Caribbean Sailing Chapter Five

 Day Six MapToday we will be sailing along the Southern coast of Tortola then over to Beef Island and Trellis Bay. Along the way we will stop at Road Town, the capital of the British Virgin Islands (BVI).

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After a night of listening to Quito Rymer, dancing in the sand, and sipping Cuba Libres, we wake up to another day in paradise. Once again it is a great day to sail, but before we leave Soper’s Hole, we motor ashore and spend an hour or so strolling the dock and visiting the shops. It’s time to pick up souvenirs for our “special someone” we left at home. Don’t spend too much, as we will end our trip in St. Thomas and…well..you’ll see when we get there.

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Back on “Island Dreams” we prepare to “get underway”. We motor out of the harbor and check the wind. We have a good Southern wind around 5 knots and following seas (the waves are in the same direction we want to sail), the perfect combination for a great day! If a man must be obsessed by something, I suppose a boat is as good as anything, perhaps a bit better than most. A small sailing craft is not only beautiful, it is seductive and full of strange promise and the hint of trouble. The very thought that the waters we are sailing were the same that pirates of old sailed, the battles and boardings, the brigantines and bullion, the capture of men and treasure.

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Road Town Habour

Road Town Habour, Tortola

As we approach Road Town harbour (British, ya know), we lower the main and and engage the motor to take us in. The harbor is full of yachtees (other boaters doing the same thing we are) and a massive cruise ship! It seems that cruise ships are getting larger every year. I prefer a ship around 1800 passengers, but most of the ships today carry 3,000 to 4,000 passengers. The little shops and restaurants in most ports are still the same size they were in the early eighty’s and can you imagine the crowds when a 4,000 passenger cruise ship docks? Good for the merchant, bad for the visitor.

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We opt for a “cold one” at the Village Cay Marina. From their veranda we can see the marina and watch the yachts come and go in the harbor. While we sit back and enjoy doing nothing, our captain is busy fueling, cleaning, and restocking the boat. It is at that moment I realize I love sailing as long as I have a crew and someone else’s boat!

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Map_Beef_Island

Beef Island

After a wonderful lunch at Village Cay Marina, its back on board and our afternoon sail to Trellis Bay on Beef Island. We snag a mooring buoy and secure a line for our excursion to Beef Island. Trellis Bay is a bustling little community on the beach, just beside the airport on Beef Island. The beach itself isn’t much to write home about – and the waters are normally crowded with the many yachts, dinghies and motorboats that anchor here – but Trellis Bay is a great spot for people-watching, windsurfing, shopping for unique gifts or just chilling out with a cold beer. Trellis Bay is also the home of Aragorn, a local artist. His gift shop is a “must see”.

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Our chief reason for being in Trellis Bay is two-fold. First and foremost is for happy hour today. We will be taking the dingy to Marina Cay around 4:30 to hear the Caribbean’s answer to a “Jolly Mon”. Michael Beans has been singing and doing his “Happy Arrrrrrr” show for the past 20 years (or so).

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The Jolly Mon is about a guy who is gifted with great singing ability and one day finds a magical guitar and is befriended by a dolphin, and later became king of Bananaland. The island people say that the “jolly Mon” lived a long and happy life. He sang and played his beautiful guitar, and he ruled Bananaland with wisdom. Sometimes he sailed the Orion to see his friends in other places across the Caribbean Sea. From Coconut Island to Parrot Cay, from Mango Bay to Lemonland, they loved to see him come, and they were sad to see him go. Legend has it that when he was very, very old, the Jolly Mon sang his last song for Albion, who came back and took him up into the sky. And now when the island people wish upon a star, they see the dolphin and the Jolly Mon and his magic guitar.

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From the children’s book, Jolly Mon by Jimmy Buffett

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There is a tale that the Island people tell
Don’t care if it is true ’cause I love it so well
Jolly Mon sing for his supper every night
The people fed him well ’cause he treated them so right

Oh oh oh, Jolly Mon sing
Oh oh oh, make Orion ring

And they wanted him to sing on the island near and far
He always found his way by Orion lucky star
He’d tell them of their joys, he’d tell them of their woes
They loved to see him come, they’d hate to see him go

Lyrics by Jimmy Buffett

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I hope you enjoy this short video of Michael:

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Michael always asks for limericks, chants, and toasts from the audience, so I rise to the occasion with my favorite toast, from Jack Mosley’s song:

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Here’s to small boats on big oceans

and life lived at sea.

To those few brave men that dare to believe

That there’s more to this life than an office downtown

Here’s to small boats on big oceans

and dreams you can’t drown.”

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Lyrics by Jack Mosley

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The second and saddest reason is; this will end our sailing trip and tomorrow we fly from here, Beef Island, to St. Thomas for a day, then we part and fly to our homes and fondly remember this trip forever.

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The Travel Guy pennant

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About Gene Hess

Hi, My name is Gene. I started this site to share with you my travel experiences and to provide tips I have learned to make your travel more exciting, keep you from some of the "pitfalls" I have encountered when traveling, and share with you some of the websites I have found very helpful to make your travels...Carefree! I have walked on the Great Wall of China, been on safari in South Africa, walked the sands of North Africa, and floated leisurely down the canals of Venice. I have learned a lot about traveling and I want to share it with you. I hope you find it informative and profitable when it is time for your "great adventure"!
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