44' Luxury Catamaran Mustang Sally

Doug, Wendy and Mustang Sally cruise the Virgin Islands. Follow along on their adventures meeting funky local characters and visiting hot spots and hidden treasures with links to our favorites websites and additional interesting information.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Barrie Babe's Birthday Cruise

Playing catch up again….and probably always will. Today is March 27th (all ready!) and we are in St Martin but this log will catch you up on what we were up to when the gang of 4, Mike and Christie, and Mike and Christine (I know, it’s hard to keep straight), from our home town, Barrie, Ontario who came to visit from February 24th thru to March 5th.

This cruise was called the birthday cruise as many of my gal pals from home, me included, will be hitting the big 4-0 this year and as we can’t all be together on each other’s actual birthdays so I decided to have a birthday bash while a few were here. I should clarify that Christie was not close to approaching 40 (bitch) but she was more than happy to join in the party. We did a fine job of celebrating. Way to go girls!! The guys didn’t mind at all either!

So, on the 24th of February we were anxiously awaiting the arrival of our guests by ferry in Sopers Hole, Tortola. Mustang Sally was loaded with all kinds of thick cuts of meat and fresh fish for the BBQ, cheeses, pates and lots of fresh fruit….not to mention all the wine and beer our lockers could hold. Everyone arrived as scheduled and it was a very kewl feeling to see them on top of the ferry waving like maniacs at us, while we were waving like raving idiots from Mustang Sally back to them. I think the other ferry passengers were snickering at our displays of emotion. Too bad for them and their boring existence!! Unfortunately, Christine’s checked bag was lost. Oh well, this was to be expected if flying thru Puerto Rico and we had encouraged our guests to travel light with carry on only. Maybe they had to check the bag due to all of the goodies they were bringing from home for us? Hmmmm. Seriously tho, when travelling down for a visit on our catamaran, you really don’t need to bring much. Just a couple of bathing suits, flip flops, a sundress for the ladies and t shirts and shorts for the gents. Turned out that Christine didn’t really miss her bag at all after the week was out.

We barely got everyone on board with drinks in hand and appetizers on the table and slipped off the mooring ball headed for the Willy-T’s on Norman Island! No time to waste! WooHoo! It was Sunday nite and we knew that the Willy-T’s would be rocking. We motored as fast as Mustang Sally could go as it was already 7 p.m. and we didn’t want to miss a minute of action. I should know by now that the party doesn’t really start until we get there. Don’t get me wrong, the party is always good at the Willy-T’s but it seems to get kicked up a notch when we show up. With our posse nothing could stop us, and nothing did!!

The next morning was foggy. Not the weather tho, it was gorgeous as usual. It was our heads that were foggy from the nite before! Nothing that Eggs Benny and Mimosas couldn’t cure!! After brekkie we headed to Treasure Point (also on Norman Island) for some serious snorkeling and to further clear any lingering cobwebs. It was the first time for a few to try snorkeling (let’s face it, not much good snorkeling at home on the great lakes)and with noodles for some and a little practice session we all got underway to see the beautiful world that awaits us just below the surface.

Once we all had our fill, we were off to secluded Key Bay on Peter Island. Key Bay is a good spot to chill and relax after a nite of partying. There was only one other boat in the anchorage and so it was close to perfect. We spent the rest of the day sunning, swimming and reading, that is, until the crew on the other boat, Winsome, dinghied over to ask for a small bag of ice for their cocktails. How could we refuse? So, we invited Rolland, Cindy, Adrian and Dave aboard with their cocktails to join us for sundowners. Before you know it, we had a regular party going on. So much for a quiet nite…..

The next morning, we said good bye to the crew on Winsome and had a beautiful close reach to The Baths on Virgin Gorda. Our gang swam into to see the huge granite boulders and everyone appropriately oohed and aahed as we followed the trail that leads thru the boulders. (I would talk more about The Baths but I have written about them many times before in previous logs).
Once back on board we headed to Marina Cay to catch Michael Beans Pirate Show at the Happy Arrr Bar. We had all practiced blowing the conch horn earlier in the day and Cap’n Doug and I had tutored everyone on pirate lore in preparation for the show. We wanted to win shots of rum and maybe even the coveted bottle of Pussers Rum! Doug, Christie and me answered some of the pirate questions correctly and so at one time all three of us were up on stage doing shots together! How fun! Christie was also “volunteered” for the conch blowing contest as she had displayed the most skill at this time honored sundown tradition (?!), and although she didn’t win the contest she got an “A” for effort and many admiring looks from her fellow competitors and audience members who could hardly focus on the task at hand. Way to distract Christie!! This show never fails to send us all back to the cat half in the bag and so to make up for not winning the coveted bottle of Pussers we cracked open our liquor stores and broke out the Pussers Rum and drank some anyway in Cap’n Dougs delicious Painkillers.

We must have looked like a fun bunch on Mustang Sally as we had visitors again that nite from the boat anchored beside us. Bob (who is an acquaintance of ours) and two of his buddies that he was teaching to sail thot they would come around and say hi. Cap’n Doug swears that all the pretty girls on board bring the riff raff around! Needless to say, we had a very late dinner of BBQ shish ka bobs and off to bed quite late to see what the next day would bring us.

Turned out, the next day brought fog again, again not the weather. After a scrumptious breakfast, that not all could enjoy, as it seemed some were a little more sensitive to the gentle sway of the cat after the previous nites libations, we headed out, bound for Gorda Sound. We were happy to leave Marina Cay as the wind had piped up and there was quite a swell rolling thru the anchorage despite the protective reef. Again, we enjoyed an exhilarating close reach with the wind blowing a steady 18-20 knots, while Mustang Sally, even while loaded for bear with all of our provisions and 6 people aboard still hauled ass at 11 knots. The sun was high in the blue sky and conditions couldn’t have been more perfect for our sail. Mike and Mike enjoyed the best seats in the house for the ride of their lives. The two each chose bow seats to really feel the salt spray and enjoy the view. Unfortunately what they didn’t know was at this point of sail they would get a lot more than just salt spray. Depending on which tack we were on, each of the Mike’s received torrents of water crashing over him. Cap’n Doug, who was at the helm and the 3 ladies, who were sunning themselves on the sun pads high and dry in the cockpit, watched with tons of enthusiasm as each wave crashed over the Mike’s. With Cap’n Doug yelling “Here’s come a REALLY big one, Mike’s gonna get it!” the three girls would point, scream and laugh every time. After a few hours, I got to wondering why the guys didn’t come back to the cockpit and dry out. I mentioned that perhaps the guys didn’t feel safe enough to maneuver to the cockpit from the bow seats. Hmmmm. Sure enough when we sailed back into the lee of the island the guys came back to the cockpit, cursing us for leaving them stuck up there. Between the salt covered deck and the how fast the cat was moving, they didn’t feel it was safe enough to leave the bow seats and seek shelter. The poor Mike’s were freezing but after toweling off and sitting in the warm sun out of the wind with a bit o’ rum in their glass they were warm and happy as clams again in no time.

We anchored in the lee of Prickly Pear Island where there was a small white sandy beach surrounded by very steep rock face and we it had all to ourselves. Kudos to Cap’n Doug for spotting it! We all swam into the beach, which wasn’t far, and Mike M. got a fire ready for later on that evening. What a more perfect idea than a fire on the beach at nite! Though, after everyone helped make a delish dinner we are all too tired to head to the beach and enjoy the fire we had planned :(. All of the partying and sailing had caught up with us. Oh well! A good nites sleep would have us all feeling rested and we could party hard again the next day!
The next morning we got a mooring ball in front of the pretty and isolated Saba Rock. As everyone was feeling up to snuff after their good nites sleep, I brilliantly thot we should go for a wee hike and show them some of the posh and laid back Bitter End Yacht Club, as well as some of Biras Creek resort . It was a hot hike with the sun beating down on us and so, we felt we deserved a hearty lunch at the Bitter End Pub with some refreshments. Ahhhh! Perhaps a nap is in order now…..

That nite the gang got a bit dressed up and we dinghied into Saba Rock for their fabulous buffet of 3 different roasts to dine on (lamb, prime rib, and ham! Yum! )plus a great salad bar and all the side dishes to boot. We always receive great service from the David, the general manager, and his staff at Saba Rock and we were not disappointed again. After our bellies were full with food and wine, we enjoyed a nightcap and happily hit the hay.

Cap’n Doug and I wanted to take the gang and show them some world class snorkeling so we headed out the next morning with our waypoint set for Monkey Point on Guana Island. We made Bloody Caesars, cranked the tunes and had a fabulous downwind sail where this time it was safe for everyone to be up on the sun pads on the trampolines and the bow seats, without getting wet. Everyone kept their eyes peeled for dolphins but we didn’t see any :(. The snorkeling was pretty good tho at Monkey Point altho not as good as we have seen it before but we still enjoyed the swim, the sun and the chance to chill before we shared another delicious meal together. We managed to crank it up a notch that nite and just the 6 of us partied together without any unexpected visitors.

Another downwind sail the next morning after brekkie, this time headed for Cane Garden Bay on the north side of Tortola. After a wee bit of provisioning at Bobby’s Market, (more beer and wine) we planned on lying on the beach whilst drinking Margaritas. Mustang Sally doesn’t often moor in Cane Garden Bay due to the amount of crime. The young locals think it’s fun to untie painter lines on dinghy’s at the dinghy dock and watch them float out to the Atlantic Ocean past Jost Van Dyke. Or worse, the older local youth actually steal the dinghies with their expensive outboards. We had heard many stories to this effect on the Caribbean Safety and Security Net on our single side band radio as well as read many stories in the Caribbean Compass newspaper, so we were well aware of the dangers. We felt safe enough as we always lock our dinghy with heavy chain and a stout lock and we have an alarm system onboard Mustang Sally, but that doesn’t mean we want to visit these types of places regularly. We reasoned, however, that it might be fun for the gang to see this popular hangout and as it was Friday to see Quito and The Edge play at the popular Quito’s Bar and restaurant that nite. Sure enough while we were laying on the beach lounge chairs we heard some people who had been swimming in the water yelling at local kids who were sitting inside dinghies untying painter lines tied to the dock. The swimmers were lucky they noticed what was going on as their dinghy just happened to float past them while they swam in the bay. Mike C. ran down to the dinghy dock to deal with these kids but they seemed to be oblivious of the damage they were causing and smugly replied that the dinghies had all come free on their own because they must not have been tied properly. The local officials did little but to come and speak briefly to the boys and then back their stories up. We decided shortly after that that we didn’t need to spend our good money in a place that does nothing to protect its visitors and we made tracks for Diamond Key on Jost Van Dyke, where we would anchor over nite, which was just fine with all of us. We enjoyed a big pasta dinner and red wine and “sort of” behaved that nite.

Next morning we hiked to the Bubbly Pool. We were hoping for a good north swell as this is what really makes the Bubbly Pool so famous. The waves which travel from the north Atlantic are forced thru a small crevice which forces incredible suction and huge wave action in a relatively small pool of water. It’s a hoot and never fails to produce lots of laughter. The waves weren’t as big as we hoped but everyone got the idea and still enjoyed the medium sized waves that did come crashing thru.

After our hike back to the dinghy we were ready for a swim again. A short motor had us at the breathtaking Sandy Spit with its white sand and palm trees. Almost everyone swam ashore while the dinghy brought the cooler bag with coldies and pretzels (Hey, ya gotta have coldies, its hot here in the tropics!). We walked around the island, which doesn’t take long, and then plunked our butts in the white sand to enjoy the sun and the view and thank our lucky stars that we get to visit paradise.

After we managed to get the sand out of our shorts and everyone had their fill of the deserted island we enjoyed a short sail with jib only to Great Harbour, also on Jost Van Dyke. We then dinghied into shore and enjoyed a leisurely stroll around the “The Settlement” while fulfilling a little retail therapy request at Foxy’s store (you can’t go home empty handed!). Our gang of 6 was on a mission to find good fresh lobster for dinner that nite so, we scouted out the restaurants in Great Harbor based on price and weight and settled on Ali Baba’s for dinner where we had a delicious Caribbean dinner with lots of local colour and flavour. We had been invited over to our friend Ed’s beautiful catamaran, Shearwater, for after dinner cocktails which we were more than happy to oblige. Our gang had not yet met our friend Ed whom we had only met a few weeks prior. It’s like that here in the cruiser world, you become fast friends quite easily with people as you already have a lot in common and it’s a small world, and there was no exception with Ed. We made plans to party with Ed the next day at White Bay, which was just around the corner, to help us celebrate our “birthdays” at Soggy Dollar.

Mike and Christie and Mike and Christine were only with us for another 2 full days so we thot it would be a nice idea to hang out at the relaxing and beautiful White Bay beach for their last days. They happily agreed when they saw how beautiful it really is. We had plans to hang out and kayak and swim in the morning and then hit the Soggy Dollar for the afternoon before heading back to the cat for steak dinner and Pineapple Rum birthday cake. What a more perfect birthday I could not imagine! Ed was true to his word and joined us at the Soggy for numerous Painkillers and Carib’s. After awhile, a swim was in order so we headed back to Mustang Sally and cooled off in the water before making a big batch of margaritas. Uh- oh! That spells trouble with a capital T! And it proved to be true; as we partied well into the nite with the tunes cranked and we all thoroughly enjoyed our steak dinner and birthday cake while wearing “Happy Birthday” tiaras for the ladies. Cap’n Doug and Mike M. made sure Ed got home safely in the dinghy much, much later that nite.

The next day was the last full day and everyone wisely chose to take it easy this day as no one wanted to spend a very long travel day the next day with hangovers. We hung out at Ivan’s Stress Free Bar and had burgers for lunch and spent the after chillin’ on the beach trying hard to absorb as much of the sun and sand as possible as to take with them in their heads to remember on the cold days still to come at home.

The girls were in the galley for the last time preparing our last delicious meal together and I was feeling quite melancholy as that was what I loved and missed so much about home was just hanging with the femmes in the kitchen and gossiping and laughing while preparing appetizers or dinner and sipping wine. Over dinner everyone spent a lot of time reminiscing about the last 10 days and how much fun it was, bursting out in laughter when we remembered something especially funny.

The next morning we motored over to Sopers Hole where we would see them off on the ferry that first brought them to us. Hardly anyone was talking and it was obvious that it no one was really looking forward to the long day of travel ahead of them and getting back to the grind at home. Christine’s luggage was waiting, intact, for her at the ferry dock where it had spent the last 9 days. Sheesh! We said good bye at the ferry terminal with big hugs all around and me bawling as usual (never good at goodbyes!). When Doug and I saw that the ferry was ready to leave the dock we slipped Mustang Sally off her mooring so we could be beside the ferry as she transited out of the anchorage and we waved goodbye like idiots, again.