Four years to the day we moved aboard Amoray we completed our first solo overnight passage. Our initial journey across from the BVI to St Martin, even with Captain Joe as our guide, was a little terrifying. At that point I vowed not to do another! Having skillfully avoided this for years, it became impossible if we wanted to return to the BVI’s.
So with a couple of days of extra preparation, ensuring everything was tucked away safely, safety equipment was all operational, courses plotted and lots and lots of food and snacks ready we were ready as we were going to be. Departure time from Simpson Bay was about 4:15pm ensuring we would arrive at the North Sound, Virgin Gorda in daylight. The plans were to have an afternoon nap but of course we lay there, tossed and turned and finally turned to each other and said, “well this isn’t working” so up we got to ‘wait to leave’. This was the challenging part… usually as soon as we are up and about we are anxious to leave so waiting ALL day to leave was tortuous.
Finally the time comes, we make our way out and around the south corner of St.Martin and set our course for Virgin Gorda at 292 degrees . And here we set out to sea with conditions a little better than our first trip, but still not ideal. Light winds and wind with too much south in the east, we are rolling and bumping our way along. Options include, resetting a course more north, putting up more sail and then turning south later in the journey when the winds are predicted to shift. We talk of options and choose to stay on course. Having more sail up, IN THE DARK, with predicted squalls is NOT my idea of fun for our first overnighter! And as the sun sets, we breathe and realize we have much more confidence in both ourselves and Amoray and I am not quite as spooked as I thought I might be. Later in the evening, however, as the glow of St. Martin fades, the moon sets, and with no lights on the horizon it all feels a bit strange and eerie. The other evening we were talking of night passages with fellow cruisers and they all commented on hearing strange things during night passages… and I discovered it to be true. We rocked and rolled with the sound of waves, but shortly after these became background noise to faint voices and music….quite odd.
With miles of open ocean, just as we hit the half way point, we see two boats approaching. A great big sea and we pass within a half mile of each other. Reassurance of others out there creates a little more peace of mind. In addition, our buddies on Nahanni River were also out there somewhere. They opted to do the north routing so we no longer see their lights.
The rest of the trip is uneventful with happily no appearance of any squalls. We have to start the engine a few times during the night in order to charge up the batteries and it is amazing how this seems to interrupt the flow of the journey and the relative silence of the night. About 13 hours out we can begin to make out a smudge of lights on the horizon, which must be the main town of Spanish town. And then as we look behind us we can begin to see the glow of sunrise.
15 hours after leaving St Martin we drop the hook at Levrick Bay, breathe sigh of relief, offer up a prayer of thanks and hit the sack!