Category Archives: British Virgin Islands

New marina at Nanny Cay, Tortola, BVI (March 2018)

NANNY CAY, TORTOLA SIX MONTHS AFTER HURRICANE IRMA

When we arrived at Nanny Cay, we realized that the marina that we have known for many years was no longer there. In a separate and newly constructed sheltered basin, Nanny Cay has built a brand new marina with very substantial, state of the art floating docks, complete with 50 & 60 Hz power, potable water and high speed internet.

New marina at Nanny Cay, Tortola, BVI (March 2018)

New marina at Nanny Cay, Tortola, BVI (March 2018)

A walk of a few hundred yards takes you to where the previous docks once were. In their place are many hulks and partially sunken boats of every description.

Old marina docks at Nanny Cay Marina, Tortola, BVI (March 2018)

Old marina docks at Nanny Cay Marina, Tortola, BVI (March 2018)

Old marina at Nanny Cay, Tortola, BVI (March 2018)

Old marina at Nanny Cay, Tortola, BVI (March 2018)

For us, Nanny Cay quickly became the dichotomy that is the current maritime industry in the BVIs. Many new and gleaming boats and support facilities standing next to boats and structures that have been irreparably damaged beyond recognition.

New fleet of Marine Max Power Cats in new Nanny Cay Marina, Tortola, BVI (March 2018)

New fleet of Marine Max Power Cats in new Nanny Cay Marina, Tortola, BVI (March 2018)

Salvaged vessel in the boat yard, Nanny Cay, Tortola, BVI (March 2018)

Salvaged vessel in the boat yard, Nanny Cay, Tortola, BVI (March 2018)

New cell tower, Nanny Cay, Tortola, BVI (March 2018)

New cell tower, Nanny Cay, Tortola, BVI (March 2018)

Flowers blooming in front of destroyed Peg Legs Reestaurant, Nanny Cay, Tortola, BVI (March 2018)

Flowers blooming in front of destroyed Peg Legs Restaurant, Nanny Cay, Tortola, BVI (March 2018)

That said, there was fuel available at the fuel dock and the boat yard, shops and restaurants were open for service. There was also a well supplied chandlery on premises. We were met with smiling faces of the staff that have now become our friends, their strength through adversity is both humbling and reassuring.

During our stay in Nanny Cay we discovered a stow away aboard Pilots’ Discretion.

Stow away, Nanny Cay Marina, Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Stow away, Nanny Cay Marina, Tortola, British Virgin Islands

It turns out our stow away “Truffles” actually resided on a neighboring boat, and just liked spending time on our boat.

While at Nanny Cay we also encountered another creature, unlike any that any of us had ever seen before. It was about 6′-8″ in diameter and glided through the water with wing-like grace, bobbing its upper extremity up and down out of the water.

Aplysia Morio

Aplysia Morio

Unable to determine is species, we posted a video of it online, soliciting the input from of our Caribbean diving buddies to help us identify the curious creature.

We were subsequently informed that it is an Aplysia Morio, the Atlantic Black Sea Hare or Sooty Sea Hare, a species of sea slug. It is a marine gastropod mollusk in the family Aplysiidae, the sea hares. It lives in warm waters in the Caribbean Sea and off the south and southeastern coast of the United States, where it feeds on seaweed. seaweed.harehttps://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aplysia_morio

After spending a few days at Nanny Cay, provisioning, tending to boat maintenance and generally relaxing, we welcomed aboard one of Randy’s fellow pilots and friend “Scott” for a quick visit. Scott had previously visited us in the BVIs several years ago so we were curious to see what his reaction would be to the post hurricane islands. Day 1 with Scott aboard, we departed Nanny Cay for Gorda Sound on the north end of Virgin Gorda (and the site of some of the most devastating Hurricane Irma damage). More on Gorda Sound, Virgin Gorda in our next post.

BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS – SPANISH TOWN, VIRGIN GORDA, SIX MONTHS AFTER HURRICANE IRMA – by Theresa

Our family has been traveling to the British Virgin Islands (BVIs) for many years, beginning with bareboat charters in 2011 and 2013. In fact, it was during these bareboat charters that we first began discussing the possibility of cruising the Caribbean in our own boat. Making that dream a reality and returning to the BVIs in our own boat was one of the countless surreal moments that we have  encountered during our Caribbean cruising journey [See British Virgin Islands (2015)].

In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Irma, it was with a heavy heart that we viewed the before and after photos of the BVIs. [See British Virgin Islands – Before & After Hurricane Irma (2017)]. Like everyone else, we were shocked by the images of destruction that made their way into the news.  We tracked the Islands’ recovery efforts closely, knowing that we would be stopping there on our journey north. Six months after Irma, we returned to the British Virgin Islands, unsure of what we would find.

VIRGIN GORDA – SPANISH TOWN

From St. Martin, we set a  north westwardly course, across the 80 mile Anegada passage, towards the BVIs.  During our  previous channel crossings we routinely encountered dozens of other vessels. On our most recent crossing, we passed only one other vessel, a magnificent 100 foot sailing yacht. After seeing Marigot Bay in St. Martin nearly deserted, we were not sure what to expect as we sailed past Necker Island, unofficially marking our entrance into the waters of the BVIs.

On previous westbound visits to the BVIs we had cleared in at the closest point of entry, Gun Creek, on the east end of Virgin Gorda, in North Gorda Sound.

Map_BVI

Map_BVI

Since North Gorda Sound was hit hard by Hurricane Irma, the Gun Creek Customs and Immigration was no longer a clearing-in option. Instead, we headed down to the next closest clear-in office located in Spanish Town, on the north shore of Virgin Gorda, almost to the west end of island.  We had been there on previous visits to the BVIs so we were familiar with the port. We called ahead to confirm slip availability and to see what marine services were available. When we arrived, the marina was barely recognizable.

Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands (March 2018)

Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands (March 2018)

Tying up to the dock was a challenge because cleats were either missing or broken in half. Tying off to a half cleat required quick knot tying adjustments. The marina’s power distribution grid and associated dockside power pedestals had been totally destroyed. The only potable water available to boats in the marina is via a single fresh water spigot. Again, the dockside water distribution lines have been totally destroyed. The marina did have a functioning diesel fuel pump so refueling at the VGYH remains an option.

Once Pilots’ Discretion was secure in her slip, we set out to clear immigration and customs. Irma’s destruction was readily apparent. We saw cleats with lines still tied to them, but with no boats attached to the snapped lines, a sign of just how strong the force on the line and it’s now missing boat  was.

Cleat with snapped line still attached, Tortola (March 2018)

Cleat with snapped line still attached, Tortola (March 2018)

All that remained at the end of the dock, where the marina restaurant once stood, was a flat wooden platform.

Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor old dockside restaurant, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands (March 2018)

Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor old dockside restaurant, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands (March 2018)

Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor, old dockside restaurant, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands (March 2018)

Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor, old dockside restaurant, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands (March 2018)

The small shopping center, that use to house the dive and gift shops, was all boarded up and missing its walls and roof.

Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor old shopping center, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands (March 2018)

Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor old shopping center, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands (March 2018)

Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor, old shopping center (missing roof, walls & windows), Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands (March 2018)

Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor, old shopping center (missing roof, walls & windows), Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands (March 2018)

The grocery store was likewise destroyed.

Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor, old grocery store (missing roof, walls & windows), Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands (March 2018)

Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor, old grocery store (missing roof, walls & windows), Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands (March 2018)

Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor, old grocery store (missing roof, walls & windows), Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands (March 2018)

Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor, old grocery store (missing roof, walls & windows), Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands (March 2018)

Immigration & Customs was housed in a building a short walk  through what used  to be a grass field. That field has since been converted into a boat grave yard for the multitude of damaged and salvaged vessels.

Boat grave yard in the field next to Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands (March 2018)

Boat grave yard in the field next to Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands (March 2018)

Boat grave yard in the field next to Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands (March 2018)

Boat grave yard in the field next to Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands (March 2018)

Boat grave yard in the field next to Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands (March 2018)

Boat grave yard in the field next to Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands (March 2018)

We were repeatedly told that damaged buildings and boats remain untouched six months after the hurricane because of pending, unresolved insurance claims.

Despite all of the damage, everyone we encountered was warm, friendly and inviting. Everyone thanked us for coming. Signs of recovery could be seen in the numerous new charter boats pulling into the marina.

Marine Max charter arriving in Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands (March 2018)

Marine Max charter arriving in Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands (March 2018)

Moorings charters arriving in Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands (March 2018)

Moorings charters arriving in Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands (March 2018)

Taxis were lined up in the parking lot waiting to take passengers to the popular tourist spot nearby, The Baths. Many of the shops and restaurants that had previously been a part of the marina grounds have relocated a few blocks away.

In sum, Spanish Town remains a viable choice to clear customs and immigration and to pick up a taxi to the “The Bathsnational park or nearby shops or restaurants. There is no way to stop at the Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor without being confronted with the dramatic destruction left in the wake of last hurricane season. We spent one night in Spanish Town before moving on to Nanny Cay Marina, in Tortola. Nanny Cay served as the headquarters for the post-hurricane Irma relief efforts mounted by the British Royal Marines. We had received reports that Nanny Cay had just installed a large section of new floating docks and that they had water, electricity and fuel available. As a result, we were comfortable that we would be able to secure adequate services for our floating home. More on Nanny Cay in our next post.

Ryan, Paulette, John, Randy, Theresa & Ronan in St. Lucia (Jan. 2018)

As the famous New York Yankee catcher, Yoggi Berra used to say, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it” – by Randy

As we have communicated to you before, the cruising community is different than that which our land based neighbors are accustomed to. We are, by definition, a group of transients with different itineraries, capabilities and goals. We have been cruising in the Caribbean for over 3 years now and we have crossed and recrossed paths with dozens of cruising families that we have enjoyed sharing our cruising dream with. Having passing acquaintances with other families is just part of the lifestyle. That said, we have developed some unique and close bonds with a select few. One of the special cruising families that we have shared a particularly close friendship with is John and Paulette Lee of M/V Seamantha, a Kadey Krogen 58′ trawler.

Paulette & John on the bridge of M/V Seamantha

Paulette & John on the bridge of M/V Seamantha

Tobago Cays (June 2016)

Petite St. Vincent  (June 2016)

Patton

Patton

We first met John and Paulette in the British Virgin Islands 3 years ago during our initial trip south through the Caribbean. When we arrived to spend our first hurricane season in Grenada, we ended up with a slip right next to Seamantha in the Port Louis Marina. John and Paulette spoiled our Cocker Spaniel, “Patton” with fresh bowls of his favorite vegetable, cauliflower, on the aft deck of Seamantha. They have watched our boys, Ryan and Ronan grow from little boys into capable young men. Throughout our trip, we have shared countless wonderful experiences with our cruising buddies. As the saying goes, friends are the family that you get to choose and John and Paulette have certainly become a big part of our family.

M/V Seamantha arriving in Admiralty Bay, Bequia

M/V Seamantha arriving in Admiralty Bay, Bequia

After watching the devastation and subsequent recovery of the Caribbean after one of the worst hurricane seasons on record, we have decided it is the appropriate time to turn the Pilots’ Discretion north and head back towards the United States. We are actually looking forward to retracing our route through the Caribbean and points north. It will be an opportunity to revisit some of our favorite spots. With our decision to turn north we have arrived at another one of those intersections in the life of a cruiser. Our friends on M/V Seamantha are departing St. Lucia this week to head south and so it is that we have arrived at Yoggi’s infamous fork in the road. Pilots’ Discretion and Seamantha will be taking divergent paths which in many ways is sad. We will not be saying goodbye, but rather, we will say “until we see you again.” So, as you depart Seamantha, we wish you fair winds and following seas.

Ryan, Paulette, John, Randy, Theresa & Ronan in St. Lucia (Jan. 2018)

Ryan, Paulette, John, Randy, Theresa & Ronan in St. Lucia (Jan. 2018)

2017 Hurricane Affected Areas in the Caribbean

Season 4: Cruising the Caribbean Post Irma & Maria – December 1, 2017 (Latitude 14° 4.505″ N, Longitude 60° 56.959″ W) – by Randy

2017 Hurricane Summary

2017 Hurricane Summary

Yesterday was the last day of the 2017 hurricane season, and so it is that we now contemplate our fourth (4th) season cruising plans! We have previously communicated with you about the devastation that this past hurricane season has left behind throughout the northeastern Caribbean. The damage has been vast, but the strong will of the people on the affected islands has proven impossible to suppress. Things are not yet back to normal but the strides that have been taken by the international community and the locals has been incredible.

PROGRESS OF RECOVERY

We have been monitoring the progress of the recovery efforts on a daily basis. In addition to our general concern for the well being of our Caribbean friends and their economies, we also have been paying close attention to the recovery of the yachting infrastructure. Obviously, we need circumstances that will allow us to adequately provision with food and fuel in a safe environment for the Pilots’ Discretion and her crew if we are to turn her north towards the United States this cruising season. Additional concerns include the ability to leave the Pilots’ Discretion in a safe and suitable environment should we need to fly back home for any reason, which necessarily requires  access to operational airports with flights. Access to competent medical care, and dockside electricity and water are also logistical concerns as we plot our course north. We have found the following sites helpful in monitoring Caribbean wide recovery efforts:

  • Sailors Helping Sailors providing up-to-date information on port status and opportunities to volunteer in rebuilding efforts across the Caribbean;
  • Sailors Unite – Caribbean Comeback A guide to what is open and available in British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and St. Marteen/St. Martin, including airports, transportation, restaurants, hotels, provisioning, marketing and shops;
  • ExplorerChartbooks – includes Turks and Caicos Marinas Report;
  • Noonsite – provides information by anchorage or by island, so sailors can plan their cruising in the Caribbean with an eye to appropriate behavior and precautions wherever they decide to go; and
  • Caribbean Safety and Security Net: “Know before you go” safety and security updates throughout the Caribbean.

We will continue to update the above list and our blog as we obtain additional information when we proceed north. If anyone viewing this has additional resources that will keep mariners updated, please send them to us in the comments section below and we will add them to this list or include in future updates.

Our current evaluation is that the islands require a little more time to deal with the lingering devastation but they are getting closer everyday. We do believe that they will be in a strong position to welcome cruisers this coming cruising season. In fact, this may represent an opportunity to see what a jewel the Caribbean islands can be when not overrun with crowds. We are confident that our Caribbean friends will have the welcome mat out for all cruisers that choose to make this season the one that they cast off and set a course for the trip of their dreams.

PREPARATIONS

Rodney Bay Marina, St. Lucia - Aerial

Rodney Bay Marina, St. Lucia – Aerial

As for the preparations to get underway for the Pilots’ Discretion, we are reporting good progress. There are a significant number of details that have to be addressed prior to getting underway. The good news for us is that we are currently located at the IGY Rodney Bay Marina in St. Lucia where we have all of the services we require to ready our vessel. We would be remiss if we did not publicly thank Mr. Sean Devaux, General Manager of the Rodney Bay Marina for all of the assistance he has provided us as we prepare to head north. Our initial commitment to him was that we would be staying at his facility through September 2017. As the hurricane season devastation to our north became clear, it was initially impossible to determine when it would be prudent to depart. Sean has been great, he has told us that we can stay as long as necessary without a long term commitment. Additionally, he has worked hard to provide us will real time status updates of all of the marina facilities along our route north, even if those facilities are not a part of his organization (Rodney Bay Marina is part of the international marina group known as IGY). We are currently coordinating our annual engine and systems maintenance and that should be complete shortly.

EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) Maintenance

Solutions One Maritme, L.L.C., Tampa, FL

Solutions One Maritme, L.L.C., Tampa, FL

One component of our systems preparation is ensuring that our life vests, life raft and all of our emergency signaling systems are current and fully functional. This is normally a routine inspection but this year we got quite a surprise. We have an ACR EPIRB (emergency position indicating radio beacon – a device that includes a GPS to determine our exact location and a satellite communication system to notify rescue personnel in the event we need assistance). We bought the unit new just before we left on our trip. Each time we get underway, we run the unit through a self test program to ensure it is fully operational. It has always past each of those tests without fail. On our most recent trip back to Florida we elected to have the unit recertified due to calendar age.

EPIRB

EPIRB

Solutions One Maritme, L.L.C., Tampa, FL

Solutions One Maritme, L.L.C., Tampa, FL

After researching facilities that are certified to service maritime rescue equipment, we elected to have the folks at Solution One Maritime, LLC in Tampa look over our unit. Expecting nothing much more than an administrative paperwork exercise, we were left very surprised when we got a call from Yusri Jadallah, the Managing Director for Solution One. He  explained to me that he had found a very small leak in the case that protects the electronics and that he was certain that had the unit been deployed in an actual emergency at sea, the electronics would have likely failed due to exposure to salt water. He went further to explain that ACR would repair the unit under warranty but their estimated turn time would likely be 4-6 weeks. Yusri told me that he understood that the long turn time would create scheduling problems for our crew and as a result he offered us a brand new unit to utilize for as long as it takes to get our own unit back. As far as we are concerned, the folks at Solution One have gone way above and beyond to ensure that our family is safe and our trip uninterrupted. We have utilized other sources in the past for our emergency equipment needs but from now on, Solution One is our vendor of choice for our life raft, life vest and emergency electronics needs.

As we look forward to our fourth cruising season, we also reflect upon all that we have to be thankful for this past year, including time spent with family and friends, good health and ongoing adventures. We would be remiss if we didn’t mention the spectacular time we had spending Thanksgiving Day last week in Marigot Bay with dear friends, both old and new.

Post-Thanksgiving Day Lunch Bunch

Post-Thanksgiving Day Lunch Bunch

 

USCG Cutter James Sept 26 San Juan

United States Coast Guard, Semper Paratus – “Always Ready!” – by Randy

Unless you have been in a cave somewhere for the last few months, it would be almost impossible not to be aware of the catastrophic damage that Mother Nature has liberally peppered upon the idyllic Caribbean islands, St. Martin/St. Marteen, Barbuda, British Virgin Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Hati and the Turks and Caicos Islands. As if that wasn’t enough, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Texas and Louisiana have all had their turn in the barrel. The devastation, and loss of life, in all of the affected areas is hard to comprehend. Obviously there are many people, from many different countries, in dire need of assistance.

We respect that the decision to help, and exactly where to make donations to facilitate aid, is a personal one. Make no mistake, the people in the path of this season’s massive hurricanes definitely need our help. Many in the cruising community have been collecting donations and attempting to travel, by boat, to some of the devastated areas. At present, the U.S. Coast Guard is discouraging private boaters departing the continental U.S. from transiting to ports affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, advising in its 9/27/17 News Release:     

     While volunteers and aid are needed and welcomed, it is recommended that these              efforts be coordinated through FEMA, who has requested volunteers to go through              www.nvoad.org.  Uncoordinated volunteer efforts can hinder the response and                    impede a challenging logistics situation on the ground in Puerto Rico and the U.S.                Virgin Islands

In the 9/27/17  News Release, Capt. Ladonn Allen, Chief of Prevention for the Coast Guard Seventh District asserted that many affected ports “are still littered with wreckage and debris, particularly outside the federally maintained channels. Individuals entering unfamiliar ports or attempting to bring supplies without coordinating through volunteer organizations that are working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and its partners are putting themselves in danger.”

Additional safety concerns have arisen in the Eastern Carribean, where there have been reports of piracy attacks, and vessels being swamped by uncoordinated relief efforts. The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and the Caribbean Emergency Disaster Management Agency (CDEMA) are spearheading the hurricane relief efforts in the Caribbean, and all relief efforts should be coordinated through them.

USCG Southeast working with local agencies

USCG Southeast working with local agencies

One of the common denominators that we all are repeatedly seeing throughout all of the news reports from these devastated areas is the ubiquitous presence of the United States Coast Guard. The smallest branch of the US military is perennially underfunded, and over tasked, but this year is breaking new ground in terms of extended deployments of USCG ships, planes and personnel in what is one of the largest humanitarian efforts in the Coast Guard’s storied 227 year history.  The Coast Guard is often taken for granted, but those of us who live our lives at sea have a special respect for the jobs the men and women of the USCG accomplish every single day. When most mariners were headed to port to seek safe haven from the approaching hurricanes, Coast Guard ships and aircraft were leaving home to preposition in the disaster zones in order to render aid to those most desperately in need. In the interest of full disclosure, long ago, I served in the United States Coast Guard.

USCG Venturous taking on fuel prior to getting under way for hurricane relief effort

USCGC Venturous taking on fuel prior to getting underway for hurricane relief effort

In fact, I was stationed aboard, what was then the new, USCGC Venturous, over 40 years ago (one of the first cutters to arrive in the Caribbean after the destruction of hurricane Maria). With that background, in addition to our other hurricane relief effort contributions, we have decided to make a  donation to the US Coast Guard Foundation. The Coast Guard Foundation is a non profit charity that provides, among other things, financial support to the families of the men and women of the Coast Guard that have been injured or killed in the line of duty. This is our small way to say thank you to the members of America’s smallest service for all that they do each and every day. Semper Paratus.

Click here for link to Coast Guard Sector Key West Incident Command Post (ICP) sharing some of their work and personal  experiences after Hurricane Irma.  (U.S. Coast Guard video by Petty Officer 2nd Class Tara Molle/Released)

It has been confirmed that many of the Coast Guard crews that were stationed at Coast Guard Sector Key West suffered damage to their homes and personal possessions while  deployed to render assistance to others during Hurricane Irma, they too are on the list of folks that now could use a hand up.

 

 

HURRICANE MARIA (SEPTEMBER 2017) – by Theresa

Hurricane season has arrived in full force. As cruisers, we spend an inordinate amount of time monitoring weather systems. The latest shows Hurricane Maria intensified into a catastrophic Category 5 storm Monday, with maximum sustained winds of 160 mph (260 kph), as it surged toward islands in the eastern Caribbean.

Projected track for Hurricane Maria, September 18, 2017

Projected track for Hurricane Maria, September 18, 2017

Hurricane warnings have been posted for the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Guadeloupe, Dominica, St. Kitts, Nevis and Montserrat.

A tropical storm warning was issued for Antigua and Barbuda, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, St. Lucia (where Pilots’ Discretion is currently located), Martinique and Anguilla. Many of these islands are still recovering from direct hits from hurricane Irma. (See http://www.msn.com/en-us/weather/topstories/cat-5-hurricane-maria-threatens-storm-battered-caribbean/ar-AAs6sKy?ocid=spartandhp.) We are continuing to keep all those affected in our thoughts and prayers. We will post additional updates after this storm passes.

Willie T's, Norman Island, BVI (Before and After)

BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS – BEFORE AND AFTER HURRICANE IRMA (2017) – by Theresa

Before & after photos of the British Virgin Islands, culled from various Facebook pages and cruiser forums, which highlight the damage to the beautiful islands so many of us cruisers have had the pleasure of exploring.

Sabba Rock, BVI (Before & After)

Sabba Rock, BVI (Before & After)

Bitter End Yacht Club, Virgin Gorda, BVI (Before and After)

Bitter End Yacht Club, Virgin Gorda, BVI (Before and After)

DeLoose Mongoose, Trellis Bay, BVI (Before and After)

DeLoose Mongoose, Trellis Bay, BVI (Before and After)

Foxy's Taboo, Jost Van Dyke, BVI (Before and After)

Foxy’s Taboo, Jost Van Dyke, BVI (Before and After)

Last Resort, Trellis Bay, BVI (Before and After)

Last Resort, Trellis Bay, BVI (Before and After)

Willie T's, Norman Island, BVI (Before and After)

Willie T’s, Norman Island, BVI (Before and After)

Cane Garden Bay, BVI (Before and After)

Cane Garden Bay, BVI (Before and After)

Corsairs, Jost Van Dyke, BVI (Before and After)

Corsairs, Jost Van Dyke, BVI (Before and After)

Nanny Cay, Tortola, BVI (Before and After)

Nanny Cay, Tortola, BVI (Before and After)

The Facebook group page “BVI Abroad – Hurricane Irma” has provided a lot of useful, and consolidated, information regarding the British Virgin Islands. Richard Branson’s “Virgin Unite” and “BVI Volunteers”  are two, of many, groups coordinating relief and volunteer efforts (See https://www.virgin.com/unite/bvi-community-support-appeal and https://www.bvivolunteers.com/.  See also: http://mailchi.mp/487269e6b930/bvi-volunteers-weekly-update.)

Click here for additional photos, and to see several prominent business owners (including the infamous Soggy Dollar, Foxy’s, Corsairs, and Willie T’s) who have already vowed to rebuild!

ARC Caribbean 1500 Will Arrive in Nanny Cay, Tortola, BVI as planned

World Cruising Club director, Jeremy Wyatt, has announced that the ARC Caribbean 1500 will continue as per the published schedule to Nanny Cay, Tortola this November, commenting

“The best way as sailors that we can help the communities rebuild, is to visit and spend in the economy. The communities need and want visitors; World Cruising Club are encouraging participants to be sympathetic to the efforts of the communities in the BVI and give their support by sailing to the islands, this Fall. The islands may still bear the scars left by Irma, but the welcome will be as warm as always once crews step ashore.” See: ttps://www.worldcruising.com/arc_europe/newsarticle.aspx?page=S636410969472923870&CategoryID=190&src=

Cameron McColl, of Nanny Cay Marina, responded

“Nanny Cay took a major hit from Hurricane Irma, but within 7 days our team has restored power, water, septic systems, and the Beach Bar is already open serving cold beer! We have plenty of brand new docks in the new outer marina and we expect to be open for business again within the next two weeks. We look forward to welcoming the Caribbean 1500 and to running a full series of yachting events throughout the upcoming winter season.” See: ttps://www.worldcruising.com/arc_europe/newsarticle.aspx?page=S636410969472923870&CategoryID=190&src=

For our part, we are planning on stopping in the British Virgin Islands as we cruise north after the hurricane season ends. It will, of course, be with a different mindset than previous visits, with an aim towards rendering assistance in the community as best as possible.

We are continuing to keep the BVIs, and all of the Caribbean, in our thoughts and prayers as Tropical Storm Maria, makes her way up the Caribbean chain in the coming days.

Tropical Storm Maria

Tropical Storm Maria