Fiu in Adriatic
British Virgin Islands, March 25 – April 12, 2004
After the ARC transatlantic crossing in November & December 2003 Ivo left Fiu under charter management with Horizon Yacht Charters in Nanny Cay Marina, Tortola and arrived back there on March 25 this year to begin preparations for this year’s journey with Fiu and initially with the intent to outhaul Fiu in Nanny Cay.
However, it quickly became clear that it would be better to do the outhaul in St Martin where the cost would be less and where everything is tax & duty free. Overall Tortola is an excessively expensive place which does not offer much but few good beaches and an easy sailing ground. For example a taxi ride into Road Town from Nanny Cay (5km) costs at least 10 US$ whilst in St Martin a taxi bus for the same distance costs only a fraction of $!
The reason for staying in Tortola during this time was the rather disruptive but financially necessary component of chartering out Fiu whilst at the same time preparing for the main departure.
This in effect meant that from time to time all work on Fiu stopped and all personal effects had to be moved off the boat for a week whilst the boat was chartered out. The heat and discomfort of living on borrowed boats in a marina as well as the exceedingly high cost of living in these islands, put a strain on everyone during this time
However our goal is well worth it! And in between the days in the marina, there was also a few days sailing in the BVI’s, with beautiful anchorages in Little Jost van Dyke, Norman Island and Deadman’s Bay on Peter Island.
The best of all was a paradisiacal stopover behind the reef off Eustatia Island in the North Sound of Virgin Gorda. The turquoise colour of the waters here must be seen to be believed!
During these first few days of sailing caught fish several times, so luck is with us.
Unfortunately a type of fish poisoning called Ciguatera is prevalent throughout coral reef areas, both here in the Caribbean and we’ll also have this concern in the Pacific. First fish this year was a young barracuda and after some hesitation decided to eat it although this predatory fish is not considered edible (at least not in BVI - in southern Caribbean people consider baracuda as delicacy?!).
The following catch of the day was an Amberjack and had the sense (where did that come from?) to first look it up in our new book on fish where it clearly in black and white said that this species could be poisonous!! Reluctantly we decided to refrain from eating it until we could ask some local passing fishermen advice. Their instant and categorical statement that this was a fish to be thrown away was very convincing! How frustrating it is to have to throw overboard a delicious looking meal!
After Tortola (conclusion is that it is an expensive and poorly provisioned island) and on Easter Sunday after a quick day sail up to Anegada - a small complete coral island just 15 miles north of Virgin Gorda - sailed overnight down to St Martin. Anegada is a fascinating place consisting of 24 miles of pristine sandy, low-lying coast line and the Horseshoe reef which is the world’s third largest continuous reef. Over time more than 350 sailing vessels have come to grief here!!! However, with the advent of technology it now represents a wonderful diving area - or so we thought until ... we seriously tried to become number 351: When leaving the anchorage at Anegada we found out that the GPS map tracking (using Raytec Navigator for this area) has a displacement of about 100 m (we found out because we were suddenly in amongst coral heads rather than sailing along the outside of the reef …). But no harm done, with a bit of visual navigation, guess work and luck, we were very quickly back out in safer sailing grounds...
Next - St. Marteen