Monday, February 27, 2012

Virgin Island Sail and Dive trip! Part 1

Whew, it’s been a long time since my last blog.   I’ve let lots of cool stuff go IMG_4513unnoted, but I’m finally getting back to it.   At the end of January, Kim and I joined four friends for a totally different kind of trip than we’re  used to - the British Virgin Islands!  I’ve got too many pics for one post, so I’m  doing one for the sailing and general trip stuff, then the next post will be about the (awesome) diving. 

Kim and I started our trip bound not for the BVI, but for  San Juan, Puerto Rico.   We would have had a layover there anyway, so we decided to stretch it out a bit and have a day to show Kim around San Juan.   I had been there a couple of years ago (the blog post is here), so it was really fun showing Kim around.  We did Old San Juan, Fort Morro, a tour of the Bacardi distillery, and more.  Really love that city!

After San Juan we caught a short flight over to Tortola in the BVI where we met up with the rest of our group.  We spent that night at the Treasure Island hotel, then got on the boat the next day.   That was the start of 6 days living on a 44 foot sailboat wearing huge floppy hats, drinking Ting, cruising from island to island, and scuba diving.  No cell IMG_4507phones, no computers, no internet.  Nothing but wind, water, islands, and great company.  It was awesome.  We’d get up in the morning, pick a destination, then hoist the sails and get moving. 

Neither Kim nor I had ever really done any large boat sailing, so we had a lot to learn to make ourselves useful.  Thankfully the other 4 on the boat had all done this trip before and got us  up to speed pretty quickly.  Before we knew it we were cranking on sheeting lines, reefing sails, and getting to know all of the cleats, drums, and other stuff that goes with sailing. 

We had great wind (~20 knots) the entire trip, so the sailing was more exciting than I had anticipated.  When we were under way,  we spent a good amount of time heeled over to the point where the leeward gunwales were  underwater and the waves were splashing up on the deck.   It took a bit of getting used to, but was really fun! 

Once we got to our destination, it was time dive!  We had amazing diving on the trip that’s worth it’s own post, so for now I’ll just leave it at that.  At night we’d find a sheltered bay, hook up to IMG_4610a mooring buoy (harder than it sounds, as you have to fish the mooring line out of the water with a long pole from a moving boat), then settle in for dinner, drinks, and games. 

The downside of the trip came on our last full day sailing, when Kim tripped on the very steep stairs and broke two toes.  Luckily, she’s a tough girl and even managed to get a dive in after that!   IMG_4469

On a trip where tight quarters could have made for tough times, it was wonderful to have such an easy-going group.  Ryan was our very skilled captain who managed to get us where we needed to go and keep us upright, Krissy was an amazing cook, Jason was the experienced first mate who caught mooring bouys and kept the halyards and reefing lines straight, and Kim, Suzanne, and I filled in wherever we could.   Thanks to such a great group, it was pure fun from beginning to end, except maybe that broken toe.