Published: January 7th 2008January 7th 2008
We delighted in having a white Christmas, but the snow also made it easy for us to leave!
Happy 2008 to you all!
To round out 2007, the Fox family set sail in the Caribbean for a 10-day adventure that proved to be a true vacation and offered some quality family time.
We left Denver the day after Christmas leaving behind a foot of snow and setting our sights to San Juan, Puerto Rico. We only had one full day to really enjoy Puerto Rico, so we woke up early to walk the streets of Old San Juan. Old fortification walls line the city’s edge and a few forts offer incredible views of the ocean and the city, as well as insights into the city's history. We did not know it yet, but we were settling into “island time”- meaning time to slow down!
Being there when the Puerto Ricans were on break for the holidays allowed us to see the locals in action. There was an enormous green park by the fort we visited that was teeming with families and couples soaking up the sun and flying kites. Old San Juan has beautiful blue bricks paving the streets and different colored facades on the buildings making it a colorful and welcoming city to explore.
From San Juan, we were supposed to travel to Tortola Island. But, due to a headwind, our plane had to bump people off to make room for extra fuel- those people ended up being us. So, we flew instead to St. Thomas (if only all airline issues resulted in a trip to St. Thomas). This ended up being wonderful as it allowed us to see part of the US Virgin Islands and even get a taste of where my dad visited often during his youth when his mom and step-dad lived there. We then took a ferry to Tortola at sunset to get to our sailboat.
On Tortola we met our boat and home for the next 7 days: Plum. We got ourselves situated and tried to find nooks and crannies for our stuff before squeezing into the beds. I ended up sleeping on a couch that was crescent shaped, Mary Anna was in a coffin like bed with no headroom, and Mama and Papa were in a triangle shaped bed at the bow of the boat with their feet together. Needless to say, sleeping turned out to be a challenge.
The next day we set our sails
and headed out to play among the British Virgin Islands. Yippee! The ocean swells were certainly something to be reckoned with, but as we headed downwind, we all just settled into the ride. We anchored that night at Jost Van Dyke. It didn't take long after our landing for us to be in the water! The water was such a clear blue and so warm and with a backdrop of palm trees that we all just took in the tropical scene in wonder. That night we dined at Foxy's and chatted with Foxy about the development of his restaurant and the islands. For Christmas we all received shirts that said "Foxy Pirates" on them so we sported those for our meal; Foxy seemed tickled by them.
Our next stop was at the island which inspired "Treasure Island." Again the swimming was superb and the company delightful, but it was the following night's mooring that quickly became a favorite. Cooper Island embodies the Caribbean that I imagined. Here at 30 feet of depth we could still see the bottom of the ocean. Though, when I was snorkeling, I did see a barracuda, gulp!! Thankfully, he didn't seem to care to
nibble on my toes! That night was New Year's Eve so we enjoyed a nice meal and "tried" to stay up to celebrate at midnight, but instead we just woke up to see some fireworks across the sound at another island. As we prepared the boat for our next day the turtle we had seen when snorkeling the previous day came up to the surface directly next to our boat, gulped some air, and then went right back down. We figure he was saying his goodbyes.
As we headed out early to get a mooring at the famous baths at Virgin Gorda, we passed by an enormous rainbow. It seems to me a rather auspicious sign on the first day of a new year. It'll be a good one, folks! We were lucky enough to land a mooring at Virgin Gorda and so we headed in to explore the baths. The baths are not so much baths as a huge pile of giant rocks which make grottos. It was lovely. Wandering about with the sunlight peaking through gaps in the rocks and dancing on the water certainly became a highlight of the trip for me.
We spent that
Mama and Papa
This was on our way to the fort, it was a bit blustery!
night in a marina to stock up on water. Once off the boat we all noticed that we didn't have our land-legs yet, we felt as though we were still rocking even though were were on solid land (this was pre-pina colada I assure you). The next night we stayed up by the Bitter End on Virgin Gorda. Here we enjoyed watching the pelicans hunt down their dinner and gracefully swirl in the wind until they dove into the water for their meal. There were also whole schools of fish that would fly out of the water simultaneously which attracted our attention.
The last day we spent taking in a delicious sail and one final snorkel (yes, I did get back in the water after the barracuda sighting). We explored Road Town, Tortola for a bit and then packed up for our early morning flight.
Our stay in the British Virgin Islands was nothing shy of magical. The locals were friendly and island time was perfect for our vacation. We didn't see any pirates, but I guess that is actually a good thing :)
May the rainbow bring you all a happy and healthy 2008!
There are more photos below