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Seven days lost at sea…on purpose.

By December 30, 2012 No Comments

Hi, we’re the Haisty family and our Christmas Caribbean adventure continues as we head towards the aquamarine horizon.

Our adventure began on Saturday, when Captain Shane picked us up at the St. Thomas airport. Our 6’4” Christmas elf showed up with a bright red Santa hat on his head. He also brought 6 matching ones for the rest of us. Needless to say, we made quite a spectacle walking down the sandy beach towards the bluest ocean we’d ever seen. We hopped aboard the dinghy with all our gear and let the salty air blow our Santa hats in the breeze as we boarded “The Guiding Light,” which was to be our new floating home for the next week.

In the last seven days we’ve had one adventure after another. When Captain Shane asked what we wanted out of our vacation, we told him that we wanted adventure over luxury, off-the-beaten-path sorts of things over touristy hokey hotspots. He did not disappoint. Almost every night “The Guiding Light” has been anchored at secret little coves only the locals know about. We only had to share with the pelicans and the fish. Our days have been full of Indiana Jones-type of adventures, underwater cave-scouting, trekking across islands inhabited by thousands of hermit crabs, squeezing through rock crevices at “The Baths,” and snorkeling to (and through) shipwrecks.

Every day has had several opportunities to snorkel. So far we have seen a dozen sea turtles, stingrays, cuttlefish, parrotfish, starfish, jellyfish, sea urchins, barracudas, and tons of coral. Of course we’ve seen about a billion types of fish. Little fish, big fish, skinny fish, fat fish, one fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish. Schools of fish, single fish, baby fish, mama fish, and big ol’ grandpa fish.

Our nights on board “The Guiding Light” have featured ferocious contests of various board and card games. A big favorite has been the “Settlers of Catan,” a game Captain Shane introduced us to. We’ve been happily tucked in the cabin of the ship every night having great old fashioned Pirates of the Caribbean fun.

As a lactose-intolerant vegetarian, I’ve found the meals on this ship quite agreeable. Captain Shane is not adverse to altering the meal plan slightly or including extra things to meet any specific dietary needs. And all of the food for lunch and dinner is home (ship?) made, so you get the freshness and uniqueness of a home-cooked meal. Shane even makes his own delicious bread in the tiny oven! Shane is an easy-going, very likable, funny character. He has an almost encyclopedic knowledge of movies, and loves to discuss them…especially Star Wars.

Some of our land adventures have included short hikes to exotic locations such as the ruined sugar mill from the Civil War era and a ruined school of the previously-Danish Annaberg plantation. Shane was a great interpreter, identifying different species of trees and bugs (my favorite was the Frangipani, a beautiful black and yellow caterpillar with a vibrant red head). They really do not overplay the colors of the Caribbean. Another exciting adventure was the “Bubbly Pool” where we bodysurfed against 10 foot waves in a protected area and climbed 40 foot rocks overlooking a magnificent view of the ocean surf.

Captain Shane certainly saved my favorite location for last. This was the hike to the “petroglyphs,” a site with 500-1000 year old native rock carvings, but before our trek through the forest, we stopped at an abandoned sugar mill that (in my opinion) surpassed Annaberg. It was nestled away in the forest and was still largely intact. After our hike we decided to revisit the plantation, and so I decided to be adventurous and climb into a tunnel that ran under the building. This, Shane told me, was where the fire would be stocked to heat the sappy raw sugar. His fireman skills kicking in, he followed me in there, and we climbed through the 3×2 tunnel all throughout the building. It was very cool, and definitely my most memorable part of the vacation.

While this is a sailboat, we are still fully equipped with two engines, so we never have trouble getting to where we need to be. This really has been a week straight out of a dream, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

{Shane – Harriet is 17 and was here with her 19 and 15 year old sisters and 13 year old brother along with their parents.  They were such a fun and outgoing group to have aboard.  I would like to say the tunnel at the sugar factory was fun to explore with her, but it sure seemed a lot smaller than 3×2 to me once I squeezed in there.}

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