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Cruising BVI: The Dogs

The Dogs are a group of small islands just off of Virgin Gorda. Several mooring balls are scattered throughout the three anchorages for day use. A little off the beaten path, it’s usually quiet there with not too many visiting boats.

Fighting a strong current, we picked up a mooring ball on the very outside of George Dog around lunch time on June 17th. We had a quick bite to eat and then went for a refreshing swim. The boat was in about 60 feet of water but got shallow quickly as we approached the shore with our snorkel gear. The reefs were filled with colorful fish.

the dogs-4the dogs-3

Large boulders made for some fun snorkeling as we free-dove up and down the rocky underwater ravines. One particular area toward the edge of the reef must have had a patch of sea ants hiding out inside. Both of us felt a mild sting on our arms and chest near the coral though we hadn’t touched anything. Another underwater irritation we found thriving here was fire coral. Just as it sounds, this stuff burns if you accidentally brush up against it, leaving a nasty rash. This is an important species to be able to identify!

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The anchorage was rolly and had little protection from wind and we soon discovered why this was a day-use-only area. We untied the mooring and finally made our way over to the North Sound on Virgin Gorda to get our anchor set before nightfall. We had been planning on Virgin Gorda being our last stop in the BVI for quite some time, though it took us almost a month to make our way that far East. We wanted to stock up one last time on groceries on Virgin Gorda before continuing our island hopping down the Caribbean Island chain.

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Stay tuned for more gorgeous photos of our stay on Virgin Gorda, BVI. We are currently waiting out the rest of hurricane season at a comfortable 12degrees latitude.

Valentine’s Day at Lover’s Beach, Great Harbour Cay, Bahamas

Thursday 2.13.14 we spent a good portion of the day putting the boat back together and cleaning up. We filled our water tanks, did some laundry and Peter fixed the anti-siphon hose on the generator. Turns out the boat right next to us on our dock used to cruise with the previous owners of our boat, Steve and Judy, all the time! Jon and Arline (SV Kasidah) probably know our boat better than we do :) What a small world! Jon helped Peter with the hose and they talked boats for awhile. Josh and Leah made a trip into town to grab some groceries while I stuck around the boat to finish laundry and write a few blog posts while I had wifi. Dinner that night was grilled steaks we bought at Costco before leaving Florida :)

Friday 2.14.14 Valentine’s Day – We left the dogs to watch the boat from inside the cabin and got a ride from a Bahamian man that runs the water company. He didn’t want us to pay him for the ride but we gave him a little anyway. He drove us to the east side of Great Harbour Cay down a dirt road. There were big houses scattered along the way with beautiful patches of countryside in between.


We finally arrived at a clearing in the trees that opened up to a white sand beach. Our new friend offered to come back to pick us up in a few hours so we entered his phone number into the sat phone so we could call him later. The water was the most gorgeous color of clearish turquoise and just barely covered the sand that extended out to a small island about a half mile away.



We began trekking across the sand bar towards Lover’s Beach. The current had carved out areas that were deeper than others and as we waded through, the water came up to our bellybuttons. We carried our beach bags, backpacks and dive bags up on top of our heads like they were precious baskets of water being brought back to a village.


The sand was soft beneath our toes and there was only a tiny bit of sea grass and urchins in the water to carefully step around. On the other side of the sand bar I found my first whole sand dollar!!IMG_4675

The cove in front of us was what dreams are made of. The many colors of the water here in the Bahamas are so surreal.





We walked a little further around the point where Peter and Josh could go diving for lobster. It was very rocky and sharp on that side of the island where the waves had eroded away the lava rock. As we set down our bags Josh saw a bunch of coconuts growing behind us. He took one of the Hawaiian slings to knock down a couple coconuts. We really are WHERE THE COCONUTS GROW! Leah had no trouble busting one open on a lava rock. The water inside was like a taste of heaven. It was so refreshing on a hot day and definitely helped rehydrate us all. Livin’ the dream :)





The guys went out diving and Leah and I put our masks on and checked out the shallows on the inside of the cove. Eventually Josh came back to bring Leah and I out to where the guys were diving. Leah had on her Nikes and I had my fins. We put on our masks and snorkels and started exploring the underwater world in front of us. We saw pretty bright blue reef fish and colorful coral up and down the valleys of white sand. We wished we had brought our underwater camera! Unfortunately there were no lobster here or anything else to spear but we had a blast snorkeling around anyway.

After awhile a while sand beach appeared on the shoreline as a signal it was time to come in. I was the only one without shoes or booties so I carefully climbed over the lava rock barefoot. Just call me Jody Lundin! (one of our favorite TV shows back on land is Dual Survival with Cody Lundin. Everywhere he goes, he is barefoot. He treks through the most dangerous places to survive like the Amazon, Sahara and Alaska wilderness)


Back where our dive began, we brought out peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and some fresh tangerines that Jon and Arline gave us. After lunch we trekked back across the sand bar. Along the way we found dozens of sand dollars in a path back to shore, almost like a yellow brick road.


While we waited for our Bahamian friend to pick us up, Peter and I walked up the riverbank a little bit and saw a lionfish in the seagrass. Those suckers really are everywhere now. Crazy how fast they have become an invasive species. They carry a wicked toxin and have killed off much of the existing reef life.


Can you see the lionfish?


We also saw a starfish close by. First one of the trip!


When we got back to the boat we had to break the news to Jon and Arline that we didn’t have any lobster to contribute to the BBQ we had planned for that night. Jon was making his conch fritters. Luckily, the guys from the fishing tournament gave us a huge filet of King Mackerel. Peter served it up sashimi style. Holy crap that was good!!! Nothing like fresh sushi straight out of the ocean. We all crashed hard that night after a long day.





Diving the Sapona Wreck and Crossing the Bahama Banks


2.10.14 We left Brown’s and went back to the Sapona wreck at Turtle Rock. This time the anchor dug in good. Peter dove the anchor, then came back to help me get the watermaker fired up. It took a bit of deciphering but we finally figured out how to unpickle it from when the previous owners stored it last. It’s slow but it works! 6 gallons an hour is actually pretty good in terms of watermakers. There is a tiny tinge of saltiness in it but nothing a little ice won’t cover up :) Now we are totally self sufficient!




Peter couldn’t wait to jump in! This man is a fish :)



The guys played around with the Air Line hookah system for a little bit right off the boat. It works pretty well to just leave the engine on the aft deck and run the hoses off the back. That way they don’t have to mess with lifting it up and over the lifelines down into the water. There wasn’t a whole lot to see under the boat but it was fun to play around with it. They did a quick inspection of the bottom of the boat too. One of these days we need to clean the bottom now that we are in clear and warm enough water. Another thing to add to the list…








After awhile, they decided it was time to go look at something really cool and swam over to the wreck with their masks and snorkels. It was a little intimidating for me and Leah so we stayed at the boat for now.


If you haven’t read the page on our website that explains why we chose the name “Where The Coconuts Grow,” be sure to check it out and click the link ‘here‘.

We are finally in a place where we meet all the requirements of what we call the 80/80/80 Rule:

80° Air Temp

80° Water Temp:


80′ Water Visibility:



And we see coconuts floating by all the time ;)


The next day (Tuesday 2.11.14) we all took the dinghy over to the wreck to look for lobster and so Leah and I could look around a little. It was amazing! There was a nurse shark hiding inside the wreck and lots of small fish and coral were fun to look at too. Even though it was just a nurse shark, I wasn’t too interested in getting close to it. Peter and Josh are like fish so diving down to nab those tasty little buggers was no problem for them. Still difficult nonetheless, but we ended up with four lobsters and two conch.

After dinner we pulled up the anchor, began the stowing process and left around 7pm to begin our crossing to the Berry Islands. The Bahama Banks are no joke either. There are some crazy deep areas and it was a good 70nm stretch. To our dismay, the winds were much stronger than we anticipated, giving us an average of 20 knots on the nose. This was yet again another long passage motoring into the wind. This time Peter, Josh and I did fine without taking any seasickness meds. Leah took some just in case. It was a very rolly ride. Trying to use the heads was like being on a roller coaster!!

Half way into the trip we noticed a lot of sea water rolling back behind our port side lockers in the galley. We were heeled over pretty good and dipping the bow into the water a lot so it was really tough to find out where it was coming from. We emptied out all the lockers, sopped up the water and finally determined nothing else was leaking.

We still don’t know what it was, but we have a few ideas. Either it was leftover water that ended up in our anchor locker as we took water over the bow, or it was from one of the seacocks backflowing into the boat as we crashed down from the waves. The aft head had spilled sea water over from the bowl. It hadn’t been locked shut properly and there was just too much pressure to keep the bowl from filling up. The most likely culprit is the leaking anti-siphon hose that is connected to the generator. At least its all clean and dry now!


Wednesday 2.12.14 around 6:30pm we made it into Great Harbour Marina. It was dark but we had storm clouds on our tail and we got there as fast as we could motorsailing and tacking like crazy. The marina is super protected and tucked away. Docking was easy and the still water was incredibly peaceful. It was so nice to just be still. The showers were hot, the wifi reached the boat (although spotty and super slow) and there was a restaurant nearby to fill our bellies after a long crossing.