Norman Island, British Virgin Islands
Rather than sit in a marina waiting out another front coming through, we checked the anchorages on the various islands of the BVI’s. Our considerations were both wind exposure and the swell that can enter the anchorage. The Bight on Norman Island has a west facing orientation and is considered the calmest anchorage for swell in the BVI’s. The wind does come over the surrounding hills and shifts as it curls off the various irregular steep faces on the north, east and south sides of the bay. The forecast called for winds to be in the mid-twenties to thirty with squall gusts into the mid-thirties. Winds during the last two nights have registered into the low thirties as we were hit by heavy rain squalls, but being on a mooring that I had dived on to inspect, I felt confident we were secure. Because the wind had no fetch there were no wind waves and the Bight was living up to its reputation for having no swell curl in, it was just the constant swinging on the buoy and the noise of the wind to contend with.
|The Bight, Norman Island, BVI|
We had dinner at Pirates Bight last evening and they anticipated closing after Sunday’s lunch service. For any who were here years ago this was the site of the Billy Bones Bar. The unfortunate part is that the restaurant was just rebuilt after the devastation of Irma and now, once again, the employees and owners incomes will be severely impacted. Most of the patrons were on short term charters and the concern was whether their flights would be available. We were approached by a couple of cruisers who suspected we also were cruisers, it must be my crusty, sun-baked, bearded appearance, wanting to share information on the impacts of the virus. It was becoming apparent that the BVI’s were to be home for the foreseeable future.
When we had entered the bay a few days earlier we were amazed at the number of mooring balls placed, at least seventy, and yet there were several empty. I doubt there was 25 mooring balls twenty years ago when we were here but they were always full and many additional boats were always at anchor. The past two days have experienced an exodus as the charter fleets end their weeks and no new charters are arriving. There is a strange isolated feeling as we look out at twenty six boats in a bay that would normally have eighty to ninety this time of year.
Fortunately, we have food and although our solar controller has just quit working we have diesel to generate power. The water is crystal clear and just around our south point are some caves for snorkelling. There are trails for hiking and as the day progresses and our boat numbers dwindle further, we have no problems with social distancing. Better weather is forecast for Tuesday so we may change our anchorage but it will be here in the BVI’s as we cannot go to anywhere else. Stay safe all.
Thinking of all of you and hope you are well.