I am so hungover this morning and let me tell you, I HAVE HAD IT UP TO HERE with this cold, snow, and impending Blizzard of the Century that we are supposed to get on Thursday. I just froze my ass off over at Rants', Braja's and Pearl's, so I'm flippin' the bird to this meteorilogical mess in the Midwest and I'm going to take you all on a little ride down to the British Virgin Islands today.
Have you ever heard of "bare-boating"?... Get your mind out of the gutter, people. It has nothing to do with bare skin and everything to do with renting yourself a big ol' boat in an exotic locale so you can cruise around and do whatever you like for a week. It is fabulous and fun and just the kind of vacation to make you want to run off to Margaritaville forever.
So back in 2007, my husband and I and three other couples rented one of these bareboats in the BVIs. Here we are in St. Thomas:
Contrary to my husband's predilection for all-boats-all-the-time, I'm not much of a boater. I mean I like to ride around on one for a lovely sunset cruise or a little family-time, but the thought of being on that boat for a solid week was pretty daunting. And I don't know a thing about sailing, either, AND I burn easily so I don't like being out in the sun too much.... Oh, don't I sound like such an awfulizer?! It's the hangover talking, let it slide.... Happily, all my worries about the boat were for naught! A 42' catamaran sailboat is kind of like the RV of the open sea. A little cheesey, perhaps, but four good-sized staterooms, two nice bathrooms, and a ginormous dining room and kitchen go a loooooong way for making happy sailors and passengers.
You know what else makes for happy sailors? Booze!! And the BVIs are basically just a bunch of islands that vacationers go to elaborate lengths to bar-hop between. Oh, brother, and did we bar hop!!! Our first night was pretty tame, as we were still getting the lay of the land and figuring out everything with the boat (you do need at least a couple experienced sailors on board to get one of these boats, we had three aboard), like getting it anchored on the mooring field, taking the dingy to shore, getting groceries squared away, etc. After a day of delightful sailing; a couple hours to this spot for lunch, an hour more to another spot for snorkeling and then another 40 minutes more and we were at our final destination of the day. That second night found us sailing into "The Bight" at Norman Island, home to the infamous Willy-T's floating bar. The William Thornton is an old cargo vessel that has been permanantly moored and operates as a restaurant and bar. It is the home of untold amounts of drunken shenanigans. We got there early and there was a very small group of people finishing dinner and getting drinks, pretty low-key compared to the stories we'd heard. My husband, perplexed, queried the bartender as to when the party started.... the man, as he cheerfully poured us our third round of the Willy-T Special Recipe Rum Punch, said he'd give him a call to let him know when it got there. What the bartender knew, and we would find out shortly, is that those Rum Punches were pretty much 100% alcohol, even though they tasted about as strong as kool-aid, and that about 50 boats full of thirsty sailors were busily mooring and finishing up dinners around the harbor before descending on the Willy-Ts on their dingies.
After we finished our 7th round of rum punches we suddenly realized that we were having to shout to hear each other, we were all dancing, and that we were somehow being herded by the growing crowd to the edge of the dance floor. Those sly, sly drinks just snuck up on you!! :)
Yeeeeeeeeee-Haaaaaaawwwwwww! This picture was taken about the time that the bartender asked my husband if he "got the call," you know, the call to let him know that the party was there. Yeah, man, we got the call. We totally got it. (And, NO, I did not participate in the Willy-T "tradition" of jumping off the top deck topless to "earn" a free t-shirt. ;^) Thanks for asking.)
I'll leave you with one more photo of beautiful sunshiney sea and warmth. Maybe it will take away the bite of that miserable hinterland waiting outside our doors and remind us that somewhere, somebody is basking in that sun and we could be, too. It's just a plane ride away....