Jimmy gave us free reign of the morning, so we started up the diesel and powered the boat over to the calm waters of Horseshoe Reef where we again dropped anchor between a half dozen large catamarans. We packed up the inflatable dinghy with our snorkeling gear and headed to a tiny beach about a thousand feet away for some sea life watching, though the snorkeling was shallow and I saw nothing spectacular as I kicked my way around in the currents. Noticing the tide rising, I turned back for the beach and laid in the sun next to the dinghy to ensure it didn't float away in the ocean as we all swam distracted. About an hour later José, Chris, and Rory joined me and we cast off from the sand, heading back towards our sailboat. It was on the way out of the tiny channel that we saw a gigantic sea turtle off the bow of the dinghy, bobbing in the water and extending its head up to check out the surroundings.
Back on board we cleaned up the boat before gathering below deck and going over the charts for our day. With it being only the second day of doing chart navigations it did take us a few minutes to get back in the swing of things, but we eventually figured out that we'd cover 3.5 miles at a 240 degree heading before changing to a port tack and following a 175 degree heading another 3 miles south towards Petite St. Vincent. The waters were relatively calm today, and we maintained a straight course with consistent 14-16 knot winds. José was at the helm for the majority before I took over, and about a mile out from our intended destination we turned to irons (straight into the wind) and briefed for what would be Man OverBoard exercises. I was the first to sail us through the MOB procedure, and having not physically done it in the last 10+ years, didn't exactly nail it the first time. Of the four of us, Chris had the hardest time with the maneuvering, but in the end she got it close enough for government work, and we sailed on. I took back over behind the wheel and Jimmy gave me few directions other than where we were anchoring for the night as I sailed us there over the next half hour or so. I suppose it silently means good things that he's had me at the helm at the end of our sails for 2 of the last 3 nights.
We meandered our way into a shallow reef no more than 200 feet off the shores of Petite St. Vincent, a private island owned by a rich man in Texas. There's a bar, restaurant, and very expensive hotel on the island, with rooms costing upwards of $1,500/night. The island is probably only a half mile long, covered in green vegetation and a few dozen palm trees along the beaches. It's incredibly picturesque, and noticeably surrounded by sea turtles swimming in the currents offshore. As Rory and José ventured out in the dinghy in search of fish to catch, Jimmy and I talked for a long while about my desire to take a boat across the ocean alone. I was somewhat hesitant to bring it up at first, but we spoke seriously about it, the time it'd take, and what would be involved in preparing a boat for it. Thankfully by finances alone I won't be ready to seriously consider buying a boat until late next spring so there's plenty of time for more research and studying. Conversation drifted in other directions as we watched two more 60+ foot catamarans drop anchor nearby to us, each charter flying French flags and carrying large vacationing American families. For dinner we cooked cheeseburgers on the gas stove (by we I mean Chris) and she prepared a great salad alongside it while José provided the wine. The five of us sat on deck in the cockpit, and I played one of my favorite live John Mayer albums on the boat's sound system as we dined and the sun set. As dusk passed we were again left with an incredible sky, speckled with stars from light years away that are beautifully visible to the naked eye.
There are some stresses that come sign sailing like this, with other people learning alongside that I think hinder the ability to learn and retain information, but it's something I'm doing my best to work through. Though I've sailed in the past, the hands on experience of maneuvering Mango is invaluable to my desire to become a better sailor. Tomorrow we will work on more drills and sail a little ways north back to Union Island, as Petite St. Vincent is as far south as we'll sail on this win-driven journey through the Grenadines.