We decided to go on a mini sailing vacation! As we were trying to figure out where we wanted to go, we recalled meeting Joan Chinnery on the dock in Red Hook, St Thomas. She was loading up a boat with supplies to take back to her restaurant, Sugar and Spice, on Jost Van Dyke. Since Jost Van Dyke is one of our favorite Islands, we decided to start our trip at Great Harbour on Monday, it is also where you can check-in the BVI.
Great Harbour is the largest settlement on Jost Van Dyke, an island which has a population of about 250 people. This is what a Caribbean Island should look like.
We always like to walk around Great Harbour, there are a few bars and restaurants along the waterfront Alibabas, Corsairs and of course Foxy’s.
We like to stop in Rudy’s Grocery Store, it is well stocked with a little bit of everything. They also have an Inn and a restaurant. If you continue on the road in a loop behind the school you will come to the Ice House, run by Edith, fill up on ice here. You can continue on and the road will take you back behind Foxy’s and then back to the road along the beach, you are likely to see goats roaming on the road.
You can also take the road across from the Ice House, back towards the beach, you will pass Christine’s Bakery and another grocery store, Nature’s Basket, with locally grown fruits and vegetables.
After walking around Great Harbour in the afternoon, we went back to our boat for dinner. The next morning we headed over to Sugar and Spice, near the Ferry dock, for breakfast.
When we arrived Joan jumped up to greet us! She was surprised to see us! We had wanted to try her pates, but being the off season you have to call to pre-order them during the week. She made us nice egg and ham breakfast sandwiches instead, they were very good. Next time we will call ahead to order the pates. We will be back! After breakfast, we left Great Harbour to sail to Sandy Spit where we anchored for Tuesday night. We arrived around noon, so we had lunch and then went snorkeling. We saw 2 octopus and 16 Caribbean Reef Squid, many conch shells, some coral and small fish.
This is a nice area to anchor in, the reef between Green Cay and Sandy Spit keeps the anchorage fairly protected. Sandy Spit is a small island with a nice beach.
Wednesday morning we motored over to Diamond Cay to pick up a mooring for a few hours, so we could make the short hike to the Bubbly Pool. This hike takes you past a salt pond which contains all four mangrove species in the BVI, red, black, white, and buttonwood. Mangroves and sea grass beds protect the coastlines and play an important role of helping to maintain water quality and the health of the coral reef systems.
We took the dinghy to the dock at Foxy’s Taboo and made the 15 minute hike to the Bubbly Pool, it lived up to the bubbly part while we were there, the waves and small north swells were just enough so we could enjoy the bubbles.
After spending sometime at the bubbly pool it was time to set sail for Cane Garden Bay, Tortola our last stop of our mini vacation. Cane Garden Bay is a beautiful anchorage, it has a roped off swim area, nice beach with beautiful palm trees. Bars and Restaurants line the beach and there is almost always music you can hear from your boat at night. We spent the afternoon swimming, walking on the beach and playing catch with a waterball. We had a wonderful lentil pumpkin stew with naan bread on our boat, even though there are a lot of local restaurants to choose from during the season many are closed for the off season. The sunset was beautiful from here. This anchorage is said to have some of the best views of the setting sun.
Thursday morning we walked along the road to the south, to visit the Callwood Rum Distillery. This is one of the oldest continuous use pot distilleries in the Caribbean, the Callwood family has been making rum here for over 200 hundred years, since they bought the Arundel Estate in the late 18th century, no one knows exactly how long rum has been made here but it is said it is at least 400 years.
It was closed for the season, so we did not get to try any rum, maybe next time. Something to look forward to. Our mini vacation is coming to an end, time to hoist the sails and make our way back home to Red Hook, St Thomas.