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BVI Trip Report - Part 2

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BVI Trip Report - Part 2

Postby jmq » Wed Jul 02, 2008 1:59 pm

OK trying to get back on the horse here, maybe it will help...

Part 1 detailed the fiasco of Day 1 travel, missing connection in SJU, trying to get to Tortola, and the lost bag of teenage daughter aka TrackGirl (TG).

Bag hasn't shown up despite helpful Michelle at Marias. Hopefully AA will get it back to Tortola by Weds, then we would have to return to Tortola instead of getting off in Virgin Gorda (VG) as originally planned.

So off we go for 2 nights in Anegada (ANG) without her stuff, which included her contact lens solution and our suntan lotions. Drug stores were closed in Tortola late Sunday and early Monday day 2 when we were up at 6 to catch 7am ferry to ANG. Lotsa folks getting on ferry, then most got off in VG, commuting to work no doubt.

Ferry leaves VG for the 15 mile run to ANG, and you cannot see ANG til you're almost right on top of it - that's how flat it is.

Yes it's that flat.
[img]<a%20href="http://picasaweb.google.com/jmackq/0806BVIAnegadaVG/photo#5215941665981933650"><img%20src="http://lh5.ggpht.com/jmackq/SGK_T1oDKFI/AAAAAAAABwQ/reIZ3qWNaV0/s400/IMG_3203.JPG"></a>[/img]

Off ferry, big friendly guy asks are we the JMQs? Yes we are. It was Dean of DW Jeep Rentals, he grabs bags and walks us over to our Suzuki rental. After he loads bags, wife AMQ goes to give him a few dollars tip and he just starts laughing. I tell her he's the owner and she says what do I know I'm just a dopey tourist and he really laughs at that.

We follow him to his place to do the paperwork, get to meet his delightful wife, see her pottery etc. I explain lost bag situation so we can ask where can we find contact solution and they sympathize and laugh with us. Dean says he might have something for us that he bought one time by mistake. He retrieves a small vial of Visine contact re-wetting eyedrops that we figure we might be able to do something with.

So its off to search for some stuff for TG. If you think shopping is sparse in some of the other islands, you ain't been to ANG. We make the rounds to Sue's Purple Turtle, the gift shop at Anegada Reef Hotel, a couple other small shops, and even to the clinic in "the settlement". Most have no idea what we are talking about when we ask about contact lens solution, but ask for and get a couple of specimen jars at the clinic, so maybe she can squeeze another day out of them using the Visine from Dean so they don't dry out overnight.

Actually at the Purple Turtle, we did score a one piece bathing suit for TG that fit in the cash only sale basket for only $25 (whats the chance of that?) plus ANG butt shorts, and sun tan lotion.

Sue's Purple Turtle
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Back to Anegada Reef Hotel near the ferry dock for decent breakfast including a little unusual but good BLT with egg sandwich.

Breakfast view from Anegada Reef Hotel.
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Check into Neptunes - all transactions are done at the bar. My kind of place. We get 2 rooms side by side upstairs (they don't do triples). Basic, clean with mini fridge and window A/C. I cant get any cell service here so after explaining why I have to call Beef Island airport in Tortola (EIS) to check on missing bag, I ask to use phone at the bar, no problem. Round 1 of no real answer and/or the run-around from them, if fact a rather rude response that sinks TGs spirits a bit.

Neptunes Treasure
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Off to Cow Wreck Beach on the other side of the island. I discover that I forgot to pack my CDs which is a small disaster for me being as I always take the time to make a special mix CD or 2 for a trip featuring a mix of new and old music. Radio reception is spotty at best. Bummer.

[img]<a%20href="http://picasaweb.google.com/jmackq/0806BVIAnegadaVG/photo#5215943729615049394"><img%20src="http://lh3.ggpht.com/jmackq/SGLBL9QhkrI/AAAAAAAABxA/7sv3Atwx65w/s400/IMG_3222.JPG"></a>[/img]

Seems like only about 15-20% of the "roads" in ANG are paved. The unpaved roads are literally a hard washboard surface interspersed with ruts with a fine layer of white powder on them. This must be the ground up coral and limestone that forms this island (not volcanic like the others). The ride seems less jarring if you go a little faster but then you tend to slide around and fishtail a bit, almost like driving a little too fast on a few inches of snow. It would be fun to throw an AWD Subaru around on these roads.

Cow Wreck beach bar
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TG takes a nap, we do some snorkeling, currents and tides make it a bit challenging.

Cow Wreck nap
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There is a good surf break out beyond the in-shore coral. Absolutely loved the sound of the surf on the ANG beaches. It touches something that is hard wired into our Jersey shore DNA.

Lunch and good drinks at Cow Wreck. We split a salad and fish sandwich. It's the kind of place where the bartender nods at you to go help yourself to a cold Carib behind the bar when she is too busy at the blender.

Back at Neptunes, round 2 of calls to EIS I am told bag is coming in on a later flight so this raises everybody's hopes.

Relaxing before dinner
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Ready for dinner - Mom's stuff don't look too bad...
[img]<a%20href="http://picasaweb.google.com/jmackq/0806BVIAnegadaVG/photo#5215945437062177266"><img%20src="http://lh5.ggpht.com/jmackq/SGLCvV_pIfI/AAAAAAAABxg/_TfB7qGozxE/s400/IMG_3270.JPG"></a>[/img]

Dinner tonight is at the Lobster Trap 2 beaches down from Neptunes. Took this picture when I walked down there to put our order in before we went off to Cow Wreck. Anywhere on ANG you have to place your order before 4pm so they can staff and get the seafood they need.

Lobster Trap
[img]<a%20href="http://picasaweb.google.com/jmackq/0806BVIAnegadaVG/photo#5215942654389281426"><img%20src="http://lh6.ggpht.com/jmackq/SGLANXuuYpI/AAAAAAAABwo/UF1Tiwh-4wA/s400/IMG_3220.JPG"></a>[/img]

Slow shutter speed so it was a little shaky, but I really love this shot of the near full moon walk down to Lobster Trap. Captures it pretty well.

Walk to dinner
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Fun watching the yachties come in on the dingys for dinner.
Best Caribbean Lobster Ever. Nuff said.
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Day 3 June 17 some early morning shots from Neptunes. Breakfast at Neptunes is just OK.

early morning view from our porch at Neptunes
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[img]<a%20href="http://picasaweb.google.com/jmackq/0806BVIAnegadaVG/photo#5218097711935419170"><img%20src="http://lh3.ggpht.com/jmackq/SGpoOOswcyI/AAAAAAAAB6c/x_cX_kUeN04/s400/IMG_3416.JPG"></a>[/img]

Round 3 of calls to EIS I am now told bag is due in on a ferry later that day and "will be held at the customs building on Tortola". This comes direct from the "good supervisor" the Tortola cabbie told me about so I choose to believe it and pitch it that way to TG. We shall see.

Stop by the flats near Dean's place, pretty cool, looks like you can walk all the way to VG or Tortola.

The flats
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[img]<a%20href="http://picasaweb.google.com/jmackq/0806BVIAnegadaVG/photo#5216160049476633490"><img%20src="http://lh4.ggpht.com/jmackq/SGOF7bijg5I/AAAAAAAAByA/qWs3jJrr_aU/s800/IMG_3307.JPG"></a>[/img]

Over to Flash of Beauty, Big Bamboo, and Loblolly beaches. Snorkeling a bit of challenge here during full moon extra low tide as a lot of the coral almost touches the surface. You find yourself in a spot where you are looking around to see a path through the coral that you will still be able to clear/get over.

Various Views from Big Bamboo and Loblolly
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[img]<a%20href="http://picasaweb.google.com/jmackq/0806BVIAnegadaVG/photo#5216162405698637634"><img%20src="http://lh4.ggpht.com/jmackq/SGOIElJqD0I/AAAAAAAAByc/-CoxJMK5qXM/s400/IMG_3337.JPG"></a>[/img]

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[img]<a%20href="http://picasaweb.google.com/jmackq/0806BVIAnegadaVG/photo#5216165400115755090"><img%20src="http://lh4.ggpht.com/jmackq/SGOKy4OVOFI/AAAAAAAABz0/502-_u4uYOs/s800/IMG_3359.JPG"></a>[/img]

[img]<a%20href="http://picasaweb.google.com/jmackq/0806BVIAnegadaVG/photo#5218095051376861218"><img%20src="http://lh6.ggpht.com/jmackq/SGplzXWKoCI/AAAAAAAAB5Q/ceR5AwRyFco/s800/IMG_3374.JPG"></a>[/img]

video
<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/sAMnMptg5_8&hl=en"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/sAMnMptg5_8&hl=en" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>

Lavenda Breeze - the only "luxury" villa on the island is in between 2 of these beaches.
[img]<a%20href="http://picasaweb.google.com/jmackq/0806BVIAnegadaVG/photo#5216161439293284834"><img%20src="http://lh3.ggpht.com/jmackq/SGOHMVAqoeI/AAAAAAAAByI/jW6H1D2jkqI/s400/IMG_3323.JPG"></a>[/img]

[img]<a%20href="http://picasaweb.google.com/jmackq/0806BVIAnegadaVG/photo#5216162106025596098"><img%20src="http://lh6.ggpht.com/jmackq/SGOHzIyCVMI/AAAAAAAAByQ/QllmW9DJGLI/s400/IMG_3324.JPG"></a>[/img]


A few underwater shots from the 2 days of snorkeling these beaches - water was stirred up at times. Not a lot of critters - I think you have to venture pretty far out, even beyond the break to see some of the better stuff.

[img]<a%20href="http://picasaweb.google.com/jmackq/0806BVIAnegadaVG/photo#5218454600422534930"><img%20src="http://lh3.ggpht.com/jmackq/SGusz36wLxI/AAAAAAAACC4/LnBnbgyNl3c/s800/IMG_4078.JPG"></a>[/img]

[img]<a%20href="http://picasaweb.google.com/jmackq/0806BVIAnegadaVG/photo#5218455427799657970"><img%20src="http://lh5.ggpht.com/jmackq/SGutkCI1LfI/AAAAAAAACDI/CG3x6kFfRww/s800/IMG_4106.JPG"></a>[/img]

Back to Cow Wreck again in late afternoon through the scrub land of ANG - no flamingos in the huge salt ponds, see a couple of very skinny feral cows. Cow Wreck is a great beach bar.

Back to Cow Wreck
[img]<a%20href="http://picasaweb.google.com/jmackq/0806BVIAnegadaVG/photo#5218095392603632370"><img%20src="http://lh4.ggpht.com/jmackq/SGpmHOg98vI/AAAAAAAAB5Y/33W_IHgoYtY/s800/IMG_3384.JPG"></a>[/img]

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Cow Wreck video
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Dinner at Neptunes - fresh caught Mahi and snapper. All good. Again lotsa yachties coming in on dingys to Neptunes dock for dinner.

Views from dinner at Neptunes
[img]<a%20href="http://picasaweb.google.com/jmackq/0806BVIAnegadaVG/photo#5218095468949600034"><img%20src="http://lh5.ggpht.com/jmackq/SGpmLq7Q9yI/AAAAAAAAB50/Fpeum2m4_fM/s800/IMG_3393.JPG"></a>[/img]
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Some views look like the FLA keys to us...
[img]<a%20href="http://picasaweb.google.com/jmackq/0806BVIAnegadaVG/photo#5218095708327010962"><img%20src="http://lh3.ggpht.com/jmackq/SGpmZmrSYpI/AAAAAAAAB58/_pVVFqilA6Q/s800/IMG_3394.JPG"></a>[/img]


Day 4 June 18 we have to leave on the morning ferry instead of the late afternoon ferry in order to go back to Tortola for the missing bag.

When we check out, the nice folks at Neptunes say I hope you find your bag. I had seen Dean's wife the day before at Neptunes and mentioned this to her and asked if we could do something about the rate paid minus any CC fees he would incur because we would now only have the vehicle for 48 hrs. She said she would tell him that and we should just leave the car at the ferry dock. I wrote up note to leave for Dean in the car, but lo and behold he is at the dock, sees me and cheerily gives me a $60 refund in cash. How nice.

I had also called Guavaberry (GB) to advise them of change in plans so they could arrange pick up. I asked if the morning ANG ferry stopped at VG on the way to Tortola because I offered to go solo over there to eliminate some backtracking for all. Valerie at GB was sure that the morning ferry didn't stop at VG anyway because she goes over to ANG regularly. Guess what? It did stop, and about a half dozen people got off.

As we pull into Tortola, I ask the powers that be for my daughters' bag to be there. After all, she's a good kid who pulled those grades that let us go on the trip in the first place.

Off the ferry, outside the customs terminal, porter I used on Monday asks if I need help, I say I need to fetch a missing bag that was sent over from STT, he says ask that uniformed woman just inside, and he follows me in.

After customary pleasantries, I ask about the bag and she just sort of look sort of blankly past me with no real response. The porter sees this and says "come with me". We go through an unmarked door to an office where he explains what we are looking for, they lead us quickly to a holding area and there it is! What a relief. I make sure to thank and tip this porter appropriately.

I could tell that wife AMQ would really like to do some shopping and maybe even lunch in Roadtown (there are some nice shops there) and catch a little later ferry back over to VG, but TG is anxious to get her hands on her stuff so being a good Mom, she defers to TG. We grab some pastries and cappuccinos (yay civilization!) at Capriccio del Mar across from the terminal before heading over to VG for the rest of the vacation.

I have to give TG major props for the way she handled this all. At one low point, she was still able to say, "Well I could be taking my Math final right now" which is a good way to cope with things.

And forcing myself to edit some of my photos and write this TR right now is helping me cope a little with the sudden loss of my bud Sandy right after we got back. That's him in the avatar. I work mostly at home so I miss him terribly. Little things get you. The UPS truck came yesterday. Its not the same without him going ape at just the sound of the brakes or sight of that brown truck. I hope they make deliveries in heaven too.

Next up (probably next week): Virgin Gorda.
Last edited by jmq on Sat Jul 05, 2008 7:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby waterguy » Wed Jul 02, 2008 2:29 pm

Don't worry he is barking at all the delivery guy's in heaven if he is living with my wife I'm sure she is still getting alot of things sent to her
Tom
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Postby chrisn » Wed Jul 02, 2008 2:45 pm

Score one for the TG! I'm proud of her too! Heck, she handled it better than I would have! You guys hang in there! I'm glad you decided to continue!!!
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Postby RickG » Wed Jul 02, 2008 11:10 pm

Thanks for jumping back in!! Did Anegada leave you wanting to go back?

Cheers, RickG
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Postby jmq » Thu Jul 03, 2008 9:04 am

Rick - More like an “optional go back” vs. the no brainer “MUST go back” we immediately got with St. John and Virgin Gorda. Great for a day trip or a couple days but don’t think we could do a week there.
Beautiful, wild beaches and fun beach bars and the friendliest people you’ll ever find, but not much in terms of amenities, plus with we missed the land views the other islands give you. I can see why the Anegada regulars on TTOL say things like its not about what we saw or what we did, it’s who we saw/who we caught up with again.

Don’t know if you’ll agree about this, but I'm thinking Anegada actually might not be a good match for some St. John-iacs, especially villa meisters who live for the view and dig the villa gravity thing, unless you are the type that can swing both ways in terms of “roughing it” or who really love spending all day on the beach.

Seeing the yachties come in for dinner and hearing their stories at Cow Wreck, I’m thinking the ideal way to do Anegada is to be moored on one of those beautiful 40 something foot luxury cats just off Anegada Reef and Neptunes. Some had captained charters because sailing to Anegada and making your way inside the reefs is not for sailing newbies or lightweights. Now that would be nice.
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Postby liamsaunt » Thu Jul 03, 2008 9:53 am

Thanks for continuing your trip report. I am really enjoying it.

And, I'll say it again, your daughter was a real trooper about the luggage thing! Much more mature than I would have been at her age.
It's like looking in your soup and finding a whole different alphabet.
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Postby DELETED » Thu Jul 03, 2008 10:18 am

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Postby RickG » Thu Jul 03, 2008 10:33 am

jmq, I agree on the Anageda-gap. The folks who want high-end villas and lots of restaurants and bars will not get what they are looking for. The folks that love beaches, snorkeling, hiking and fishing will love it.

People like wmagnum over at TTOL have completely gone Anegada. In his posts it is about the people and the seclusion. He went so far as to build a cottage at Cow Wreck (with a/c!!). He pretty much spends his evenings fishing from the beach.

So, Anegada is a rustic island that feels like an East Coast barrier island, just no bay. Virgin Gorda is a better fit for most St. John lovers.

I look at my family and Sweet Christine would completely get lounging on amazing beaches with Beach Bars nearby. My 11 year old daughter would go Lord of the Flies and be running around with the local kids hunting baby sharks in the shallows. My 16 year old would go "No cell phone, no Internet, my life is over." Me? I'm at the bar with Vernon Soares at Neptunes at 4:30 listening to his stories about the Andrea Gail.

But, a week on Anegada? That could get to be long.

On the sailing note, Sweet Christine and I are about to reserve a charter out of St. Thomas. We want to find out if that is a good experience for us. I can afford an island home if its a sailboat.

Keep it coming!

Cheers, RickG
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Postby jmq » Thu Jul 03, 2008 11:01 am

WG, Ch, RG, SJ, LA thanks for your support. That plus the diversion of the TR is helping.

Rick you got it nailed.
I met Walker at Cow Wreck. I recognized him from the TTOL forum and his website. Nice guy. He was tending bar one afternoon. I asked him where the good snorkeling was. He pointed out a spot pretty far off shore to the right just inside the break where he goes out fishing on his kayak. Tried to get out there but currents were running pretty good that day = too much work. Even felt some rip tides here and there.
Anegada is not a place where you should ever snorkel alone.
Last edited by jmq on Thu Jul 03, 2008 3:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby chrisn » Thu Jul 03, 2008 11:36 am

I agree 100% with the assessments on Anegada. While we absolutely loved our time there and it ended up being one of our most memorable days, I don't think I would go back for an extended island stay. Definitely day trips, maybe a two night stay but that would be plenty. Drama Girl told me she'd go nuts.

I agree with you JMQ, a charter is the way to do it!

Looks like there are a few of us venturing into unCHARTERed territory. We are booking for next June out of Tortola. Should be interesting! I'm excited!
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Postby RickG » Thu Jul 03, 2008 11:40 am

Hey chrisn, are you going with a full all inclusive charter? We are going to pickup a captain and do most of the sailing ourselves, at least as much as we can.

Cheers, RickG
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Postby Ken » Thu Jul 03, 2008 1:55 pm

Great report and pictures! Looks like lots of fun. My 13 year old daughter could learn some lessons from your 15 year old.

We loved Anegada and will definitely return. It was by far the most relaxing time in all of our trips to the islands. Plus we had absolutely picture perfect weather when we were there in January.

We enjoy St. John but it is getting very busy/ritzy (don't know if that is a word). We'll likely return, but there are so many other places I'd still like to visit.

Keep it up! I check at least once a day for your next installment :)

Ken
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Postby AnyTing » Thu Jul 03, 2008 2:36 pm

LOVE that Carib shot. Can't say why, but it's my favorite. Great stuff, as usual.

And your wife has good taste in reading material.
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Postby Maggy » Sat Jul 05, 2008 8:22 am

Thank you so much for your wonderful report from Anegada. And your photos are great. My favorites are the two early morning shots from Neptune's porch.

Agree about Anegada. It's not for everyone. We took a day trip in May and I would also like to go back, but maybe only for a day or two.

I do look forward to your VG report. I am kind of guessing that you had a great time. I mean, how couldn't you at Guavaberry?
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