Just Him & Me & The Deep Blue Sea
Some people are gung-ho about cruising the Caribbean with their families and friends for that special occasion while others might opt for a paddle boat cruise on the Mississippi River. Me? I like it all and even have my eye on barging in some of Europe’s waterways, but based on my solitary nature, nothing beats bareboat sailing with my husband, my Mr. Wonderful, my very own Popeye the Sailor Man. Just him and me and the deep blue sea.
I asked my husband recently if he remembers the first time he was on a boat. Ends up we were both too young to remember. He was born in Rochefort sur Mer, France (which translated means rock fort by the sea) and my mixed Caribbean roots are in Los Angeles within 10 miles of the beach. The truth is I don’t remember not being on someone’s boat, whether it was dressed as a Christmas elf in the annual holiday Boat Parade or learning how to waterski at camp on Catalina Island as a pre-teen. I even wanted to take a speed boat out to Lake Mead by myself one summer and go camping but didn’t because my family and friends insisted it would be un-safe. (I still think I should have done it.)
Mr. Wonderful lived on a 40 foot sailboat for two years in San Diego CA as a young adult and we have in the past bounced around the idea of living on a boat although that idea has since been nixed. (What about my clothes?) As you can see, we – like many of you – have an affinity for the sea.
In January 2012, Mr. Wonderful and I took off for the British Virgin Islands and spent a week sailing on a 37.2’ Beneteau we rented from Moorings. It was one of the best weeks of my life and I reminisce about it quite often. As an homage to that awesome week, I thought I’d share with you 8 Reasons We Love Sailing the BVIs.
1. We love the sea. Besides feeling the sun on my face (and the lovely tan that comes along with it), nothing beats the smell, look and feel of the salty sea – a sea that always changes colors, temperatures, and temperaments. Confession: When I would lie down to go to sleep at night, I would imagine that the sound of the water slapping against the side of the boat was a mermaid splashing around trying to get my attention. (Stop rolling your eyes.)
2. We love variety. The BVIs are a British overseas territory located east of Puerto Rico in the Caribbean sea made up of 50 small islands and cays with the main islands being Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada, and Jost Van Dyke. As you might guess, there are a variety of islands and cays to lay anchor in. (We anchored at Norman Island, Cooper Island, Virgin Gorda (Saba Rock Island and Bitter End), Cane Garden Bay and Marina Cay.) And because all of the islands are in your line of sight (called line of sight sailing), the BVIs are a relatively easy chain of islands to sail among. Dining at a new harbor every night was nice too.
3. We love glamour. Yep, we’re guilty. We stared stupefied at the super yachts and ooohed and aahed at Sir Richard Branson’s very own private island (it’s for rent!). We even watched a movie starring Sidney Poitier and Ruby Dee called Our Virgin Island that tells the true story of Marina Cay, one of our stops on our little sailing adventure.
4. We love wildlife and the environment. We both come alive when we’re outdoors. Colorful and chatty birds, cute little beady-eyed lizards (I don’t like iguanas), flora and fauna that takes your breath away; it’s all there. Besides, nothing beats a chance meeting with wild dolphins (not this time) and other sea creatures.
5. We love learning. When the refrigerator broke down, we learned how much it stinks. We learned not to overstock it as well. We learned not to rely on the GPS and to keep our chart-reading chops up to speed just in case. We learned that 7 days really isn’t long enough. We learned that we get along in close quarters. We also learned that the one American person of color we ran across that wasn’t a local and didn’t feel compelled to speak or acknowledge our existence did indeed make us want to hurl.
6. We love slowing down. After taking the flight across the US from California and then down to Tortola (where my travel camp has previously exposed girls to a cool dolphin encounter, BTW), we spent the first 3 days of our adventure at Long Bay Beach Resort and Villas just to un-wind. After the first 24 hours of sailing, I am happy to report that we became completely enveloped in the slow pace. We watched movies, talked, lounged and sailed.
7. We love excitement. As much as we appreciate slowing down, being out on a sailboat really is exciting since you never know what’s in store from moment to moment. In the past, we’ve met some fascinating people who boat although this time we pretty much stayed to ourselves. We’ve been invited to hang out on some mighty fine yachts in the past and for seafaring folks, yep, that’s pretty exciting.
8. We love the wind in our sails. Easy enough to understand, eh?
Sailing (or any type of boating) is a great way to spend a weekend or a vacation whether you are part of a large flotilla or part of a smaller group of family and friends…and yes, besides my husband’s weekend sailing fun, we plan to return to sail the BVIs (and Tahiti, and Greece, Italy, etc.). With licensed captains available for hire, what’s stopping you?
I’m curious. Do you boat? If not, do you yearn to feel the wind in your sails?
Disclosure: Long Bay Beach Resort & Villas kindly provided me with accommodations at the start of this trip. All opinions are my own. All photos are mine as well.