Sailing the British Virgin Islands is always an incredible experience. The waters conspire to show you a limitless number of greens and blues. Islands rise out of the ocean like the exposed peaks of an undulating sea monster. And the people that call these islands home extend a brand of hospitality that rivals all others. Soak all of this in some rum and pineapple juice and you have a pretty good idea of what we’re suffering through down here.
The sailing has been fantastic, and our crew is LOVING it. The ladies who were asking if we had to do more than 30 minutes of sailing a day before we left are now asking if we can sail around for an extra hour or two to watch the sun set after we get to our destination for the day.
After a lovely first night off of St. John, we crossed over into the British Virgin Islands. Due to the COVID restrictions in place, cruising volume in the BVI seems like it’s about 10% of what it was a couple of years ago. Not that you would have noticed if you were at the Pirates Bight on Norman Island with us the other night. For our first night in British waters we skipped the notoriously infamous Willy T & cruised in to one of my favorite restaurants for dinner, and the place was packed.
This is where I realized our crew had truly adopted the spirit of the islands. We ate lobsters, drank rum and wine, and danced to reggae infused covers of the greatest hits of yesterday and today. When the one man band broke out an island style “Sweet Caroline” our table led the whole restaurant in the chorus. This place is a party, and Art, Victoria, and their friends were the life of it!
One of the priorities I’m not used to paying attention to when driving a boat down here is the NFL schedule. However, with the Rams playing in the division championship game, and 2 season ticket holders on board, I knew we needed to get to a big screen. Fortunately our friends at Leverick Bay have been working their tails off the rebuild from the back to back Category 5 hurricanes that hit Virgin Gorda a few years ago. Their waterfront bar was set up with a projector & the PA that their house band usually plays through welcomed us in to port with the sounds of the pre-game show. A Rams victory was the last major uncontrollable factor that I was keeping my fingers crossed for this week, and they pulled through in style.
I love Virgin Gorda, and there is so much to do here, but I knew that my biggest priority was taking our crew to go see the Baths at the far end of the island. I rang up and old friend who runs the tourist safari game in town (Safaris are the large pick up truck taxis that transport everyone around the island.) Nat sent one of his best guys to take care of us and cart us out to the Baths. This unique rock formation is breathtaking in its beauty, and will literally take your breath away with the hike through the arid scrubland down to the beach, and the obstacle course style trek through the rocks and pools that make up the Baths. I knew that if I let everyone in on the details of where we were going I’d get a whole bucket full of “Hell No” as a response. So I kept my cards close to my chest and told them we were going for a walk.
I don’t know how many times Victoria considered killing me, but I guarantee it was more than 7. The course through the Baths involves climbing up and down multiple rickety stairwell ladders, crawling between enormous boulders, wading through waist deep water, and using ropes to cross over more massive slippery rocks. It’s not easy by any stretch of the imagination, but our hearty crew pushed forward and had a blast doing it. The smiles at the end of the trail were ear to ear (not so much in the middle of the trail), and I know that this was an experience that they will never forget.
After a couple of magnificent days of hiking, swimming, riding jet skis, and relaxing on Virgin Gorda it was time to continue our route. We sailed on to Tortola and in to Cane Garden Bay where the setting sun provided the perfect light for the one surfer who was lucky enough to catch the best break in the BVI all to himself at the mouth of the Bay – about 200 yards beyond our mooring.
Mia flagged down the last fisherman of the day coming in to the dock with his catch and we scored a beautiful 14 lb Wahoo filet fresh out of the water. After enjoying some fresh sashimi on deck and a pan seared dinner that truly did that fish justice, we stayed up telling stories over cocktails and under the stars until much too late. But it’s hard to cut a night short when everyone is enjoying it so much.
Today we’re headed to Jost Van Dyke. Home of White Bay and the legendary Soggy Dollar Bar. The sun is just coming up and soon the crew will be on deck looking for coffee. I’m going to take a moment to play the sounds of my dear friend Kalani’s Hi’u Wai and turn on the percolator.