Next, we ventured 30 minutes around the bottom of Tortola and north to Jost Van Dyke, a neighboring island home to the famous Soggy Dollar Bar. After dropping anchor and backing the boat into the beach among all the others having done the same, we enjoyed a satisfying lunch of roti and local fish accompanied by Painkillers (a popular Caribbean rum cocktail) and beer, and a swim. Then we upped anchor and journeyed upwind towards the perfectly picturesque islands of Sandy Cay and Sandy Spit. Colin had a go foiling behind the boat, his first time ever with a foil under his feet; a new experience for him and as most of you will appreciate, a scary one. By then it was late afternoon, and the sun was beginning to recede toward the horizon. The bountiful colors of the BVI illuminated by a late afternoon sun never fail to take my breath away.
It’s not uncommon to cross paths with some of the world’s most incredible yachts while in the BVI. That afternoon we met ‘Nahlin’, a 300ft yacht launched in 1930, and originally powered by steam turbines. Now owned by the founder of Dyson Vacuums, she has been extensively restored. Colin thought she would make for an epic backdrop, and within a few minutes I’d pumped my wing and jumped into the ocean. Someone usually makes a comment about ‘big fish’ whenever diving into deep water. While there are certainly sharks around, I’ve yet to have one mistake my foil for a tasty snack…
I am a rookie when it comes to winging, and all the many disciplines of foiling that become accessible with the right gear. However, Ocean Rodeo’s 5m Glide A-Series with the 100% ALUULA airframe, and Takuma’s 55L Carbon and 1210 Kujira Foil felt like the perfect combo for most of what this trip had on offer. Anything from 12 knots calm and steady, to a 30+ knot rain squall was game on.
The wind was calm but steady this day, perfect conditions for cruising around on foil. A yacht like Nahlin is particularly impressive up close, and the crew appeared relaxed as I glided silently underneath the tremendous overhang of the stern and bow sprit. The sun set as we made our way back to Nanny Cay Marina on Tortola, the taste of beer in our mouths, sand and salt in our hair, and a real feeling of bliss at our surroundings…
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Captain Blackbeard once marooned his crew on Dead Chest as punishment, each with only a cutlass and a bottle of rum. Those bold enough to brave the swim to Dead Man’s Bay either drowned or were eaten alive by sharks. The channel between these two points is completely exposed to the east, making it a perfect spot to tow into what little wind swell there was. Both Sam and I took turns surfing swell downwind through schools of flying fish and past the odd turtle or ray. Dead Chest is a magnificently aesthetic little island with exposed rock cliffs rising abruptly from the blue. Colin did his best to shoot from the boat, a constant learning curve, and between rides we would all relax on the sides of the RIB and take in the Caribbean ambiance.