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BVI Summer 2009 trip – June 24 through July 9, 2009 (Long)
 
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ecm56
Link to this postPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 5:59 am    Post subject: Note BVI Summer 2009 trip – June 24 through July 9, 2009 (Long)

BVI Summer 2009 trip – June 24, 2009 through July 9, 2009

“Hazy Days”

Photo album at:

http://picasaweb.google.com/SabreSpirit/BVISummer2009?authkey=Gv1sRgCOWs97Gcl8jMxwE&feat=directlink

Wednesday, June 24th

We woke up before the dog (he’s the early riser in our house) – at about 4:30 AM. We let him out and fed him while sneaking our bags to the car. Our friends Chris and Debra told us about Airport FastPark at BWI so we tried it. They provided very good service (free bottles of water, newspaper, quick van pick-up right at the car) and $3.00 a day less than the regular satellite lots.

We traveled light this year, we each had one carry-on (eBags Weekender Convertible) and our “personal” bag – I carried a camera bag and Alexis a zip-top boat bag. The Weekenders, stuffed to the max, fit perfectly in the overhead of the 737-800. Flight from BWI to SJU was full but took off on schedule. Captain took several detours of weather but we still arrived SJU pretty much on-schedule. As others have commented, AA has dramatically cut their footprint at SJU – it was shocking to see how many gates were empty.

American Eagle left for EIS pretty much on time. Also pretty much full. They didn’t have a ground power unit (AC) so the plane (Super ATR) was really hot but it cooled off once we got airborne. The flight crew was passing our bottles of water to help us keep cool. That was the first time I think I have ever seen beverage service on the SJU to EIS leg. We had a smooth flight over to EIS. We landed to the South – approaching right over Marina Cay.

With only the two bags we cleared through the bureaucracy quickly and strapped the bags on our backs and headed over to the NSX office. NSX had our reservation and everything seemed to be in order. While we were enjoying the AC in the office a shower passed over – one of only a few during our 15 days in the BVI. The shower lasted about 10 minutes, we parked our bags at the NSX office, and then we headed down to de Loose Mongoose for a snack and our first “real” Painkillers of the trip.

NSX ferry “John O Point” came in but seemed to be having problems docking. We quickly realized they were running on only one engine. After about 15 minutes they waved us to board – having resolved the engine difficulties. Arriving at SpanishTown, we were met at the dock by James who had been sent by Angella Flax to pick us up.

We noticed a Speedy’s ferry at the government dock at Trellis Bay and they overtook us and offloaded at SpanishTown. I wasn’t aware any company other than NSX ran that route – can anyone enlighten us? Is Speedy’s another alternative on that route?

Angella checked us in, our room was one of the downstairs rooms in the “hotel” building. Our room was named Anthurium. I chose the downstairs room because for late June I thought AC was a better bet than ceiling fans. That turned out to be a good choice, I think, because the Fischer’s Cove location doesn’t get a great breeze – at least in the summer months. The AC was old and a little noisy but it kept the room cool enough that we were able to sleep comfortably. We had dinner at Fischer’s Cove – Alexis had Mahi-Mahi, I had Curried Chicken. We both felt the food was acceptable but pricey even by island standards. We had the dining room to ourselves that evening and the view across the Drake Channel is really beautiful. The room had a TV (small but workable) and cable TV so we could keep up with the considerable number of news stories every night in our room. Alexis loved having a TV, I really would have preferred not to have it – I find it does not help me wind down and disconnect as much as I would like.

Thursday, June 25th

Breakfast at Fischer’s Cove. Food was acceptable but not impressive but a super view. We spent the day hanging out in the water. The beach at Fischer’s Cove is not as quaint as Spring Bay but they keep it neatly manicured, they have some little cabanas for shade, lounge chairs, and the office provides complimentary beach towels. We really enjoyed the beach there and we were frequently the only people out there. There is some kind of stone breakwater a few hundred yards offshore that moderates any waves coming in from the Drake Channel making their beach a comfortable place for lounging in the water.

I hadn’t bought a pad of paper yet and I don’t have any other notes from this day.

Friday, June 26th

Breakfast at Fisher’s Cove. Again it was OK but we decided we would look elsewhere for breakfast in the future. We had James pick us up and take us over to the Copper Mine Ruins where we walked around, took some photos, and then had James drop us at The Top of the Baths. We had a nice lunch there including some more Painkillers and Alexis relaxed in their fresh water pool.

Saturday, June 26th

We walked to VGYH and had breakfast at Bath and Turtle. We felt this was a much better breakfast for the price. The Fischer’s Cove location made it very easy for us to walk up to VGYH where there are numerous shops, restaurants, and a supermarket (Buck’s). We had an early dinner at Mermaids. Mermaids is a floating bar/restaurant just a few yards South of Fischer’s Cove on the coast. We understand Mermaids is owned by the Flax family (owners of Fischer’s Cove). Mermaids is staffed mostly by people from the DR and it was funny that we felt more like we were in a foreign country when we were there as all the help was primarily speaking Spanish. The dinner portion was good sized and priced quite reasonably. Alexis had Lasagna and I had Chicken Pasta (Penne) – both quite good. More Painkillers.

Sunday, June 28th

We had breakfast again at Bath and Turtle. After breakfast we walked up to Bucks to buy a few snacks and drinks. On the way back we stopped at the dockside bar of Bath and Turtle and had some Painkillers. The rest of the day we lazed around in the water and on the beach. In the evening we walked back up to VGYH and ate at the dockside bar of Bath and Turtle while listening to “Leon and the HotShots”. More Painkillers. Fun!

Monday, June 29th

Breakfast again at Bath and Turtle. After breakfast we called a taxi to take us to the trailhead (upper) for the VG Peak Trail. It was the clearest day yet but still quite hazy. Even with the haze, the view from the observation platform is amazing. I really want to go back there on a really clear day. Ironically, when we got back to Fischer’s Cove we met GordaPeak – he spotted my TTOL hat (somewhat sweat-soaked) and introduced himself. My notes indicate this was the first day I wore socks and shoes since arrival. Sturdy shoes are a necessity for the VG Peak trail.

Tuesday, June 30th

Last full day at Fischer’s Cove.

This was the clearest day by far. We realized today how many of the other islands had been obscured by the haze – it was a crystal clear Caribbean day. We again had breakfast at Bath and Turtle. Again we hit Buck’s. Along the way we talked with James and arranged with him for a 7:00 AM pickup the next morning so we could catch Smith’s Ferry to Anegada. We had dinner at Bath and Turtle and consumed more Painkillers. We returned to Fischer’s Cove where we closed out our account.

Wednesday, July 1st

Hot, Hot, Hot.

James picked us up at 7:00 sharp and dropped us off at the ferry dock. The ferry was a little later than we expected (expected 7:30). The lady from Smith’s had our pre-paid tickets. The ferry was the Bomba Charger. The ride was a little rough but we survived. Dean met us at the dock (he was actually on the ferry with us – I hadn’t seen him). He took us to our jeep (something like a Geo Tracker). He told us to drop by his house sometime during the day to finish the paperwork. We headed immediately to Neptune’s Treasure for breakfast. After breakfast we took our laundry down to the laundra-mat next to “Taz”. While the laundry was running we walked up to Sue’s Purple Turtle. Once the laundry was done we drove down to Dean’s and completed the paperwork.

Back at Neptune’s we walked down the beach to Potters. There we met a couple from our neighborhood in Falls Church. Some of the TTOL Regatta crew came back from Cow Wreck. We briefly met Saildoggie and Manpot. Manpot bought us a round of PainKillers (thank you!) and told us of the wonderful fries at the Fat Virgin. We had dinner at Neptune’s Treasure and planned to go back to Potters for the festivities but we got a message that we needed to call back to the US – the cell service wasn’t strong enough to complete a call so we drove down towards the Settlement to where we had a strong enough signal to make calls. By the time we got back we were both too beat to go to Potters – it had been a long day so we turned in.

Thursday, July 2nd

We slept really well. The AC was working well and a good bit quieter than the unit at Fischer’s Cove (it looked to be brand new). The mattress was comfy – although nothing matches our mattress at home. We had a delicious breakfast at Neptune’s Treasure and watched a little wading bird catching fish in the shallow water right in front of the restaurant. Alexis napped in the room while I napped outside in the hammock. In the afternoon we drove over to Loblolly Bay, swam a bit, sat in the sun, snacked at The Big Bamboo (the Conch Fritters were good). The couple from Falls Church was there – starting to think we were following them. Sally was singing in the kitchen. It was a much nicer day than Wednesday – it was cooler with a nice breeze. We had dinner at Potters – they only had two parties that night. We stayed and chatted with the waiter/bartender until 10 PM.

Friday, July 3rd

Territory Day!

Another good breakfast at Neptune’s. Walked the beach to the West. Saw a small shark. Drove into the Settlement and visited the Rock Iguana project. The goats were hanging out under a shade tree. Went to Cow Wreck. Said hi to Alex and Bell. Talked with Shauna and Kirk (they were also staying at Neptune’s).

Saturday, July 4th

Independence Day (US)!

Breakfast at Neptune’s. Alex and Taylor were at the next table with Shauna and Kirk. Shauna and Kirk were leaving today by plane if the weather was OK. We went to Flash of Beauty and walked to the East looking for Beach Glass. Retired to Big Bamboo for cold drinks. Then went to Cow Wreck for a dip, burgers, more cold drinks. Talked with Alex and Taylor. Headed back to Neptune’s Treasure where we had Key Lime Pie for dessert. Talking to Randy, he suggested two spots for finding Sea Glass.

Sunday, July 5th

Overcast.

Breakfast at Neptune’s. Got some gas ($4.20 per gallon) in the jeep. Went to Loblolly. Alex was setting up for the gig (day trippers coming over by ferry). We walked the beach looking for Sea Glass. Came back and had a few drinks and listened to Alex and the band. A quick shower came through. When the DJ took over we left and went back to Neptune’s. While Alexis took a nap, I walked over to the salt pond just across from Neptune’s. That evening we met Humpy, the Virgin Gorda Coconut Retriever. Another brief shower came through. Overnight we had rain, thunder and lightning.

Monday, July 6th

Cloudy – looks threatening.

Breakfast at Neptune’s. Took Randy’s suggestion on getting to a good Sea Glass site by Flash of Beauty and found some nice pieces. Took the North road to Cow Wreck. Stopped to look for Flamingos, didn’t see them. At Cow Wreck we said hi to “Uncle” Walker. Swam, drank, ate burgers. The weather cleared. We got a text from the lady staying at our house so we drove down to the Settlement so we could make a cell call. Returned to Neptune’s for dessert (Key Lime Pie again).

Tuesday, July 7th

Clear day!

Breakfast at Neptune’s. Snorkled at Cow Wreck. Met Capt Mobly? (TTOL). Back to Neptune’s where we took Christmas pictures in hammock. Talked with Phil and Kris from Chicago. They also took shots of us. They got their jeep stuck while searching for the Flamingos (but they did see them). Dean dug them out. The jeep is still a little sandy. We packed our bags. Bummer.

Wednesday, July 8th

Clear day, shower overnight. I wore shoes today (after being barefoot for a week).

Up at 6:30. Phones not working at Neptune’s, they had to process my credit card “the old fashioned way”. Ate a quick breakfast as we watched the ferry approach. Made a quick run to the dock. Said hi to Dean and asked if we got a rebate for not getting our jeep stuck in the sand – he laughed and we said goodbye. Bell, Lauren and the girls were on the ferry with us – we think on the way to visit Shauna and Kirk. Ferry was the Daphne Elise. Ride was pretty smooth. In RoadTown we stopped at Columbian Emeralds because Alexis “had to” get something. Took a taxi to Trellis Bay. Had PainKillers and burgers at de Loose Mongoose. Dropped bags inside the door at BIGH. Walked up the beach and back. Moved into room 1 (same room we had two years ago). Spent quality time in the hammock. It was windy (and Northerly). Chris and Mary Anne came in and we talked with them. They told us about problems that may cause them to lease or sell the place – we were bummed about that. Had a light dinner (salads) at de Loose Mongoose.

Thursday, July 9th

It was warm overnight – this was our first night with no AC. The ceiling fan and the breezes kept it tolerable. It was cool in the morning. I noted that the shower was nice – I think Chris may have installed a new showerhead (and maybe an upgraded water pump). After breakfast we checked out. Power was out in Trellis Bay – Mary Anne had to process our credit card “the old fashioned way”. We hung out in the hammocks for a while enjoying the beautiful day. We walked up to the airport a bit after noon and checked in. Our aircraft was very late coming in. There was a nice cool breeze in the main terminal but they moved us to the gate lounge where all the windows were closed and we were sweltering! Incoming flight arrived and they quickly deplaned and boarded us. We spotted Sir Richard’s Falcon jet on the tarmac – what a way to travel! Flight to SJU was uneventful. As usual, I got the full treatment at security due to my hip implant. Meanwhile, Alexis had tried to bring back tubes of toothpaste and sunblock – obvious potential terrorist tools – and was stopped. They had to go through all of her bags to check them. I gave her a dirty look. I put my shoes and socks on in San Juan. Flight to BWI held on the taxiway about 20 minutes because of a “cargo manifest discrepancy” – finally resolved we were off. They made up most of the time and we arrived in Baltimore close to on schedule. We picked up the car from Airport FastPark. As we drove off Alexis commented to me “the roads sure are smooth here”.

Summary:

Choosing AC rooms was a good move for this time of year. We wouldn’t have needed it every night but on the nights we needed it, we really needed it.

Fischer’s Cove was a beautiful location and a decent room for the cost (which is very reasonable). The restaurant was a disappointment. Because it was off-season, I won’t write them off until I have had a chance to try it on-season. It has a killer view! The bar has the same view and I would highly recommend it as a place to get a drink on Virgin Gorda. TV with cable in room and telephones in room were a surprise. We got eaten up while staying there. Initially we thought mosquitoes (as others have reported) but we’re fairly sure it was something else – maybe a sand flea or no-see-um. The bites were different. We didn’t see many mosquitoes but we both got bitten up pretty badly on our legs. The OFF towlettes we were using didn’t seem to be effective against whatever the little buggers were. We did not see any bugs in our room at Fischer’s Cove (remembering some other reports on TTOL and other forums) and the room was quite clean. Alexis had some ideas about redecorating but it was very functional.

Bath and Turtle became our regular hangout both for meals and drinks. We were very happy with the quality, price and service. I walked down to the Rock, it is also very close to Fischer’s Cove but it was closed.

Mermaids was a find – low key (some would say “a dive”) – good food, same killer view as Fischer’s Cove, economical, with the latin flavor that came with the predominantly DR staff.

Neptune’s Treasure is as wonderful as everyone says. We had eaten breakfast there in the past but never stayed and never had dinner. The service was first class. The room was spotless with new AC. The food was wonderful. This is one of the few places I have stayed where I would be comfortable with a plan that included meals – we tried a few other places but Neptune’s really was wonderful.

Cow Wreck. It was so nice to see Bell and Alex and Lauren. “Uncle” Walker and Nancy, And to meet Taylor. It is still the most beautiful beach. And good burgers. The best burgers on Anegada. We will always come back to Cow Wreck when we go to Anegada.

Beef Island Guest House and de Loose Mongoose. Still wonderful. We’re hoping Chris and Mary Anne are able to work out the problems and keep it operating. The thought of them being gone is a bummer.

Our carry on bag strategy worked. It really helps to not have to deal with baggage claim (and risk having things stolen in San Juan). The Weekender Convertible works really well – we’ve been using them for about 6 months now and really like them. We still brought way too much stuff. We did bring enough cash – almost everyone takes credit cards (even if they have to process them “the old fashioned way”). We only used two travelers checks and a couple of places refused them. Our new fins fit in the carry on bags and worked just fine.

The nylon shorts I brought worked fine. I could wash them in the sink and they would be dry by the next morning. With two or three pairs of those, I wouldn’t need any other pants and they double as swim trunks.

Because of a family medical crisis back in the states we had to make a lot of cell calls. We had turned on international roaming with AT&T before we left which lowers the rate to $1.99 per minute (from $3.49). Our bill is still going to be several hundred dollars. I am going to invest in a small PDA or tablet that can run Skype before our next trip.

The weather was wonderful. While it was hazy and we had a couple of overcast days and a few brief showers, overall the weather was excellent. It was cooler and the wind was more northerly than when I have been down before at this time of year.
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Scripty
Link to this postPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 12:29 pm    

Great report. The green and pink cottage at Fischers Cove was ours while we were there. I miss the BVI!!!
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