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Cam Bay


After 20 years of cruising the VI, my late friend Fritz Seyfarth, a notable writer, humorist and sailor, offered to disclose the existence of a “secret cove” that he enjoyed visiting. He was making this offer late one afternoon over a triple hooker of Cruzan Gold at the old Mother Turtle Reef Beach Bar on Marina Cay.

Sea turtle

I thought for a moment and figured that this cove must be some distance away, perhaps on Jost or maybe some heretofore undiscovered gunk hole over on Fallen Jerusalem. I knew the territory pretty well, so I was incredulous. Of course I accepted the offer and immediately grilled him for the location.

His offer, however, was subject to a significant caveat. I was forced to promise on penalty of worse-than-death not to divulge the location of the secret cove to one particular person: Donald Street. According to Fritz, Don Street, the dean of Caribbean cruising guide writers and long-time master of beautiful IOLAIRE, was notorious for lubricating unsuspecting and naïve young captains with rum in order to exact the locations of their private, idyllic anchorages. In fact, it was said that Don would stand a rum and coke for anyone that would give him information on a cove that he hadn’t already charted. As Fritz pointed out, no sooner had Don’s cheesy bribe drained through the bar’s urinal, than the newest Street’s Guide to the Caribbean boldly announced the location and entry procedure for the anchorage. Within days, the “secret” cove was chock-a-block with stereo-blasting sports-fishing boats replete with bikini-clad young women sunning on the foredeck. I never did ask Fritz why he thought the bikini part was a problem. Anyway, I swore on a volume of Bowditch and a bottle of Cruzan Gold that I wouldn’t tell Don Street. Nothing less would have convinced him of my sincerity. He said he would have to accompany me to the cove as it is a bit tricky to enter the first time.

The next morning I planned to sail the charter party to North Sound for two days, but when we got back, we could sail to the secret anchorage. Fritzy said, “Why not now?” “But, it’s almost 4,” I said. “No sweat, we’ll be back in a few minutes,” Fritz responded. My charter party was snorkeling out on Mother Turtle Reef so Fritz and I took the dinghy out to HELEN R, tossed off her mooring line and motored through Scrub Island Cut, turned left into Cam Bay and dropped the hook. From that day on, I have never sailed the BVI without spending at least a few days at Cam Bay. I know it’s a fine ethical line, but Fritz didn’t make me promise to exclude Cam Bay from my own book.

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