A week on a tropical island with 4 of your very best friends and your life partner?!
Yeah, I signed up for that – no questions asked.
And although we had planned our BVI trip long before the engine of our beloved lug of a home on wheels decided to be a butt, ditching Dyna while she was undergoing an engine revamp was a nice reprieve. For me. It caused Jake a bit of extra worry. Jake is very hands on, and being 1800 miles away from Dyna while she was being torn apart was a bit tough on him. But don’t fret, he got through it. He bucked up the $ for some international minutes. He called the repair shop every morning.
Before any engine woes came to fruition, Jake and our friend/mentor/pirate Bob had been discussing a sailing trip in the BVIs. Bob used to live on a sailboat, so he has been jonesin’ to get back out on the water. And Jake is an adventurer and likes to try everything. And I hate the ocean.
I tried pretty hard to convince Jake that this sailing extravaganza would be a perfect ‘boys trip’. Just think: a group of males sailing around the Caribbean, doing man sailing stuff (like peeing off the back of the boat, probably). I could remain safely on land – away from all the terrors of the ocean. Sounds great, right?
Yeah, I ‘lost’. I need to work on my rhetoric apparently.
In early June, I ended up on a plane flying towards destiny with a 52′ sailboat.
Jake knows all about my irrational fear of the ocean. I tend to mention it. But, in an attempt to make up for continually pushing my comfort zone(?), he suggested we Airbnb for a week in Tortola before mounting a mighty sea beast. Seemed like a pretty good compromise to me.
And then, serendipity happened. Our good friend Denver Holly called and said she needed a vacation.
Well, Holly, we have just the vacation for you! And it’s already planned. And, oh, also, do you want to invite the rest of our best friends? You do? GREAT! Me too.
So that’s the story of how I ended up on the British Virgin Island (BVI) of Tortola with 4 of my very best friends, my lover, and rotating crop friendly island dogs.
I’m about to hit you with a truth bomb: we didn’t participate in any crazy adventures during our week on Tortola.
We spent most of our week sitting on some beach or another beach. Or on the glorious deck of our Airbnb palace, petting the resident island dogs who may or may have actually been the Airbnb palace’s true owners.
As two people who tend to enjoy active activities, a week spent sitting around in a tropical paradise was really
hard freaking amazing.
During our first few days on Tortola, we attempted to be bit adventurous. Aka, drive to a novel beach. But we found out pretty quick that the roads in Tortola are nuts. And the only thing that makes you more carsick than driving on the ‘wrong’ side of mountain roads with 8-10 switchbacks per ascent/descent is driving on the ‘wrong’ side of mountain roads with 8-10 switchbacks with 6 people packed into a car designed to seat 5.
Oh, also, it doesn’t help when your rental car – that you have to drive on the ‘wrong’ side of the road – straight up cannot make it up the driveway of your Airbnb palace because said driveway is a hell driveway. And you almost die. In paradise. With 4 of your best friends and the love of your life. While several island dogs and various island chickens watch in amusement.
After a few near death attempts at driving our first rental up hell driveway, we called the car rental company and the replaced our first (6 seat) vehicle with a (5 seat)
Jeep. And by Jeep, I mean some weird Suzuki SideKick type knockoff. The Suzuki imposter was able to climb the hell driveway though. However, this is your warning: if you ever travel to the BVI, and ask to rent a Jeep, you will more than likely be supplied with a Suzuki SideKick Imposter – which is not a Jeep. But, it can climb up hills, so long as all 6 people piled into the imposter vehicle are scantily clad and shout pray type cheers really loudly as the driver guns the throttle and steers like hell.
By our fourth day on the island, after several bouts of near puke clown car driving experiences, we settled into a routine of visiting the beaches nearest to us – which just happened to be freaking beautiful. And completely uncrowded. And by uncrowded, I mean that we often had them completely to ourselves. To ourselves and to Nature Boy or Nigel, the resident beach bar entrepreneurs.
We were able to walk from our Palace to Long Bay Beach. Which we did. But, Long Bay Beach was a bit wavy for us (#lifeisrough). Also, the beach bar on Long Bay Beach is manned by a ninja/CIA Covert Agent/astronaut named ‘Nature Boy’. Nature Boy is a little bit awesome, and a little bit crazy, and very unpredictable. Unpredictable is not a descriptor I like being applicable to a human who is standing in front of you waving a machete (getting ready to open coconuts) while telling you tales of his life adventures (i.e. ninja/CIA Covert Agent/astronaut). If you ever get a chance to visit Nature Boy & his beach bar, just please make sure you go with a group. He’s a neat guy, but, unpredictable. And machete.
Our collective favorite beach (agreed upon by all 6 of us!) was Smuggler’s Cove. We had to drive to Smuggler’s from the Palace, although it was only about 2 miles away – so I guess we could have walked. But, lazy. Anyways, Smuggler’s was a gem. Waveless, temperate, clear water. Occasional visits from sea life – like a stingray the size of a kitchen table. Trees that provided shade for the red-headed brethren in our group. Fellow beach bathers were sparse. And sometimes non-existent. Also, Smuggler’s is home to Nigel and his BoomBoom Beach Bar. Nigel’s Boom Boom Beach Bar was the best beach bar. It’s a scientific fact. Also, he cooks his hotdogs with special ingredients. (PINEAPPLE JUICE! JEEZ!)
We spent most of our days at Smuggler’s.
We did head out for a few non beach lounging adventures. We hit up the Baths on Virgin Gorda. We ventured out for groceries and a few dinners at various restaurants. We made sure that those who had to sit in the back of our Imposter Vehicle pre-gamed with nausea meds before these ventures.
A secret great thing about traveling to a tropical island in the off-season, with 4 of your best friends and your favorite adventure buddy? Cost effectiveness. Airbnb Palace, we love you and your epic accommodations that provide for unreal views, 3 resident dogs to play with, and only one scorpion related event.
In spite of the hell driveway, our Air B-N-B Palace was really nice (in case I haven’t made that clear enough yet). It housed 6 + the resident pups comfortably. Also, there were mango trees. We ate a lot of mangos.
After a week of island beers, beach days, BoomBoom Shack snacks, and that warm fuzzy feeling filling you all day everyday (best friends being with you in paradise tends to lend itself to that), Jake and I took Meggy, Holly, Ricky and Matt on one final ride in the vomit vehicle. We dropped them off at the ferry station, cried all the way back to the palace, and cried some more. But then we stopped crying.
Because in prep for leaving on a 10 day sailing trip our of Roadtown the next day, we had more friends incoming to play with us just a few hours after dropping off 4
little pieces of our hearts.
Ok, I might have kept crying on the inside. Because my heart! But also maybe that whole sailing on the ocean that I hate thing.
But shit – here’s to another new adventure – even if it involves the horrible terrifying ocean of doom.