Sunday, December 27, 2015

Bon Voyage Tortola!

*(As you may have guessed, this belated blog post is from early December.)
Well, the time came to depart our marina and head home. 
Christmas was coming after all...

We had about 17+ hours of travel ahead of us...which ALWAYS includes an adventure of some sort. 
And it started with this...

Our cabbie was 30 minutes late. He was as lethargic as they come and said we would take a shortcut to the airport... Which was thru the mountains and up super STEEP "streets of San Francisco" grade hills. He was driving slower than the little old lady from Pasadena...
Everyone passed us. He chatted and with his thick accent we couldn't make out a word he said. You'd think he was speaking swahili. I don't know if this is how he gets his kicks, but he should get his 
fa-la-la's elsewhere instead of from hurried foreigners...
He didn't have a strong enough car to go up hills and didn't have strong enough brakes to go down. 
We even had to stop and wait for construction maintenance on the "shortcut" road to be repaired..
Then.. after what was almost an hour for a 20 min ride, he hits 
a speed bump at full speed and we almost hit the roof. 
Some stunt driver he was...
He was quite apologetic, and I laughed so hard I almost peed my pants as this 
whole cabbie adventure (we always seem to have them!) was a riot!! 

Finally we arrived at the airport...ready to go.
And get our groove on...

At the airport, I spotted Martina Navatalova and Tarcy Austin returning 
from the Necker Cup. They were flying back to Puerto Rico
with us. It doesn't appear they are besties.
My other sightings were the cats wandering the airport, a random songbird or two flying above our heads and a couple feral dogs. Let's not forget the chickens and rooster wandering the perimeter... 
Too funny! Definitely one of the more casual airports we've been to.
And if you get some pre-flight hunger pains, you can head to the local ice cream stand there..
All flights out of Tortola go to San Juan, Puerto Rico. Once we arrived in SJ, we then connected to Charlotte, North Carolina...finally touching down on terra firma in LA. YAY!! I'll be glad when the "3 flights to get to a destination" portion of our adventure is concluded. It is just for this BVI destination luckily.  17+ hours to get to a destination and 3 connections is exhausting. but all part of our crazy fun adventure!

We cleared customs in San Juan, Puerto Rico. As soon as we walked into the customs area we made a beeline for the Global Entry kiosks. For those of you wondering about Global Entry, it's a "fast pass" for getting through customs which I highly recommend. You sign up on their website, get a full background check and vetted through the Department of Homeland Security. Then, you're on your way to speedy checkpoints when re-entering the US from aboard. I always have a little fun at the kiosk and make sure I get a snazzy pose for the customs official when he will collect my receipt.
Case in point below... It keeps me entertained. 
Anyhoo- we are off!
Until next time campers....

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Scrub Island and The Bitter End?

There we are at the end of the dock in Scrub Island. Happy as can be!

Mark & Kim went for a cruise before we headed
 out on our next island hop to The Bitter End.

You never know what you'll spot at the Bitter End!

Soon we were swiftly underway...

Out cruising what do I spot? It's one of those yacht SLIDES! These are awesome and look super fun!! It's a giant inflatable water slide...the only thing is you need to have a TON of room to store it.
Kim had fun sitting in the pilot house while underway and checking the latest news nuggets...
We soon anchored out...
 and then got in the dingy to get to shore...
We arrived to...dun, dun, dun
The Bitter End Yacht Club!
The Bitter End is anything but bitter, and accessible only by sea...
like most of these islands. You would have to fly into Tortola & take
 a ferry here if you didn't want to cruise under your own sail. It looked like s
uch a special place and one that we would all enjoy!
 Here's an aerial view to give you a better idea...
 Can't wait to take one of these babies for a spin!
This is the "tugboat" we passed heading to shore. lol!

We had fun chatting about this massive one...

Can you spot the catamaran on the side of it hanging from the davit?

Kim & I were psyched to check everything out..

And we're happy to report that there aren't any monkeys running wild and misbehaving...
Beautiful blue water as far as you could see...

Checking in at the Quarterdeck Club.
The handpainted signage everywhere was adorbs!
This place certainly had a lot to offer.
I also spotted the "Florida trend" of putting ones "boat sticker" everywhere & anywhere. 
We don't subscribe to this trend, however found this little nugget to be quite hilarious!
They meant business.
We all made our way to lunch and the resort wasn't busy at all since it was early in the season..
I bet this will have an entirely different look & feel when we
head back to this spot during Christmas week.
I spotted a freighter carrying 2 cement trucks. 
I never bothered to think how they transport these kinds of materials to and 'fro...impressive.
Ah...the rainbow chairs!
This hammock had Brads name all over it.
And then he claimed it for his own with such grace!
Brad found his namaste and was able to de-stress.

So idyllic...

You can enjoy the skill of local artisans all around the island.
Just goofing off with my spirit animal...
This is the sailing school at the BEYC.
They take their sailing instruction seriously here and you can learn moves like this;
Laser sailboats at the ready.
Paddleboards too
Brad navigated us around the islands sights as he'd been
here before and knew the lay of the land...

Mark expertly handled the dingy departure...

token art shot..
It was starting to of those fun experiences that randomly occur here in the Caribbean.
That night we had more large tarpon fish behind our boat than we had ever seen. 
They were rapaciously feeding on some baby fish that were attracted to our underwater lights.
We all spotted this jellyfish. There are moon jellies here who are harmless,
and then also "box" jellies which you don't want to do a meet n' greet with.

You never know what you're going to spot..
We were all up early the next morning and I snapped this photo nugget of the sunrise.
Mark & Kim had to head home that day, and we were sad to see them go!!
Brad escorted them to the airport via dingy. 
There was a dock right at the convenient!
And away they go...
Brad and I then decided to make the most of our day &
cruised back over to Peter Island for lunch & a swim.
This place is so far one of my absolute faves!
Sea grapes anyone?
I had a new friend I met while I hung out on the beach...he was quite shy though.
Until he decided to be brave and come "out of his shell"....
We headed back to Nanny Cay late that afternoon and enjoyed a fantastic
meal that night at the marina restaurant with Bish. 
We were planning to leave the next day since our guests had to
head back early, which meant more time to be had for Christmas festivites!
All kidding aside, I wish you and your fam a very MERRY CHRISTMAS 
And may visions of sugarplums dance in your heads...

 Please don't forget the reason for the season and may we all take a minute to count our blessings!