I can't resist. I've weighed in on several anchoring threads on this board, one such HERE
Now for some more reminiscing about charter boats in the Virgin Islands. I wish that we had carried a videocam those first years of cruising in the Caribbean. The anchoring antics, when you weren't downwind from some of the boats, was amusing. The best stories were always about the bareboat charterers, though (and the French, but that's for another day). Maybe because there were so many of them in the Virgin Islands then - and now.
Friends of ours helped a bareboat get into a slip in the BVIs, partly because they were generally all-around nice guys, and partly because they were legitimately concerned that their boat would be taken out by the boat heading straight for them rather than for the neighboring slip. After getting the people settled into the marina, they invited them over for a cup of coffee and some chats.
When asked where they sailed in the States, the couple told our friends that they had never sailed before. It turned out that they had agreed to charter in the BVIs with friends who were experienced sailors and who had completed the application. When their friends were unexpectedly unable to go, this couple decided that they would take the charter rather than lose their deposit. What they didn't explain was how they could fake their absolute ignorance in all things sailing. Our friends convinced these hapless charterers to just stay in the marina for their week, and enjoy the area without ever setting sail again.
#2. We were heading for a marina in the BVIs to clean up our boat after the prop shaft slipped out and flooded our boat. We listened to a VHF conversation between a charter boat and the dockmaster at the marina. The fellow on the boat went through the "is there a slip available?, how much?, where is it?. Then his final query - "could somebody come onto the boat to bring it into the slip?" He'd gladly pay, of course. The dockmaster said yes, he had someone who would help him, just pick him up at the fuel dock on his way to the slip. The boat skipper said, "you don't understand, he has to come out here to get on the boat" - "here" being about a 1/2 mile from the marina. Lots of back and forth, and finally, with a hefty, hefty charge, the temporary captain got a dinghy ride out to the boat to bring it in.
The scariest, at least for anybody considering chartering out their own boat, was this tale reported by Cap'n Fatty Goodlander, who back then wrote for a VI tourist/sailing rag. Fatty's story started with a photo of the boat being refloated from its resting place on the bottom of the bay. Turns out that the charterers didn't check too carefully whether there were any lines trailing in the water when they started the engine and put it into gear. Sadly, the engine didn't stall when the jib sheet tightened around the prop shaft, but rather pulled the shaft strut out - leaving a 3-inch hole in the bottom of the boat, under the engine, into which a whole lot of water gushed very quickly, sinking the boat upright. Needless to say, the charterers didn't get their security deposit back, but the owner of the boat had a huge bill paying the deductible for the insurance payment to refloat the boat. And repair/rebuild/replace everything that was destroyed by its immersion in salt water for several days. Yikes.
Anchoring stories. Bareboat charter stories. And a story for the beleaguered and tight-budget cruiser.
We used to head for the Virgin Islands every spring after most of the tourists had abandoned the Caribbean for the improving weather in the north. We would anchor in all the recommended bays on the charter boat list of places to go, things to do. As soon as the anchor was set I would jump into the water with fins and snorkel and just swim around. I found: an anchor. A beautiful boat hook. Various shackles and other ground tackle. Great towels, bath and beach. Crockery, tableware, clothes - many, many T-shirts. Masks and snorkels - when we finally left the Caribbean for the Pacific, we had recovered about a dozen of them. I kept the best, gave away the rest, but loved the treasure hunt every day.
Oh, the simple pleasures of the cruising sailor.
Fair winds and a secure anchorage