“The difference between an adventure and an ordeal is attitude.” This quote by Bob Bitchin, the editor of Cruising Outpost magazine highlights how this charter became an adventure to remember despite Mackenzie’s 500 bug bites (she must be especially sweet- no one else had them) .
The journey began at Red Hook where we boarded our home for the next week, and much to our surprise, it was quite spacious. The large shower quickly became everyone’s favorite aspect of the boat. Upon arrival at Waterlemon Bay, we took a scenic hike up to the Annenberg Sugar Mill ruins where we had some breathtaking views back down into the bay as well as a great history lesson from Captain Shane. On the way back to the boat, we were extremely lucky to run into a family of sea turtles which promptly made us jump into the water to get a closer view. Norman Island was our next destination, and upon arrival, we were shocked to find the infamous party boat, Willy T, almost completely empty. Maybe rain coming down sideways scared everyone off, but it did not stop us from having yet another great night. Earlier in the day we also had a wonderful experience snorkeling the caves that were made famous with the novel Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. Our friends, the sea turtles were right under the boat to greet us once again as we returned. The next stop on the adventure was Cooper Island where we enjoyed the first truly sunny day on the trip. We took full advantage of the beautiful beach, boutique, and Beach Club Restaurant.
The second half of the trip led us to the North Sound of Virgin Gorda where we visited the Baths. We had to dodge dinghies left and right and we’re sure Shane will let you know about this on a future blog. Shane then took us off the beaten path and through the more adventurous path of the Baths. Along the way Mackenzie gracefully jumped off rocks and weaved in and out of fire coral along with Nick and Shane. The day concluded with us spending the night at Leverick Bay where Mackenzie was very distressed at the fact the restaurant ran out of chicken while there were hundreds running around in the streets right behind it. Before we knew it, it was Christmas! We’ve become much more accustomed to checking our stockings and opening presents in the sunshine down in the islands compared to the winter wonderland back at home. Prickly Pear Island has no doubt become our diamond in the rough as far as beaches go. There are two beautiful beaches on the far side of the island (By Necker Island) that truly showcase the beautiful things nature is capable of. Mackenzie and Nick were surprised to find out that they were a pretty good kayaking tandem on their journey to the Sandbox. Later that night, Nick swam into Saba Rock and got to feed the giant tarpon and also was forced to swim back rather quickly thanks to some barracudas. The night culminated at Saba Rock for an absolutely amazing Christmas dinner buffet.
The final stretch of the journey began with the most picturesque sailing day that you can only dream of; the sun shining in all its glory, a comfortable breeze at our backs, and calm seas the entire way to Anagada. While on Anagada, we enjoyed yet another beautiful day on the beach at Cow Wreck Bay. And of course, we indulged ourselves in some Anagada lobster for dinner. To wrap up the excursion, we stopped by Monkey Point off of Guana Island for some of the most incredible snorkeling any of us have ever done. We spent the final night at Cane Garden Bay in Tortola. All of us were thrilled to find out that we would be having barbecued chicken and ribs for dinner, and we also got a nice show from not only the band playing, but the drunk folk “dancing” along with them. The culmination of all of these moments have lead us to believe that there is no place in the world that we would rather be at this very moment than down in the islands. Shane really knew how to get us off the beaten path and appreciate the history and beauty of this magnificent place. The islands have become our escape from the stress of reality, and allow us to enjoy the little things in life. We, as a family (Mackenzie included), could not be more thankful to Shane McClellan for this wonderful trip. Until next year!