Virgin Islands

When we departed Antigua we made for the British Virgin Islands, West End in patricular, as we were trying to go to the closest port to check in, that was also in route to the US Virgin islands.  The skipper on the boat did not file their Visa paper work and in order to gain access to the United States had to ride the fairy from BVI to the USVI in order to qualify under the Visa Waiver Program.

Once we were registered, and checked in payed our dues, we decided to stay a day at the marina.  We ended up almost hitting our neighbors on the way in, and then again on the way out of the marina.  Note: We do not have a reverse, so once we start the engines we are moving.  We have to shut off the engine to "stop". Although the choke switch was rusting because it had caught on our rudder.  We have since fixed the problem, but at the time it was our way of moving from one place to another. We began to get really good at anchoring and snagging while moving forward through a field of boats and then swinging around.

   The day we had to leave the marina, the day after we arrived in BVI, because it was mainly for boat rentals and we paid 1.25 a foot, with paid water, and paid electricity and a token for shower that didn't even work.  I had to leave the marina alone, and a preventor that was tied on to the boom, stuck on a cleat on the dock and swung our boat straight into a commercial 50+ luxury yacht.  Luckily we escaped unscathed and I went and anchored in the bay without a winch, shutting off the engine and running up front and throwing the anchor against wind and current and then running back to wait. The anchor didn't catch, do i'd have to pull it up by hand, then run back and restart the engine.

  Luckily it caught on the second attempt.  During this time I had no connectivity to the web and the Skipper missed the fairy the entire day until finally getting into town on the last fairy at 5:30pm. Mean while when I was anchoring the dinghy flipped and lost our paddles as well as putting our electric engine under water and out of commision. It never worked again, and during this time I took the dinghy to shore by paddling with my hands, later we found a piece of two by four.  This went on for weeks while we were in the motor/dinghy market in the BVI, through USVI, and onto Puerto Rico.

 While we stayed a few more days in BVI to enjoy the souroundings we ran into a grand old couple sitting on their boat while we were dinghy shopping in our heads to see what our cruisers were using.  Fritz was his name and Connecticuit is his Game.  He ended up sharing stories, tips, and helpful information.  We departed traded information and both planned on leaving the area the next day.

   Come to find out Fritz had an old 9.9 Mercury that he had for 12 years and had commissioned by not put together for some reason.  He offered us in our bad luck to give us the Engine where it was, how it was.  We had just checked into the USVI, but how could I refuse.  I ended up taking the ferry back to BVI and getting a cab to get the engine, then carring it back to the boat over a few miles on my back.  All in all we got the engine together and have it running. We are going to mount it to our boat in order to hopefully get better top speed when transiting the panama canal.

  During this time in the USVI we continued to shop for a new dinghy and a motor.  We ended up getting a used Mercury 3.5 in great shape basically new.  We had bought a used Mercury Dinghy Sport, without paddles, a floor, and it ended up blowing up on us as we took it for its firs
t ride with our new 3.5.  Luckily we got rescued by a passing sports boat and dragged to shore.  Along with our engine that I blew out with wd/40 changed the oil 4 times and it is still running on us.  Although that experience made me break down and buy a brand new West Marine Aluminum Bottom Dinghy for well over value.  Now I don't have to worry about malfunctions and feel safe and secure in our decision, we have a real engine, a real dinghy, and thanks for a fellow sailor a great addition to power the main boat as well, if we end up having any more engine problems.

After the dinghy had blown up, we had a new engine and put it on the back of our Dinghy that we used to have our electic motor on. While it had handled the electric it was not a fixed marine wood transom and could not handle the waves and speed of our new 3.5. Which also pushed us in the direction to get a new one.  During this time we had met a fellow sailor while we were shopping for a new dinghy, who had a used dinghy for sale.  She shared most of these adventures with us, but after the dinghy exploded we were not wanting to buy the dinghy in fear of another one exploding, so we bought new.

  On the day that my parents flew in we picked them up with our dinghy, after I dragged them on a 4 mile hike right off the plane, nearly killed them first day, but I made it up by having them relax the next five.  Our new engine pull string had snapped on the first pull. We ended up messing around and replacing it with a 550 cord in order to make it back to the boat and still use the cord now.

   We trans-versed from the USVI to Culebra, Vieques, and over to Puerto Rico.  During this time the weather was perfect each day with dolphins greeting us in Farjardo when we showed up to Puerto Rico.  We snorkeled at the reef and then made our way to San Juan.  This is where we sit now and where we shipped off my parents back home.

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