Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
Tortola is the largest of the British Virgin Islands and is one of the most Northwestern islands of the Leeward Islands of the Caribbean. We plan to spend several weeks in this area before venturing further South and East.
As the bird flies, Tortola is about 1250 nautical miles (1450 statute miles) from Norfolk, Virginia. Aboard Mirasol, we expect to sail about 1400 nautical miles.
For our landlubber friends, this circuitous route deserves a little explanation. It's all about the Trade Winds. Once we get down to the latitudes of south Florida, the winds start blowing very predictably from the South East. Further south, they blow always from the East. These are the Trade Winds. If we head straight for Tortola, we'll run right into the Trades and be faced with an upwind slog for many days. That is a recipe for a very, very grumpy wife and son. Since I don't want a divorce or to sell the boat in November, we won't go that way.
Instead, we'll head towards Bermuda. Once we're about 100-200 miles southwest of Bermuda, we'll turn almost due south for Tortola. This should keep the wind on our beam and the family smiling!
We hope to make the trip inside of 10 days. A lot will depend on the weather we get, and how much wind. Right now, the forecast for our departure from Norfolk is for very light winds so we'll probably have to motor-sail for the first couple of days. The first leg of the trip is a little tricky as we have to deal with the Gulf Stream and coastal weather. I'll go into that on the next post once I have a better grip on the weather for next week.
Once we're offshore, we hope to make daily posts of our location to our web site and a short update to the blog. Stay tuned!
Friday, October 23, 2009
We're glad our friends from North Point, Kathy and John (Oceana), made it in safely today. (Thanks again, guys, for bringing our new hatch down with you!) It'll be fun to hang out with them for a while before the passage to the BVI's. They are also heading south to Tortola on another boat (Windward Passage), then they are returning to Norfolk to take their own boat to the Bahamas.
Anyway, after dinner on the boat with Kathy & John tonight, I spent the evening updating our main website and hemming Quinn's Halloween costume pants. He is adorable, by the way, as a little super hero/muscle man. The festivities begin tomorrow for the little ones with a Halloween party at the Children's Museum, then "safe" trick-or-treating for a couple hours in Portsmouth (a ferry ride from here). We'll let him do it for a while, then go to dinner at the Biergarten. Last year, there was trick-or-treating at the mall in Norfolk on Halloween, so I will check and make sure we can do it again this year. I know trick-or-treating in a mall sounds lame to those of you with actual neighborhoods, but I tell ya, the Godiva and Lindt stores hand out the good stuff. I'm trying to figure out how I can borrow a few more kids!