Quite a few of you have meet my family and you know me pretty well. We're not a family of big spenders on wild vacations. My mom has been trying to get my dad to go on vacation "some where warm" in the winter. Well this was finally mom's year.
I just returned from eight beautiful days of sailing in the US and British Virgin Islands. Even with the fact that I was with my parents for eight days (normally we get along pretty well) it was one of my best vacations ever.
Our first surprise was when we arrived at the charter center and they said that our Saber 36' would was given to another party and we were being bumped up to a Hylas 46'. Ten feet might not seem like much, but trust me it is a huge jump. Especially considering that my family's sailboat is 33'. My parents choose to provision the boat ourselves, since we didn't want a week of hot dogs and hamburgers. Thus we didn't leave the dock the first afternoon, but were ready to sail the next morning.
There are several great reasons to sail in the Virgin Islands. First the water. Its warm, clear and the colors are beautiful. Second the winds. For the most part the average winds are 12-18mph which are great sailing winds, especially on a 46' boat. We had one day of even stronger winds, 25-30 which was really exciting.
Our days were spend picking the next snorkling spot, sailing to the snorkling spot and snorkling. The fish on the coral reefs were incredible. I had snorkled in the Florida Keys before college, but the fish were far superiour here.
Even my mother really got into the snorkling. Mom has never been very comfortable with swimming, but on this trip she had an snorkling float which allowed her to float on the surface and see the reef.
The only downside was we kinda hit a rainy period. We had rain nearly every day, but usually only for 10-15 minutes. Most nights it would rain a few times too.
On our first day in British waters we sailed to the island Jost Van Dyke which has only 140 inhabitants. One of the local watering holes is called Foxy's. Foxy is an older black man who makes up balads and stories to enterain his guests during meals. Foxy's place has thatched roofs and sand floors with no walls. Quite in character for the islands. His black lab came and curled up under the table Foxy was sitting on. Foxy asked us, do you know what kind of dog that is. I replied, a black lab. Foxy said, "That is what most white people think." Well what is he. "He is 100% island dog." What makes an island dog. "First he's black." "Second, he sits on his ass all day." "And third, he doesn't know who is daddy is." His stories and songs were quite entertaining and made Jost Van Dyke one of our favorite stops.
Our other favorite island, was Norman Island. Norman Island is the island that forms the basis for Robert Louis Stephenson's Treasure Island. On one point there are several water level caves that you can explore. Rumor has it that in the early 1900's a family found a large cache of treasure. We weren't quite as lucky, but the snorkling all around Norman island was excellent.
I had a great time and highly recommend the Virgin Islands. Now for NetCentric to be wildly successful so I can buy my yacht and cruise the islands for the winter. :-)