|Tropic Moon anchored in Maya Cove, Tortola, British Virgin Islands|
To go to the beginning of this book, Tropic Moon: Memories, click HERE.
We sailed back to the British Virgins and settled in at a gorgeous anchorage on Tortola called Maya Cove. What we found there was a “boat suburbia." About a dozen cruising boats were there, more or less permanently, and we were welcomed into a friendly community. It reminded me of the suburbs because two of the men had jobs in Road Town, and commuted together to work, as well as dropping off three of the "boat kids" at their school. The women kept the "cars" (dinghies), and watched for their husbands at lunchtime and at night so they could go to the dock to pick them up.
Maya Cove was surrounded by land on three sides, with a very long reef forming the fourth side. Entering the Cove at one end of the reef, we tucked ourselves in at the other end, near to where the reef met the land. When the wind blew from either the north or east, as it usually did, we'd be behind all the other boats. If the wind blew from the southwest, all the boats would swing on anchor, and we'd be at the head of the pack. Sitting in the cockpit, we could either look at the other boats, or look out across the reef to where we had a view of the Sir Francis Drake Channel and the islands lining the far side. Our view included the end of Virgin Gorda, Round Rock, Ginger Island, Cooper Island, Salt Island, Dead Man's Chest, Peter Island, a wee bit of Norman Island, and Flanagan Island. Even the names of the islands were picturesque!
|View across the Sir Francis Drake Channel, British Virgin Islands|
Cruising has a lot to do with boats and sailing and seeing different places, but it’s also about the people - brief acquaintanceship, getting together for a drink and swapping cruising tales; really hitting it off with someone and spending what time you have together, knowing you probably won't meet again; friendships that are formed in a short time but grow with other encounters and develop into lasting relationships. Several other sailboats were calling Maya Cove "home," and we made lots of new friends.
Besides seeing Jerry and Martin on Travel, we got acquainted with Born Free’s crew – Roger, Norma, and their 14-year-old daughter, Diana. Roger was an artist and had set up business in the British Virgin Islands, selling his paintings to charterers and other tourists. Among the other residents of Maya Cove were George and Ruth on Easterly. They were the old timers in the harbor, probably well into their sixties. They were from Maine, and had been living in the Caribbean for ten years. Whereas we spent a couple months at an island, if George and Ruth liked a place, they stayed for a couple years. They still did quite a bit of sailing, especially when one or more of their ten grandchildren decided to pay them a visit.
We invited another couple, Ben and Janet, from Amiga, over for drinks one night. Ben was excited to learn he and Ed were both Dartmouth College alumni. He proceeded to name every other Dartmouth alumnus he’d met in the islands. It turned out to be quite a few! Ben had graduated fifteen years ahead of Ed. He and Janet had been cruising for about seven years. They were getting tired of the lifestyle, and had left Amiga and flew home the previous winter. They decided they weren’t ready to go “cold turkey,” and just move back to the States. They were dividing their time between land and sea. Ben and Janet were in the process of getting ready to leave Amiga again for the winter, for six months of visiting and winter skiing.