Now that the new website and design are out of the way, I can focus on more exciting things—like talking about our Christmas vacation in the British Virgin Islands! (Disclaimer: I took maybe 3 pictures of food during the entire trip, so this is more of a “Travel Highlights” than a typical “Food Highlights” post.) You might remember me sharing pics from last year’s adventure down there, but I didn’t write a post specifically about it. I was so, so lucky for the opportunity to return to the islands again this year with my fiancé (!) Garland’s family.
Garland and his siblings grew up sailing, both for sport and pleasure. Garland, his twin brother and father have even sailed from Hampton Roads to the Bahamas and back after college graduation! His parents have been chartering sailboats for winter vacations since they were toddlers, but last year was the first time I got to experience it for myself. It probably goes without saying but: Chartering a sailboat is not your average vacation. The best comparison I can think of (at the risk of insulting a few people) is RV camping…on water. Our boat had four cabins (with queen mattresses), heads (bathrooms with a toilet you pump yourself and a sink spout that doubles as a shower head) and a kitchen with gas burners and refrigerators. It even had wireless internet!
Every day, you wake up with the sun and decide which island or bay or sound or reef or beach bar to sail to next. You read, you swim, you snorkel, you drink tropical cocktails, you nap, you eat, you hike and then you go to bed as soon as the sun sets in preparation for the next day’s adventure. What’s most to love about a sailing vacation is each day is something totally different—a new anchorage or mooring, new wind to sail in, a new island. Other than having to keep an eye on the weather and needing to know how to sail, it’s fairly care-free!
A few things I learned last year: Motion sickness meds = an absolute necessity for me. I actually started taking them the night before our flight so they’d already be in my system. You wake up and go to bed early, at least with our group this was the case. No wasting daylight! Plus, there’s not much to do after the sun goes down (given I do not want to experience being hungover on a sailboat). Attire is very casual, as in I wore swimsuits, running shorts and tanks most days. Bring your own fresh fruit (that travels well) like apples, clementines, pears. The fruit at grocery and provisioning stores is shipped in, so it’s expensive and not very fresh. I felt a lot more prepared this year with last year under my belt!
My flight down there got a little messed up, and I ended up being rerouted to St. Thomas (USVI), having to take a ferry to Tortola, followed by a car ride to the bay near the airport I was supposed to fly into. I was all by myself, but the situation called for a Painkiller at the first bar I saw…at the ferry dock.
By the time we all got settled on the boat it was late, so we did a quick dinner at a roti hut and called it a night. The first full day there, we headed for Gorda Sound on Virgin Gorda. We made a quick stop at the Dog Islands for the men to snorkel.
Us “kids” went on a hike and spent the rest of the day at The Bitter End Resort beach and bar. The REAL highlight of this day was dinner: Last year, we took the dingy across the sound to a place called The Fat Virgin for dinner, where we ate the best ribs any of us had ever had (made with a guava BBQ sauce!). First day back in the BVI, and getting the ribs were our top mission… Good new! They were just as good as we remembered.
The second full day, we headed to a popular snorkeling spot called The Indians. Unfortunately, I wasn’t feeling well this day, thanks to a cold I caught on the way down. But I tried to push through! Right when the girls were getting in, the boys spotted a barracuda towards the front of the boat (I’d never seen one before!!! Ahhh!). I still got in for a little bit; the water was rough and my mask was leaking so I didn’t last long. Next, it was on to Cooper Island! It was another relaxing “read and drink on the beach” day. I really liked this eco-resort! They also had a fun happy hour with 2-for-1 Painkillers 😉
The next morning, we took sail to Peter Island. We saw our first rainbow of the trip on the way there!
Once we arrived, we took a long walk (this island is perfect for walks and runs!), had lunch at the Peter Island Resort’s beach restaurant (fish tacos!), and spent the rest of the day on the beach, reading and napping. We ended up spending the night in Great Harbour, which is more sheltered from the wind and thus less “roll-y”. There’s one lonely restaurant in this harbour that we dined at last year and decided to go to again—they have surprisingly good food and had the second place ribs of the trip!
Part II and Jost van Dyke is coming on Friday!