Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Sailing Trip Day 1: St. Thomas + Tortola

Here we go with the Sailing Trip recap posts! Since I don't want to overload y'all with pictures, I'm going to divide the posts up by each day of the trip. That will help my mind stay a little more organized too, because after 10 days at sea everything starts to run together a little bit. (A few disclaimers on the photos: I took them all with my point-and-shoot, so the quality is kind of meh. I didn't want my DSLR to get damaged or stolen, so I left it at home safe in its little camera bag. Also, I know some of the photos bleed onto the right column of the blog, but I wanted them to be bigger so you could actually see them. Sorry if it looks kinda funky, I'm working on a new layout that will hopefully make room for bigger photos.)

So how did we end up on this kind of trip anyway? Over the past couple of years Kyle's dad has been working on getting his captain's license, and once our schedules finally lined up he decided to charter a boat and take us on a 10-day sailing trip in the British Virgin Islands. We certainly weren't going to say no to that! Tell us when and where and we'll be there! Altogether there were 8 of us on the boat, which included Kyle and me, Kyle's mom and dad, Kyle's sister Jenny and her boyfriend Zach, and some family friends of the Fentons, Fred and Christina. We sure were a motley crew if you've ever seen one! But before I get ahead of myself, here's how Day 1 of the trip went down.

On Wednesday, May 9, we had a direct flight from Atlanta to St. Thomas, which is in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Once we landed in St. Thomas, we deplaned by walking down a set of stairs onto the runway. We did this when we went to Jamaica for our honeymoon too and it kinda makes me feel like the President. It's the little things!

We took a taxi from the airport to the ferry dock, and even though we were in U.S. territory they drove on the left side of the road but still had the steering wheel on the left side of the car. When we got to the ferry dock, we found out we unfortunately missed the 2:30 boat, so we had to wait until the next one left at 4:30. With some time to kill, it was a great time to finally get some lunch! There was a restaurant conveniently located above the ferry ticket office, so we walked up there to grab something to eat. I had the crab salad sandwich, which was really delicious, but ridiculously overpriced. Welcome to vacation! Also, while we were eating we got to see this seaplane take off and land a couple of times, which was really cool but at the same time I was freaking out for the people inside!

Jenny and Zach caught up with us at the restaurant where we ate lunch - they are swanky Ft. Lauderdale-ians so they had a separate flight down to St. Thomas from Miami. ;) Not soon after they arrived, it was time to board the ferry and get our butts over to the BVIs!

After a long ferry ride, where I don't think I can do this for another 10 days crossed my mind several times, we made it to the West End of Tortola and went through the BVI customs. Customs was fairly painless, since they don't search or scan your bags at all. They just ask you whats in it. Two thumbs up for security, huh?

Outside the customs office, we took an open air taxi over to the North Shore of Tortola where we were staying for the night at Sebastian's Hotel. This was my first time in an open air taxi and it would definitely not be my last. That's pretty much all they drive in the British Virgin Islands for taxis! This was the lush courtyard outside our rooms at Sebastian's:

Kyle and I were excited about the king-sized bed in our room (we just have a full bed at home), but then we quickly realized they had just pushed two twin beds together, threw a king sheet set over it, and called it a day. Too bad, we discovered your little secret, Sebastian's!

Pardon the photo of the potty, I just had to grab a shot of the bathroom since this was the last time we got to take a normal shower and use a normal toilet. You'll see what I mean when I post the boat tour. :)

For dinner that night we ate at the onsite restaurant, Sebastian's Seaside Grill. The restaurant was open air, just like most of the restaurants in the BVI, and it was so beautiful to watch the sun set and then see all the islands lit up with lights in the distance. One thing that took some getting used to is that the sun sets and rises a lot earlier in the British Virgin Islands, since they are closer to the Equator and don't have Daylight Savings Time. It would get dark by 6:30 every night and then the sun would start to come up around 5:45 every morning. Made for some early mornings!

Up next: our venture into Road Town and we finally get on the sailboat!

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