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Catalina Sunshine: From Cane Garden Bay to JVD's East End (BLOG)

The Parkers have a run-in with an over-sized Ocean Alexander and miss stopping in Great Harbour only to discover a utopia of Bikinis and pirates aboard the Willie T at their final destination.
The Parker's cruiser, Catalina Sunshine.

January 7, 2015: Cane Garden Bay, Tortola, BVI

With our stern directly pointed toward Jost Van Dyke we could see that the seas between the two Islands had moderated overnight. The wind was blowing out of the ENE at 17 mph as we set course for Great Harbour, a distance of about 4 nm from Cane Garden. As we approached Jost Van Dyke we experienced again what we had experienced a few days earlier. The wind and sea had turned 45 degrees and was blowing and rolling directly into the harbor. However on this day the wind and swell were tolerable.

As we entered the Harbor from the east we were on a collision course with a 90-foot Ocean Alexander who was entering from the south, and on our port. By International Rules Of The Road we were the "Stand-on Vessel" and the Ocean Alexander was the "Give-way Vessel". We had the right of way. As the "Give-way" vessel was not yielding as required, and if we both maintained course and speed we would collide, we signaled with five short blasts on our horn as required by the international rules. The Ocean Alexander still did not yield and we were forced to reverse engines which we had allowed enough room to do.

jvd 2

Once into the Harbor ahead of us, the Ocean Alexander turned into the anchorage and dropped anchor in the last remaining spot within the Harbor. There was no admiralty court which could convene that day to bring the scalawag to justice by keel hauling or other such measures, and return our rightful anchorage.

We could have tried to convene a court made up from the bareboat operators that captained the large majority of boats in the Harbor, but we feared that such a court may have had us walking the plank for being sour losers in a race for the last anchorage, and for interrupting their midday naps with our loud horn blasts that echoed from the hills around the Harbor. We left Great Harbour without dropping our anchor for the second time.


We had thought that the east end or Jost Van Dyke would have greater exposure to the east and ENE winds and seas. What we found was a much larger, calmer, less crowded, and shallower anchorage than Great Harbour. In addition to several snorkeling locations within the overall anchorage, Sandy Spit is at the east end. Sandy Spit is small "island" with a white power sand beach on all sides, and with a lush green interior with palms and other growth. It is connected to Green Cay to the north with a near drying sand reef. This reef flattens the swells from the east but allows the full force of the wind making it an ideal kiting location. On the west end of the anchorage, the east end of Jost Van Dyke Island, is Foxy's Taboo, and outpost of the legendary Foxy's in Great Harbour where we enjoyed dinner.

January 8, 2015: East End, Jost Van Dyke Island, BVI

Today, we rounded Sandy Cay on our starboard and headed south west to Hatch Island Cut. Once through the Cut we maneuvered around the east end of Little Thatch Island and set a course along the western edge of Sir Francis Drake Channel to the Bight on Norman's Island.

The infamous Willie T at high noon.

The infamous Willie T at high noon.

Norman's Island is said to be the Island which Robert Louis Stevenson based his epic of all pirate stories, Treasure Island. The Island was named after a pirate who was believed to have buried Spanish Gold in the Caves at Treasure Point, which is at at the west corner of the Bight. With this rich history we were not surprised to hear pirates commotion as we were anchoring. After launching the dingy we went in search of this auditory turbulence. Hidden behind moored boaters in the south corner of the Harbor we found the Willie T, a replica of a 93' topsail schooner which has been converted into a bar.

As we circled in the water vibrating from the sound, pirates dove off the top deck displaying their daring, and woman in bikinis on the lower deck bounced their buttocks off of one another with undulating motion. This was mid afternoon and the Willie T was filled with pirates in full commotion. We circled the Willie T again during happy hour on our way to dinner. The fast boats that had been side tied in the afternoon were gone, the floating side dock was filled with cruiser's dingies, the sound was audible and less vibrating, the motion was calm, and the dress was shirts and pants. A different Willie T at happy hour. At the east end of the Harbor is Pirates Beach Bar and Grill. We had a great dinner in their new open air dinning room where we had a perfect view of the sunset over the Harbor. Another couple was kind enough to take our picture.

Although Greg and Jackie hiked to the top of the hill, to view the Bight and the other side of the Island, we didn't dive in the caves searching for treasure on this trip. This is an adventure we will save for the future.