British Virgin Islands -- Jost Van Dyke: March 29 - April 3, 2007

Click on the above thumbnail for a map during this time period.

Jost Van Dyke has a world-wide reputation among cruisers.  It is a place where cruisers flock in the BVIs in order to party.  We went to Jost Van Dyke because of that reputation, but saw nothing so very special in terms of partying.  But we lingered longer than we expected, because of the island's mountain paths and off-road roads.  The island is small, with only approximately 175 people on 3 square miles and one small navigable road.

One of the more protected of the harbors is Great Harbour, home to Foxy's Tamarind Bar and Ali Baba's and Corsair's.  During our stay, Foxy's was just another bar.  Interesting decorations, to be sure, with the ceilings of the open-air additions cluttered with business cards, signed T-shirts, signed caps, signed braziers, signed pennants, etc.  But just so-so crowds, and so-so entertainment while we were there at the times we were there.  Foxy hung around one afternoon for awhile, but didn't play.  We neglected to get a picture.  Foxy and Jost Van Dyke are virtually synonymous, and Foxy is famous for his friendliness and ability to remember names.  The bandstand at Foxy's features a life-size statue of Foxy with his guitar, and we heard a water-taxi driver tell his charges, as he sent them off from the dock to see the sights on the island, that the statue is "anatomically correct".  Ali Baba's seemed dead, and Corsair's was also nothing special. But lest we be too harsh, let it be noted that we didn't visit the nightspots after 10 PM, and that may well be when, in the absence of a special regatta, or some other special event, like say, New Year's Eve -- when there are thousands of attendees at Foxy's -- the action begins.

And yet we stayed in Great Harbour for five nights.  How come?  Combination of reasons, really.   First, it was blowing unusually hard, and out of the northeast, and the harbor provided reasonable protection.  Rolly nearby White Bay fills with tons of boats large and small that come in just for the day in order to beachify at one of the prettiest beaches we've yet seen.  And White Bay has its own set of famous watering holes, including Soggy Dollar and Ivan's.  White Bay has no docks.  We took our dinghy around the point from Great Harbour to White Bay on Sunday, anchored off just outside the breakers, and swam in to the beach, spent a few soggy dollars for drinks at Soggy Dollar, and claimed two of the many plastic chairs for some serious people watching.  Very pleasant afternoon, and much more happening than anything we witnessed in Great Harbour.  Not that Great Harbour was totally dead, mind you.   There are no mooring buoys, and every afternoon the harbor was packed with charter vessels anchoring too closely together with far too little anchor line out.  We saw some dragging.  We had some fitful nights punctuated with too many episodes of getting up to check if any of our neighbors were dragging down upon us.   One especially fearful night was spent next to a sailboat that was anchored in 35 feet of water and had out only 60 feet of line.  Makes me shiver just to think about it.  The next day, when the harbor cleared a bit, we moved to a far corner where we were much less threatened for the remainder of our stay. 

On the same day that friends Jim and Amanda on Adventure Bound experienced a non-working windlass (lowers and raises the anchor), we discovered a non-working davit (lowers and raises the dinghy).  Our cable would go down, but not up.  We did not have internet access and had no contact information, so we called Chuck's sister Zona back in Bismarck, ND and she got us a phone number off the internet.  We didn't get much help from the dealer, but Chuck learned enough from the technician to look for a problem with the control cable/switch or a solenoid.  He switched some wires and found that the cable/switch was not the culprit.  Eventually figured out that we had twisted the davit around in the same direction too many times which caused the two thick electric cables to wind around each other and thereby shorten and thereby eventually pulled one of the solenoids loose from its connection to the davit.  Thus, that solenoid was no longer grounded (and hence no longer functioning.)  After untwisting the cables and getting the bent connections of the solenoid bolted back in place, we finally had a working davit again.  (So from now on the rule is:  clockwise to put the dinghy down, counterclockwise to bring the dinghy up.)

There is a peak just north of Great Harbour, with a very steep "road" that switch-backs up to the top, some 1000 feet above the sea.  Chuck went running to the east one day on the main road, while Barb took the road west over to White Bay.  Very pleasant.  With our appetites thus whetted, the next morning we first walked to White Bay, took the steep "road" up the peak and then along the ridge to the east end of the island.  Extraordinary!  A very challenging seven miles, but the view from the top is unforgettable.  So the next day we did it again, but  in a counter-clockwise direction.  On our walks, in addition to the spectacular views, we saw lots of birds, free-ranging sheep and goats, and lots of mongooses (mongeese?), and on one stretch, some mystery fruit (see pictures, below).  Way up on the top of the ridge we encountered a crew of three weed-whacking the grass along the side of the "road".  Why that would be necessary, or even desirable, remains a mystery to us.  Politically-motivated make-work, maybe?

And then, on 4/3/07, after our last hike, we pulled anchor and said our farewells to Jost Van Dyke, and cruised over to Soper's Hole on Tortola, BVI.   Barb, plumb tuckered out from the mountain climbing, slept on the long (grin -- it took only about 45 minutes) trip over to Soper's Hole.  But that's all I'm going to say about that, because our adventures after Jost Van Dyke  belong in the NEXT exciting episode of "Chuck and Barb Go Cruising".   Tune in again soon, same place.

Jost Van Dyke -- BVI

Famous Foxy's at Great Harbour, JVD

Church at Great Harbour

White Bay -- just west of Great Harbour

Complimentary flip-flops to help in the walk from one end of White Bay to the other (one rocky area)

White Bay beach on a busy Sunday afternoon

Do you suppose he is their uncle?

Famous Ivan's at White Bay

Famous Soggy Dollar at White Bay

Entertainer at Soggy Dollar

Rainbow at Great Harbour

Great Harbour sunset

Brown Booby

Start of a challenging hike

Getting steeper now

Lots of goats and sheep on the path/road

And getting higher

Still not to the top

1000 feet high under her own steam

Cactus along the way

Termite nest

Mystery fruit

Another bunch of the mystery fruit

Great Harbour from half-way up

Great Harbour from the top -- can you see TTII?

Flag courtesy of ITA's Flags of All Countries used with permission.