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Posted by: nauticalchronicles | January 6, 2012

YOU NEED A VACATION: part two

CONTINUED

NAUTICAL CHRONICLES

YOU NEED A VACATION (part two)

From Jost Van Dyke, you set out for Cane Garden Bay, Monkey Point on Guana Island (this island is private but can be rented for up to 36 people for $23,500 per week) and then on to Trellis Bay and The Last Resort for the night. Monkey Point is reputed to be one of the best snorkeling areas in the islands and you agree. While there, you also are able to help a fellow mariner remove several of his dock lines from his props; he and his family don’t swim and are having difficulty. As you watch them leave, your thought is that this is their first time chartering as well as yours, but you also think this may be their first time boating…what confusion aboard that vessel. After a light lunch, you head for Trellis Bay. Getting a mooring there poses no problem and you call in your reservations and dinner requests by radio, a now common practice here in the islands. The Last Resort is…well, different. It may be due to the honking donkey, Vanilla, or the Singing Dogs or the Prattling Parrots, but the food is good, the music is ”rocking” and the gift shop is fun. You learn that Trellis Bay is a haven for artists and local craftsmen and home of Gli Gli, the largest Carib Indian dugout sailing canoe in the Caribbean; you opt not to go on the day charter…other ports are calling you.

Your plans next take you on the longest leg of your journey…from Trellis bay you head northwest past West Dog, Great Dog and George Dog islands, and thirteen miles to Anegada Island. While most of the Virgin Islands are mountainous with tropical forest areas, the highest point on this sandy, flat island is 30 feet above sea level. This stop is to be the best; you and your friends pledge that should you return to the BVI, more time will be spent on Anegada to fully appreciate the island’s beauty. The entrance to the mooring field is shallow, surrounded by shallow shoals and coral reefs. Finding the entry markers is difficult, carrying you only twice into trouble. After you find the mooring field, there are plenty of available moorings and you tie up for the day and night. You quickly lower the dinghy and head to shore. You stop for a cocktail at the Anegada Reef Hotel (of course) and to get the lay of the land. You make arrangements to rent a jeep for two days. Two members of your crew make plans for a bone fishing expedition. Your first stop in your rental jeep is The Big Bamboo on the beach at Loblolly Bay; a fun stop on a beautiful beach on a hot, sunny day with a gentle breeze blowing. From there it’s back to the boat for a nap!

Later, you call in your reservations for dinner at Potter’s By-The-Sea, but find that the restaurant needs the entire crew’s order in advance to ensure that there is enough for you when you arrive. You know you’re ordering the “all you can eat” lobster dinner; unfortunately, your crew is still napping forcing you to call back later. You dinghy in for dinner of lobster and conch fritters; other crew members have the “all you can eat” BBQ. But this is the islands and, of course…they run out of salad before you have any and they run out of lobster before you’ve had all you can eat (let’s face it; you can eat a lot of lobster). Also, being the islands, they charge you the same price regardless of their claim. It’s been what your crew calls “a tricky meal”. You head back to the boat, somewhat dissatisfied and unsatisfied, for some late night entertainment…music, dancing, and cocktails.

In the morning, you get an early start in your jeep for Cow Wreck Beach. You hear that the name comes from a ship which was wrecked on the shoals and sank off the near coast carrying a cargo of…cattle. Most of the cows made it ashore, but this was not the shore they originally were heading for. The folks on the island had no use for these animals and allowed them to fend for themselves or die. You see that they have fended well for themselves as they are everywhere, loose and free. You and your jeep are forced from the road in several instances to avoid hitting them.  You and your crew agree that this is a must-see stop on the island, the beach and the Cow Wreck Beach Bar and Grill. After some shopping at The Settlement, you return your jeep with only minor damages to the rental owner (who is also the police chief, mayor, deep sea fishing charter captain, taxi owner and bone fishing guide). While there, your two crew members cancel their bone fishing expedition; how much time did they think you’d have?

You head back to the boat to begin your return journey to the big island of Virgin Gorda and Gorda Sound (this and Tortolla are the largest of the BVI). You pass by Necker Island (owned by Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Atlantic Airlines) and Mosquito Island, entering into Gorda Sound headed for the Bitter End Resort and Saba Rock for the night. You struggle to get a mooring due to the large number of boats already in the mooring areas; this is one of the busiest anchorages you have visited.  Once tied up, you head to shore. For the first time since you began your journey, you spend a quiet half-day shopping, exploring, dinghying, people-watching, boat-watching, swimming and snorkeling in the clear, blue-green waters of this harbor. You spend a quiet evening at the restaurant on Saba Rock, a fairly up-scale affair, and return to “Southern Composure” to watch the stars, recuperate and prepare for your next day’s adventure.

Leaving Saba Rock, your journey next takes you west across the Sir Francis Drake Channel to Marina Cay (just off Great Camanoe & Scrub Islands) & Pussers, the British Virgin Islands Chapter of Pirates Society and home to the now famous Pusser’s Rum selection. You know you will need to spend the night here; “Happy Arrr” begins at 3 PM.

You leave Marina Cay mid-morning, and head for Fat Hog’s Bay and the dinghy graveyard on Tortolla (you never did find Fat Hog Bob’s in Maya Cove and there is no one to ask about the numerous and deflated dinghy carcasses) then again across Sir Francis Drake Channel going southeast to Ginger, Cooper & Salt Islands before landing at Peter Island for swimming and snorkeling. You find Salt Island one of the most enjoyable stops due to the isolation of this beach, and the abandonment of the settlement. It’s like a ghost town encampment with a gorgeous sandy beach and overhanging palm trees loaded with fresh coconuts, the likes of which are perfect for a rum cocktail later on. Too soon, you bid farewell to this lovely beach, to the small memorial established for Autley by his good friend, and to this alluring and addictive life-style.  You find, back on the boat, that the coconut doesn’t make such great rum cocktails; too chewy.

And then it’s back to Roadtown to return what’s left of “Southern Composure” (there are only minor damages and there is no liquor left; in fact, at Pusser’s you needed to replenish the supply; it appears you were too conservative when supplying the boat). You have just spent seven nights in paradise; it is easy for you to understand how J. Buffett could write and sing such alluring songs about these gorgeous islands and this addictive way of life. Your head is filled with those romantic songs and his immortal words of wisdom, “wasting away in Margaritaville”, which is exactly what you want to do (or continue doing) now that you have discovered how to do it and where exactly this “Margaritaville” is.

You know, full well, that you must return to the real world and continue making the livelihood needed to carry on vacationing in this, the style that you’ve now become accustomed to. You also need to talk with your sons and daughters about the possibility and likelihood of relocating to the islands to start or purchase a bar of your own. Much to your pleasure and surprise, they don’t think the idea is too much outside the realm of possibility. You and your best friend and two close friends and your families and their families begin making plans to sell your houses, quit your jobs and relocate to the islands; in fact you contact a real estate broker in Tortolla about bars which might be for sale.  All 19 of you are very excited (actually the seven younger ones not so much). You have begun planning THE NEXT GREAT ADVENTURE.

And now, you feel much better about what a miserable day it is outside with the mist, the clouds and the snow. You actually whistle while shoveling the heavy mix of ice and snow from your driveway and while clearing the thick sheet of permanently attached ice from your windshield. Though there is no sunshine today, you see sunlight and warmth in your future and are again…an optimist.

Captain Robert Brown

First Mate Louise

the little man

                     

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Responses

  1. Hate coconuts, love Buffet, still jealous 🙂 Love, Betsy

  2. Oops, “Buffett” 😉


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