Friday, February 23, 2007

Sunday 18th February

Great Harbour, Jost Van Dyke
British Virgin Islands

18 26.10 N
64 45.00 W

The group decision was to go to Jost Van Dyke, one of the British Virgin Islands today. Mark had heard about the famous Foxy’s bar and wanted to visit it for himself. Dale, Lorie, Gerry and myself had been there before and we certainly weren’t against a repeat visit – maybe this time we would even remember it! However before we set forth for our international voyage of discovery we had to take Rose and Mark ashore to see the view from the ruins of the Annaberg sugar mill and pay our mooring fee for last night. Dale and Lorie went snorkeling whilst the four of us dinked ashore and then set off along the coast pathway to the mill ruins. The path was fairly flat and easy to walk along in single file, but it was a fair distance. There were signs posted that it was a turtle breeding beach, but we guess it’s not breeding season as there were no turtles to be seen. We knew from our previous visit that there were wild donkeys on the island which bray at night to keep you awake and we had mentioned this to Mark. We didn’t see a single donkey but Mark managed to photograph the evidence that they had been along this same path and fairly recently by the looks of the scat! Once we reached the end of the coast path we were onto the bitumen and we made the decision to walk up the hill rather than take the steps which meander through the vegetation, it was a good decision – we had walked the steps last time and the hill was much easier and quicker. The walk is definitely worth it if only for the view of the islands out across the bay. The sugar mill ruins date back to the late 1800s, early 1900s and there are information boards around the site detailing how the mill ran. It must have taken quite a few slaves to tend the cane which grew on the very steep slopes around the mill. After taking a few pictures we headed back down the hill along the coast and once in the dink, back out to our boat. Then it was all hands on deck to drop the mooring line and head off towards Jost Van Dyke. The wind was just on the beam and we put up both the jib and the main, with the first reefing point in. We flew along doing an average speed of 5 knots until we arrived at the entrance to the harbour at which time we furled away the sails, motored in and found a spot to drop our anchor. In no time at all we had the dink in the water and were on our way into the dock so that we could check into the British Virgin Islands. We had all our documentation with us and set off for the customs and immigration office, only to find that it was closed until 14.00hrs – well what can one do? We headed straight to Foxy’s bar a large open air wooden shack place which is open to the beach and ordered a round of painkillers, the local “must have” rum drink, well they didn’t take very long to finish so we had to have another. At this point Dale spotted Foxy himself just around the corner of the bar and went to ask him if he would mind coming over and having a photo opportunity with us, he graciously obliged and then made us all laugh with a few of his famous rhymes, although he is getting on in years his mind is as sharp as a tack and he is quite up on current happenings in the world. It was a real coup for Rose and Mark to have met the man on their first visit to Foxy’s establishment. When we finished the second drink Gerry and Dale (being the self anointed captains) had to go along to the customs and immigration office to clear us all in whilst us girls and Mark ordered another round of painkillers and some lunch. Mark got carried away with the painkillers – I think he really liked them! Our lunches arrived and we had finished them before Dale and Gerry returned, so their meals were a bit on the cool side plus they were a drink behind the rest of us. Once they had caught up we had a hard decision to make – either to stay and keep drinking until dinner or to return to our boats, have a short sleep and then return to continue with our drink session into the evening. A quick vote had us all heading back to the boats and sleeping for a couple of hours. The couple of hours vanished very quickly and it seemed like no time at all until we were back in the dink and tying up again at the dock next to Foxy’s. We passed a very pleasant evening drinking even more painkillers and having dinner whilst listening to live music dating back to our era. Once were had had our fill it was time to negotiate the dock, where Gerry managed to drop the boat keys into the water luckily they are on a floating key ring so were easily retrieved, climb in the dink and find our boat amongst the flotilla in the harbour, we were all ready for a good night sleep.



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