Fishing: Aspire to Achieve

 Day 52 – 22nd December 2016 – 7th January 2017

We arrived at the British Virgin Islands ready for white sands, sun, sea and snorkeling and it did not disappoint! Every location had its moments but Anegada was a cut above. Perhaps this was my experiences there and not the island itself, I can’t tell. I just know it was special. On a side note, the next post will be written from a slightly different perspective so keep tuned! 

A quick day of chores at Spanish Town, Virgin Gorda, starring Christmas present hunting… and we were ready to roll!

23.12.16: Jess’s 26th birthday – The Baths, Virgin Gorda. Unfortunately the anchorage was festooned with sailing boats and tourists. 

We snorkeled to shore and explored the jumble of huge boulders.

We ventured through a crack between two rocks that had fallen together to escape the bustle. Kirstine followed by Jess, Rachael then me… jumping into the pool at the other end, aaaaa silence and tranquility… I look back and Mark was nowhere to be seen… I spoke my concerns “Do you think Mark got stuck?” Giggles. Silence. Minutes later he bumbled through, all 6″4 of him, with 4 tiny children following. It was like the Pied Piper had just arrived! It was hilarious. Tranquility vanished as quickly as it came.

Barry the Barracuda 

Onto Peter Island, Key Cay, for the Christmas extravaganza. Fishing line out, no bites. After relaying the anchor 5 times we were set. Barry the Barracuda was spotted from top deck = no jewellery to be worn in water!

Christmas Eve: With fireworks glowing on the horizon, Mark and I had indepth conversations about life…”Opinions are like arseholes, everyone’s got one.” Thanks Mark. 

Christmas on a boat: Swim, omelette, Bad Santa, snorkeling, Christmas dinner – ham! and star gazing. Barry seen on numerous occasions circling the boat, teeth glinting in the sun…
26.12.16: My birthday kicked off with a fry up! Stocks tradition.

After a slightly lazy boxing morning, I felt a bit restless. It was time for an adventure! We packed our gear into waterproof bags and swam to shore. I had read there was a lake with wading birds nearby and was determined to locate it. I lead the team straight into the foresty undergrowth – this was not appreciated by the others and moments later we headed back to the beach. Undeterred, along the beach and up a hill we went, following some form of goat path. It started to get bristley and prickly with hundreds of cactuses and a number of large spiders… The mood dropped, complaining heightened and we came to a halt. I dearly wanted to carry on so left the rest behind in search of a route up – being stopped in my tracks by thick bush and 2 huge spiders. At this point I felt that yes I could go on but I knew the others were waiting, so headed back to pretty glum faces. “Mission aborted” I announced. Mark could tell I was very disappointed and stormed upwards, I followed. Jess and Rachael with feet firmly planted. He got to the 2 spiders and didn’t even see them, trampling up and up, determined to reach the top. 

And that we did! Spotting the lake with wading birds! Mark convinced they were flamingos, I didn’t have the heart to tell him my thoughts. 

On route down we picked up the girls and headed to the lake…. Yep, no flamingos there BUT present were wading birds with really long thin yellow pin legs with small black and white bodies. Birthday mission complete. 

The Great Fish Hunt began – Mark the ‘alpha male’ determined to source my birthday dinner. Speedos, check. Spear Gun, check. We followed the hunter gatherer learning the tricks of the trade… Suddenly Barry was swimming towards me… For some reason in the face of danger I gave off a high pitched weird laugh squeal which meant my snorkel filled with water. Shit!!! I quickly popped my head up, taking my eyes of Barry for a second and back down… Trying desperately to orientate myself AND Barry!! Where did he go!?! I searched high and low, it’s like a game to him. 

Mark carried on, Barry watched for amusement at Mark’s pathetic effort. “He looks you in the eye, laughs, stays perfectly still and thinks to himself you will miss me anyway.” Mark describing Barry in awe. Barry is never wrong.

The Hunter, No Gatherer returns… Pizzas for dinner then. 

Waving goodbye to Key Cay, we left Barry to live another day. 

Chicken Patty, Pelicans and Party Time

27.12.16: On route to Smugglers Cove, Tortola there was a slight incident… Mark was on the helm and we sailed past the most amazing home tumbling down the rocks right on the tip and as we turned the headland, “Bring on the main” Mark exclaimed. No answer. Cameras out. Mark repeated again, louder.

We snapped away. No reply. No main. Only my perfect home. “Oooo great for a honeymoon.” Not sure how the main came on in the end…

Saw first turtle life! Whilst snorkeling I saw thousands of tiny fish making patterns in the sun kissed water. It was an incredible optical illusion, such movement and energy. 

Sailed to Trellis Bay, Beef Island to drop my beloved Jess off. Then onto Cane Garden Bay, pelicans galore.

As soon as we entered I got an unexplainable feeling, just comfortable, like I could breathe again. We walked along the beach – White sands lined with coconut trees bending in the breeze. Then laid on beach for the sunset. 
A small taster of pelican life

Jaffle Iron – cocoon pocket of goodness. Australian version of toastie. Must research.

30.12.16: Tried to run up hill – not quite as fit as I first thought. Walking it is. We asked directions from a black tattooed muscly guy with a round head, big lips and a row of gold bottom teeth. The joy of life was written on his face. The sun twinkled off his golden teeth as he let out a monumental laugh.

What a view!
31.12.16: Arrived in Jos Van Dyke, White Bay just in time for a floating party with Commedia.

The next day I experienced my first Chicken Patty. I can tell you now, every person on earth should eat one. Heaven. A God send. Best tasting thing I have ever eaten… This reaction may have been down to the fact I had one too many GnT’s last night… or it was just bloody brilliant! 

Rafted up with Commedia at Great Harbour for Foxys new year : voted top 10 places in the world to have new year! Fruit Salid 3 style, we waited till it got dark, then decided to move the boat – weaving our way through 150+ boats and their anchors! After laying our anchor multiple times we got a substantial amount of abuse. I must admit now, I kind of ‘lost my shit’ in a polite manner. “Please stop shining that spotlight in my eyes, I don’t greatly appreciate it. Now I’m struggling to see in the dark.”

Eventually we headed back to White Bay, a safe haven. The party commenced: No fireworks but there was Pisco, a Chilean beverage, flowing wickedly.

Girls ready to hit the dance floor!

Had a second Chicken Patty, and another beef patty… Then watched the sun rise into a New Year. 

Moist January, surprises and special moments 

The new year kicked off with an eventful day for Fruit Salid. 

1. We ran into a reef. Apparently we were following a big boat, that turned out had a small Keel…

2. After checking the tender’s fuel before we left, we struggled to get the bloody thing going. Ended up floating around aimlessly in the dark, thankfully some Americans came to the rescue… Turned out the starter switch had unclipped.

3. Followed by no sleep on reef surf waves = big and bouncy.

Good start to 2017. Let’s hope it doesn’t carry on this way! 

On we sailed to Jost Van Dyke, via Sandy Cay. Idyllic little Island. White sands. Coconut trees. Jumping fish around the boat. 

02.01.17: I woke up to a yummy treat – Mark and Rachael surprised me with my favourite cold breakfast material. Branflakes, I love you.

Important decisions were made such as which film we would watch on our first film night. Rock, paper, scissors seemed like the fairest option – Mark won, choosing Low and Behold. We were quite excited at the prospect so watched a snippet to whet our appetite! Honestly it’s hard to describe how terrible this film looked. I think it may have been a documentary on how the internet began. My heart was in my hands. Talk of the horrific film choice lasted all day. 

I helmed the whole way! 5 hours. Solid work by Pigeon. 3 bites. No fish. The lure had been bitten off!!! Just our luck. 

We made it to Anegada, pomato point and had the best meal of the trip (if I say so myself): Prawns in garlic and white wine sauce.

Then we sat down for Low and Behold… I was still trying to convince the others that we needed another film. They would not budge “We rock, paper scissored – its only fair!” Great. Next thing I hear is.. du du du duuuuu, du du du, du du du duuuuu…. The James Bond theme tune!! But we don’t have any Bonds on board!!! It must have taken me at least 50 seconds to realise it was indeed James Bond because it was…. I’d never seen him before. But yes it was, Her Majesties Secret Service. I couldn’t believe it!! I was so confused! What an absolutely brilliant surprise – they had downloaded it in secret, I had no idea. I was touched. 

03.01.17: We walked miles along the beach, not a soul to be seen! Found Connie The Conch… then dress shopping. Mark let loose his feminine side.
04.01.17: Hiring push bikes somehow turned into Mopeds. Flamingos. Iguanas. A new found love for driving a moped, at 50mph!!!

Lobster. Outdoor cinema. Cheese and ice-cream. Does this trip still count as holiday?

05.01.17: On route to Horse Shoe Reef we came across a patch of shallow coral and decided to go snorkelling. Incredible. We swam with a turtle! 

We headed deeper into the maze of coral reefs and sand. The sand was approximately 3m deep with reefs around 1m deep. There were hundreds of dark patches of shallow coral coating the sea bed. 

The colours were out of this world – every shade of blue you can imagine flashing up at you.

Eventually we gave up and anchored in the middle. Don’t worry we anchored on the sandy part! Risky night to follow. 

06.01.17: Today was a special day. We woke up early and headed to Horseshoe Reef… again. I took my position on the bow and with a vast array of erratic hand gestures directed Fruit Salid 3 through the minefield of reefs. Although it was probably not the best thing to do in a 40 foot sailing boat with a 2.45m deep keel I must admit, in a worryingly sinister way, I was in my element! 

After a few hours of dogems we anchored by a reef for lunch. Mark grins and pulls out a little seat, the bosun’s chair, and waves it at me… “You want a good photo?” I couldn’t believe it! What a brilliant idea! 

A little too excited I was in and being hoisted… 40 seconds in and “AAAAAAASTOP!” My hair had got caught and ravelled into the …. I couldn’t move my head, I tentatively felt the back of my head. There was no way I was getting that hair out! I sat there. Thank goodness Mark is 6″4, he climbed up and managed to untangle the clump… leaving a substantial amount in the clip. I couldn’t help but laugh during this, it’s just bloody typical! 

Anyway onwards and upwards… and what a view! It was the most spectacular sea scape! From up top it looked like a scattering of cornflakes on a tablecloth looking through a kaleidoscope. It was magical. 

Grin or grimace? (Holding on for dear life)
Followed by the best snorkeling of the trip! You could actually see the fish’s character and intricate movements. 

We left the BVI’s with a BIG sail to Saint Johns. Up at 0500 and 19 hours at sea. Still no fish. Ginger Ale – a new favorite! 

08.01.17: We woke up and demolished sausages and perfectly cooked poached eggs… “Holy heck” I heard from top deck. I poke my head up to assess the situation. Mark is looking rather pleased with himself, “I’ve got breakfast” he holds up a Flying Fish. We both heaved a sigh of relief that we already had full bellies. What a shame we couldn’t eat the flying fish that had been festering there all night! A blessing in disguise but a fish in any case! 

Is it wrong that’s the only fish we’ve managed to ‘catch’? 

Fishing; it’s a mystery yet to be solved.

Pigeon aspires.

2 thoughts on “Fishing: Aspire to Achieve

  1. George pal! I have only just found this and bloody love it. It looks like your having such a great time, particularly loving the adidas funk short and all the food. I never thought I’d witness Stocks hastagging so that was a revelation. Keep up the good work, lots of love xx


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