow Coming down the mountain

Rainbow Coming down the mountain

Pelican sitting on a rowboat

Pelican sitting on a rowboat

4750512-Waves_coming_in_to_the_beach_Tortola.jpgSmall wave

Small wave

4750513-Surfers_Tortola.jpgSurfers out past the break

Surfers out past the break

Golden light

Golden light


Apple Bay and then on to Long Bay.
666431-Road_Trip_Tortola.jpgComing down toward Apple Bay

Coming down toward Apple Bay


Palm tree on the beach

Palm tree on the beach

Tortola beach

Tortola beach

Approaching sunset

Approaching sunset

d5e3c360-f9d7-11ea-9acc-dfe9375b6353.jpgSun is setting

Sun is setting


Here he stopped by his house to feed his dog and let him run, and then delivered us back to the Jolly Roger.
886065894789771-Sopers_Hole_..nt_Tortola.jpgSoper's Hole Hotel and Restaurant

Soper's Hole Hotel and Restaurant

]Bob walking up to the Jolly Roger

Bob walking up to the Jolly Roger


We had dinner there. Bob had swordfish and shrimp, Gwen and Don had Sesame Encrusted - Pan seared Yellow Fin Tuna Ginger soy sauce, wasabi, pickled ginger, rice and fresh vegetables and I had Pan Seared BVI Scarlet Snapper, Portobello mushrooms & sweet Papaya Butter. All very good although Gwen and Don said their tuna was overcooked. The cook (a friend of theirs) ran out of propane. We watched snowboarding on ESPN while we ate. I had chocolate mousse and Bob had Key Lime pie. Gwen had the key lime pie too, but she thought it was too tart. I also had a virgin strawberry daiquiri.

To bed early

Thursday 4 December 1997

Last day. I got up and took photos in the morning light. Put on a bathing suit and went out on deck. Don showed me his computer (CD based) chart/navigation program. He wanted to know how much I spent on goods that I was bringing back with me to the USVI. I said $200-$250 but on further review, I find that it was a little more than $160.00. I did a little snorkeling but the viz is not too good.

Dropped the mooring (after Don complained about partiers on the next boat) and motored out near Maho Bay while Don and Bob discussed electrical stuff. My panoramic camera sounds sick. Went through the book and IDed the creatures that we have seen.

Drawing from the log book

Drawing from the log book

We motor sailed to Red Hook. I bought ten Tackless II shirts which I think surprised Gwen and Don. I intend to use them as Christmas presents. We parked the boat, packed, and took Shout in to the dock
Second charter captain and the dinghy - St. Thomas

Second charter captain and the dinghy - St. Thomas


where I bought some additional Virgin Islands America's stuff. We saw some races as we went through Charlotte Amalie in the taxi.
Sailboats racing in Charlotte Amalie harbor 1997 - St. Thomas

Sailboats racing in Charlotte Amalie harbor 1997 - St. Thomas


We got a taxi to the airport. He charged us $20.00 and it was a very jerky ride although Since it was only $15.00 coming from the airport, he got no tip.

We had lunch in the airport. Corn pone with ham and cheese, a Dove bar and grapefruit juice for me, and Bob had a cold sandwich and two cups of juice. I mailed some film to the processors, and then we went through Customs and immigration which was very quick.

The plane to NY left after we got to the airport and another AA plane came in. Our plane was about 45 minutes late taking off. We watched it come in and all the workers doing the turn-around

All the standbys got on and Bob and I had a seat between us.

We had a nice view as we took off. I think we saw part of the races.
Oil tanks hidden in the hills - St. Thomas

Oil tanks hidden in the hills - St. Thomas


On the way back to the mainland, we got a snack - plantain chips, sandwich, grapes and a cookie. We boarded our plane from Miami to BWI about 1400 and took off on time at 1430.
Boarding pass

Boarding pass


We arrived after 2200.

One of the pages of the logbook had the story of the WHAMBY
large_IMG_2926.JPGIMG_2927.JPGIMG_2932.JPG

Last page of the logbook

Last page of the logbook

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We liked the CSYs so much that we went boat shopping. Bob liked the WT but I couldn't put my feet on the deck when I was at the wheel and I felt it was too "tippy". We went to several brokers both in Florida and in Maryland and told them what we wanted. We didn't find out that Whisper was for sale in time to buy her. There was a WT for sale in Florida which we could have bought, but the broker didn't bother to phone us. So when a broker up here had a WO for sale and notified us, that was what we bought in May 1998. Originally named Incorrigible. Renamed: RosalieAnn

Our next trip was to Belize

Posted by greatgrandmaR 12:11 Archived in British Virgin Islands Tagged dive salt rhône charter tortola whamby

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