Hijacked by the Moore Family

{by Mike} The Moore family has hijacked Cap’n Shane’s blog to tell you about our fun week on Guiding Light {Shane – this is a perk of being a guest aboard the Guiding Light, so sign up and become the author you always wanted and get a great vacation at the same time!}.  I have been sailing for 45 years and didn’t need a captain, but every way I did the math Shane’s deal was too good to pass-up.  It was everything we hoped for and so much easier than a bareboat charter.  From the moment we landed in St Thomas we were on vacation and relaxing.  In a usual BVI bareboat charter you have to change planes, take ferries and ride taxis to get to your boat in Tortola.  Next you wait to complete paperwork, inspect  your boat, buy and load provisions, and get the family some dinner.  Finally there are pre-underway checks and more charges before you sail off with your cruising guidebook and list of favorite places you’d like to visit.  On the other hand Cap’n Shane met us at the St Thomas airport, walked us 100 yards to the beach at Lindberg Bay where the boat was anchored, and 10 minutes later we were settled onboard while he finished cooking a great dinner.   Did we surrender autonomy?  No!  Shane let us go wherever and at whatever pace we wanted.  But he did provide welcome local knowledge and a sanity check to our plans.   We also had the peace of mind of knowing we had the Best plumber from plumbing in Rancho Cucamonga (http://www.thompsonfamilyplumbing.com/), electrician and diesel mechanic onboard if anything happened (nothing did).  He also filled the role of gourmet cook, dishwasher and designated dinghy driver.  Sailing was never easier, plus I had a dream fulfilled when Cap’n Shane was waiting for us at the airport with my name on a sign.

{Chelsea} It was awesome having Shane along with us during our exploration of the islands! He led us to some amazing places. One of the favorites was Buck Island, which we were able to hit on our last day in the Virgin Islands. While snorkeling, we saw eight different sea turtles, a school of squid, and a HUGE spotted eagle ray all in one spot. The water was beautiful and we were glad to have Shane along to tell us what to look out for! Another beautiful snorkeling spot was Waterlemon Cay, which we spent some time exploring early on in our trip. This spot had TONS of starfish, beautiful colored corals, and fun, bright fish.  Another one of our favorite spots in the Virgin Islands was the Bubbly Pool, located on Jost Van Dyke in the B.V.I. After a short hike, you end up in a little bay protected by rocks. When the north swell is running, it shoots water through crevices in the rock, making the bay feel like a Jacuzzi (well, a cool one!) It felt amazing, and we’d definitely recommend it to other travelers.

{Steven} In addition to the sailing, tanning in the Lavita Outdoor Sun beds, amazing snorkeling done throughout the islands, three of us decided to go on a wreck scuba diving trip one day to the RMS Rhone (one of the top 10 wrecks in the world).  Unfortunately, on the way out the water was more than a little rough, so it’s lucky that we weren’t getting seasick.  As we approached the location, we realized that we would be the only boat at the wreck…meaning we were either really lucky, or really stupid.  We jumped into the water and descended about 70 ft and that’s when I realized that we were definitely lucky.  We saw all kinds of corals, fishes, lobsters, and some turtles and swam up and down the old decks of the Rhone.  After about 35 minutes underwater we surfaced and moved to the next spot (the stern of the Rhone) for the second dive.  We entered the water for the second dive and descended to approximately 30 or 40 ft.  While not as deep as the bow of the ship, it still hosted a variety of marine life, including a resting nurse shark that the dive master petted.  As we swam around I saw a spotted moray eel underneath a nearby boulder and got to watch it stare creepily from its den.  On the Rhone, there are some old artifacts to see: a little porthole you can still open, an intact glass window of a different porthole that you rub for good luck, and even the captain’s silver teaspoon and blue rum bottle.  Another 35 minutes later, we surfaced to blue skies and calm seas and enjoyed a relaxing trip (drinks provided!) back to the Guiding Light to continue our day of sun and snorkel.

{Carol} Since everyone has covered all the great places we visited, I’ll give you the mom perspective.  Of course, not having to do any provisioning or cooking or cleaning up was a vacation in and of itself.  The food was wonderful and plenty of it.   Perhaps the best amenity, however, was the head that was converted to a full shower.  Since we motored at least a little each day, the heat from the engines resulted in hot water for showers at the end of the day!  It was worth have one cabin share a head with Shane and be able to use the converted head to take a shower without being cramped and sitting on a toilet like on other boats.  Shane’s local knowledge, flexibility and laid back manner made this week a great family vacation.

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