Let’s not kid ourselves – being a wedding photographer and small business owner is hard work. Every working day is a hustle. And my working days are different than most. I work nearly 7 days a week, every week. During the wedding season, it gets especially crazy. For this reason, and many others, I’m thankful for the little family time I can squirrel away. Recently, I had the chance to take a short, family vacation. I’m eternally grateful for time with my family, especially when we vacation together.
Like last year’s trip to Grenada, again we went sailing together. For this vacation we returned once more to the British Virgin Islands. I grew up sailing, thanks to my father, as we had a very small boat on Lake Erie. Most people avoid the lake in bad weather, but we reveled in it. We’d hear a small craft warning on the radio, and rush up to the lake just to catch some time together as a squall passed by. When I was growing up, we also visited BVI a couple times. Once when I was four, and again when I was about 15.
This trip to the islands could not have been better. We departed Cleveland in rather cold weather and arrived in San Juan to meet the rest of my family. After a “roadie” beer, we jumped the next plane to Tortola, British Virgin Islands. Then came customs and immigration, which followed the typical experience in the Caribbean – a general sense of malaise mixed with an unnecessary expectation of formality. Thankfully immigration passed smoothly and quickly.
We spent a couple days on shore at first. We provisioned the boat and swam with dolphins in Road Town. Then we boarded the Whiskey Chaser and set sail. To say the boat was aptly named would be an understatement.
First up was a shore layover at The Baths near Spanish Town on Virgin Gorda. We took a two-day stop at the Bitter End Yacht Club in North Sound. The time spent at the Bitter End was needed for some extra beach time and recuperation. We then set sail, passing The Dogs during a sudden squall, and arrived at Marina Cay safe and sound. Visiting Marina Cay was special for me. I remember the cay clearly from a previous trip. It’s a tiny place, located in a channel between Beef Island, Scrub Island and Monkey Point. The cay features only a bar, but it’s a great place for a Pusser’s Painkiller. However, it is also surrounded by an amazing shallow reef, perfect for snorkeling.
After a couple hours at Marina Cay, we next headed for Cane Garden Bay on the north shore of Tortola. As we arrived, we were greeted with the most amazing sunset. Another beach day came and went, surrounded by beach-going tourists from a visiting Carnival Cruise. We even ran into Bernie from “Weekend at Bernie’s”, or at least we thought so. Our sail between Tortola and St. John was very active, as we tacked every few minutes to stay off the shores. We eventually arrived at Peter Island and quickly located a gorgeous, private beach. We swam with green sea turtles, saw and barracuda and spent time relaxing in the surf. And there ends this year’s adventure.
I’m back now, rested and ready for the crazy new year, and already dreaming of our next journey together. Who needs a cruise or an all-inclusive resort. Go find an adventure!
Our flight into Puerto Rico above. Jumping a tiny plane below.
Rosie the Lesser Blue Heron above, with a tender wing from a recent break.
Overlooking Cane Garden Bay, which we would visit later in the trip.
Above and below – the Bomba Shack. It’s only open on the full moon. Apparently, they serve a “special” kind of tea. Not for the faint of heart!
The two Brooke’s and our appropriately named boat – the Whiskey Chaser. If you know me at all, then you understand my predilection for whiskey.
The Baths on Virgin Gorda above and below.
Thank goodness my film camera has a self-timer. Also, thankfully there was a rock nearby.
I can’t believe this wonderful, beautiful, smart woman married me. So, so lucky!
The Bitter End Yacht Club above and below. By some miracle, I’ve been visiting the Bitter End since nearly it’s inception.
Passing The Dogs during a squall above. Marina Cay, which is 90% bar, below.
Bartender! I will have another Painkiller, please.
Sunset at Cane Garden bay, Tortola.
Brooke and I, this time captured by my brother. Below – one last leisurely float before heading home. Yes, that is a safety line tied to the boat.
There are a million other stories I could tell about this vacation. The one about the purple fist of justice, a dancing Bernie, roadie beers, or the one about hairy men. I think I will save those memories for my family. That’s what makes family time special – the memories we make together.