Today Geoff was up (again) at 5:45 am taking pictures and then promptly at 6:30 the engines started, the mooring line came off and we were on our way South to Cooper Island.
On the way, I called Colin, the divemaster from Jost Van Dyke Scuba and arranged for all of us to take the Advanced Diving class on Thursday and Friday at Normal Island. This course gets you ready to dive deeper than 40 feet (which Geoff and I already can) and includes taking five more dives with an instructor and reading 5 chapters in a dive instruction book..
We decided to head for the Dogs. Islands that is. More on this when I get a chance. We tied up to a National Park red mooring on the South side of “Great Dog”. Jenn made some great scrambled eggs and toast before we jumped in the water to snorkel. The snorkeling was fantastic with incredibly clear blue water, lots of fish and calm water. (More later)
After snorkeling we dried off, unhooked the boat and headed South to Cooper Island which was about 7 nautical miles away. At some point I’ll give you an overview of the BVI’s which I have been terribly negligent in as well as the history of this area which is actually quite interesting. Stick with me and I’ll fill you in!
I’m on vacation after all and this vacation is a LOT different that being on a 65 day Regent cruise! I also promise that each of the kids will write at least one post if for not other reason than I said they would in the beginning blog entry of this trip. And, I’ll also threaten them that if they DON’T write one that I’ll do it for them.
I drove the last leg (on autopilot, don’t be too impressed). It’s sort of like driving the cars at Disneyland’s Autotopia (probably don’t have that anymore but they did when I was five!) when it isn’t blowing hard and the seas are flat. We rounded the point at Coopers and spotted several empty white mooring balls. We voted and decided to pick the one closest to the beach. We also noticed that this was the place where Geoff got his PADI certification the last time we were here…from Sail Caribbean Diving (or something like that, I’ll fix it later…it’s too dark to see it now).
Wes, Geoff and I swam the 100 feet to the beach, walked down about 100 yards to the Cooper Island Beach Club and checked it out. Internet was $10/day (only accessible in the bar), the moorings were $25, paid at the bar or at the boat the next morning and, most important, Happy Hour was 5-6 pm and included 2 for the price of 1 Pain Killers and Bud Lights (we love promotions!).
Geoff and Jenny took the dingy to explore the island. Wes worked on his homework and I worked on the blog. When they got back from their island tour we decided to go snorkeling. However, a 3 foot barracuda had decided to use our dinghy for shade and was just hanging out looking at us. Whenever we stuck our feet or camera in the water he would slowly move towards us. The pictures we took showed that he had some serious teeth. Since we aren’t the bravest divers in the BVI’s we decided to go into shore and have some Pina Colada’s. After all, we hadn’t had one yet today. And that’s what we did…even without 2 for the price of 1!
Now that we had become a little braver and I had stopped by the Dive shop to find out if barracuda are man-eaters (they aren’t and there is no record of them eating cruisers in this bay — name coming) we went back to the boat, donned our dive gear, checked to see if the barracuda was still hanging out at the back of the boat (he was) and jumped off the front of the boat. We went on an extended snorkeling tour up to the point towards Tortolla (to the West) and enjoyed it a lot!
There were interesting little and medium sized fish, lots of urchins, funny little fan-shaped animals that would withdraw their tentacles when you waved at them and, happily, no barracuda. Well, that is until we swam back to the boat. Jenny and I were behind Geoff and Wes. I looked up to see them sitting on the back step and figured something was up. Next thing I know I was about 6 feet from that big ‘cuda who was looking right at me. I pointed to him so Jenn would see him but she still was surprised. Geoff and Wes were laughing at us of course but we swam around the ‘cuda and got on the boat. We are now fearless divers and ready for more surprises tomorrow.
Next came showers, taking out the frozen tuna, a bit of meal planning and then grabbing computers, camera batteries, etc. and heading over to the bar for those half-price beverages. Interesting sunset while we played gin rummy and sipped on a couple rounds of pain-killers. The stormy weather that was forecast was visible here and there, but not over us. Throughout the evening the wind started shifting and ended up at dinner coming from the North/Northwest so the boat ended up pointed in the opposite direction. Geoff, Jenn and Wes headed back to the boat to make dinner while I stayed at the bar working on this article and charging my computer. I met a nice German couple that had three daughters and took some pictures of the couple sitting at the window while the sun set (my idea). It turned out that their boat was the one in the distance. How perfect was that! They are leaving tomorrow to head back home after 12 days of paradise. Their daughters are lucky girls for sure!
Wes picked me up and we had a fantastic dinner on the front of the boat. I was sitting in the outside table and it was HOT! No wind was getting back there so I went up and continued writing this article with a beautiful breeze blowing in my face. Within 15 minutes dinner showed up on the trampoline and it was spectacular. It was dark but the lighting on the boat is quite good…but not as good as the salad, couscous, broccoli, grilled green and yellow onions and grilled tuna steaks. Wow! Jenny outdid herself tonight.
Reading books on the trampoline (it is too dark to read but Jenny says that an eye doctor told her that reading in the dark ISN’T bad for your eyes…that’s an old wives tale…I’ll have to check that out when I get home), finishing blog articles and just crashing before we head back over to the bar to finish the night and send these articles on the bar’s wireless internet (they charge but I’ll see if I can talk them out of it for the plug I’m giving them). Wow…the Cooper’s Island Beach Club is the BEST! (that’s the big plug).
Up tomorrow early, motoring down to Normal Island and meeting up with the dive company for our advanced training. We are planning on staying at Normal overnight and more diving on Friday unless something better comes up.
I have downloaded a lot of pictures but just don’t have the time to sort through them and integrate them into these articles. But, I promise I will do it soon. Real vacations are hell for bloggers! By the way, the fish of the day was named ‘Cuda. I wanted Barry but that name was taken last night by the real Barry.
Under VERY starry skies sitting on the front of our NoName catamaran #921 at Coopers Island, I’m signing off.
Well, except I just remembered that I didn’t pay the tab at the bar so I headed back in the dinghy, by myself and am now sitting at the bar finishing this article and getting internet connection to upload the last few blog entires. And, for those who were good enough blog followers to get this far, here are a few random pictures from the last few days.
BVI Catchup 1 Picture Gallery: http://gallery.me.com/travelwithdmcontent/100734
BVI Catchup 2 Picture Gallery: http://gallery.me.com/travelwithdmcontent/100744