Friday, December 23, 2016

Exploring the Virgin Islands by Sail

Over Thanksgiving Riki and I and three other couples embarked on the journey of a lifetime, a sailing trip through the British Virgin Islands.    

Things started off hot in San Juan, where we spend our first two nights.  It was my first trip there but will not be my last.  We rented an Airbnb in the Old Town, and not surprisingly, it reminded me a lot of the French Quarter.  But I'll save that for another blog post.

From Old San Juan we flew to St. Thomas...a 12 minute flight.  I don't think we made it to 10,000 feet.  From St. Thomas we took a ferry to Tortola, where our boat awaited.  We stayed on the boat overnight at the dock, I assume so that they could keep a watchful eye on us before departing.  It's still crazy to me that they let a bunch of children adults take a 44-foot yacht without any adult supervision, but alas they did, and we returned it in one piece, thanks to the stellar job by Captain Chance and first mate Rhody.  

The weather outlook for the trip was bleak.  It was supposed to storm all week...and it did for the first couple of days.  But then it cleared up and the rest of the week was perfect.  

We never really had much of an agenda.  I don't think you're supposed to when you sailing around paradise.  

Our daily routine:
-wake up (some earlier than others)
-make coffee (or a stiff drink)
-set sail 
-lay around
-watch the sunset

There's actually not much else to say about this trip.  The BVI's were a paradise, and I don't use that term lightly.  

Perhaps the most treacherous moment of the whole trip was the dinghy ride to and from the mainland.  I will never forget some of the epic wipe-outs as the dinghy shot out from under (some of) us as we attempted the transition from dinghy to land.  My only regret of the entire trip is not catching one of these wipe-outs on film.  A damn shame. 

Anyway, I've said too much already.  I'll let the pictures do the talking.  

These colors are real.

So long, paradise.

[As far as the gear for this trip is concerned, so all the underwater shots I used my Fuji X100S in some underwater housing.  It's crazy how much I love that camera.  For the rest of the shots I used my Canon 6D.  And for the aerial shots I used my new DJI Phantom 3 Pro - I literally bought it the day before we left on this trip.  My first attempt at flying a drone ever was over the ocean.  I was shaking as I flew it back towards the boat.  I can say with 100% conviction that this drone is the best toy I've ever purchased.  It is simply phenomenal, and the 4K footage is simply stunning.  I can't wait to share that with you...]