Earlier this week, I posted some of the best pics from our sailing adventure to the British Virgin Islands over Christmas break. In that account, there are absolutely ZERO photos of large chickens onstage. There is NO record of the insane amount of iguanas we encountered at the pool. The post completely LACKS any visual proof of real sharks. There certainly AREN’T any pics capturing the intensity of our appreciation for the “OFF” bug spray that Olivia coerced from a sympathetic barkeeper. If you read the post “Canvas Can Do Miracles” and thought to yourself… “that lucky, spoiled brat!” this one is for you. I promise if you can hang on to the read a bit, the winds will shift in to some great things we found in the British Virgin Islands that you can enjoy at home …
Let me start by saying it wasn’t a bad flight, and we arrived tired but ready to tackle the 96 steps to paradise at the Frenchman’s Reef & Morning Star Marriott Resort private beach.
It was a good start, but somewhere along the way things got a little out of sorts:
Image credit: Eric Leyba
In the top right-hand corner, you can see a sliver of me sporting my coveted Kate Spade bag (thanks Sher). My husband took a quick pic and moved on, as if this parade of giant lizards on the stairs was a typical tourist attraction. I had my doubts, but since I had been dreaming of this vacation for months, I was willing to put all good sense to rest and follow along behind him. Our safe passage down the rest of the 96 stairs to a jaw-dropping beach gave me a newfound confidence, and I was eager to start our vacation on a good note. Since we had arrived late and slept in, every single beach chair was taken. That’s when I noticed 4 available prime poolside loungers situated ideally between the beach and the pool. Genius I thought. We are destined to have an awesome trip and the morning was indeed “pinch-me” perfect, as you can see in this picture:
As the saying goes though, “all good things must come to an end,” and in this case having a giant iquana take my beach chair was the end for me. The picture below is of the “good-looking” iguana hanging around nearby, not the black-eyed beast that stole the best seat in the house! In any case, it’s a subtle reminder that if you encounter a situation that looks to be too-good-to-be-true, I think it’s worth considering that it might be.
At the point that the Big Guy jumped up on my lounger and claimed my beach towel, Eric suggested we might change course and check out the hotel infinity pool up on the hill. Good call. As a wise beachgoer nearby noted “I like a little less iguana with my pool.” As do I.
Let’s take a pause now to cut to the chase and give a little nod to the sharks of the Caribbean. Exactly at the dock in the picture below, there was a school of literally a thousand small fish, and that’s when I saw a 3-5 foot shark swim by our dinghy as we pulled up. We all saw it, but I was the only one to say in a concerned voice, “hey, was that a shark?”
“No,” my mom shook her head, “that was just a big silver fish.” At this point my Aunt chimed in “no, it couldn’t be a shark. I researched that before the trip and they don’t have them here.” Admittedly, I’m no shark expert, but the thing is, somewhere in my lifetime, I must have picked up on their somewhat “unique” behavior. So once again, despite my strong instinct otherwise, I let the matter drop and followed along in the path of my confident kin. We have a lovely afternoon in Cane Garden Bay and find enough groceries to make tacos for Christmas Day.
Imagine my surprise as we return to the dinghy and I spy yet another peculiar “big silver fish.” This time everyone breaks out in unison, “did you see that shark?!” OMG people. A shark is a shark is a shark, and now I have set the scene for where hubby and I got stuck with a broken motor (at night) trying to make it to shore to enjoy the late-night local music venue. Short story, we got unstuck and my mom acknowledged that she knew the “big silver fish” were sharks but didn’t want to “alarm me.” I’m not sure where she got the impression that on the spectrum of humanity I lean a tad bit to the dramatic side, but I guess it was nice of her to try and protect me from the truth. If you are wondering, Eric and I did eventually make it to the live band on the beach. I inquired to the waiter about the sharks and he smiled and said “yes, they are harmless nurse sharks.” Okay, my shark radar is obviously working, but it still isn’t good enough to tell the difference between a “happy, harmless shark” and a “grumpy man-eating shark.” So that’s enough of that.
Moving on… this post was supposed to be about some of the great things I am bringing back with us from the Caribbean, and that most definitely doesn’t include iquanas and sharks! What do you say we turn this ship around then and get to the good stuff we found in the BVI?
- The Soggy Dollar Ring Toss. I’m telling you folks, We could all use a little more ring and toss in our lives. Simple all-ages fun requiring minimal provisions and a little hand-eye coordination. The game below was made famous at the Soggy Dollar on Jost Van Dyke, but you can easily enjoy it at home by making a DIY version or purchasing a kit on Amazon.com. I imagine long ago this game would keep the pirates busy, but I can tell you now that in 2017 it had the same effect on our kids.
- Caribbean braids. Ahh sigh, to be young and 20 again. This is Olivia rocking her new braids . They were super cute and made her hair look great for the rest of the trip, even when shower water was scarce. We were all jealous and vowed to learn how to make them this summer. I think it would be really neat to do some braiding during Sail School this year in Eugene too using this YouTube tutorial. Way fun.
- Pom Pom Beach Clothing. It helps, but I don’t think we need to be twentysomething to enjoy some more pom in our closet. We stumbled on these cute beach shorts and swing dresses from LJC Designs all over the place while on our trip. Of course the Windlasse in me would like to see a navy version with sailor knots in place of pom poms. I might have to check with mom if we can start up the sewing machine and make something happen before summer gets to Oregon.
Images and products found online here at LJC Designs
- GoPro Hero. Logan and Olivia both had Underwater GoPro Heros with them on our vacation. It is something we had looked in to when we were preparing for the trip, but didn’t have any experience with them and decided not to drop the dough on it. 6 hours of awesome video later, we are believers. These small boxes are incredible and it turned out to be a lot of fun for us all. We have to give those two some time to edit, so in the meantime, I’m linking to someone else’s GoPro video of the British Virgin Islands. I thought they did a great job with capturing the experience!
- Rom-Com Movie Nights. To say that the evenings on the boat were beautiful is such an understatement. We took full advantage of this by huddling around my Aunt’s 4-inch Kindle screen and enjoying a good romantic comedy every night, while the boys took Monopoly to a new level. For the trip we had brought a mini-projector with all the cables and connections, but at the end of the day the setup of that whole system was too complicated and unnecessary. I realize that Rom-Com Movie Nights are not a Caribbean specialty, but it took traveling to a place where the setup wasn’t possible, for me to appreciate the simplistic pleasure of a movie night with the girls in whatever way that was possible. I’m not sure why as women we often feel the need to make everything such a grand, exhausting production. In 2017, I think we should all just chill a little and grab our great memories together the easy way.
That’s a wrap on a few of my favorite things from our trip. Our days were much fun with a big sprinkle of adventure, including putting our faith in a 10-year-old dinghy driver:
Stay tuned for one more post on our vacation in the BVI. The day we spent on Virgin Gorda exploring The Baths is deserving of it’s own postage stamp.