caribbean-map1

Our Total Trip Map

Wow, a look at the map reveals we have really made the best of our time this week.  We missed several islands, such as, Salt Island, Cooper Island, and Ginger Island, but we need to leave something to our next trip, don’t we?

XXXX

Charlotte_Amalie

Charlotte Amalie

Hess072-R1-016-6A

Traffic in Charlotte Amalie

We’re up early today to catch our flight from Beef Island, BVI to St. Thomas, USVI. The flight is less than 40 minutes. When we land in St. Thomas we clear customs and immigration and drop off our gear at the hotel, then head into Charlotte Amalie, the capital and largest city in the USVI. This port was founded in 1666 and all the major cruise lines have this port on their itinerary. Today, we are lucky that there are only two ships at the pier. We will spend the day in St. Thomas shopping (one of the largest shopping meccas in the Caribbean) You can buy anything gold or silver, Rolex and other fine watches, diamonds, rings, a true pirate’s chest of treasures. There is also a bazaar selling local hand-crafts, t-shirts, and a straw market. The air is filled with the sounds of steel drum music, the streets are clogged with traffic, and the sidewalks filled with tourists dressed in their finest cruise ship costumes! 

Hess072-R1-012-4A

Traffic in Charlotte Amalie

Around 4 PM we catch a taxi back to our hotel, the Island Beachcomber, for happy hour. The Island Beachcomber bar is a great place to “people-watch”. Characters from all over the island come here to celebrate the sun, the sand, the sea, the whatever. Today isn’t any different, after just five minutes we meet a group of people down here for a construction project and a couple of local musicians limbering up for an event tonight. When I say “limbering up”, I don’t mean practicing music. A good time was had by all, and some even forgot about eating dinner. Those will sleep on the beach tonight.

Beachcomber 2

View from the Island Beachcomber bar

Beachcomber bar

Beachcomber bar

XXXXX

 

It’s been a great week in the islands and we are all a little down that it’s over. We have stuffed our memories with sights of snorkeling, sugar white beaches, deep blue water, and stars like diamonds, and sounds of waves breaking on the shore, white sails flapping in the wind, and the fresh smells of conch fritters, johnny cakes, salt air and sea breezes. We’ve darkened our bodies by, at least, five shades and forgot where we put our watches. The meaning of time has slipped away and the problems and troubles at home have faded and become the distant past.


  XXXXX

We’ve been here a week or so,
Now it’s finally time to go.
Can’t believe how quickly time has flown,

XX

 

Packin’ up the bathin’ suits,
Getting out the cowboy boots,
That’s a sign we must be going home….

XX

 

Time just stopped for a little while,
We were part of a tiny island.
Made a lot of friends we’ll keep for life.
When we get back home to Texas,
And they ask us what we missed most,
I’ll shrug my shoulders, and I’ll smile….

XXX

 

Early mornings on the long boat dock,
Drinkin’ coffee as the sun comes up
Lazy days napping in the big deck chair.
Late night dancing in the front street bar,
Walking home underneath the stars,
Man it’s like some dream we live down here….

XX

 

Last night we ate conch and lobster.
Mark said it was his favorite dinner,
Maybe even the best one of his life.
Dining underneath the stars
Chilean wine and Cuban cigars,
I smiled at him and said you could be right….

XX

 

And he got real quiet, and he said you know,
hell I worked hard all my life,
I made a lot of dough.
I’ve been everywhere,
I don’t think it gets any better than down here.
I mean the warmth and love of the people here,
No crime, no hate, or fear
I don’t think I’m ready for the world waiting for me back there….

XXX

 

I need me just….

XXX

 

One more morning on the long boat dock,
Drinking coffee as the sun comes up,
Drinking bilikin beer in the big deck chair.
Late night dancin’ in a front street bar,
Makin’ love under the stars,
Man it’s like some dream we live down here….

XXXX

 

Walking home underneath the stars,
Hearing voices from that empty bar,
Man it’s like some dream we live done there….

XXX

 

We’ve been here a week or so,
Now it’s finally time to go.
Can’t believe how quickly time as flown.
Packin’ up the bathin’ suits,
gettin’ out the cowboy boots,
That’s a sign we must be goin’ home.

XXX

 


Jerry Jeff Walker – Cowboy Boots And Bathing Suits Lyrics | MetroLyrics

 

XXX

 

I hope you enjoyed sailing the Caribbean with me these past few weeks. I have enjoyed the trip also. I don’t get down to the Caribbean as much now as I used to and I miss it. Maybe, one day, we will meet again and charter the “Island Dreams” for another memorable week at sea. Remember, “Don’t dream your life, live your dreams and do it before your dreams get cold”.

 

 

Install this web app on your Android: Tap menu, more options, and then Add Shortcut To Homescreen.×

 Day Six MapToday we will be sailing along the Southern coast of Tortola then over to Beef Island and Trellis Bay. Along the way we will stop at Road Town, the capital of the British Virgin Islands (BVI).

XXXXX

After a night of listening to Quito Rymer, dancing in the sand, and sipping Cuba Libres, we wake up to another day in paradise. Once again it is a great day to sail, but before we leave Soper’s Hole, we motor ashore and spend an hour or so strolling the dock and visiting the shops. It’s time to pick up souvenirs for our “special someone” we left at home. Don’t spend too much, as we will end our trip in St. Thomas and…well..you’ll see when we get there.

XXXXX

Back on “Island Dreams” we prepare to “get underway”. We motor out of the harbor and check the wind. We have a good Southern wind around 5 knots and following seas (the waves are in the same direction we want to sail), the perfect combination for a great day! If a man must be obsessed by something, I suppose a boat is as good as anything, perhaps a bit better than most. A small sailing craft is not only beautiful, it is seductive and full of strange promise and the hint of trouble. The very thought that the waters we are sailing were the same that pirates of old sailed, the battles and boardings, the brigantines and bullion, the capture of men and treasure.

XXXXX

Road Town Habour

Road Town Habour, Tortola

As we approach Road Town harbour (British, ya know), we lower the main and and engage the motor to take us in. The harbor is full of yachtees (other boaters doing the same thing we are) and a massive cruise ship! It seems that cruise ships are getting larger every year. I prefer a ship around 1800 passengers, but most of the ships today carry 3,000 to 4,000 passengers. The little shops and restaurants in most ports are still the same size they were in the early eighty’s and can you imagine the crowds when a 4,000 passenger cruise ship docks? Good for the merchant, bad for the visitor.

XXXXX

 

We opt for a “cold one” at the Village Cay Marina. From their veranda we can see the marina and watch the yachts come and go in the harbor. While we sit back and enjoy doing nothing, our captain is busy fueling, cleaning, and restocking the boat. It is at that moment I realize I love sailing as long as I have a crew and someone else’s boat!

XXXXX

Map_Beef_Island

Beef Island

After a wonderful lunch at Village Cay Marina, its back on board and our afternoon sail to Trellis Bay on Beef Island. We snag a mooring buoy and secure a line for our excursion to Beef Island. Trellis Bay is a bustling little community on the beach, just beside the airport on Beef Island. The beach itself isn’t much to write home about – and the waters are normally crowded with the many yachts, dinghies and motorboats that anchor here – but Trellis Bay is a great spot for people-watching, windsurfing, shopping for unique gifts or just chilling out with a cold beer. Trellis Bay is also the home of Aragorn, a local artist. His gift shop is a “must see”.

XXXXX

Our chief reason for being in Trellis Bay is two-fold. First and foremost is for happy hour today. We will be taking the dingy to Marina Cay around 4:30 to hear the Caribbean’s answer to a “Jolly Mon”. Michael Beans has been singing and doing his “Happy Arrrrrrr” show for the past 20 years (or so).

XXXXX

The Jolly Mon is about a guy who is gifted with great singing ability and one day finds a magical guitar and is befriended by a dolphin, and later became king of Bananaland. The island people say that the “jolly Mon” lived a long and happy life. He sang and played his beautiful guitar, and he ruled Bananaland with wisdom. Sometimes he sailed the Orion to see his friends in other places across the Caribbean Sea. From Coconut Island to Parrot Cay, from Mango Bay to Lemonland, they loved to see him come, and they were sad to see him go. Legend has it that when he was very, very old, the Jolly Mon sang his last song for Albion, who came back and took him up into the sky. And now when the island people wish upon a star, they see the dolphin and the Jolly Mon and his magic guitar.

XXXXX

From the children’s book, Jolly Mon by Jimmy Buffett

XXXXX

There is a tale that the Island people tell
Don’t care if it is true ’cause I love it so well
Jolly Mon sing for his supper every night
The people fed him well ’cause he treated them so right

Oh oh oh, Jolly Mon sing
Oh oh oh, make Orion ring

And they wanted him to sing on the island near and far
He always found his way by Orion lucky star
He’d tell them of their joys, he’d tell them of their woes
They loved to see him come, they’d hate to see him go

Lyrics by Jimmy Buffett

XXXXX

I hope you enjoy this short video of Michael:

IMG_1172.JPG

XXXXX

Michael always asks for limericks, chants, and toasts from the audience, so I rise to the occasion with my favorite toast, from Jack Mosley’s song:

XXXXX

Here’s to small boats on big oceans

and life lived at sea.

To those few brave men that dare to believe

That there’s more to this life than an office downtown

Here’s to small boats on big oceans

and dreams you can’t drown.”

XXXXX

Lyrics by Jack Mosley

XXXXX

The second and saddest reason is; this will end our sailing trip and tomorrow we fly from here, Beef Island, to St. Thomas for a day, then we part and fly to our homes and fondly remember this trip forever.

IMG_1158.JPG

The Travel Guy pennant

Install this web app on your Android: Tap menu, more options, and then Add Shortcut To Homescreen.×
Day Four Map

Day Four

Is it possible that this is day four already? They say that time goes slowly in the Caribbean, but for me time is going by too quickly and there is so much we haven’t experienced yet. Oh well, no time to spend worrying about when this will all come to an end, let’s just “carpe diem”!

XXXX

Peter Island Beach

Peter Island Beach

XXXX

The beach we have chosen has pure white “sugary” sand and not another soul in sight. There are no footprints, except ours, for as far as the eye can see. It is a beautiful scene of peace and tranquility. Every moment is a different scene. As I sit in my chair I see images in my mind of all the sights of summer; children building sand castles along the ocean’s edge, to my right I observe an elderly couple enjoying a good book under the shade of a swaying palm tree. The waves crash into one another, the breeze blowing from the tide, the smell of salty ocean, truly the beach must be as close as one can get to Heaven and still be on earth!

XXXX

Our time on the beach is topped off with a picnic lunch, created by our First Mate and ferried ashore by the captain. Today we have soft shell crab sandwiches with homemade potato salad. Note to self: get back in the gym as soon as this trip is over.

XXXX

Anchors aweigh mateys, set the mainsail and make way for Tortola! Another great day for sailin’. As we make our way back to Soper’s Hole the captain informs us that, because of the full moon tonight, we are returning to Soper’s Hole and from there we will taxi to Capoon’s Bay for the Bomba’s Surfside Shack “Full Moon” Party.

TR-BVI

Bomba’s Surfside Shack

XXXX

As the legend goes, Bomba’s wife loved to party and left him all alone nearly every night to go find a “jamin good party”. Bomba, he decide to put and end to dis foolishness. He would build a party place so de wife will stay at home. He went down to the beach and picked up pieces of driftwood, glass, anything he could use to build his “party house”. He used to say if you needed anything you could find it at the “sand” mall. If it wasn’t there today, come back tomorrow, it’ll be there. When he finish, he would invite all de neighbors to come and party with him. He even had a secret recipe for a “mushroom tea” he would serve to his guest to make the party a hit. To this day, when the moon is full Bomba drags out his special recipe, build a fire, and prepares his “tea” for his guests. Tonight will be our turn to party with Bomba!

XXXX

XXXX

I didn’t take this video of “the shack” but it is a great visual of Bomba’s during the day. Unfortunately, any night video would be “censored” anyway.

XXXX

 

What a great time at Bomba’s last night. I stayed away from the “tea”, so today I am fully functional and ready for another great day of sailing, sand, and sun! On the agenda today is a leisurely sail around Steele point from Soper’s Hole and over to Sandy Cay (pronounced “key”) for some kayaking and snorkeling.

XXXXX

Sandy Cay

Sandy Cay

In the late afternoon we will sail back to Cane Garden Bay, on Tortola. We will have happy hour and dinner on board, then spend the evening ashore listening to a local named Quito Rymer, one of the Caribbean’s most famous reggae artist.

Quito

Quito

As we listen to some of his popular songs, we glance over the railing and watch many people dancing barefoot in the sand. Look, there is a woman dancing with her young son, he looks to be six or seven years old. Good music, warm, soft breeze, surf gently breaking on the shore…it doesn’t get much better than this!

Install this web app on your Android: Tap menu, more options, and then Add Shortcut To Homescreen.×

 

Day Three Map

Day Three

It is a beautiful morning, the sun is just beginning to rise and the sea gulls are circling overhead calling to each other “I think this is the boat that will feed us!” The water is calm and the coffee is ready. As I join the rest of you on deck, we discuss what a great time we had at Pusser’s last night. We relax and enjoy the gentle breeze blowing in off the sea. While I am sipping my coffee I glance at the water and I see a porpoise just below me. It is just watching me watching it. I could have touched it. Calmly I said something and everyone jumps up and peers over my side of the boat. Needless to say, this causes the porpoise to bid me farewell. It dove and came back up about a hundred yards away in less than 20 seconds!

 

I ask the Captain what’s on the agenda for today. His answer: “I don’t know, what would you like it to be? Do we need to plan that much?” I had forgotten, we are now on “Island Time” and that meant “chill”, we will sail and, maybe, something will come to mind.

xxxxxxxx

arial normanWe decide snorkeling would be fun and just laid back sailing. We set a course for Norman Island, just across the Sir Francis Drake channel from Soper’s Hole. The channel was named forFrancis Drake, born around 1540-1544 in Devonshire, England, he was involved in piracy and illicit slave trading before being chosen in 1577 as the leader of an expedition intended to pass around South America, through the Strait of Magellan, and explore the coast that lay beyond. Drake successfully completed the journey and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth upon his triumphant return. He later saw action in the English defeat of the Spanish Armada.

XXXXXX

Once again the sail across the channel is great! Sailing in the channel is like sailing in the world’s largest bathtub. What I mean is, there are islands all around you, it’s just beautiful. We spend the rest of the morning sailing and arrive at “the bight” on Norman Island around 1 pm. The bight is a bay that can be sailed in and out of on a single tack in a sailing vessel, regardless of the direction of the wind.

xxxxxxxxx

Pirates Bight

Pirates Bight

We have lunch on board, lobster rolls and strawberries, then go ashore in the dingy to a bar, Pirate’s Bight. It is a fun little restaurant and bar. They have a small gift shop where we purchase the obligatory pirate flag, a couple t-shirts, and a cap. (note: in 2013 the Pirate’s Bight restaurant burned to the ground, but is being rebuilt)

xxxxxx

The Caves Norman

The Caves

Everywhere we go in the Caribbean we want to just stay, but other ports call. We take the dingy, not to the boat but around the point to a place called “the Caves”. Out comes the snorkeling gear and overboard we go. This is one of the best spots to snorkel. Norman Island, and these very caves were, supposedly, the inspiration for the novel “Treasure Island” I can just see a treasure chest behind the next clump of coral!

xxxxxx

The Caribbean’s multi-hues of blue and turquoise are a feast for the eyes. Under the surface we see a crystalline array of rainbow colors. A manta ray glides by in slow motion as the warm water suddenly becomes ice-cold as I swim into an “underwater river”, a current. Was that a gold doubloon I just saw? Nope, just an overstimulated imagination.

xxxxxx

Willie T

Willie T

After returning to the dingy, we motor to another interesting Caribbean jewel called Willie T’s . The William Thornton II- known as the ”Willie T” because after you’re here for a bit you won’t be able to say its full name without slurring-is a 98-foot schooner that was converted into a bar/restaurant and anchored in the Bight of Norman Island in 1996. Ahh, so much to see, so little time!

xxxxxx

arial Peter

Peter Island

It is getting late and we are sailing to Peter Island for the night. Fortunately for us, the captain and his first mate did not join in the festivities on the Willie T so we are “good to go”! We do not have far to go and soon we arrive at Great Harbour, Peter Island. As the first mate prepares dinner, we spend time reminiscing about the snorkeling excursion. Wow, what an experience! After dinner we sit around on deck and watch the sun set behind Tortola and the sparkle of lights begin to appear from Road Town, Tortola. It is then I see my “pirate’s treasure chest” as I look up and behold the millions of diamonds sparkling in the sky.

xxxxxx

Another day to remember.

xxxxxxxx

Check back next week for Chapter Four of our adventure.

Install this web app on your Android: Tap menu, more options, and then Add Shortcut To Homescreen.×

Caribbean Sailing Chapter Two

http://carefreetravelarrangements.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Travel-Guy-Island-Dreams-300x225.jpg

The warm Caribbean sun greets us as we leave Saba Rock and sail to Jost Van Dyke, to the Southwest. We chose this time of the year because the temperature in the British West Indies is moderate and the humidity …

 

Caribbean Sailing Chapter One

http://carefreetravelarrangements.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Corbis-0751.jpg

  This time of year my thoughts turn to the Caribbean. Enough of the cold wind, snow, ice, and winter misery. I have decided it’s time to take a trip south and I’m taking you with me! So, get your …

 

Airlines and airports look to take the pain out of boarding planes

http://carefreetravelarrangements.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/index.jpg

Do you hear “mooing” when you get in the boarding line?  Do you look for the guy with the cattle prod?  FINALLY, a chance to feel less “bovine” and more “human!  The airlines are looking to board passengers more efficiently.  …

 

Why you really get sick on planes – and how to prevent it

http://carefreetravelarrangements.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/imagesb.jpg

If you’re about to fly somewhere for Christmas, you’re probably dreading the possibility that you’ll catch a bug along the way. And with good reason: Many people come down with something nasty in the days following an airplane flight. Why …

 

Create an Air Travel “Emergency” Kit to Survive Common Airplane Woes

http://carefreetravelarrangements.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Stuck1.jpg

On a good day, you’ll get to the airport, breeze through security, get on your plane, and take off and land on time. Most of us know how often that actually happens, however, and have come to expect delays of …

 

How to survive holiday travel

http://carefreetravelarrangements.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/images.jpg

There’s not much good news for fliers this Thanksgiving. Airports will be packed, planes will have few — if any — empty seats and you might sit apart from a loved one, unless you pay extra. During the 12-day Thanksgiving …