Sunday, May 30, 1999

1999: British Virgin Islands

The dream begins...

The story begins in 1998 on a ski trip to Rib Mountain. I was a member of a singles event club called Mile High Adventures (MHA), and was telling the event coordinator Herb about a service I had heard about from a friend: companies that rent sailboats like cars, without a crew. It was called bareboating, and I was trying to talk Herb into setting up a trip as an event. As we settled into dinner, another member with white hair and a beard said "Herb- we should go bareboating!". Herb introduced me to Don and we conspired to set up the first MHA bareboat trip. I got a half page ad into the D&D (monthly magazine of events) and Don and I started recruiting. Don R signed up right away, and another sailor I had met, Jenny. Susan was onboard, and soon Marcie, Ron, Dawn, Dan, and Allyson were also onboard. Susan recruited her friends Malcolm and Cristina, and I settled on two 3-cabin boats then called the trip closed.

The trip took long enough to fill that we couldn't get AA or USAir into Tortola, so we booked to San Juan and then hopped into charter Cesnas for the short trip to Beef Island airport. After a open taxi to town, we got settled into "Chateau", our Beneteau 445, and Don's crew did the same in "Fascination", then we provisioned and rented scuba gear right in Road Town.

Sunday we set sail for the south of Peter Island, where we grilled out on the beach. Monday we headed to Salt Cay and the wreck of the Rhone for our first dive. We picked up a bouy for the night, and set out the next morning for Virgin Gorda. After a swim, some exploring, and a beer at the Baths, we decided to pull in to the marina at Spanish Town. We walked to a group dinner, and Wednesday morning sailed for the North Sound. After visiting the Pussers and exploring, our first light rainfall sent us to the cabin for a few hands of cards. Thursday came clear and bright, and while Don W's boat did some parasailing, BBS went east past Necker Island for some great ocean sailing. We turned around for some snorkeling at the Dogs, before catching up with Fascination on the way in to Trellis Bay.

The evening was spent laughing and singing with the entertainment at The Last Resort. Friday was our second dive on a shallow reef at Marina Cay, then around the east end of Tortola for a swim at Sandy Cay before pulling into the famous Foxy's on Jost Van Dyke. The Friday night barbeque was outstanding! Saturday took us down the channel between Tortola and St John's to visit Norman Island and the Indians for a last snorkel. We were able to buzz the beach at Peter Island on the way back to Road Town, entering the harbor with Jimmy Buffett's "Lovely Cruise" playing and the sun setting in the West. Shrimp on the barbie and chocolate stuffed bananas were the final meal in paradise before the flight back on Sunday.

This was the most fantastic, relaxing, exciting, wonderful vacation I had ever been on. It left me wanting more...

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