A few days ago, a couple of loyal blog readers sent a message wondering why I had not posted in quite some time. They graciously said that they live vicariously through our adventures and the lack of updates had led to increased alcohol consumption on their part. I will not attempt to address the irony in that sentiment. Instead, I will simply express my gratitude to them for thinking of us, dust off the mildewing computer and take a stab at jotting down a few thoughts.
I am reminded of the final scene of an old movie called The Candidate. The entire plot of the movie consists of Robert Redford’s character campaigning for the Senate. In that final scene after finally winning the election, he turns to his manager and asks “now what?” After years of scheming and months of travel, we are finally here in the Caribbean. So now what? It doesn’t get much more paradise-ey than this. (Yes, I know that’s not really a word). I guess it just seemed strange to write about what for all intents and purposes is now just a long, open-ended vacation.
With that in mind, here’s what we’ve been up to. After arriving in Puerto Rico, we had the pleasure of hosting our great friend Silvia for several days. I mention this not only because having a guest aboard with whom to share the fun is one of our favorite things. It takes a special kind of person to spend their precious vacation time in the spartan accommodations offered on St. Somewhere. We sailed from Fajardo, Puerto Rico to Culebra in the Spanish Virgin Islands (not Spanish at all, actually part of Puerto Rico, a US commonwealth) and back and then spent a couple of days exploring Old San Juan. Much fun was had.
Speaking of friends, we have made quite a few – not always an easy task for us back in the real world. The generosity and kindness of many we have encountered along way astounds me. You’re stuck in a marina without a car? I’ll pick you up at six and we’ll paint the town. You guys are new in town? Meet up with us later, we’re having a barbeque. You’re living on a boat? Stop by for a drink, I’d love to hear your stories. You’re headed down island? Don’t miss this favorite spot. We have been on the receiving end of some astonishing hospitality.
After the Spanish Virgins, we hoisted sail and made the short beat to St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. For the first time, St. Somewhere crossed paths with the ghosts of charter vacations past, and we anchored in waters that had become familiar to us over the years. After only a couple of days, I got on an airplane for the first time in a long time and headed back to Colorado for what was supposed to be painful and expensive dental surgery. The good news was that the surgery wasn’t necessary after all. The bad news is that I had to fly 3000 miles to find that out. The trip was not a wasted one though as I had an opportunity to catch up with old friends and do something radical and dangerous. For the first time in many years, I was all alone in an airplane. During this time, Irene was both captain and crew. She survived Carnival in St. Thomas anchored just a little too close to the party.
For the past couple of weeks, we have taken the opportunity to cruise at a leisurely pace what many sailors consider the greatest cruising grounds in the world. We have only scratched the surface. As a result our plan is to stay within just a few miles of here for the next six weeks, before hauling the boat out of the water for the worst of hurricane season.
We sailed to Peter Island, in the British Virgins and anchored a short swim from the steep white sand of a fabulous beach. As the afternoon turned to evening, the charter catamarans and the gaggles of snorkelers departed, leaving us alone with the gulls. The sun had mostly stayed away so looking across the Drake channel at Tortola a few miles distant reminded me of the clouds and haze of the Pacific Northwest. Looking to the east, my vista was filled with the towering cliff of Dead Chest Island. If not for the ocean surrounding it, the rock face would look at home high in the Colorado Rockies. In the foreground, the ocean swell from the south wrapped around the point at the entrance to the bay, breaking on the rocks and gently rocking the boat. If you’ve ever fallen asleep to a recording of wave sounds, it could have been recorded right here.