Thursday, December 8, 2011

Days in the Sun

     Days in the BVIs bring sun mixed with brief rain showers as large fluffy clouds float over rugged island peaks. On the weekend we anchored behind Little Jost Van Dyke. In the morning sun as charter boats around us scrambled off in every direction we piled snorkel gear into the dinghy and motored over the aquamarine water to Dad's kiting island (Green Cay). Washing in with the surf we pulled up onto the spongy white sand and leisurely strolled the beach marveling at the tropical panorama. This was exactly what everyone from cold places dreams of as paradise: white sand, blue water, hot sun and surf rolling across sun-kissed feet. Gazing beyond the sand and water breaking over shelves of dark reef offered a panorama unlike anything in my dreams: mountainous islands rose with majesty from the waters and white sails brushed blue sky moving slowly from idyllic anchorage to idyllic anchorage.

Bubbly pool
     Later that day we pulled up to Foxy's Taboo and hiked the sun scorched shore crunching over bits of reef and coral interspersed with shells. Dried out corals peeked out between the creeping roots of mangroves as the trail wound past stinky salt ponds and over rocky ledges to the famed "bubbly pool." A rocky crevice facing the open ocean, the bubbly pool results from waves breaking over pieces of rock while surging through the crevice into an open pebble-strewn "pool" where the waters bubble and knock laughing tourists about as they enjoy a refreshing dip in the waves. Climbing volcanic rock to the side of the pool offered a great view of the waves as they built and crashed through the crevice, smashing into the pool below. On the return walk we saw tiny hermit crabs and noticed coconuts adorning the green undersides of palm trees. We returned to the boat that evening feeling the tiredness only achieved after a long day of pleasurable sun-filled activity.

     Yesterday as Dad lived his dream of kiting off a deserted tropical island the water shone like an aquamarine jewel and tiny silver fished leaped from the water performing a flashing aquatic ballet. We crossed to Tortola and took a mooring in Cane Garden Bay where a white beach bustled with tourists lounging on plastic beach chairs. We fulfilled the tropical vacation tradition of rum drinks on the beach and tested our resort legs by sunning on lounge chairs while sipping away.

     Looking out at Child's Play moored in the bay and knowing we'd traveled thousands of miles aboard her to get here brought a strong feeling of pride to that sunny beach moment. A celebration was especially fitting since Wednesday brought with it the three-month mark since we cast off from Kingston on this unique journey to paradise. Thinking back I remember all the places we've visited as well as the trials and stresses of adapting to life on a boat, all done with one destination in mind as the final goal. Arriving has felt amazing in so many ways, but it has also felt surreal. The destination is absolutely beautiful and far better than I ever imagined, but the journey itself has been just as rewarding in its own way. That night we had dinner with Raftan and did some reminiscing over cool Caribs and fresh seafood. Tasty conch fritters made a delicious appetizer. 
Entering Soper's Hole

     Today we did some grocery shopping at a small store in Cane Garden Bay picking up the usual necessities as well as cassava, sweet potatoes, yams, and tiny delicious (and fresh tasting!) bananas native to the islands. After some quick washing at the local laundromat we moved on to Soper's Hole on the west end of Tortola. A busier harbour, there are frequent ferries from other islands and lots of cruising boats mingling among the multitudes of charter boats. There are a few nice pastel-coloured shops along the waterfront where we picked up a few small things including a Caribbean cookbook. Hopefully we can try out some new recipes in the coming weeks. But first we'll have to visit the spice shop here because after glimpsing a few recipes in the book Mom has deemed our spice stores sorely inadequate for concocting proper Caribbean cuisine.

Hope you've enjoyed,

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